Ethos Capital announced Thursday it has completed an investment to acquire a controlling interest of Donuts Inc. from Abry Partners. Based in Seattle, Washington, Donuts holds the world’s largest portfolio of top-level domains with 260 new gTLDs as well as providing registry services for a number of other top-level domains (both gTLDs and ccTLDs) through both its Donuts and Afilias brands.
Less than one month after it was announced Donuts were taking on the domain name registry business of Afilias, Ethos Capital has announced it is taking over Donuts by acquiring a controlling interest in the company.
Akram Attallah, ICANNâs second in charge and President of the Global Domains Division has resigned, effectively immediately, and will be taking up a position as CEO of Donuts, where his former boss at ICANN, Fadi ChehadÃ©, is a partner. Attallah will be replacing Bruce Jaffe who is stepping down and taking on a role as a senior advisor to the company during the transition. Attallah commences with Donuts on 12 November.
Donuts is the largest new generic top level domain operator by the number of new gTLDs with 238 and second by the number of domains under management (4.1 million). In his 8 years with ICANN Attallah was a key person overseeing the introduction of new gTLDs.
âAkram made many, significant contributions to ICANN in a variety of roles, including as Chief Operating Officer, Interim President & CEO, and as the first President of the Global Domains Division,â said GÃ¶ran Marby, President & CEO of ICANN in a statement. âPersonally, I will miss his advice and his friendship, and I want to thank him for all he did in supporting me when I joined ICANN.â
ICANN will be recruiting a replacement for Attallah, whose last day was 9 October, but in the meantime Marby said he has âasked Cyrus Namazi, VP, DNS Industry Engagement, Global Domains Division, to serve as interim department head for the Global Domains Division, to help ensure a smooth transition. David Conrad, Chief Technology Officer, will provide executive support of the IANA team in the interim.â
âWe thank Bruce for his stewardship of Donuts, during which in his tenure as president and chief executive officer, the company raised over $100 million in debt financing to acquire Rightside, and successfully engaged in a process to sell Donuts to Abry Partners,â said Erik Brooks, managing partner at Abry Partners and Donuts board member in a statement. Abry Partners acquired Donuts in September this year and the move could be seen as one of the first major changes Abry is making since its takeover. Attallah and Abry partner Fadi ChehadÃ©, who was ICANN CEO & President prior to Marby, have a history working together, both prior to and at ICANN.
âWe are delighted to welcome Akram to Donuts,â Erik continued. âHis deep experience in managing global organisations and rapidly-growing technology companies will be essential to driving Donutsâ next phase of growth. We are confident that Akramâs proven track record in and outside the domain name industry will broaden Donutsâ reputation as the innovative industry platform for new top-level domains and will enable the company to pursue rapid growth along multiple pathways.â
âI am thrilled to join the Donuts team,â said Akram Atallah. âI relish the challenge of further expanding overall awareness of the companyâs incredible top-level domain (TLD) assets, discovering new ways to use and leverage TLDs, and through its growth and success making Donuts a recognised, global innovation platform for people and organisations to create and manage their digital identities.â
Akramâs diversified technology experience runs the gamut from engineering to operations to product development and marketing. Before ICANN, he was chief operation officer at CoreObjects Software, an engineering services start-up. Prior to CoreObjects, he was general manager of the Broadband Access business unit at Conexant, and before that was the general manager of its Universal Access business, where he grew it to more than $800 million in revenues. His accomplishments at Conexant also included improved profit margins, transforming the marketing and engineering functions, and restoring its global market leadership position.
US wannabe Republican candidate Senator Ted Cruz and his crazy co-conspirators, all Republicans of course, have sent another letter to ICANN accusing them of stonewalling Congress over a series of unanswered questions that remain from previous congressional oversight letters concerning ICANN’s relationship with the Chinese government and the planned transition away from U.S. government oversight of the internet.Poor Ted and his conspiracy theorists James Lankford (R-Okla.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah). They wrote:
“On March 3, 2016, we sent you a letter requesting information to gain a better understanding of the potential implications of ICANN’s relationship with the Chinese government and its impact on the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) transition. Since then, ICANN has submitted to the U.S. government an IANA Stewardship Transition Proposal that seeks to end U.S. government oversight of the IANA functions. Given this recent development and congressional concerns over ICANN’s transparency, accountability, and relationship with the Chinese government, it is imperative that we receive a response to our letter.””After sending our initial request 32 days ago, your staff indicated that you would be unable to respond before March 18. Two weeks has passed since your own self-extended deadline, and ICANN has not only failed to provide a response, but has been unable or unwilling to provide an exact date for when we can expect a complete response to our March 3 letter.”This series of events comes on the heels of ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé’s failure to respond to all of the questions in our February 4, 2016 letter addressed to him. We would note that not only did Mr. Chehadé fail to respond to our questions in full, but he disparaged the oversight request during a February 5 question-and-answer session in Los Angeles, California with members of ICANN’s Generic Names Supporting Organization Non-Contracted Party House.”The senators continued: “To our dismay, ICANN has failed to respond in full to questions posed in two oversight letters. We are therefore resending our questions and ask that you and Mr. Chehadé provide a response to all unanswered questions (provided below) from our February 4 and March 3 letters as soon as possible, but no later than 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 7, 2016.”Cruz is apoplectic. One would have thought his attention would he’d be more interested in his bid to become the US Republican candidate for the upcoming election. But no. He’s busy castigating ICANN for tardy responses to his bizarre, conspiracy-laden fantasies. His belief that former President and CEO Fadi Chehadé has some links to the Chinese government. And his opposition to anything that can be remotely linked to the Democrats and President Obama.The full letter is available on Cruz’s website at www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=2622.
Poor US Senator Ted Cruz. Fresh from getting pummelled by Donald Trump to see who can be the Republican candidate for the upcoming US election, he’s found time to shine a spotlight under the bed of ICANN and found there are reds under that bed coming all the way from China.Poor Ted. He’s raised concerns and requested information regarding ICANN CEO and President Fadi Chehadé’s involvement with the World Internet Conference, which is organised by the Chinese government.In a statement on the Senator’s website that does wonders for grammar and the English language, Cruz has said in one long paragraph that:
Either the World Internet Conference and the People’s Republic of China have misreported the events that took place during their own conference or Fadi Chehade isn’t being completely honest with the United States Senate,” said Sen. Cruz. “While Chehade continues to state that his first meeting won’t take place until later this year, the Xinhua News Agency, the official press agency of the People’s Republic of China, reported on December 17, 2015 that, ‘The advisory committee held its first meeting on the sidelines of the second World Internet Conference in Wuzhen of east China’s Zhejiang Province. Jack Ma, founder of China’s Internet giant Alibaba, and Fadi Chehade, president and CEO of ICANN, act as co-chairman of the advisory committee.’ It should also be noted that Chehade has admitted that he has entered into an arrangement while still serving as the CEO of ICANN and performing under a contract with the United States government, through which his future travel costs to the Chinese government’s state-sponsored World Internet Conference will be compensated. Travel compensation from the Chinese government can be a form of personal conflict of interest, which could impair Chehade’s ability to act impartially and in the best interest of the government when performing under the contract. As such, Chehade should recuse himself from all ICANN decisions that could impact the Chinese government, which include all negotiations and discussions pertaining to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) transition.Defending his and ICANN’s participation in the Chinese conference, Chehadé writes, not to be outdone, in another long paragraph that:
Attending conferences such as the Wuzhen World Internet Conference is just one way that ICANN does the outreach that has enabled a global shift towards preserving a globally interoperable Internet. ICANN participates in many other international conferences, such as the Internet Governance Forum, the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, as well as regional Internet Governance Forum events and technical events across the world. In 2014, I participated in the World Internet Conference’s opening ceremony in my role as ICANN’s President and CEO. My return to the 2015 meeting as ICANN’s President and CEO was a natural continuation of ICANN’s work. Of course, ICANN’s attendance at a conference does not represent an endorsement of every viewpoint expressed at that conference. In this fragile time, ICANN cannot ignore potential challenges to the values of multistakeholderism and to ICANN’s mission. It is even more important to be present for those tough conversations, perform outreach, and maintain a supportive environment for the secure, unified operation of the Internet. Contrary to what is suggested in your letter, staying away from the World Internet Conference, particularly to make a political statement on issues outside of ICANN’s mission, would not have served the global Internet community.It has also been announced that Chehadé “will serve as a co-chair of a high level advisory committee to the World Internet Conference’s organizing committee.” Chehadé notes this will be in his personal capacity and that he will be joined by executives from well-known Chinese communist sympathisers such as “Microsoft, Nokia, Brookings Institution, as well as Bruce McConnell, former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Deputy Undersecretary for Cybersecurity, among others.”Chehadé notes he has “not received any form of gift, reimbursement, compensation, or any other form of personal enrichment, direct or indirect, for this post-ICANN effort, though I understand that travel costs to the World Internet Conference will be covered while I serve on the high level advisory committee. I do not have any plans to seek any form of employment with the Chinese government.”Poor Ted. Those reds under the beds are really eating away at him. Frankly, you’d think he’d have more important things to worry about at the moment.
In a letter to the ICANN Board, outgoing ICANN CEO and President Fadi Chehadé has outlined his achievements.Chehadé, who leaves the organisation in March has been head of ICANN for four years, starts by writing of his “gratitude” at being appointed head of ICANN saying “it has been intellectually challenging, humbling and messy, and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.”At the start of his tenure, Chehadé writes the ICANN Executive team set out a series of objectives and goals to address “criticisms and create the structures and tools needed to advance ICANN. That work has been out blueprint for the past four years.”The four objectives that they began with Chehadé notes were the affirmation of purpose, raising operations excellence, internationalise ICANN from the bottom up and finally “to evolve the multistakeholder model, which included increasing participation and promoting ethics and transparency.”Chehadé then outlines how ICANN went about in his seven page letter that included, “from a functional perspective, we translated the four objectives into 16 goals, 56 portfolios, 116 programmes and more than 500 projects.”Issues addressed also included WHOIS, New gTLDs, the IANA transition, opening offices in Istanbul and Singapore and a planning process that “has a threefold approach encompassing a five year strategic plan and an annual operating plan and budget.”Today Chehadé believes “ICANN has reached a new plane.” It is “more reflective of our global stakeholders”, demonstrates “operational excellence” and “has shown the world that multistakeholder governance can work. On a new round of new gTLDs, Chehadé says discussion “has turned from implementation of the current round to when and where ICANN will offer a next round.”Concluding Chehadé writes that “the best we can hope for at any juncture is to leave a place better than it was when we arrived. I hope you believe that is the case with ICANN as I depart. I believe we have built a strong foundation for the future in bringing ICANN to the world. Thank you again.”
China is not a beacon of free speech and its World Internet Conference isn’t either. It is, according to Time Magazine “one of the world’s most restrictive — girded by a complex system of self-censorship, outright filtering and blocking of major Western tech companies.” But it is also very well attended with the December 2015 conference “expected to draw participants from 120 nations and regions.”So when Ted Cruz learned that ICANN’s CEO and President Fadi Chehadé, at least until 12 March 2016, had agreed to co-chair a high level advisory committee for the World Internet Conference he and two of his colleagues were “surprised and dismayed.”Cruz and senators James Lankford and Michael Lee wrote to ICANN [pdf] expressing their concerns while Chehadé is still serving as ICANN’s CEO that is under contract with the United States Government with the implication that it is a “personal conflict of interest”.Amazingly Cruz and his colleagues notes that the New York Times and Washington Post were refused reporters to cover the conference and that Reporters Without Borders (RSF) had demanded an international boycott of the conference. Surely the only time Cruz and his fellow senators had ever felt the need to quote RSF.So Cruz and his fellow “reds under the beds” colleagues have demanded a response by 19 February to a series of questions relating to Chehadé’s attendance and whether it “makes ICANN complicit in the Chinese censorship regime”.
ICANN CEO and President Fadi Chehadé has announced another job for when he leaves ICANN on 12 March 2016. The latest appointment is with the World Economic Forum, the international organisation for public-private cooperation, who he will join as senior advisor to the Executive Chairman.This comes on top of a role Chehadé announced in August 2015 he will be taking up when he leaves ICANN as Senior Advisor on Digital Strategy for ABRY Partners, a Boston-based private equity investment firm. In this role, Chehadé said he will provide guidance to ABRY’s partners and their companies’ leaders on digital strategy. At the time he said he expected to add other roles to his portfolio and that he would update as appropriate. It was also reported in The Register in December that Chehadé will front “a new Chinese government initiative to expand its view of how the internet should be run.””I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the World Economic Forum’s work, advising the Global Challenge Initiative on the Future of the Internet,” said Chehadé. “I am deeply committed to doing everything I can to help ensure a trusted digital world, advancing global economic development and social progress for all. The Forum is uniquely positioned as an enabling platform to coalesce public, private and civic leaders and experts to form networks addressing the many economic and societal issues requiring global cooperation.””The Internet is a catalyst for the deep transformation of the global economy and society,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. “The Forum’s work in this area will greatly benefit from Fadi Chehadé’s vision, counsel and drive in its efforts to advance progress through multistakeholder cooperation on some of the practical economic, social and security issues facing the international community.”The Future of the Internet Initiative seeks to help shape the Internet as the trusted driver of human progress, safeguarding its open, globally integrated, highly distributed, and multistakeholder nature. Focused on enabling networks of multistakeholder cooperation, it will actively address economic and societal topics including digital trade, cybercrime and policies facilitating access for all.Recruiting a replacement for Chehadé is still underway. In a post published on the ICANN blog on 18 January, ICANN’s President Dr Steve Crocker said ICANN’s “search for the next CEO is proceeding well and though I cannot say much more now, I look forward to giving you a fuller update just as soon as I can.”
Stephen Crocker, ICANNâs Chair, has provided an update on the process to choose a successor to Fadi ChehadÃ©. In short, Crocker says he âcannot say much more nowâ but that he âlooks forward to giving a fuller update just as soon as he can.â ChehadÃ© is set to have his last day with ICANN on 12 March.
The .tickets gTLD has an interesting means of protecting against cybersquatting. Itâs one that Domain Incite asks if it could be âthe ultimate anti-cybersquatting system.â
The registry, Accent Media, âhas launched an anti-cybersquatting measure that lets the world know who is trying to register what domain name a whole month before the domain is allowed to go live.â
âThe service, at domains.watch, is currently only being used by .tickets, but it seems to be geared up to accept other TLDs too.â There are two processes for registrations â âfast trackâ and âstandardâ. The former âis for organisations with trademarks matching their names. It take five days for the trademark to be verified and the domain to go live.â
âInstagram has launched legal proceedings in the US in a bid to have a 2011 domain name purchase agreement upheld and block a âshamâ lawsuit in Chinaâ reports IPPro. Facebook paid $100,000 for the domain in 2011, which was previously owned by a Chinese registrant. The registrant, Murong Zhou, has âalong with other family members, has made a business out of squatting on domain names containing famous trademarks, including Instagramâs, according to the district court complaint.â
Afilias was recently awarded a whopping $10 million in a court case against Architelos in a âtrades secrets caseâ reports Domain Incite. A jury decided Architelos âhad misappropriated trade secrets from Afilias in order to build its patented NameSentry domain security service, may even be thrown a lifeline enabling it to continue business.â
âA little over a week ago, the judge ordered that the $10 million judgment originally imposed by the jury should be reduced to $2 million.â Even this reduced would be too much for Architelos that has suffered a loss of business since the decision. âBut the judge seems to be considering an injunction that would enable Architelos to continue to exist.â
The .cars, .car and .auto gTLDs have got off to a flying start, financially at least, taking in over a clear $1 million during the Early Access Period according to Domain Incite. General Availability started on 20 January and followed the Sunrise and lucrative Early Access Period, the latter closed on 12 January.
Adrian Kinderis, who co-founded AusRegistry and ARI Registry Services and now a Vice President at Neustar has called on the domain name industry to âgrow upâ according to a report on Domain Incite.
Speaking in front of an audience that included registries, registrars and investors at this weekâs NamesCon, Kinderis called for âthe industry to kick out the handful of bad actors that ruin its reputation, and to quit the âbullshit bickeringâ about which TLDs are best.â
âFor far too long this industry has turned a blind eye to the less than scrupulous activities,â he said, âand these activities have plagued this industry. Bad actors have tarnished the perception of this industry.â
âThis may have been acceptable when it was a few insiders first grasping at a fledgling product in the early nineties butâ¦ we are now front and center of the internet,â he said.
âThese practices of a few bad actors have led to the frustration of consumers. We have not served the best interests of our consumers at all times,â he said. âThis has to change.â
The IANA transition, from US government oversight to a multistakeholder oversight, is likely to take place on 30 September according to an AFP report.
ICANN CEO and President Fadi ChehadÃ© told AFP the transition plan being prepared since early 2014 will be delivered to the US government in February, and that it could take place on September 30 — a year later than originally planned.
If the US government approves the plan, “then the contract between ICANN and the US government which is set to naturally expire on September 30 will just expire,” Chehade said in an interview Wednesday in Washington.
Chehade said the private non-profit ICANN is effectively a “traffic cop” that ensures the Internet address system functions, and that the US government’s role has been merely to ensure that it follows correct procedures.
“In all the years we’ve done that (the US government) has never said we did not follow the process,” he said.
“People have aggrandized the role of the US government in what we do. But the change is actually minimal. It’s important symbolically because the US was really a steward for the Internet, but for day-to-day accountability, it is minimal.”