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Operation Quack Hack: FDA Working with Domain Registrars

I recently wrote about the NY State Attorney General’s Office communicating with GoDaddy about COVID-19 related domain names. In its letter, the NYAG encouraged GoDaddy to do more protect people from various schemes and scams associated with the coronavirus pandemic. The United States Food and Drug Administration has a similar goal, and it appears the organization is working with domain industry companies:

Registrars Respond to ICANN Statement About “Relief for Registrants”

On Wednesday, ICANN published a blog article, “Relief for Registrants in Response to COVID-19.” The relief described in the statement was in the form of not losing domain names due to expiry as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The statement was vague in what was actually being offered by ICANN to domain name registrants, especially since it is the registrars that would need to provide the relief to its customers.

Here’s an excerpt from the ICANN blog post:

“To ease this burden, ICANN org will be invoking section 3.7.5.1 of the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement for the second time. This clause permits registrars to temporarily forebear from cancelling domain name registrations that were unable to be renewed as a result of a natural disaster.

The COVID-19 pandemic once again highlights the potential need for a policy initiative to protect registrants when they are unable to renew their domains as a result of natural disasters or other extraordinary circumstances. In the interim, we encourage contracted parties to take these circumstances into consideration when reviewing renewal delinquencies.”

Registrars Should Share Recent Login Information

When someone attempts to log in to an account at Name.com with an incorrect password, the email address associated with the login ID receives a failed login notification. This can inform the account holder that someone is trying to access an account without permission, which is useful. Taking it a step further, Name.com also allows users see the most recent login attempts (failed and successful). I think all registrars should offer this feature.

Network Solutions Ghost Records

I won NHMA.com on NameJet in August of last year, and the domain name was provisioned to my Network Solutions account. In December of 2018, I transferred NHMA.com to my GoDaddy account, where I consolidate many of my domain names.

Since transferring the domain name in December, I have received a variety of email notifications from Network Solutions all trying to get me to renew NHMA.com. I have received emails with subjects like “Deactivation Notice,” “Renew Early and Save,” and “Final Renewal Notice.” Each email has different language and graphics, but ultimately, they all want me to renew this domain name and others. I counted 15 of these emails since the beginning of 2019.

Gab.com on the Move: Domain Transfers to Epik

The Gab.com domain name is on the move again. The domain name transferred to Epik earlier today after being registered at Uniregistry for a very brief period of time. This comes on the heels of GoDaddy’s ultimatum that the domain name be transferred away from GoDaddy or face suspension.

Andrew Allemann reported that Gab.com is registered to Escrow.com’s holding account after selling on Flippa for $220,000 in September. Andrew speculated that this could mean the domain name was purchased using some sort of payment plan. Escrow.com does not comment about private transactions though, so the ownership information as it relates to the Gab.com domain name is a bit unclear.

There is quite a long thread on NamePros about Gab and the issues involving the Gab.com domain name. In a series of posts within the thread, Epik CEO Rob Monster seemingly invited Gab to transfer Gab.com to Epik and offered his thoughts on the topic.

I reached out to Rob to ask him why and he did this and whether he got in touch with Andrew Torba, the founder of Gab.

Epik Offering “Forever Registrations”

I received a note from Epik CEO Rob Monster, who announced that Epik is now allowing its customers to effectively register some of their domain names at Epik forever. Rob’s email included a link to a press release published by Epik during the ICANN meeting in Barcelona. According to the press release, “Epik is the first ICANN-accredited registrar to offer the perpetual registration.”

Here’s a short excerpt from the press release:

“Forever domain registrations provide individuals and businesses with peace of mind. Once a Forever registration is secured, the future risk of domain loss due to administrative oversight or lack of funds is eliminated. While domain owners are still subject to legal use, domains can now become an enduring part of a will or estate, with continued managed registration compliance, even after the death of the original registrant. A Forever domain registration, which can be optionally combined with a Forever hosting plan, offers not only peace of mind, but also allows registrants to preserve their digital legacy, and on their terms.”

The cost of a .com “forever registration” at Epik runs $420. If a person were paying $10/year all-in to renew their .com domain name, that upfront cost would be 42 years worth of renewals (assuming the price stays the same over that time period).

The concept is certainly interesting. It would effectively reduce the concerns a domain owner may have over what happens to their domain names if they die. In theory,

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