Joseph Menn

Security firm KnujOn (backwards for No Junk, reflecting the small outfit’s anti-spam roots) has a new report out this morning, pointing a finger at website registrars for facilitating a wide range of internet crime.

My story in today’s FT centres on the case KnujOn makes against eNom, the No. 2 seller of domain names and a profitable unit of Demand Media, which would probably prefer that any stink wait until after its anticipated IPO.

But the bigger picture is more important. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Maija Palmer and Richard Waters report on plans to expand dramatically the number of top-level web domains:

“A representative of the Pope has written to Icann with concerns over how it would ensure that sensitive religious domains – “.catholic”, “.muslim” or even “.god” – would not fall into the wrong hands. Public interest groups, meanwhile, fear that the changes mark part of a more general rewriting of the rules of the internet that could see free speech lose out to commercial interests.” Read more

  • The board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, better known as ICANN, picked as the nonprofit group’s chief executive Rod Beckstrom, who until earlier this year served as cyber-security czar at the US Department of Homeland Security. Like his predecessors, Mr Beckstrom didn’t accomplish much there, but it later emerged he had a skeleton staff and equivalent funding. ICANN is as close to a governing body as the internet gets, but its core mission is minding the process by which Website names and numeric addresses are assigned.
  • Some early buyers of Windows 7 will get it for the knock-down price of $49.99. Rob Enderle thought the limited-time special offer was a direct response to the $29 Apple is charging for an upgrade to Snow Leopard. Michael Gartenberg called it a “missed opportunity” to give all Vista users the chance to move beyond the much-maligned operating system.

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  • A judge approved Yahoo‘s plan to change a controversial severance plan that would have added to the cost any acquirer would face to buy the company. Yahoo’s shares rose 4 per cent, making it one of the few companies to gain on the day – though Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said that he would not consider a full takeover.
  • Apple‘s shares took a hit after a JP Morgan analyst warned that wilting consumer demand was starting to eat deeper into second quarter sales. Among other things, JP Morgan lopped 11 per cent off its forecast for iPhone shipments and 8 per cent off its Mac shipment forecast.

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Richard Waters

Forget the vanity licence plates and the personalised URLs: what about owning your own top-level internet domain name, to put yourself on a par with the .coms and .govs? You’ll probably be able to apply for one by the end of this year – though it’ll cost you $185,000.

There is a serious side to the explosion in top-level domain (TLD) names that is about hit the internet. When anyone can pay up to create one – not to mention the myriad of new URLs that will suddenly become available – how on earth will companies protect their trademarks? And how will internet users find their way around a confusing virtual world in which www.coca.cola could be competing for attention with www.cola.coke? Read more