Afilias gets to grips with .info fiasco

Lessons learnt

Afilias, the registrar behind the new .info top-level domain, has outlined its latest approach to the mass cybersquatting problem that has troubled it from launch at the end of July.

Due to a flawed registration system, huge numbers of .info domains were wrongly acquired during the company's "sunrise" period. The problem escalated to such an extent that one of the founder members of the consortium quit in disgust.

However, from October, Afilias promised it would revisit all false applications and refer suspect cases to WIPO for review. Today, the company announced the mechanism by which it will do this and used the event to emphasise the tough line it is taking.

Owners of domains that are challenged by others will have to produce proof of trademark - as will the complaining party. Afilias is also running a parallel database to enable companies to make changes to domain registration information. Then, from the challenge deadline of 26 December, the cases will be sent in bulk to WIPO for arbitration.

While the new process in infinitely better than original efforts, Afilias is still guilty of running a slapdash registration process in the first place. It will also have to let go hundreds of generic domains registered in the sunrise period.

Afilias has naturally been keen to avoid words like 'disaster', 'incompetent', etc but it did have the decency to call us up and admit to the problems in October. Last time we spoke to Afilias, it admitted to "5000 or more" suspect registrations. Today, this has doubled to "10,000 or more". ®

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