ICANN had been butchering the registration process for new domain names, when it “pushed back” its promised date of unveiling. The more-than-two-thousand names which were supposed to be revealed on April 30, 2012, weren’t known publicly until May.
The body with the authority to manage the Internet’s naming regimen, ICANN had to stretch the process after a glitch revealed some of the applications. Applicants, many of whom paid almost $200K for the chance to sell new Internet names that ultimately became available.
The former Vice-Chair if ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee, Lena Carlsson, said at the time that the applicants included financial and pharmaceutical brands. She also told reporters that there were competing bids for more generic names like “eco” and “green”. There was also interest from Asia for domains without Roman characters.
Carlsson, who left ICANN for a VP slot at domain services MelbourneIT said that “Vegas,” “London,” and “Sydney” were among the names to be revealed. Dot Vegas eventually was delegated to the Root Zone of the DNS on March 31, 2014, in case you’ve been on the edge of your seating wondering if it was still available.
The confusion within ICANN has created an environment that is fruitful for domain name scams.
How Does a Domain Name Scam Work
After registering his .vegas site, Thomas started receiving emails telling him that his name would be recorded with a variety of Chinese domains.
Domain name scams, which often work, only work on businesses who are concerned about websites, with comparable names, either hurting or profiting from, their company.
“This is a common scam,” says Nick Wooldridge, a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney. “But it isn’t an exceptionally dangerous one. The idea is to persuade the domain owner to register a number of overpriced domain names that aren’t needed.”
While ICANN compared the name sales to a “land rush”, critics have blamed the agency for self-dealing.
Critics have pointed out that the companies that want to help inaugurate the new domains are owned, or managed, by former ICANN members. They also claim that the regulatory body has taken in over $350 million in fees. ICANN’s documents indicate that it planned to use a part of the income to maintain a legal war-chest when objections to the cash grab came rolling in.
And the cash rolled. gTLD registry operator, Dot Vegas, has sold over $2 million worth of .vegas domains to date.
In the meantime, businesses that didn’t want, or need, the new domain names complained that ICANN wouldn’t listen to their request to create a “do not sell” listing.
Corporations worried that the new names would increase brand-jacking as well as cyber-squatting. In reality, the names meant a company like Disney must worry not only about someone buying a Disney derivative, such as “DisneyPro” but also names like “Disney.fun”. Trademark attorneys said ICANN carried out an extortion scheme.