Will ICANN disqualify GoDaddy from being a new TLD applicant due to multiple UDRP losses of Standard Tactics LLC?
There has been a great deal of discussion surrounding the latest rules. See, for example, the blog and comments at: http://www.thedomains.com/2010/11/14/icann-new-guidebook-terrorists-now-ok-domainers-3-strikes-youre-out/ The "3 UDRP losses and you're out" in particular needs to be explored. For example, GoDaddy was involved with domain name warehousing under a company called "Standard Tactics LLC", as was documented in a series of articles by DomainNameWire.com, see: http://domainnamewire.com/2008/12/03/standard-tactics-llc-how-godaddy-profits-from-expired-domains/ http://domainnamewire.com/2008/12/17/go-daddy-to-shut-down-standard-tactics-llc/ Standard Tactics has lost numerous UDRP decisions, though. See, for example: http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2006/d2006-0164.html http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2006/d2006-0863.html http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2007/d2007-1469.html http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2007/d2007-1909.html http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2009/d2009-1632.html http://domains.adrforum.com/domains/decisions/820358.htm So, the question is simple: Are the current rules, as currently drafted, "bulletproof", to prevent registrars who've lost UDRP decisions on multiple occasions from applying for new TLDs? Or, are there loopholes that will allow them to skirt the intent of the "rules", so that they can still apply for TLDs indirectly, e.g. via shell companies, offshore holding companies, etc.? Note that GoDaddy is not alone with the above kind of history -- other registrars are in the same boat. However, read the draft language. It says (on 1-18): "where the applicant, or any individual named in the application" This is a HUGE loophole. Because, as noted above, the party guilty of the UDRP losses would NOT have been GoDaddy itself, but would instead be the shell company "Standard Tactics LLC". GoDaddy would not appear to be "caught" by this language. Why is ICANN protecting entities who have engaged indirectly in cybersquatting, by allowing them to apply for new TLDs, as long as their cybersquatting happened under shell companies that they can disassociate themselves from? "Oh, that wasn't us --- it was a different company" is what they will be able to say. I believe ICANN has intentionally left in this gaping loophole, because it wants to ensure that those who've gamed the system in the past will still be able to apply for new TLDs (so that ICANN can rake in the huge fees). How can ICANN pretend that they are serious about stopping cybersquatting when they would leave open such a huge loophole that registrars can hop through? I call for the following: (1) an independent study on the extent of cybersquatting by registrars and their related companies (very easy to do; just look at UDRP losses, and also look at legal cases in the PACER system in the US, and also seek input from the public who I'm sure have many cases that they can bring to light. (2) correction of the guidebook to ensure that the "intent" of preventing cybersquatters from applying for TLDs is matched by the actual language. In other words, remove the loopholes that permit cybersquatting from related companies! (3) Why would ICANN disqualify certain parties from being TLD operators, but smile, wink and allow those same parties to be registrars, without any penalty whasoever? What's the acceptable "standard" to become a registrar? The public deserves answers. ICANN has proven, through the loopholes in DAGv5, that it is impossible for this to be the "final" guidebook. It's simply unacceptable. We reiterate our past comments, and ask whether a deeper investigation on ICANN "insiders" is warranted, to explain how and why such a gaping loophole could be permitted to be published in a guidebook that ICANN believes is "final"?? There has been great staff turnover at ICANN lately -- perhaps a "housecleaning" might be in order, to ensure that the public has true trusted custodians in place that are watching out for the interests of consumers. Sincerely, George Kirikos President Leap of Faith Financial Services Inc. http://www.leap.com/