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Archive for October, 2007

Who Is Really Monitoring Your Domain Searches?

October 19th, 2007 Comments off

It's getting more and more difficult to do any kind of domain research without running the risk of losing your domain ideas to unscrupulous domain tasters.

Back in February, we described the problem as follows:

  • A perfect domain name pops into your mind.
  • A quick check at your favorite domain registrar reveals that the domain is still available.
  • For some reason, you put off the actual registration for a few days.
  • And when you come back to finally register the domain, it's taken by someone else!

Back then, it took domain tasters "a few days" to intercept, analyze and register the domains that you came up with.

Now, it takes them less than 2 minutes.

Last week an associate of mine was bulk-checking 200+ generic typo domains through a software that shall remain unnamed for now. All of the domains were available. But less than 2 minutes later, more than 50 of the domains had been registered by a number of different offshore companies from the Bahamas.

There is no way this could be a coincidence. And if you read the more recent comments in the above mentioned article, it's clearer than ever before that there are severe leaks somewhere that allow domain tasters to compromise your domain searches and steal your domain ideas.

Brad writes:

Yesterday, I did a search on both estibot and whois.sc.. About 4 different names with each of them. I used estibot to check the overture traffic, and those on whois.sc I wasn't concerned about the overture. Anyway, 6 out of the 8 ( 3 i had checked on estibot and 3 on whois.sc ) Were registered less than 1 minute and 30 seconds later by

BelgiumDomains
501 NE 1st. Ave. Suite #201
Miami, FL 33132
347-214-0249

The evidence is overwhelming that they were using illegal data sniffing to steal these domains. I have already contacted a very experienced attorney on the matter and I will update when I get further along.

However, in the meantime, I suggest not using whois.sc or estibot.com at all.

Josh, the author of Estibot, responds:

Thank you for reporting this problem also via e-mail. I appreciate that. I'm the programmer of EstiBot and this causes great concern. I can tell you for sure that the searches on EstiBot are not given to any third party. [...]

What is happening here is that Belgium Domains is sniffing the whois services, not EstiBot itself. EstiBot performs a whois search for the appraised domains, because it's an important part of the valuation.

The culprit in this case seems to be Network Solutions. Their whois seems to be compromised. I will try to find an alternative whois service. Any help is appreciated, if you have suggestions please let me know, you will find my contact details on the site. I am willing to pay for a reliable whois service.

Finally I'd like to remind everyone that every time you do a whois search with any service, you run a risk of losing your domain.

Have you had a similar experience? Share it below, providing as many details as possible, and maybe we can do something about it.

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Chris Chena Acquires TV Channel

October 18th, 2007 Comments off

Chris Chena Paraguayan domainer Chris Chena is in the news again, this time for having acquired 80% of the popular Paraguayan TV channel Canal 13. It looks like he is putting the millions of dollars he made by selling some of his top domains to Marchex and Fox Latinoamerica to good use by laying the foundation for a future national media empire.

Chris remains in the domain business, with gems like viajes.com (trips), clasificados.com (classifieds), amistad.com (friendship), paraguay.com and animation.com still in his possession.

Here's a quick translation of the official announcement which was released earlier today (Oct 18):

Acquisition of 80% of the Shares of Canal 13

This communication serves to inform the press and general public of a commercial relationship that was initiated on October 15 2007 with Teledifusora Paraguaya S.A. (Canal 13):

  1. On the mentioned date, Christian Chena acquired 80% of the shares of Teledifusora Paraguaya S.A. (Canal 13, Radio Cardinal AM y FM)
  2. One of the primary reasons of this acquisition is to make sure that this important medium of communications and source of work for local media professionals remains in Paraguayan hands, with the goal of improve all parts of the company and increasing its national production.
  3. This communication is issued with the goal of guaranteeing the peace of mind of all TV viewers, employees and clients of Canal 13.
  4. The remaining 20% of shares remains in possession of the family López Moreira, which is represented by Jorge Santiago López Moreira.

INFORMATION ABOUT CHRISTIAN CHENA

Christian Chena Núñez, a 29 year old Paraguayan entrepreneur, is one of the Internet pioneers in Paraguay. Founder and owner of Chena Ventures S.A. (Paraguay) and Chena Ventures, Inc. (USA), he looks back on a successful international career and wide experience in the e-business world, in particular in the development of e-commerce niches. Dedicated to the development of innovative business projects, his companies offer services in the areas of communications, technology, education and commerce, with vast experience in interactive media and online audiences.

Over the past few years, he has developed vertical portals and hispanic online channels, such as Juegos.com and a network of Spanish online games domains. Several of his popular portals were acquired this year for millions of dollars by large companies such as Marchex (USA), Fox Latinoamerica (USA) and Spill Group (Holland).

Even though Chena Ventures's specialty lies in Internet business and monetization of online traffic, the company has also developed business models that allow it monetize any kind of traffic. Owning the most popular websites in Paraguay as well as various sites that produce the largest number of worldwide sales and subscriptions in South America, Chena Ventures is recognized worldwide for its acquisitions of premium generic domains (juegos.com, viajes.com, clasificados.com, and dozens more), which were obtained thanks to notable financial investments, which are a fruit of the independent ambition that has characterized Chris Chena since his early youth.

Many of the most popular generic Spanish .com domains are today owned by Chena Ventures S.A. The businesses that were developed by its founder Christian Chena have been in the news in various publications in Germany, Japan, USA, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Spain and Paraguay.

Read more about Chris Chena at Chena.com or in DNJournal's July 2005 cover story.

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FCC.com Victory: WIPO Panel Declares Spanish Company “Reverse Domain Name Hijackers”

October 12th, 2007 Comments off

FCC.comIn a brilliant victory for domain name owners, a WIPO panel has declared that a Spanish company's attempt to appropriate the domain name FCC.com from its legitimate owner without just compensation constitutes a "Reverse Domain Name Hijacking" attempt.

The Spanish company, FCC Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, had alleged in a WIPO Complaint that the current owner of FCC.com had no legitimate rights in the domain name and was using it in bad faith.

FCC.com was represented by well known domain lawyer John Berryhill, who submitted a lucid masterpiece as his client's defense.

To obtain the rights to a domain name under ICANN's Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), the complainant must prove the following three elements:

  1. The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights.
  2. The respondent has no right or legitimate interest in respect of the disputed domain name.
  3. The disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

The WIPO panel, consisting of Tony Willoughby, Manuel Moreno-Torres and Nelson A. Diaz, ruled that…

  1. FCC.com is indeed identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which the complainant has rights. (John Berryhill argued that the complainant's name is a trade name and not a trademark, and in Spain there are no common law rights that automatically give trade names the status of a trademark.)
  2. However, the respondent does have rights or legitimate interest in FCC.com because he is using the domain with a bona fide offering of goods or services, in this case a news aggregation services on issues related to the Federal Communications Commission.
  3. The domain is therefore not being used in bad faith.

Finally, the panel decided that the complainant abused the Administrative Proceeding because it is "obvious" that FCC.com is a legitimate site and that a complaint was therefore bound to fail. The complainant did not even include a printout of the FCC.com website, which according to the panelists cannot be explained by 'innocent' ineptitude or incompetence, but appeared as a high stakes gamble to play the system and trick the panel into a favorable decision. For in some cases, if a respondent fails to respond to a UDRP complaint, some panelists - unjustly so - do not even look at the website in question and issue a default ruling in favor of the complainant.

It's worth reading the full decision as a splendid example of a landmark case that should serve both as a warning to potential reverse hijackers and a symbol of well-deserved relief for domain name owners around the world.

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