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ICANN Withholds Consent on .Org Change of Control

Late last night, ICANN announced that its Board of Directors “made the decision to reject the proposed change of control and entity conversion request that Public Interest Registry (PIR) submitted to ICANN.” A private entity company called Ethos Capital had a deal in place to acquire .org registry operator Public Interest Registry from the Internet Society. The news was shared on Twitter at around 10:30pm Eastern:

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.”

ICANN 67 Starting Today (Online)

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The ICANN 67 meeting originally scheduled to be held in Cancun, Mexico will be held online instead due to the coronavirus outbreak. The meeting will be held entirely online using Zoom (disclosure, I own ZM stock), and the meeting will begin today. For those who have not attended an ICANN meeting before – or for those who want to understand how this unique set-up will work, ICANN will be hosting a kick-off session at 9am Cancun time (approximately 15 minutes from now):

No Corona for ICANN – ICANN 67 Moved Online

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The ICANN 67 Public Meeting, which was scheduled to be held in Cancún, Mexico, has been moved to an online event due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. The event is still scheduled to proceed online from March 7-12, 2020. It is the first time ICANN will be holding a totally remote event. If it goes well, perhaps ICANN can save money by holding future events online.

My Thoughts About Verisign’s Letter to ICANN

Verisign submitted a letter (pdf) to ICANN in response to the comments regarding the proposed amendment #3 of the .com registry contract. I want to highlight one aspect of the letter I found notable. In providing an example of domain name speculator activity, Verisign wrote:

“As a recent example, moments before the World Health Organization announced the official name of the coronavirus, Namecheap registered the name (covid-19.com) to a domain name speculator, presumably unassociated with the public health mission of the WHO.”

GoDaddy: “Let your voice be heard”

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GoDaddy sent a warning email to a group of its customers about the potential for price increases on .com domain names that were authorized by ICANN. A comment period is now underway for people to share their feedback about the proposed changes allowing Verisign to increase the wholesale price of .com domain names, and several domain registrars have proactively contacted their customers to encourage them to submit comments to ICANN about this.

My understanding is that GoDaddy sent the email below to its Premier Services customers. This group is primarily made up of domain investors, but there are other businesses with large domain name portfolios that are in this group of customers. Obviously, the businesses with the largest portfolios of .com domain names under management are those that will be impacted the most by price increases.

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