Attention Domain owners: Emails from “DomainNotice”!

Author: admin  |  Category: Consumer, Domains, Internet, Security  |  Comments (0)  |  Add Comment

It seems that there is a huger harvesting of domains going on right now and a company called “DomainNotice” is sending out email. Plain and simple – this is a scam.

They offer to keep your site indexed by “search engine” (what, they don’t even know Google?) and if you do not pay them $75 for 1 year, it will not be searchable by search engines.

This is completely FALSE. Unless your site is black flagged by Google (or any search engine), you do not need to resubmit your site to them. It will remain indexed for as long as your site is indexable. You can re-submit your sites to Google, and that is FREE.

These emails are a scam – do not respond to them, do not fax the paper to them. Just flag the email as spam.

Here are the links to where you can do this for free, one time:
Google
Yahoo
MSN

Selling things you don’t own should be illegal, right?

Author: admin  |  Category: Domains, Internet, Scams  |  Comments (0)  |  Add Comment

Think about this:  A sales person contacts you about a product.  They offer to sell you the product for a price. You pay for the product then you find out that not only do they not own what you are paying for, there is no guarantee that you’ll get it. I am sure that most people would cry fraud, a scam, or theft with this, which technically it is.

Well, apparently in the domaining world this practices is not illegal, in fact it is not uncommon for people to solicit sales for something that they not only don’t own, but do not have the right to sell. One such entity I am calling out in this post.

Last year, I “won” a domain though a drop catch service (a service that “catches” names as they expire and become available). I paid my fee for the domain and was awaiting the domain to be transferred into the registrar where I could retrieve it. The next day, (over 24 hours later) I receive an email from “Webname Solution” (info@webnamesolution.com) offering to sell me this domain for $199.95 (screenshot of the email) In a panic, I quickly contacted the drop catch service and confirmed that I did legally own the domain and it was in the process of being transferred to the registrar. Luckily, a few days later the domain was in my account, where it should be.

I didn’t think anything of it until the other day when I saw this old email in my folder. I thought “Nah, they wouldn’t still be selling the domain, would they?”. Guess what? I was wrong. They are STILL selling it for $199.95.

(Click for a full sized image)

Yes, this company is still selling the domain that I own that they do not have the right to sell. Last I checked, this is illegal. “But Draggar, they could be anywhere!” while this is true, a quick WhoIs check shows who owns the domain:
WhoIs result
The results are:
Registrant:
Webname Solution
1256 Guy Street
Montreal, Qc H3H 2L3
CA
646-964-6515
Domain Name: WEBNAMESOLUTION.COM

I checked it on Google maps and it is a legitimate address (but who knows if it is the accurate one).

The sad part of al this is that this is not the first, the second, or even the third time this has happened to me. This company has done this a few other times in the past with me but I haven’t noticed it this long. I’ve own the domain for several months now and they are still selling the domain. I’m debating if I should send them a C&D letter and CC my local FBI office since they are fraudulently trying to sell assets owned in the USA?

The EFF Speaks out against the Snowe Bill

Author: admin  |  Category: Business, Domains, Internet, Politics  |  Comments (0)  |  Add Comment

The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has issued a statement on the Snowe Bill, calling it a “free speech double-whammy”.
Read it here

Posted by Corynne McSherry

Congress is contemplating a so-called “Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act” (APCPA) that takes an odd view of consumer protection. In the name of stopping phishing schemes, Senator Olympia Snowe has introduced S. 2661, a bill that would expand trademark law, limit consumer access to information about competitive products, and eviscerate key protections for anonymous speech. Co-sponsors are Senators Bill Nelson and Ted Stevens (yes, THAT Ted Stevens).

The bill starts off relatively inoffensively by prohibiting the use of false information to solicit identifying data from a computer (this was already illegal, but we’ll let that go for now). But then it goes on to forbid the use of brand names in domain names, and the use of another’s domain name in emails, on websites, or in web ads. This prohibition is unnecessary: if the use of a brand name in a domain name is confusing, it is already actionable under trademark law. And it is dangerous because, unlike current federal trademark law, the APCPA does little to protect noncommercial and comparative advertising uses of trademarks. For example, U.S. trademark dilution law excludes noncommercial, parodic and comparative uses. Under the APCPA, however, noncommercial use is merely a factor to be “considered,” not a clear exclusion, and comparative use is not explicitly protected at all. Given that trademark law simply doesn’t apply to noncommercial uses of marks, such meager “protection” for noncommercial use is unacceptable. Moreover, it appears that the bill would give a new weapon to folks like Sanofi-Aventis, the pharmaceutical giant that tried to use trademark law to shut down a news site about a new and controversial drug, Acomplia, because the site (www.acompliareport.com) included the name of the drug.

To make matters worse, another provision allows any Tom, Dick or Harry to force domain name registrars to reveal a customer’s personally identifying information by simply sending an email alleging that the customer has violated the new law. No need to comply with the traditional legal niceties of, say, an actual filed lawsuit or a subpoena that might permit the customer to go to court to protect her anonymity. A mere allegation is enough.

Sure, phishing is a problem. But you don’t solve it by rewriting trademark law and depriving lawful speakers of the chance to keep their identities private. This ill-conceived legislation should be

SEDO Takes on the Snowe Bill!!

Author: admin  |  Category: Business, Domains, Internet, Politics  |  Comments (0)  |  Add Comment

This was posted on a forum (a domainer’s forum) today. It seems that SEDO is taking action with the ICA to lobby against the Snowe Bill or the falsely advertised “Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008″. Feel free to read and enjoy.

The post can be read here:
DNForum.com

Added 3-11-08:
Sedo has posted on the same forum:
Sdeo’s Post

Dear (),

As a founding member of the Internet Commerce Association, Sedo believes that it is important to invest our resources in ensuring the long term health and viability of the domain name market and the business of traffic monetization. Whether you buy and sell domains for your business, maintain a portfolio of domain properties, or simply enjoy the use of domain names for personal websites or blogs, a threat has emerged to domain ownership and it is time for interested individuals and businesses to protect our rights.

As you may have already read in the news or on a forum, a bill was recently introduced in the United States Senate by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) that aims to drastically and needlessly expand the scope of rights associated with a trademark outside the realm of traditional trademark law. The Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008, or the Snowe bill as it is referred to, appears on its face to be directed to fighting the practice of “phishing”, which is a worthwhile cause, but contains many elements completely unrelated to this purpose, such as creating a cause of action for displaying advertising on a generic or descriptive domain name simply because another company has registered rights to a similar word or phrase.

If this bill is passed by Congress and signed by the President, it would immediately arm large businesses and government agencies with the ability to claim countless valuable and legitimate domains from their current owners. Supported by the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA), a coalition of companies that include Verizon, AIG, Dell, and several large hotel chains, the Snowe bill is attempting to confuse the issue of malicious phishing scams with the lawful and legitimate business of buying, selling and monetizing domain names.

By removing many of the intended checks and balances of traditional trademark law, designed to ensure that trademark rights are limited by geography and class of goods and services, the Snowe bill is attempting to eliminate many of the roadblocks large companies have faced in their attempt to gain de facto monopoly rights on words that rightfully belong to the public domain. Furthermore, the absence of due process principles make it likely that valuable domain properties could be taken from their rightful owner due only to a vague resemblance to another’s mark.

I encourage all Sedo users and domain owners anywhere to help fight the Snowe bill by joining the Internet Commerce Association, a non-profit industry organization founded to help represent domain name investors and developers and the direct search industry. The Internet Commerce Association is comprised of responsible businesses and individuals who have joined together to improve public confidence in internet commerce. Based in Washington D.C., their mission is to promote and share best practices among participants in the domain name industry and to educate consumers, policy makers, law makers and the media about the value and benefits of direct navigation traffic and the domain name industry.

Please visit www.internetcommerce.org to learn more about the Snowe bill and how you can support the ICA in our effort to fight its passage.

Best Regards,

Your Sedo Team

Projected winners and losers of the Snowe Bill

Author: admin  |  Category: Business, Domains, Internet, Politics  |  Comments (0)  |  Add Comment

A list is being compiled of the winners and losers of the Snowe bill and so far:

The winners are any corporation who is aggressive against cyber-squatting and domains:

* Dell
* Microsoft
* Adidas
* Walmart
* Mariott
* Verizon
* Several other large corporations

* Plus WIPO (more claim fees)
* ICANN (more registrations changing hands = more revenue)
* Cyber Squatters outside of the US since they’ll be outside of US jurisdiction
* Phishers outside of the US (like most of them) for the same reason

And the losers:

* Small businesses (they’ll lose their web presence)
* Domainers (internet real estate investors)
* Web masters / programmers – they’ll also lose their sites
* Parking companies such as Sedo, Parked.com, NameDrive, etc..
* Registrars such as GoDaddy, Moniker, TuCows, etc..
* Ad supplying companies such as Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft (yes, they’re a winner and a loser)
* Web hosting companies, more people won’t want to have websites or domains in fear of them being taken away

This has already been tested when a senator named Sam Adams used SamAdams.com as his campaign page and Sam Adams (the beer) sued him for copyright infringement.

Even generics are not safe, like cars.com, laptops.com, pictures.com etc..!!!

Before I go, here’s a list of companies who support this bill, as you can see, some of these are going to benefit from this new law. Companies are part of an organization that is trying to pass a law that will benefit them and hurt others. What’s wrong with this picture?

American International Group, Inc.
Bacardi & Company Limited
Compagnie Financière Richemont SA
Dell Inc.
Eli Lilly and Company
Hilton Hotels Corporation
HSBC Holdings plc
Marriott International, Inc.
Verizon Communications Inc.
Wyndham Worldwide Corporation

(Source: http://domainnamewire.com/2008/03/03/senate-anti-phishing-bill-or-reverse-cybersquatting-in-disguise/ )

Stop the Snowe Bill – petition

Author: admin  |  Category: Domains, Internet, Politics  |  Comments (0)  |  Add Comment

Wow, 3 posts in one day!

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/snowe-bill-threatens-domain-name-registrants-and-internet-commerce

Sign the petition!

A letter to Senator Bill Nelson, co-sponsorer of the “Snowe Bill”

Author: admin  |  Category: Business, Domains, Internet, Politics  |  Comments (0)  |  Add Comment

(Author’s note – I am not against anti-fraud, anti-phishing, or anti-cyber squatting / typo squatting legistlation, but people really need to look into the misleading titles of many of our laws to see what they truly involve. This is truly a don’t judge a book by it’s cover case).

Senator Bill Nelson,

I am writing this letter in response to the Ms. Snowe’s bill a.k.a. the “Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008” (“APCPA”). I am emailing it to your office now so I can be assured that there is a quick delivery of this letter and I will also mail it (USPS) a copy of it to your office in the next few days so there is a hard copy on paper about my serious concerns in regards to this bill.

While the cover of this bill does seem for the better good of every person in the US, the law itself opens the gateway to take control of a large part of the internet from the people to large corporations.

The two major points in the bill are both already illegal or against parent-organization policies.

Phishing (a.k.a. using deceptive practices to obtain information to acquire a gain from an unsuspecting target (monetary, etc…)). This is already illegal against US law (fraud, theft etc..) and including this in the bill is just a redundant addition to our laws. Not only that, the vast majority of phishing attempts are conducted by individuals outside the US and outside of US jurisdiction. This bill would not even put a small dent in the number of phishing scams we see in our emails often (I’ve seen many). The average consumer needs to be educated on how to notice a phishing attempt as opposed to a legitimate communication from the institution that they do business with (most commonly banks).

Typo-Squatting and Cyber-Squatting (a.k.a. the use of a trademark in a domain or something that is “confusingly similar” to a trademark and/or creating a site that is confusingly similar to the copyrighted material in order to profit (either though ads or the sale of the site and/or domain). This is already against ICANN and WIPO policies, so once again, this addition to the law is redundant to current policies.

Both of the main points in this law are not needed in new legislation since they already exist with their respective governing bodies.

The main concern is that this bill allows entities to register a trademark then file a case with WIPO and obtain any domain name (including generic words), even if it is used for legitimate purposes and had been registered long before the trademark was submitted.

For example, if I own the domain “laptops.com” (I do not, just an example) that I registered years ago and had a site dedicated to laptops (sales, support, reviews, etc..). A large computer company could easily trademark “laptops” and then file a claim against me for the domain forcing me to hand it over. I would lose all the time and money I put into the site plus the large corporation would then quickly and easily gain from all of my hard work (by getting in all the traffic I was getting on the site) and my reputation as a web master would be tarnished since I would have this case against me and would have a “cyber squatter” black mark on my name. While this bill is proposing to prevent cyber squatting the exact opposite would happen, large corporations would be able to profit from the hard work of small businesses and individuals who pour a lot of hard work into developing a successful site.

I can understand that many members of the senate may not have the most current knowledge of web development, domaining, and related industries. If you’d like, feel free to contact me (information at the bottom of this letter) and I can give you a list of names of people who are very well educated as well as ethical in this industry who can discuss it in full detail. This bill is bad news for small web-based businesses and I’m sure you can agree that small businesses are the backbone of this country’s economy more so than the large corporations who would fully benefit from the points in the bill that are not already covered under other laws and policies.

STOP THE SNOWE BILL!

Author: admin  |  Category: Business, Domains, Internet, Politics  |  Comments (0)  |  Add Comment

I don’t have much time to discuss this but click on the link above to read about a new bill that can kill the domaining industries and give corporations the ability to just take domains from anyone for any reason.

This is a blatant attempt to commercialize the web and take control of domains. This is a huge industry that they are trying to kill so these corporations can pad ther own wallets by taking the money away from domainers.

Also, CADNA has an article on their site:

http://www.cadna.org/en/press-release-february-26-2008.html

Abuse is one thing but allowing companies to take long time registered domains because of newly registered trademarks, regardless of their use, is plain old legal theft. This is another attempt from our government to let corporations control the internet and the economy while taking it away from the average consumer.

NNNNN.com update

Author: admin  |  Category: Domains  |  Comments (0)  |  Add Comment

It seems that a Chinese company has many NNNNN.com domains on backorder (most) and gets them rather quickly and efficiently. They then turn around and sell them in the mid $xx range ($35-$75). This is a nice little bump for the values of these domains.

In reality, people have been asking low to mid $xx for them ($25-$35) and most have been selling in the $15-$25 range. The price has gone up a little but nothing too huge right now.

Stay tuned for more details.

Consumers stand up for their rights: Network Solutions sued!

Author: admin  |  Category: Business, Domains, Internet  |  Comments (0)  |  Add Comment

It’s amazing where the general populace will act when ICANN won’t.

Network Solutions, a domain registrar, has been under scrutiny because of a policy. You search for a domain that you are interested in there, THEY register it (without your permission), park it (making money), then force you to pay their $35 registration fee (as opposed to every one else’s $7-$10). They can do this with a 5-day grace period where people who buy domains can get a full refund if they decide they do not want the domain (say you spell it wrong etc..).

This is the equivalent of shopping for a car. When you find the exact car you want, the dealership charges you 3X the sticker price and buys all of the same models in the area (or disallows other dealerships to sell it). ICANN is in the USA, they should know about capitalism but obviously don’t support it. ICANN has investigated this issue and “found nothing wrong” but now people are fed up.

The law firm is also suing ICANN for allowing this to go on despite the complaints and concerns. Good for them. No one went after RegisterFly after they lost their ICANN backing (and tens of thousands of people lost their domains because of it). ICANN allowed them to continue on with questionable practices and they’re doing the same with Network Solutions.

It’s good to see that ICANN is (finally) being held responsible for their lack of action, maybe they’ll wisen up and start paying attention to what is actually going on in this industry.