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Username: Antipodes
Date/Time: Mon, August 20, 2001 at 5:07 AM GMT
Browser: Netscape Communicator V4.74 using Windows 98
Subject: Afiliass Suckers' PRESS RELEASE

Message:
 

 
       
ANY JOURNALIST WISHING TO USE ALL OR ANY PART OF THE FOLLOWING IN A MANNER TO SUPPORT THE CONCERNS AND INTERESTS OF THE .INFO LANDRUSH AND LEGITIMATE SUNRISE STAKEHOLDERS IS FREE TO DO SO WITHOUT THE AUTHOR'S PERMISSION.

What's making the internet community madder than a nest of South American Fire Ants?

It's the launch of the new TLD - Top Level Domain extension .INFO.

The much heralded launch of .INFO, the first of a number of new internet domain name extensions has occurred, but it appears that
cybersquatters have plundered the majority of the most commercially valuable .INFO names, with fraudulent trademark claims.

The internet community is bewildered by the response of the company entrusted with the .INFO registry - a group of registrars
called Afilias,  since the scale of the fraud became apparent.

Despite Afilias's claims that the rights of trademark holders would be protected in the Sunrise phase of the release, specifically for
trademark holders, it is now apparent that the registry's failure to take responsibility to purge invalid domain name pre-registration
applications before the first phase, has resulted in the fraudulent registrations of what insiders are calling "the English dictionary of generic names".

Internet forums such as that at afternic.com and the ICANN Public Comment Forum are flash points for the feelings and opinions of those who feel that they have been cheated by what has happened, and web sites like theinternetchallenge.com are springing up to list the details of the .INFO names which appear to have been fraudulently registered.

Especially affected are those who purchased contracts with Afilias approved registrars for the second phase of the .INFO roll out.

Landrush applicants as they are called, bought pre-registration contracts for a chance to win highly prized names through a
randomized draw.

The majority of these names however have gone, registered in the Sunrise phase by applicants with no more rights to the names
than those who paid for pre-registrations for the Landrush phase.

Landrush and legitimate Sunrise stockholders are dumbfounded by comments made by Afilias's Chief Marketing Officer, Roland
LaPlante in a press release on August 15, when he said in regard to the Afilias's steps "to ensure that legitimate trademark holders
had an opportunity to register trademarks in the .INFO domain before the public.  The process is working well."

No mention in the Afilias press release of the scale of the apparent fraud or of Afilias's commercial and ethical obligations to the
Landrush stakeholders, who, like their pre-registration contracts, appear to have been forgotten.

Afilias currently has no plans to change the announced commencement of the second phase of the INFO release on September 12, with what looks to be thousands of the much sought after generic names, which have been fraudulently registered, unavailable to the Landrush applicants who had spent money for a chance to win them.

Afilias has advised that it will conduct a check of the Sunrise registrations which look to have been fraudulently claimed and make them available to the general public on a first come first served basis, in several months time.

The internet community is holding its breath to see what Afilias will do next - announce a plan in line with its obligations to the
Landrush stakeholders -  or proceed with the second phase, with the integrity of the .INFO registry currently in tatters, destroyed
by cybersquatters.

It's no secret in cyberspace, that legal opinion has been sought and that the writs will fly unless Afilias makes an announcement soon
that ensures the Landrush and the legitimate Sunrise applicants get what they paid for.

Cyber watchers are wondering if or when ICANN - the Internet Corporation  for Assigned Names and Numbers - the internet's
world governing body will intercede, and what impact the events of the Afilias .INFO release will have on the upcoming launches of
the other new internet extensions.

John Byth - Brisbane, Australia, Monday August 20,     aspaces@powerup.com.au     Phone +61 7 3394 2152     
 


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