This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Industry Standard's Media Grok email newsletter. It is archived here for informational purposes only because The Standard's site is no more. This material is Copyright 1999-2001 by Standard Media.


Aug 10 2001 08:25 AM PDT

Registration opens for the .info domain, but not everything is on the level.

Late last month the .info top-level domain opened up for registrations - for those who could prove they had trademarks covering the names they wanted to register. This so-called "sunrise" period for intellectual property holders has turned into several kinds of fiasco, and the press has been increasingly taking notice this week.

Newsbytes and Reuters were among the first to catch the angry buzz emanating from online forums and newsgroups. It seems that cybersquatters, those questionable types the "sunrise" registration was intended to thwart, found it easy to game the system after all. As soon as .info registrar Afilias opened its database to public scrutiny, it became obvious that the company had accepted registrations ranging from the dubious to the comically fraudulent. A Reuters story, carried by CNET, identified one of the sources of trouble. Some of the bogus registrations apparently happened because of a snafu on the part of one of the registrars reselling .info names. This registrar prematurely submitted some 50 applications intended for processing after the "sunrise" period ended. Among these was a claim by DuPont for the name

Wired's coverage examined the more dubious registrations, ones in which required data such as trademark number and date were obviously bogus. Wired noted that names such as, and fell into this category.

Today the New York Times picked up the story. The Times' Susan Stellin noted a class action filed against the registrar of another of the new top-level domains, .biz. The suit claims that the way the .biz pre-registration is being run makes it an illegal lottery.

The last word goes to MSNBC columnist Brock Meeks, who put an Afilias consultant on the spot and got him to backtrack from earlier assurances that the registration process was just fine, thank you very much. Meeks also interviewed one of the apparent cybersquatters, the person who registered, who told Meeks, "What the hell ... thought I would test the system and go for something interesting."

Afilias Looks Into '.Info' Fraud Allegations

Net users irate over .info cybersquatters
CNET (Reuters)

Who is in Dot-Info? Everyone

Data's Validity Faulted in Net Registration System
New York Times

Dot-Biz: An Illegal Lottery?

Sex, lies and TLDs