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Username: antipodes
Date/Time: Sat, November 10, 2001 at 1:16 AM GMT
Browser: Netscape Communicator V4.74 using Windows 98
Subject: Richard - your chronicle of Afilias Ltd. insider TM fraud


is evidence of the culture of corruption for which Afilias's executives and those of ICANN must bear responsibility.

While I am not familiar with the detail of the bid documents submitted by companies other than Afilias Ltd. to ICANN for the right to operate the .info registry, I continue to be bewildered as to why the simple, basic, commonsense checks against cybersquatting and TM fraud which were a part of the Afilias bid document were deleted from the ICANN/NSI-Afilias Registry Agreement.

Had Afilias and its registrars conducted the .info launch in accordance with Afilias's undertaking in its bid document, the insider and outsider TM fraud which produced more than 10,000 fraudulent Sunrise phase registrations would not have occurred.

Had those simple checks against TM fraud and cybersquatting been in place and had Afilias monitored the adherence of its registrars to the anti-cybersquatting rules in the Registry-Registrar License Agreement that Afilias said it would put in place in its .info registry bid documents considered by ICANN, then the corruption of the .info registry would not have occurred.

It is now common knowledge that the insider, Sprproductions, and I believe UKReg, emailed those of us who were actively trying to preregister .info names, and announced that the ICANN approved .info launch process was corrupt.

Spyproductions said that to get the most valuable .info names before the stampede of Landrush, we should commit TM fraud and hang the honest folk who had been buying Landrush applications, believing that Afilias Ltd. was an accountable and ethical registry, and that ICANN was fulfilling its charter as a public benefit corporation.

Had Afilias and its registrars conducted the .info launch accountably and ethically - as described in the Afilias Ltd. bid document to ICANN - Afilias and its registrars would have made less profit, much less profit, than they did conducting the .info launch in the corrupt manner we have witnessed.

As you have evidenced Richard, Afilias Board members were deeply involved with the defrauding of the Internet community.  Board members' registrar companies were the greatest beneficiaries of fraudulent registration fee receipts, and others "mistakenly" registered names we would regard as very valuable in "trials" of their systems.

You have complied a list of Afilias registrars who claim to have hundreds of unassociated TMs which have enabled them to claim .info generics, names for which some of these companies are likely to have taken money from Landrush applicants.

I don't know if it is possible to calculate just how much money was defrauded from the .info Landrush applicants - but one could guess that the sum would be in the millions of dollars for the more than 10,000 generics which were regarded as being so valuable as to warrant TM fraud and the penalties which attach.

That Afilias was permitted to go to the public in the guise of an accountable and ethical company, operating under the auspices of the international regulatory authority ICANN, and then conducted a scam that went on for weeks without apparent concern for mounting public outcry or censure from ICANN, makes me think that the principals of ICANN and Afilias are in bed together, with a belief that they can operate as they wish, without the legal penalties and accountability and ethical restraints of other business endeavours.

Evidently it will be some months before the Internet community learns whether ICANN has taken any action as a result of the Afilias scams made public at this forum, but the fact that Afilias feels no need to communicate with its customers in terms other than corporate spin and apparently plans a second Landrush for the 10,000 Sunrise frauds, I fear that nothing will be done, as the insiders feel safe inside the corrupt culture which appears to characterise Afilias's relationship to ICANN and which is so evident in Afilias's relationship to the Internet community.

To their great credit, there have been some registrars who have not been drawn into the corrupt Afilias culture.

However, whether personally honest or corrupt, ICANN members, Afilias Ltd. members and registrar participants in the .info scams will continue to be judged as guilty by association, until the Internet community has had its confidence re-established in those entities entrusted to operate the Internet in a manner beneficial to current and future users, rather than in a manner typifying short term self interest.

I don't know where we go if higher authorities are not already investigating the events of the .info launch and planning the removal of those responsible for what must be the Internet's biggest fraud to date.

Good luck Landrushers - your certainly deserve a change of fortune after the way ICANN, Afilias Ltd. and the majority of its registrars have treated you to date.

Cheers - more coffee!    


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