Lists will hit home in the domain name industry.
Verisign’s lawsuit against XYZ.com, LLC and Daniel Negari continues to move forward at full speed, thanks to the “rocket docket” in U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia.
Both parties have submitted their proposed exhibit lists and witnesses for the trial.
Reviewing the exhibit lists, it’s clear that if you emailed Daniel Negari about .xyz, there’s a good chance Verisign has reviewed that email. If you wrote or commented about .xyz, Verisign’s counsel has read it.
Among the email exchanges Verisign plans to use as exhibits at trial are with bloggers Michael Berkens, Morgan Linton, Rick Schwartz and Kevin Murphy, as well as Donuts CEO Paul Stahura.
XYZ plans to use a number of communications between Verisign executives at trial.
Verisign’s exhibit list (pdf) includes a number of articles written about .xyz, both on industry publications and the national media. Among those that Verisign has marked as planning to use include Rick Schwartz’s interview with Negari and OnlineDomain.com’s article “.XYZ is DEAD – DISASTER! Daniel Negari Exposed! .XYZ down to 34th place! Where is Deals.xyz?”
The exhibit list from Verisign also includes what appears to be a deal between XYZ and Web.com for a the registry to pay Web.com $3 million for advertising at the same time Web.com’s Network Solutions was giving free .xyz domain names to its customers.
In addition to .XYZ representatives, Verisign plans to call as witnesses or use deposition testimony (pdf) of a Web.com representative and ICANN’s Akram Atallah. It might also call for a representative of .Club.
.XYZ lists a number of witnesses, including Jothan Frakes as an expert witness.
Stay tuned for more details.
[Note: The XYZ exhibit and witness list appears to include the home address and phone number for some witnesses. I’m holding off publishing the document in case these will be removed.]
What I don’t understand is OnlineDomain posted that article you referenced last year which started out with “Daniel Negari has tried to lie and deceive everybody and climb his way up to the top spot of New gTLDs. Well guess what Daniel? You failed.” and now OnlineDomain is the judge for a .xyz run contest.
Yeah, I stopped reading OnlineDomain as a result of that observation too. The promotion of Online.Domain put me over the top.
Joseph Peterson says
I’m as vocal a critic of the .XYZ registry as anybody probably. But I still read OnlineDomain.com and would recommend the blog to others.
Konstantinos is an even-handed guy. I’m sure he knew that .XYZ was going to run its contest somewhere no matter what and that having a judge who would select both a fair .XYZ and a decent .COM mattered. This I think he did admirably. Somewhere else, the contest might have been rigged but not with him.
I haven’t spoken to Konstantinos about his decision. Still, I’d cut anybody some slack when they’re living in Greece in the midst of the Greek economic crisis and a sponsor arrives asking them to judge a contest according to their own best judgment. He wasn’t asked to say .XYZ was wonderful … or honest – only to pick the best items from a list. No loss of integrity.
Kevin Murphy says
This is pretty despicable behavior by Verisign if you ask me.
With its discovery demands, the company is showing nothing but contempt for the media.
A journalist/blogger would never disclose communications privately exchanged with a source, and a company with any respect at all for the press would not demand those communications either.
There’s such a thing as “chilling effects”.
This whole case is a waste of time. Even if Verisign wins… what do they actually gain?
Does this stop .XYZ? No. If anything, it gives them free publicity.
Do they expect to be paid for damages? If so, how much do they claim this damaged them? Is it wise for them to admit they lost money because their misleading ads persuaded a small number of people to get a .xyz instead of .com? I think most .xyz buyers didn’t even see or care about those ads.
The only thing I can expect from a win is that .XYZ won’t be allowed to say it’s “Impossible to get the .Com you want”. They’ll just say it’s easier to get a .xyz, which is true, but that’s starting to change.
The point is they want to make an example of the first gTLD that did this, otherwise you have every gTLD under the sun making claims and what would that impact be to your business, probably significant. You make an example of the first guy to prevent this in the future.
I agree, to an extent. What doesn’t make sense to me is that the majority of domain buyers never even see the marketing efforts of the registries, because the only marketing they see for domains is from a registrar, like GoDaddy.
My guess is that very few .xyz buyers saw any of .xyz’s marketing videos, or even saw the .xyz main website (which is a .com).
The main point is the decision to buy a .xyz instead of a .com wasn’t swayed by their advertising claims. It’s just that other than the free ones, most of them ordered the .xyz because GoDaddy said the .com version wasn’t available, and they automatically show alternatives such as .xyz.
That said, if I searched for ArbitraryWords.Com, and GoDaddy said there wasn’t a .Com, it will show me a lot of nTLDs, and as hard to believe as it is… if they offer .xyz as a choice, it’s actually got a better chance than most of the alternatives such as .realtor, .pizza, .guru, .tips, .photography, etc..
This fact alone is responsible for their higher numbers. If there are only a small number of people who need .Photography, it automatically means fewer registrations, so as pointless as .xyz is, it’s actually going to remain at the top of the nTLDs, especially when you factor in the fact that .Photography is of no interest outside of English speaking countries.
Joseph Peterson says
Frankly, I don’t care why Verisign is suing the .XYZ Registry.
But Daniel Negari needs to be shamed publicly for what I (and many others) judge to be fraud. In my opinion, he has attempted to deceive consumers and has extracted money from many third-world hopefuls based on a lie about .XYZ popularity.
Beyond cheating my fellow domainers, this CEO – I would argue – has degraded the industry’s reputation, which affects all of us. Domainers were already regarded as suspect cybersquatters, and the nTLD program was viewed with suspicion as well. If either of those prejudices are to be overcome, then the domain industry must police itself.\
As vocal a people like me have been in castigating Negari and .XYZ for the past 14 months, he’s well funded enough to get away with this scam (as most of us believe it to be). Registrants (including domainers) are too poorly organized to take action against the companies that take advantage of them. Without a company of Verisign’s size filing a lawsuit, there would be no consequences for registries that lie to domainers or the general consumer.
Do Verisign’s motives need to be my motives? No. Do they need to be 100% pure? No. As long as Daniel Negari pays a steep price, I’m happy.
Well said Joseph Peterson!
Farhan Rasheed says
Sorry Joseph , I respect gen.xyz , it is new future of domain industry , If I am unable to find a suitable domain name on .com obviously ill go for .xyz because it gives me my choice as simple as that , Now I relate domain name as Real Estate Digital & Place of land in Real estate , when New york long long ago had been one of city the neighboring places did not had value but laiter on when the city New York had come to saturation level where new land is not available but still its value has increased but you dont have choice other take what you are getting , same in case of.com now a days most of the domain names are unavailable so why cant we go for .xyz.
Joseph Peterson says
You’re welcome to go for .XYZ. I’ve never said otherwise.
Yet you say “obviously ill go for .xyz”. Why is it obvious? You do realize .XYZ is just 1 among hundreds upon hundreds of .COM alternatives. Personally I have registered a couple thousand nTLD domains but no .XYZ. So it isn’t obvious to everybody.
Why should .XYZ be any more valuable than .OOO or .PW, let alone .CLICK or .ONLINE or .LINK or .CLUB or .WEB or some more relevant keyword?
Whatever is available in .XYZ is likely to be available in hundreds upon hundreds of additional nTLDs. Often, if it’s available in .XYZ, then it’s available or dirt cheap in established extensions like .INFO, .BIZ, .ME, .IO, .TV, .US, etc. – not to mention .ORG and .NET.
Now, anybody is free to disagree with me and say that .XYZ is the best TLD we’ll ever see after .COM. But that’s highly debateable. If it seems obvious, then maybe people don’t know all the options available to them.
“Why should .XYZ be any more valuable than .OOO or .PW, let alone .CLICK or .ONLINE or .LINK or .CLUB or .WEB or some more relevant keyword?
Whatever is available in .XYZ is likely to be available in hundreds upon hundreds of additional nTLDs. Often, if it’s available in .XYZ, then it’s available or dirt cheap in established extensions like .INFO, .BIZ, .ME, .IO, .TV, .US, etc. – not to mention .ORG and .NET.”
Here’s how I see it. I didn’t buy too many .xyz domains… I’d say less than 50, but I couldn’t ignore it completely because while .xyz isn’t necessarily an obvious alternative to .com, it still stands to get a higher number of registrations than most of those.
If you have a business website, and speak English, .info, and .biz are clearly viable alternatives to .com, but for those who don’t speak English, options like .Info, .Biz, .Club, .Link, .Online, and .Click are not as useful as they seem.
Since most of the nTLDs are industry specific, and very language specific, it stands to reason that the competition for the highest registrations a/k/a “next .com” will have to be among TLDs that have no specific genre, or meaning. So the contenders will definitely include .OOO, and .XYZ. XYZ is meaningless, but easy to remember in any language.
Yes, that’s a stupid reason, but until somebody comes up with something just as generic, that you can use with any type of website, country, or language… .XYZ has a strong chance to remain at the top of the nTLD list.
.Web is probably my favorite alternative to .com, but it’s been decades since they talked about it, and you still can’t register them.
Joseph Peterson says
That’s a fair rational argument. Still a gamble; but you understand that, since you’re taking a moderate approach, hedging a few bets.
.XYZ’s main problem is its length – 4 syllables counting the dot. And you’d ALWAYS have to say it as part of the brand name. Leave it off and nobody assumes .XYZ by default! So even something visually short like God.xyz isn’t simply the brand name “God”. No, it’s spoken “God dot ex why zee”. Quite long.
Personally I see a few other nTLDs and established extensions with broad international appeal. I don’t say these will succeed either, but each has a case just as .XYZ does. For example:
.CC is already doing well in China. It’s short and follows a clear pattern. And it must be easy to remember, since it’s most successful in a country that doesn’t speak English or even use our alphabet.
.TOP is being marketed by the Chinese very very vigorously. Honestly, their marketing team is everywhere. I told them I disliked the extension personally, but I’ve still been contacted by a dozen or more people promoting it. Even though it’s English, the Chinese think it works. Plenty of people in the world know this English word – as many as know their ABCs through to .XYZ, I’d guess.
.CLUB may be English, but it’s also a word in Spanish and many other languages. Probably a loan word in many more. When I last checked, .CLUB was doing the best of any nTLD without free giveaways or robo-registrations. They did 1 day of $1 registrations; but, if memory serves, that was it. .CLUB spent money on real marketing. They didn’t cheat. For that, I think they ought to be rewarded by consumers while .XYZ arguably deserves to be snubbed.
.INFO is likewise a multilingual word. It’s already established, means something important that seldom gets in the way, and has had high sales.
And so forth. I could name many others. Personally I own zero .CCs or .TOPs, just a few .INFOs, and a bunch of .CLUBs from their $1 day. A few .CLUBs I paid regular price or a premium for. I own many other nTLD domains (about 2000 all told) and thousands of ccTLDs and established gTLDs. So that’s my bias, in case anybody wants to accuse me of being a henchman for .CC or .TOP.
.XYZ has competitors … long before it gets to .NET / .ORG / .COM.
Personally, I think all these new TLDs are a bad idea.
Until at least one successful nTLD site becomes popular while a .Com version of the same name exists, most consumers won’t accept them.
Every time a new extension launches, my blood boils at the insane prices for early registration. Every time I see an extension I’m interested in, the early registration prices are $15,000 or more, for a domain that to me, is potentially worthless.
I’ve held out for some day 5 registration prices to drop to under $500, and hated the fact that I didn’t wait until the next day when they would be $200. I hate it even more as they are now renewing for 10 – 20 times the prices of my .coms… yet they are still worthless to me.
I’ve corresponded with Daniel Negari a few times and he seems to have a simple plan, to create a generic extension that works for anyone, in any market or language.
I agree with you on the issue of having to say three syllables (ex why zee) is not as good as one (com, web, net, etc), but that’s the strange thing about consumers, they are more interested in how easy it is to remember than using letters as a shorthand. “World Wide Web” is three syllables, but people always said “double you double you double you”, which is nine.
Chad Chad says
To steal a term from John Berryhill — the Verisign Blog Troll strikes again!
Joseph Peterson says
Can a person be a blog troll if he writes under his own name at the blog where he himself publishes? Now, I don’t claim to speak for DNW (meaning Andrew). But I’m not speaking for Verisign either. Can you imagine how many meetings would intervene for blog comments as scathing as mine to be approved by such a large company?
What I’m saying 100% my opinion, and I’ve expressed it without deviation from the very day the .XYZ scandal originally broke.
That’s quite the exhibit list. Looks like a lot of paperwork and legal fees.
Farhan rasheed says
Any ways as you said .xyz is another so many other available options , in my opinion , as on today ill give first priority to .xyz . second would be .top , third preference to be .web other extension i would not consider untill or unless i have news website for which ill go for .news
Lets not get into judging .xyz as a scandal .I always had a choice of .com when no options are available i am blogging since .com but lets continue .com what we already own and when it comes to registering a new domain I strongly recommend.xyz I really like to promote my next blog .
Please tell me there is an intelligent move yet to be played by Verisign, behind all this unbelievable waste of money …. “just because” … ?!?! setting precedence for what ? bullying others at lunch time ? instead i wish they would concentrate such gigantic energy into something profitable and bullet proofed, i.e.: dot com contract. because the core profit lies within its registry, and nothing is 100% presumptive renewable. stop pissing off the world and be quiet already; enough free publicity.
Farhan rasheed says
Why should some one forcefully register dot com . We all here are independent we can decide what to register.
Ill go for dot xyz .
Colin Campbell says
Verisign lawsuit has merit. The owner of said TLD made statements that were patently false. They were not merely #1 by giving away free domains after working with a company to give away 100,000’s of thousands of names.
Colin Campbell says
Verisign has merit in their lawsuit. .XYZ made patently false statements about being #1 and most popular new TLD. .COM is clearly the leader by far and I firmly believe .CLUB is the most popular based on every award and survey.
I agree that they drastically overstated how popular they were, and that it was because they gave away a ton of them.
The issue for me is what damage did it cause Verisign, considering that the vast majority of people who actually paid for one never even saw .XYZs marketing or heard their claims?
Other than domain investors, who already have a strong opinion, very few end users based their decision to buy off their marketing, because the only information or marketing they saw came from a Registrar like GoDaddy’s marketing.
Joseph Peterson says
If you read mainstream press coverage about the nTLDs or .XYZ specifically, you’ll often see registration volume cited as evidence of popularity. With no disclaimer.
That’s true whether we’re talking about articles hastily cobbled together by copy writers with no time to learn about their topic or advertorials paid for by the registry.
So the .XYZ fraud (if we may call it that, and I think we may) continues to mislead a wide range of consumers.
I concede that the mainstream press cranks out stories that are virtually word for word versions of the press releases they’re handed, regardless of their credibility, and with zero fact checking.
I also concede that .XYZ may have sent a lot of misleading press releases, which puffed them up quite a bit in the mainstream press.
Domain industry press, on the other hand has been 100% negative towards .xyz since day one, and therefore most domain investors ignored or rejected the press releases.
In spite of these concessions, I stand my my position that regardless of how inflated, misleading, or even false their press releases and marketing were, the average domain buyer never saw it, because GoDaddy, Register.Com and the other mainstream consumer registries never mentioned that information on their platforms.
For those consumers, this is the extent of the marketing:
Registrars like GoDaddy give you a big search box. Consumers enter what they want (likely a .com), and they tell you if it’s already registered. If it’s not available, they give you a list of alternates, including .xyz and other nTLDs.
Network Solutions is another story. We know they aggressively promoted .xyz. It would be interesting to see (other than the free ones), what percentage of .xyz registrations came from NetSol vs GoDaddy. If the percentage of paid registrations using NetSol is disproportionately higher than GoDaddy, which was less aggressive, I could see a clear case.
Lastly, assuming Network Solutions did grab a disproportionate share of .xyz registrations, the question is how do they determine the damages?
Unless Verisign can prove a loss as a direct result of their claims, the best they can ask for is a cease and desist from their marketing efforts. which is what happens to most companies who are challenged for making unsupported claims.