FryUp: Domainz, Vampires, Lizards

Top Stories: - Black Friday for Domainz - Get your stake and holy water - Monitor lizards

Top Stories:

- Black Friday for Domainz

- Get your stake and holy water

- Monitor lizards

- Black Friday for Domainz

Shame it happened on a Thursday really, but how often do you get a Friday the 13th anyway?

Domainz has come a bit of a cropper. Last week we talked about how the domain name registry company had trouble on the day of the .maori.nz launch - the new second level domain (2LD) - which meant many users couldn't buy new names in the 2LD for some time.

Well, some could and some couldn't. Those that couldn't are now claiming that it's all Domainz's fault and they are unhappy that those that could did. A handful of names have been very popular - aotearoa.maori.nz and tourism.maori.nz to name just two. Both were bought by Taupo-based web company Digithink with clients in mind. The company was all set to sell the names and suggest they get to do the web development work when Domainz emailed to say "sorry about that but we're taking the names back since someone else tried to register them but couldn't. Sorry. Sorry. End of message."

Digithink was not impressed. Domainz has a strict domain name policy of "first come, first served" which has done it proud in the past. Those with memories like an elephant may recall that in 1997 Domainz was sued by Oggi, the outdoor billboard advertising company because it had allowed someone other than Oggi to buy www.oggi.co.nz. Domainz said then, and has maintained since, that it isn't responsible for ensuring a company's domain name isn't bought by some scoundrel and that the early bird catches the worm.

Digithink says it was first to the name, it bought it, it's a done deal. Domainz says no, according to its date stamps, another registrar tried to buy it earlier but couldn't, so Domainz will be handing it over to this other registrar. Digithink says you can have it when you prise it from my cold dead hand, Domainz says we'll give you a free name as compensation ... and so it goes on.

Digithink isn't alone, either. There's at least one other registrar refusing to hand over names it's bought and Domainz finds itself looking down the barrel of a court case should this all continue.

Eventually the domain name commissioner was called and she's frozen everything while she works out what's gone on. She's asked Domainz for all the information about the implementation of .maori.nz and what went wrong and for any legal advice that it's received.

Digithink has also gone for its lawyers.

All told it's a bad time to be a Domainz employee. Morale is at something of a low, according to the Domainz board's report to its owner, InternetNZ. Staff don't know whether the company will be liquidated or sold off following the move to a shared registry system (SRS), which takes place later this year. InternetNZ has already said it doesn't want to own a registrar, which is what Domainz will become - competing with every other registrar for business - but no word has been forthcoming on the future for Domainz once it no longer controls the register itself. At the moment Domainz has a monopoly on adding or changing names on the register but under the SRS every registrar will have access to do just that.

Meanwhile the .maori.nz space has certainly received a lot of publicity, which is no bad thing. At least the punters know it's there.

Domainz under fire over .maori.nz name ownership - IDGNet

Domain names to be transferred to iwi - IDGNet

Teething troubles for .maori.nz - IDGNet

'Cyber_squatter' gets jump on Maori names - NZ Herald

- Get your stake and holy water

It seems you just can't keep a good scam down. Internet Name Group, the ratbag Aussie domain name registrars with the "aggressive" marketing tactics, is officially in what the Aussies call "administration" - similar to liquidation or receivership. However, the administrators have hired a debt collection agency to round up those overdue payments, and the agency has been in touch with at least one New Zealand company demanding payment for a service it didn't want and didn't get.

ING's game was to send out "warnings" to domain name holders that the .com equivalent of their .co.nz or .com.au name was still available and that to protect their online identity they had to buy it immediately. They sent these warnings out dressed up to look like invoices and some victims actually sent them credit card details. The Commerce Commission and its Australian equivalent, the ACCC, got cross and ING's actions landed it in an Australian court.

But someone seems to have forgotten to tell the administrator. The debt collection agency seemed quite unaware that this had gone on and was obviously keen on the business that tracking down thousands of delinquent Kiwis would bring. Ah well.

Speaking of Aussie ratbags, the other domain name registry company that tried it on at about the same time, Internet Registry, has re-surfaced in Australia under the cunning pseudonym of Net Register.

This Melbourne-based company has also been barred by the Australia domain name registry company, auDA, which has put out another consumer alert warning about the company and its practices.

In Australia ING and Internet Registry were arch rivals, operating in a similar manner. Now that ING is no more, NetRegister has sent out a letter trying to bully ING customers into signing up with it. AuDA is not impressed, and neither is another legitimate Australian registry company with the unfortunate name of NetRegistry.

As ever, contact your own registrar if you do get a letter or email or fax warning you about your online identity. If you get hassled, complain to the Commerce Commission about it - they love that kind of thing. Just don't send anyone any money till you've checked, OK?

ING reaches out from beyond the grave - IDGNet

AuDA consumer warning

- Monitor lizards

I had a cute way to tie monitor lizards in with the JetStream usage meter but now I come to write it down, I can't for the life of me think what it was.

The usage meter, which has had its moments of light relief in the past, has been upgraded, but don't get your hopes up - it's just a make over, not a brain transplant.

The front page, where you log in, has the look and feel of the rest of Telecom's site, but once you're logged on, it's business as usual with the wide open, empty spaces of the usage meter and the sideways scrolling to see how much you've spent this month. There hasn't been a failure or outage that I've noticed for a few weeks, so that's good.

Telecom has promised a whole new usage meter but hasn't said when it will arrive nor how it will work. I still remember when the meter was launched - Telecom said this was the first of a number of tools it would deploy to help the user out. I had visions of speed tests, of security tools to help defend against unwanted attacks, perhaps even advice on settings for modems ... Ah those were the days. Innocence and ignorance skipping hand in hand through the download specs. Then the first bill arrived.

JetStream usage meter gets make over - IDGNet

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