In the above excerpt of National Geographic’s excellent series Inside the American Mob, FBI Special Agent Kevin Barrows states:
The ’90’s brought a tremendous bull market. Enormous amounts of money, and some loose regulations. Everybody wanted to be in the market. Everybody was making money who was in the market. So it was really perfect and fertile ground for organized crime.
What Mr. Barrows concludes about the conditions making for fertile ground for organized crime – the burgeoning of the internet, the taking off of the economy – is repeating itself re the internet domain name system, with insiders at ICANN, Verisign, and the major Registrars scheming to profit from the internet’s currency, which is the domain name, especially the dot com! In fact, some even in government refer to, “internet,” as, “dot com.”
How would it not be appealing to gangsters? Entry is cheap for a hand reg. The problem is: almost any offer for a registered domain name is more profitable to the Registrar than the renewal fee. With a renewal fee of, say, $10.00 for a dot com, ICANN keeps 18 cents, and Verisign charges a maximum of $7.85. Profit is slim on simply the renewal fee. That is why when someone expresses interest to purchase a domain from a Registrar, expecting the Registrar to negotiate in his behalf, it might be tempting for the Registrar to leave off sending the renewal notice. This happened to the leasee of Today.tv:
I almost had a similar problem when my domain name TODAY.TV expired. Enom ( part of Verisign ) did not send me any renewal notices. Luckily I saw this whilst still in the redemption period. They told me if it expires it won’t be available for registration but will be reserved first by Verisign – Brian Chiyama, owner/leasee of Today.tv.
Regards to that, I said:
It’s an abuse.
It’s a fine line when a business waits for a domain to pass expiration to make use of it, and if insiders with access to the zone start blocking renewal notices, or change expiration dates to bogus expiration dates in renewal notices to pass expiration if the registrant believes them correct, or tamper with credit card info in auto renewal status to block renewals.
Here follows the trajectory of insider domain trading:
This is about Verisign’s Partial Bulk Transfer process for dot com and dot nets, which got passed:
Registrars will soon be speculating in our personal domains!
Think of it: people in government, lawyers and attorney generals, have law education, not technical. If I were government, I wouldn’t want to deal with technical. If I were government, I would trust ICANN and the registrars. ICANN and the registrars are convincing. They talk a good game! Verisign wrote on page 6 of the request:
o Benefits to Registrants – Change of sponsorship of domain names subject to a partial portfolio acquisition from one registrar to another is open and transparent and in a manner that affords registrants protection under ICANN rules.
Says who? Was any registrant consulted when they drew up these provisions? Is 15 days notice prior to transfer enough time? Does it afford protection for a domain set to expire within 30 days, or one newly registered or transferred? These cannot be transferred before 60 days, so they would be stuck.
Protections are in place to give registrants to opt out of the transfer. In addition, a registrant would have the right to transfer to another registrar after the partial bulk transfer occurred.
If “all Transfers Rules and Policies set by ICANN and the Registry shall remain in effect,” according to the BTAPPA request, the registrant cannot leave the new Registrar prior to 60 days of the transfer, as noted above.
How does that foster competition? I chose my registrar based on research. Why would I transfer to a registrar I have avoided in the past based on its poor customer service, reputation, BBB complaints, or unresolved security issues?
This policy doesn’t allow the market to dictate a registrar’s success, rather, it takes hostage those who can least afford to mount a defense: us, the registrants.
BTW, large registrars, like Go Daddy and eNom, have offices in Washington for paid lobbyists to “educate” lawmakers.
For convenience, I posted some department names and address in the Write page linked to above, some of which can only be written snail mail, and a list of email contacts, for you to express yourself!
Comment here, too. I save everything! No obscene language, please, but it will get posted, bleeping the cuss words with asterisks!