The Federal Trade Commission announced it reached a settlement putting a stop to the deceptive tactics of a Californian internet marketer that allegedly tricked British consumers into believing it was based in the United Kingdom by using websites with CO.UK domains. Under the settlement, the company also is banned from charging consumers for goods until they are in hand and ready to be shipped.The case was brought by the FTC under provisions added to the FTC Act by the U.S. SAFE WEB Act of 2006. SAFE WEB confirmed the agency’s authority to sue U.S.-based wrongdoers who harm consumers abroad, as part of a strategy to prevent the United States from becoming a haven for fraud.According to the FTC, California internet marketer Jaivin Karnani, his company, Balls of Kryptonite, and several associated companies, sold cameras, video games, and other electronic goods to thousands of British consumers. Because the defendants used websites with domain names such as bestpricedbrands.co.uk, bitesizedeals.co.uk, and crazycameras.co.uk, consumers believed they were buying from a company operating in the United Kingdom, and were therefore protected by manufacturer warranties that were valid there.The FTC’s complaint, filed in 2009, alleged that when consumers received the goods, they discovered they had been charged unexpected import duties, were left with invalid warranties, and would be charged draconian cancellation and refund fees if they attempted to return the merchandise. The defendants promised fast shipping dates, but usually did not meet those dates. Without the prior consent of consumers, as required by the FTC’s Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule (Mail Order Rule), the defendants allegedly shipped the goods much later than promised. When customers tried to cancel these delayed orders, they were met with stiff resistance, no response at all, or otherwise had difficulty obtaining refunds.The FTC also charged the defendants with deceiving consumers about their participation in the EU/US Safe Harbor Framework – a voluntary international program that provides a means for U.S. companies to transfer data from the European Union to the United States, and to assure European customers that they secure the customers’ personal information as required by EU law.The settlement order prohibits the defendants from misrepresenting: the location, quality, quantity, characteristics, and model numbers of products they sell; their compliance with or certification by government-sponsored information security programs; their policies regarding cancellation, exchange, or return; the existence of product warranties; and the total cost of the products sold.The FTC settlement order also prohibits the defendants from violating the Mail Order Rule, and it imposes a $500,000 judgement, which is suspended based on the defendants’ inability to pay. If it is determined that the financial information the defendants gave the FTC was untruthful, the full amount of the judgement will become due.More information is available from the FTC website here.
British police with the cooperation of Nominet, the registry for .UK domain names, have shut down 1,800 websites selling counterfeit or non-existent goods, BBC News reports.According to the report, “the websites were offering items including Premier League tickets, Ugg boots, Tiffany jewellery and Timberland clothing.””Shoppers who paid for the goods either received faked items or nothing at all.”The websites were often run by organised crime with the Metropolitan Police saying there had been an upsurge in websites selling counterfeit goods over the Christmas period.Det Insp Paul Hoare said: “The removal of these websites will have prevented numerous victims from falling foul to this type of offence.”As a general rule, if something looks like it is too good to be true, it probably is.”
Nominet commenced a Sunrise period for short .UK domain names at midday (GMT) on 1 December with a Registered Rights Sunrise phase for trade mark holders.
The Sunrise phase consists of a two-stage application process where:
- stage one: allows for trademark rights holders to apply for a domain that matches their trade mark via a Nominet registrar before midday on 17 January 2011
- stage two: applicants will then need to have their IP rights checked by CMS Cameron McKenna, the validation agent Nominet will be using for this process. Applicants will need evidence of using the trade mark in the UK prior to 1 January 2008. The deadline for applying to CMS Cameron McKenna to have IP rights validated is midday (GMT) on 31 January 2011.
Where there are two or more applications for the same domain, an open auction process will be used with any profits going to the Nominet Trust.
To check the status of any application under this process, there is a Sunrise WHOIS tool.
Once the Registered Rights Sunrise phase is complete Nominet will begin an Unregistered Rights Sunrise phase. Any potential applicants not eligible for any of the above phases can apply during the final Landrush phase. No dates have been given for either of these phases and they will be announced when each of these phases open and Nominet will publish information on how to apply in 2011.
For more information visit www.nominet.org.uk/go/shortdomains.
To register your short .UK domain name, or any other .UK domain name, check out Europe Registry here.
The number of .CN domain name registrations have slipped by over one million in the two months to 30 June according to statistics published on the China Internet Network Information Center’s (CNNIC) website this week.
The latest figure is 7,246,686 compared to 8,254,681 at the end of April. CNNIC, unlike many registries, often posts registration figures several months late. Others such as DENIC (.DE) and Nominet (.UK) have real time statistics.
The dramatic reductions are the result of the end of promotions that lasted for much of 2008 and 2009 where domain names could be registered for a few cents and the introduction of restrictions on registrants.
The latest figures mean .CN is still is the third highest ranked ccTLD behind .DE with 13,765,490 registrations as of 7 August and 8,654,260 for .UK (United Kingdom). .NL (Netherlands) is fourth with 3,981,555 registrations while .EU (European Union) is fifth with 3,227,644 registrations.
To register your domain name for any of the above ccTLDs, or any other, check out Europe Registry here.
Nominet has begun the non-executive director election process and posted papers for its papers for their Annual General Meeting to be held on 6 July.
Writing in The Register, Kieren McCarthy says there are seven candidates for two positions, âbut despite efforts to revitalise the organisation after several years of infighting, voters will be disappointed to see a cast of the usual suspects on the ballot. Five of the seven candidates were members of Nominet’s recently wound-up Policy Advisory Body (PAB) â whose insider culture eventually caused it to implode.â
McCarthy examines the background to the candidates and looks at some of the issues that have come up involving candidates.
To read his report, see:
For information on the upcoming Annual General Meeting 2010 from Nominet, see:
To register your .UK domain name, check out Europe Registry here.
Britain’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has welcomed a recent report that found more than three-quarters (77%) of all Whois records for five of the generic Top Level Domains (.COM, .ORG, .NET, .INFO and .BIZ) are filled with at least partially inaccurate information. Continue reading Britain's SOCA Wants ICANN to Improve Whois Data Accuracy
Britain’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has welcomed a recent report that found more than three-quarters (77%) of all Whois records for five of the generic Top Level Domains (.COM, .ORG, .NET, .INFO and .BIZ) are filled with at least partially inaccurate information.The survey by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) for ICANN also found that while only 23 per cent of Whois data provided for domain name registration was fully accurate, around twice as many (46%) met a slightly relaxed version of the criteria tested meaning that successful contact could be made with the registrant.Now it is “ridiculously easy” to register a domain name under false details, said Paul Hoare, senior manager and head of e-crime operations for SOCA, told the e-Crime Congress 2010 in London.”Rather than responding to malicious domains, we should be making it harder for them to register in the first place,” said Hoare.SOCA’s e-Crime unit, with the support of the FBI and wider law enforcement community, has engaged with ICANN over the past 18 months to address issues around the inaccuracy of Whois data. SOCA has identified deficiencies in domain registration processes that they say are exploited by organised crime to mount major attacks on industry and individuals.Suggested amendments to ICANN’s Registrar Accreditation Agreement, submitted by SOCA and the FBI in order to resolve many of these issues, are supported by Interpol and the G8 cyber working group. These amendments were submitted at the ICANN conference in Seoul in October 2009 to the Government Advisory Committee, ICANN board and the ICANN Community for formal consideration.