BBC news article - you may recognize one or two people mentioned.
The usual bull*
about proof of concept by Afilias is there.
How can these stupid people fall for
Up to a quarter of the early registrations for the new
.info domain name could be bogus.
A study of 11,000 registrations has shown a
failure of the steps taken to stop people winning control of domains they do not
have the right to run.
Legal experts have called the whole process a fiasco, and
said the company administering the .info domain could face legal challenges from
those denied a chance to apply for some generic .info domains.
But Afilias, the
.info administrator, has defended its handling of the registration process, and said
it was planning to mount its own challenge against bogus domain holders.
From 25 July to 27 August, Afilias ran its "sunrise" period to let
trademark holders apply for control of the .info domain bearing the name they owned
the rights to use.
The "sunrise" registration period was closed to the general
public. Only those who could demonstrate proof that they owned a trademark were supposed
However, a study of over 11,000 sunrise registrations by University
of Minnesota Professor Robert Connor has shown that some people have won control
of many generic .info names by entering false or misleading information into the
boxes on the electronic application form.
Mr Connor found that applicants used
a variety of methods to fool Afilias. Some used a single trademark number for many
different domains, some made up trademark numbers, and some supplied dates that implied
they were awarded their trademark in 2040.
Most worrying, said Mr Connor, was
the fact that many people who supplied no information about the trademarks they purportedly
owned still gained control of the .info websites they applied for.
Now British schoolteacher Richard Henderson has set up a website called The Internet
Challenge to document the abuse of .info, and to lobby Afilias to make amends. He
said Afilias had showed "appalling disregard" for ordinary customers.
has revealed that some speculators have registered hundreds, and in one case thousands,
of domain names with the hope of selling them for a profit later on. Some supposedly
trademarked names are already being offered for sale.
Mr Henderson said net co-ordinating
body Icann should step in and sort out the mess.
Nick Lockett, an associate at
law firm Stanbrook and Hooper, said Afilias deserved nothing but criticism for the
way it has handled the sunrise process.
"It is very clear that they did not do
their job," he said. "Afilias needs to go back through the generic registrations
and country registrations and check every single trademark."
"It is an incredibly
incompetent sunrise process," he said. "Even the very basic anti-fraud steps, in
common use, were not implemented."
His comments were echoed
by Adrian Barkey, managing director of net registrar Domain Network, who said Afilias
must look at the generic .info domains that have been registered. He said the system
Afilias had put in place to help people challenge speculators also needed reform.
But Roland LaPlante, chief marketing officer at Afilias, defended its handling
of the sunrise process. He said the problems of checking trademarks meant it was
only ever going to be able to act after people had made applications.
intended to verify the individual data components," said Mr LaPlante.
to make sure there was data in the field, and relied on the testimony of the registrant
that the information was correct," he said. "But it has quickly become evident that
some people are not providing accurate information."
He said the fact that there
was no global trademark database to check claims against made Afilias' job much more
"This is the proof of concept and we are learning the strengths and
weaknesses of our system," he said. Afilias is also talking to some of the .info
registrars responsible for passing on a lot of questionable applications.
registrars have put errors down to software errors or mistakes by their business
Given the evidence of widescale abuse Mr LaPlante said that by the end
of the year Afilias would have mounted a "bulk challenge" to bogus domain holders.
Those who cannot provide sufficient proof that they do own the relevant trademark
will have the domain taken from them.
But Mr Lockett said waiting until the end
of the year could be too late because by that time some domains may have changed
hands and been sold on.