10 month ordeal is over after judge grants summary judgment.
That jury trial taking place in Virginia next week…won’t take place after all.
Judge Claude M. Hilton has granted XYZ.com’s motion for summary judgement (pdf). The judge will issue a memorandum opinion shortly.
Verisign had filed a false advertising suit against .XYZ and its founder Daniel Negari in December. Verisign was upset that Negari was disparaging .com and claiming that .XYZ was the next .com.
At the center of Verisign’s argument was that .XYZ gave away free .xyz domain names and then used these “inflated” registrations to show .XYZ’s success, and thereby harm .com.
The lawsuit ensnared a number of third parties who Verisign wanted documents from, including competitors such as Donuts. Verisign also demanded documents from ICANN.
.XYZ’s motion for summary judgment was filed last month under seal, so it’s unknown what arguments the company made for the dismissal.
Update: .XYZ has released a statement saying that it spend over $1 million to defend the lawsuit.
At the time the lawsuit was filed, .xyz had only been globally available for 6 months. We were shocked that an industry-giant would file such claims against my small business. I also took it as a compliment,” said XYZ’s CEO and Founder Daniel Negari. According to XYZ’s General Counsel, Grant Carpenter, “these tactics appear to be part of a coordinated anti-competitive scheme by
Verisign to stunt competition and maintain its competitive advantage in the industry.”
I have also reached out to Verisign for comment.
More to come…
Good. It was a frivolous law suit. .com will always be around but Verisign dealing with new competition in such a pathetic way shows how flawed their future business model is.
John Berryhill says
I would expect the next round of actual advertisements for .xyz to be pretty amusing. Verisign has shown itself to be as ham-fisted as it is thin-skinned (along with some of its cheerleaders). But it was a good opportunity for discovery, if not much else. The only question is which side learned more valuable commercial information about the other.
Still, at every registrar I tested, if one searches for a .xyz name, and the .com is available, the registrar offers the .com as an additional suggested name. That doesn’t work the other way. So, to whatever extent any .xyz promotion inspired anyone to actually look for a name at all, there are likely measurable follow-on .com registrations. That, to me, was the real head-scratcher in this thing.
Andrew Allemann says
Yep, Verisign has really given Negari some fuel to add to the fire.
John Berryhill says
The advertisements practically write themselves.
XYZ could re-visit the ‘sports car’ ad, and have the driver of the older car engage in a fit of impotent road rage.
James Bidzos roadside chat:
Jake Cohen says
Why did Verisign let this case go so far? Horrible miscalculation on their part. It makes sense for them to file these frivolous suits just to bully and intimidate the industry into not talking about the obvious lack of availability in .com — but by allowing it to go all the way to summary judgment (and lose), they basically just gave the OK to the whole industry to do the thing they were trying to discourage. Also, I’m not an antitrust attorney, but it appears to me like they overreached and now they have to be especially careful about any anti-competitive behavior…which they already have a history of having problems with. Either management was not listening to the lawyers, or the lawyers were lying to management. Either way — embarrassing for a billion dollar publicly traded company.
David brings down Goliath
Joseph Peterson says
Don’t be fooled into making a hero of Daniel Negari and the .XYZ Registry, folks.
Personally I have no real opinion about this case. Can’t say that I’ve looked at the allegations, let alone the evidence that would have been cited in court. The laws governing such things are unknown to me; so I wasn’t expecting any outcome more than any other.
Lawsuits aren’t my field; the domain industry is. Outside the courtroom, I have evaluated Daniel Negari’s behavior; and it seems clear to me that his intent was to deceive the public by pointing to inflated .XYZ registration numbers as if they represented market demand. That I’ve maintained from the beginning.
Review the .XYZ CEO’s remarks, and you’ll see why so many of us have formed this low opinion of his veracity. Lawsuit or no lawsuit, people will arrive at their own conclusion about whether he engaged in false advertising.
To the extent that I’ve been interested in this case, it was because I anticipated seeing further evidence on that front. Couldn’t care less about .XYZ saying all good .COMs are taken. That’s nothing but hyperbole, refuted daily. But inducing people to buy .XYZ based on the illusion that it’s already popular? That verges on fraud – if not in a legal sense, then certainly in an ethical sense.
It’s a pity that public perception about this underlying scheme has been clouded by surrounding issues. Arguably 4:
(A) Domainers have spent the past 2 years obsessively debating nTLDs versus .COM. Many found it convenient to misinterpret this .XYZ lawsuit as part of this imaginary war. That suits the habitual propaganda. Yet the allegations were specifically tied to Daniel Negari and the scandal of .XYZ registrar stuffing.
(B) Some observers questioned Verisign’s motives, alleging the company was on a fishing expedition to gather intel about competitors. Clearly, I’m in no position to know if Verisign had such an oblique strategy; but suspicions about ulterior motives have distracted people from the question of .XYZ malfeasance. Instead of .XYZ being on trial for misleading consumers, many of those same consumers preferred to place Verisign on trial for having the gall to file a lawsuit. Yet the question of .XYZ misleading consumers remains.
(C) Bloggers whose email conversations were drawn into this lawsuit as evidence have been understandably annoyed. Naturally, they’ve been less inclined to cover Verisign’s case favorably. I’m not saying Andrew Allemann or Kevin Murphy have been unfair in any way, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they took a dim view of Verisign after something like that – which can feel like a violation of journalistic confidentiality. Did that taint the coverage? Perhaps subtly.
(D) In any David versus Goliath struggle, it’s human nature to sympathize with the smaller party. Many people have sided with .XYZ purely for that reason: Back the “underdog”! Meanwhile they’ve forgotten all those small .XYZ registrants – often relatively poor people from developing countries – who bought into Daniel Negari’s prediction of 1 million registrations and believed (as he invited them to believe) that those big .XYZ numbers were a sign of market demand … that they’d made a good investment. Weren’t they duped? In this story, that newbie domainer who bought a bunch of .XYZs – he’s the David getting trampled by a Goliath registry.
Everyone in the domain community ought to keep in mind this central question. Did Daniel Negari deceive consumers? Deliberately? And should that be tolerated?
In my view, Negari harmed the nTLD program much more than he could ever harm .COM, since .XYZ registrar stuffing created an atmosphere of distrust that damaged legitimate nTLD players like .CLUB. If you’re unhappy with mainstream nTLD adoption so far, perhaps you should consider whether Daniel Negari poisoned the well during the first year.
We don’t need courts to draw conclusions. This is a barely regulated industry, and we must enforce our own standards. Just look at all the scandals we’re swimming in today – Adam Dicker, NetFleet, .XYZ, etc. All these disputes involve 1 fundamental theme: Dishonesty.
Don’t lose sight of Daniel Negari and what the .XYZ registry did to bring this lawsuit on its head, whatever you may think of Verisign’s motives or the merits of their case. If Verisign wasn’t able to hold .XYZ accountable, you still can.
Can’t you at least allow Negari its lap of triumph? 😀
Cyntia King says
I’ve worked w/ Daniel Negari for many years & have found him to be ethical, sincere & an astute businessman in our dealings.
I don’t believe Mr. Negari “harmed the nTLD program” nor that he “poisoned the well” for nTLD adoption. The nTLD concept & process has had hiccups all along the way as the industry absorbs large-scale fundamental change. There’s bound to be conflict as the players find their footing in this rapidly-changing landscape.
I, frankly, find your very long personal attack disconcerting.
BTW: You should know that I have no dog in this fight & am not biased in any way. I’ve also never had a problem w/ VeriSign.
Joseph Peterson says
It’s commendable that you want to vouch for someone you work with … or perhaps work for?
However, whether the guy is nice or friendly in private is irrelevant. Daniel Negari will be judged by the public for his public actions and statements.
After reviewing the man’s public record, which I think speaks for itself, many of us don’t consider him ethical or sincere. You’re free to disagree and maintain that Negari is a model of forthrightness and honesty, but that makes explaining his behavior quite tricky.
Although you emphasize that you have no dog in this fight, your personal interactions with Negari undoubtedly bias you in his favor. It’s the rest of us who truly have no prejudice here – people who have never met Negari and judge his actions and statements objectively.
Even Bernie Madoff must have had friends and allies who vouched for his integrity, even after that cat was let out of the bag. Certainly, Adam Dicker had his supporters and apologists – to cite a more recent example from the domain industry. Even genocidal dictators have been commendable dog owners. In the end, such private details don’t matter in the public arena.
I do not work for Mr. Negari, nor are we personal chums. I have completed several deals w/ him & know him through those professional contacts.
I did not speak of his “nice personality,” nor did I say he was “a model of forthrightness and honesty.” I avoided hyperbole & stuck to the simple observation that during our interaction he was “ethical, sincere & an astute businessman.”
It is fallacious to assume that my having interacted w/ Mr. Negari undoubtedly biases me in his favor – I’ve completed deals with several people who were absolute asshats. Knowing a person does not render one unable to form an opinion, it simply gives me evidence – rather than supposition – upon which to base my personal judgment.
Several times you’ve said “many of us” don’t consider him ethical or sincere, and compare him to Bernie Madoff and genocidal dictators. That type of exaggeration is exactly the reason I have a difficult time accepting your arguments at face value.
You are, of course, entitled to your opinion; as I am entitled to mine.
Danny Ponomarev says
XYZ and Netsol give away free .xyz names that don’t autorenew. XYZ accurately states its registration numbers the same way the rest of the industry does. What’s the problem?
A company I used to work for used to give our product away to celebrities so that consumer would see the celebrity use the product and would then perhaps buy the product. Consumers obviously assumed that the celebrities bought the product. Should we have been sued?
This reminds me of when Apple gave a bunch of I-Tunes users a U2 album (or song?) for free and there were a bunch of news articles about how people were pissed off about it. I talked about it to a bunch of my friends, and no one had a problem with it. There seems to be a vocal minority of people who for some weird reason find giveaways problematic even though there is no downside for anyone. Those people don’t realize that the other 95% of population is totally OK with giveaways. I think JP might be one of these clueless minority.
Another point I don’t get. If someone is sophisticated about the domain name marketplace and industry to care about registration numbers, they would also know enough about the industry to know that a bunch of .xyz names were free for consumer. I’ve been following .xyz casually forever, and I’ve never seen any hint that anyone was mislead about some .xyz names being free giveaways. So if there’s is no harm here to anyone, what’s the problem? Not to mention the fact that the whole industry published the same numbers that for .xyz that .xyz did.
This whole situation is ridiculous.
Seems like Verisign and JP are starting with the assumption that XYZ and Negari are evil and working their way back from there.
Joseph Peterson says
You don’t understand the issue whatsoever, my friend.
U2 didn’t pretend that everybody bought their album, now did they? U2 didn’t prophecy record-breaking sales and then point to all that pre-installed, unlistened-to music as evidence of success. U2 didn’t to get unsuspecting people to buy their album based on a mirage. U2 didn’t evade answering questions or attempt to deny the facts. No, they just gave away freebies without any deceit. And that’s utterly different.
“Another point I don’t get. If someone is sophisticated about the domain name marketplace and industry to care about registration numbers, they would also know enough about the industry to know that a bunch of .xyz names were free for consumer.”
Plenty of newbies believe what they’re told. There’s nothing “sophisticated” about it. Daniel Negari was all over the web pointing to his supposed success – i.e. robo-registrations stuffed into people’s accounts without consent or knowledge. People listened to him brag about those numbers (which seemed to fulfill his prophecy of 1 million domains), and thy went out and bought .XYZ. Why would you expect them to be paying attention to domain industry blogs where the scam was exposed?
“Not to mention the fact that the whole industry published the same numbers that for .xyz that .xyz did.”
Actually, as I recall, 1 of the major sites reporting registration numbers downgraded .XYZ after the registrar stuffing was uncovered. Also, many new sites reported .XYZ numbers only with a pronounced disclaimer. Therefore what you’re saying isn’t true.
“So if there’s is no harm here to anyone, what’s the problem?”
If you buy something based on false claims, then you’ve been harmed. If the CEO of a company knowingly spreads misinformation about his company’s success in order to attract customers or investors, then that might just harm someone. Not just those customers / investors but competing companies that are attempting to play by the rules – they’d be harmed as well. And if such practices damage the credibility of the wider industry, then even non-customers are harmed.
You may disagree with me about facts. But if you can’t see the harm in such things, then you’re missing the point entirely.
“I’ve never seen any hint that anyone was mislead about some .xyz names being free giveaways.”
Then you haven’t been paying attention.
“I think JP might be one of these clueless minority.”
Disagree with me, as you like. However, I’ve been writing about .XYZ and Daniel Negari for going on 2 years. It’s possible I have a clue.
Nate Hayes says
Joseph, I received the NS emails. The emails were really clear that the free domain would not auto renew and that if I did not want the domain at all that I could opt out. I chose not to opt out.
In other words, it was with my consent and knowledge.
So when you say they were
“robo-registrations stuffed into people’s accounts without consent or knowledge,” that is just patently false.
I think you should get your facts straight and stop spreading this misinformation.
There’s no way that I’m aware of for you to know that the vast majority of people who received the emails didn’t actually see them, i.e., have knowledge of them, and simply chose not to opt out just like I did.
And if I’m wrong about that, I’d like to see you produce the hard data that proves it.
Joseph Peterson says
It’s nice that you were aware of .XYZs being placed in your account. And if you knew you could opt out and chose not to, then I suppose that indicates consent of a sort.
If someone subscribes you to a mailing list and you begin receiving emails out of the blue stating that you can opt out to unsubscribe, then does inaction mean you consented to receive emails? Most people would say no. Your interpretation is yes.
That’s you, Nate.
However, it doesn’t follow that other people were aware of .XYZ domains being placed in their account. Simply because you knew? Nope.
If they didn’t know … or if they didn’t understand they could opt out … or if they interpret a mandatory opt-out as nonconsensual … If any of those 3 things were true for anybody other than Nate Hayes, then the .XYZ robo-registrations would be without their consent.
Unless you can assure me that none of those 3 things apply to anybody at all, then you can’t declare that my claim is “just patently false”.
If what I’ve said is false, then it’s up to you to demonstrate that everybody without exception – not just you, Nate – knew about the .XYZ domains being placed in their accounts … and they understood the opt-out available to them … and that they interpret mandatory opt-outs as consensual.
And that’s highly highly unlikely to be true.
So here’s your tennis ball back, Nate:
“I think you should get your facts straight and stop spreading this misinformation.”
Nate Hayes says
“However, it doesn’t follow that other people were aware of .XYZ domains being placed in their account. Simply because you knew? Nope”
It cuts both ways, Joseph. As I said, I’d like to see you produce the hard data that proves it was as you claim. I am assuming that since you’ve ducked the question this means you can’t.
“If they didn’t know … or if they didn’t understand they could opt out … or if they interpret a mandatory opt-out as non-consensual … If any of those 3 things were true for anybody other than Nate Hayes, then the .XYZ robo-registrations would be without their consent.”
That’s exactly why I said, there’s no way that I’m aware of for you to know that the vast majority of people who received the emails didn’t actually see them, i.e., have knowledge of them, and simply chose not to opt out just like I did.
Unless you have hard data to show what percentages of recipients actually read their emails and which did not, its all supposition. Nothing wrong with supposition, of course, but be honest that’s what it is.
Joseph Peterson says
What you’re asking is absurd.
Who has statistics on hundreds of thousands of NetSol customers? Nobody if not NetSol. Therefore it’s up to NetSol to document awareness and consent.
Given their opt-out strategy, it’s highly unlikely that NetSol or .XYZ cared about consent. But they’ve been criticized – even condemned – by most of the leading voices
in the domain industry since the beginning of 2014. So if they had any evidence, they would have trotted it out by now.
Nate, look at the actual list of .XYZ domains that were robo-registered. Is it really plausible that people wanted these?
Come on, who are we kidding? Daniel Negari made a prophecy of 1 million .XYZ domains, and garbage like this was used to give him the numbers he could point to in sales pitches.
In many cases, NetSol customers had already let the .COM expire; yet they got an .XYZ anyway, even though they clearly didn’t want it if they let go of the .COM. At best they were indifferent. Would their indifference to junk placed in an abandoned account be consent?
Domains often expire because emails are sent to an address the registrant no longer monitors. It’s unimaginable that this wasn’t true of many opt-out emails from NetSol. Likewise it’s unmaginable that no emails ended up in spam folders. So it’s scarcely plausible that everybody real their emails. NetSol must track open rates. Let them share the dismally low percentages!
When I wrote to a handful of people on Day -1 of this scandal – people who’d suddenly “registered” dubious .XYZ domains – asking them if they knew about their .XYZ domain, do you know how many responses I received? Zero. I suspect that’s because their email addresses were black holes.
In that link above I documented cases of .XYZ domains going to people who’d left their company years before. Another case of a hedge fund manager who was facing prison time and may (for all I know) have been incarcerated at the time people were being force-fed .XYZ.
Nate, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence from individuals who hadn’t seen these emails. Many people did opt out, which definitely ISN’T consent.
Honestly, this isn’t a topic people in the domain industry are arguing about. Some people think registrar stuffing was reprehensible. Some give .XYZ’s underhanded tactics a wink and let it slide. But who other than Nate Hayes actually disputes the registrar stuffing itself?
And I opted out, so that makes your argument irrelevant.
What supports what Joseph says – and many others have been saying since the big NetSol / XYZ fiesta started – is the raw registration numbers that followed the massive campaign, perhaps up to 400k domains went to Network Solutions accounts “for free.”
That’s akin to saying the new Pepsi Puke is a great product, all while putting it in people’s fridges with a note to toss it if they don’t want the freebie.
Here’s what I said back then http://acro.net/blog/xyz-network-solutions-cut-bullshit-already/
Here’s what Rick Schwartz said back then http://domaingang.com/domain-news/rick-schwartz-bursts-xyz-bubble-epic-domain-sherpa-video/
Nate Hayes says
“What supports what Joseph says – and many others have been saying since the big NetSol / XYZ fiesta started – is the raw registration numbers that followed the massive campaign, perhaps up to 400k domains went to Network Solutions accounts “for free.””
Acro, you illustrate my point, which is this: if you want to read the tea leaves this way, fine. But without the hard data of what percentages of recipients actually saw the emails and which did not, it’s all supposition.
Nothing wrong with supposition, of course. But be honest that’s all it is.
Joseph Peterson says
“Suppositions”? No, accusations.
Science proceeds through falsifiable hypotheses. I’ve stuck my neck out and made claims that can (in theory) be refuted.
Specifically: I’ve said that .XYZ domains were stuffed into people’s accounts without their knowledge or consent.
And I’m hardly in the minority here; that’s the domain industry consensus, which is why you’re practically the only person denying it.
Clearly domains were registered to people in a way that didn’t depend on their awareness or approval. So it’s unlikely that they were all aware, let alone agreed to the action.
Wasn’t that the whole point? The registrar and/or the .XYZ registry must have anticipated that people would decline to opt in. The whole rationale of an opt-out would be to proceed without bothering about consent. Otherwise they’d have used an opt-in approach as responsible companies tend to do.
NetSol or .XYZ are welcome to refute my claim by showing evidence of awareness and consent. If they can’t, then no sensible person should suppose all those people knew and consented to the operation.
This isn’t a new idea. We’ve challenged NetSol and .XYZ about this since early 2014. They’ve never answered the challenge by providing any evidence to the contrary.
Nate Hayes says
Suppositions and accusations are both forms of unsubstantiated beliefs, and that’s my point. You said “robo-registrations [were] stuffed into people’s accounts without consent or knowledge.” As a recipient of the NS emails who accepted the free domain with knowledge and consent, my own experience is enough to prove this statement, taken at face value, is not true because for any scientific theory, when you make a universal statement like that, it only requires one contradiction to falsify the whole theory.
In your second response, you did backpedal a bit by qualifying your original statement. Probably because I think you are intelligent enough to understand the point I was making, which is that if you want to present a theory and make accusations, fine, but don’t conflate supposition for fact. Make sure the audience is aware that you don’t actually know the truth.
Now that you’ve made those qualifications and admitted you don’t know the truth, fine. You are the one presenting the theory. It is your responsibility to prove it, not me.
I have not claimed, as you suggest, that the opposite of your theory is true, either. Although, if the vast majority of recipients did see the emails and chose to opt out like I did, then certainly the disparaging remarks you are making of others would be false.
But I don’t know the truth one way or another.
Since you don’t either, my one and only point is that suppositions and/or accusations conflated with facts do not make them facts. Be careful not to mislead people this way.
Joseph Peterson says
This could go on forever. I’m not interested in convincing you that the sky is blue.
Danny Ponomarev says
“And I’m hardly in the minority here; that’s the domain industry consensus”.
Disagree. For something like a week after .xyz launched, everyone was surprised by the volume and people were suspicious. Then it came out that NetSol was giving the names away, and was being very open about it. Issue resolved for everyone except you and Verisign.
I agree that at that point, Negari still came off as somewhat suspicious because he refused to fully explain what was going on. But since then, in an interview with some site — I forget which — he explained that he could not give any details of his deal with Network Solutions because of an NDA he had with them. So if it appears that he was just living up to his legal obligations, as opposed to trying to trick the whole industry, So, what’s your problem?
The registration numbers? Is that your problem? It’s not Negari’s fault that the industry reports domain name registration numbers as opposed to some complicated metric designed to account for free/cheap names. If you want to create that website, go ahead. But until then, we’re all going to use namestat and ntldstats and the zone files. Ar at least point to some something Negari actually did to mislead anyone.
I think your position was reasonable at one point — I was on your side originally. But so much has come out since .xyz launched and you refuse to take a step back and be objective. I normally do very much enjoy and appreciate your thoughtful comments on these blogs.
Joseph Peterson says
Your memory isn’t accurate. What you’re saying is that people were suspicious for “something like a week”, and then (according to you) everybody relaxed because “NetSol … was being very open about it”.
Are you kidding?
The scandal broke around the time of this article (June 3, 2014):
Thanks to Verisign’s lawsuit, we finally learned about $3 million that changed hands between XYZ and Web.com (NetSol’s parent company). To most of us, that looks like money paid for the registrar stuffing:
When did that come to light? August 20, 2015. It took 15 months and a lawsuit – a LAWSUIT – to get them to divulge facts! Is that “something like a week”? This is NetSol being “very open”?
“So what?” I hear you saying. Well, here are Daniel Negari’s slippery answers to Rick Schwartz:
I dissected those comments then. And I did it again 14 months later, since people had either forgotten or weren’t paying attention the first time around:
Essentially, Negari did everything he could to suggest that the domains were paid for in a normal way and that he knew nothing further. Believable? Thanks to Verisign’s lawsuit, we know better. Almost unanimously, people in the domain industry disbelieved Negari back in 2014; and I haven’t seen anybody changing his mind after this new evidence came to light!
If Daniel Negari intended to deceive people in order to sell them .XYZ domains, then that’s a serious ethical failure. The NDA might have restricted him in some ways, but it didn’t obligate him to CONTINUE pointing to .XYZ registration numbers in order to sell his wares to unsuspecting consumers.
Here’s what Daniel Negari wanted you to believe jut 2 days before the scandal broke:
“It won’t take us 20 years to reach one million registrations. It will only take 1 year. The growing number of internet users online today, the increasing demand for domain name registrations, and the way we have positioned .xyz all validate this projection.”
In other words, you’re led to believe that registration volume will be due to natural causes – not registrar stuffing. How far is that from an outright lie?
Just 5 days after that prophecy – 3 days after Michael Berkens drew attention to the scam – Daniel Negari was ignoring the criticism and pretending the registration numbers fulfilled his prophecy. Under the headline “We Did It”, he opened with his primary selling point:
“.xyz officially has more registrations than any other new domain extension — all in well under one week.”
He addressed “the believers that will join Generation XYZ”. And the truest thing he ever said was:
“Our success has been unreal.”
Nearly 2 months later (August 20), Daniel Negari was still pointing at registration numbers as if they were signs of popular success. Just look at this article entitled “.XYZ, the most used new gTLD – Boooooooom!”
There Negari says, “Registrations are … an important metric.” He goes on: “Let’s look at utilization on a few levels”. And what is the first metric he points at? Duh! Its’ this:
“1. Registration numbers”
And what does he tell potential customers about .XYZ’s regisration numbers, 7+ weeks after his scam was exposed? He says only this:
“1. Registration numbers
.xyz has received the most registrations of all new gTLDs with 447,544 domains registered.”
Deceptive? Definitely. This has gone on ever since. I haven’t even begun to quote the press releases and interviews Daniel Negari has given.
Am I the only person still criticizing Daniel Negari and .XYZ? Not at all. If the criticism has slowed down, it’s mainly because the domain industry has already judged the case and informally found Negari guilty; so there’s nothing to add to the man’s bad reputation.
Colin Campbell, CEO of .CLUB, had enough guts and integrity to stand up to .XYZ in June of 2014:
“Unfortunately the acts of 1 registry are tainting the entire industry. I have seen others raise suspicions about .CLUB, and other TLDs today because of XYZ’s unethical practices.”
15 months later, in August 2015, he was saying the same thing:
“”Based on recent court documents it appears Verisign’s case against .XYZ is much stronger than first thought. Exhibit showing 3 million payment. He created a perception that it was demand and they were most popular – not true in my opn. I am proud to say that .CLUB maintains it ethics in an industry with such questionable players””
I’m in good company.
Michael Berkens has written numerous articles about .XYZ from 2014 up until the present day. When he has reported .XYZ’s numbers, it has always been with a large disclaimer.
Kevin Murphy wrote this (June 4, 2014):
“Network Solutions gave away thousands of .xyz domain names for free to people who hadn’t requested them, artificially inflating the new gTLD’s launch day numbers.”
He drew attention to the cybersquatting risks NetSol inflicted on its customers:
And he was saying very much the same thing this year (April 2015) when he reported the $57 renewal fee for .XYZ:
There, Danny. Documentation. People didn’t forget what .XYZ was up to after a brief week of “surprise” (as you call it). No, the resounding chorus from professionals within the domain industry has been criticism and condemnation. It has been widespread. It has been consistent.
@Nate Hayes – I don’t read tea leaves, but if you have a vested interest in XYZ I cannot alter your mind state.
A domain is merely a domain, and if XYZ works for you, kudos!
To gauge success one needs to be free from the shackles of bias, and as a gTLD supporter I’ve demonstrated why XYZ didn’t pass the popularity test for me. The stuffing game is popular on Thanksgiving, however.
Nate Hayes says
I do enjoy that kind of stuffing. 🙂
Danny Ponomarev says
“Thanks to Verisign’s lawsuit, we finally learned about $3 million that changed hands between XYZ and Web.com (NetSol’s parent company). To most of us, that looks like money paid for the registrar stuffing:”
So? Nothing wrong with that. Not sure why it bothers you and Verisign.
“When did that come to light? August 20, 2015. It took 15 months and a lawsuit – a LAWSUIT – to get them to divulge facts! Is that “something like a week”? This is NetSol being “very open”?”
It’s normal business practice for companies to not divulge the details behind their business dealings. Again. I see no problem.
“Essentially, Negari did everything he could to suggest that the domains were paid for in a normal way and that he knew nothing further.”
If he in fact was bound by an NDA, he had no choice. Again, I see no problem. Also, his statement about being paid in the normal way is accurate if he also paid NS in the other direction. Again — I have no problem with any of this.
“The NDA might have restricted him in some ways, but it didn’t obligate him to CONTINUE pointing to .XYZ registration numbers in order to sell his wares to unsuspecting consumers.”
We have to just agree to disagree on this one. I have no problem at all with him using accurate registration numbers to promote his product. I think it an unreasonable burden to impose on companies to have them disclose everything on earth about their products and claims. Makes sense in the pharmaceutical industry, but we’re talking about domain names here. Obviously the law agrees with me and there’s probably a reason.
“In other words, you’re led to believe that registration volume will be due to natural causes – not registrar stuffing. How far is that from an outright lie?”
Complete misinterpretation of what Negari was saying. Granted, English is not my first language, but i don’t read what he said to imply that the Network Solutions giveaway never happened. He was being vague, but that’s all.
“Under the headline “We Did It”, he opened with his primary selling point:
‘.xyz officially has more registrations than any other new domain extension — all in well under one week.'”
Accurate and again I have no problem with this.
Trusting .CLUB’s “opinion” is like trusting Verisign’s “opinion”. Bias.
And another point on this that confuses me. Seems to me that if there is any culpable party here it is Network Solutions. Why are you so focused on Negari? They are an established publicly traded company. I doubt this was Negari’s idea. If it was Network Solutions that convinced Negari to do it and he trusted them because they’ve been around forever — wouldn’t that make them the problem and not him? We don’t really know enough either way. Which brings me back to my feeling that you have it out for Negari. Your argument only makes sense if you presume guilt and then just rationalize from there.
Joseph Peterson says
So far, you made some factual claims; and I took time out of a busy day to refute them by gathering quotes and links.
And now? Now you’re reduced to saying that you “see no problem”, ethically speaking.
There’s nothing wrong with faking numbers and then pointing to them in order to sell merchandise on the basis of presumed popularity and market demand?
All I can say i that your standards of honesty leave much to be desired from my perspective. Have a nice day!
Danny Ponomarev says
Which loops me back to my original comment on this thread. You seem to be part of that 5% minority of people who gets bothered by things that the other 95% of the population does not care about. I’ll take my free U2 song and be happy about it.
Looks like different perspectives and will have to agree to disagree on all points 🙂
Joseph Peterson says
Thanks for the compliment. Yes, I’m happy to be part of a “5% minority … that gets bothered by things that the other 95% of the population does not care about”. That goes well beyond this fairly trivial domain industry.
However, among domain professionals, my stance on .XYZ represents the majority opinion. The registry was roundly condemned or criticized by every major domain news site and blogger I can think of. Everybody without exception.
Even Ron Jackson, one of the most amiable and optimistic voices in the industry, had this to say:
Lately domainers have been so incensed over the Adam Dicker scandal that I’ve heard people blame Ron Jackson for “never report on anything negative”
This was DNJournal’s opening paragraph:
“Well I had hoped for better in the ongoing .XYZ/Network Solutions registration fiasco but apparently its not going to happen. Network Solutions continues to show contempt for their own customers by stuffing their accounts with .XYZ domains they never asked for (and that could even subject them to some legal risk). Even more disappointing .XYZ’s founder, Daniel Negari, claims on one hand the registry had nothing to do with what NetSol is doing while on the other pretending all of those registrations are real people adopting the extension. Unless 2 + 2 now equals 5, those conflicting positions don’t add up.”
Yes, Ron Jackson, the nicest guy in this industry bar none, condemned .XYZ, NetSol, and Negari.
He, Michael Berkens, Rick Schwartz, Kevin Murphy, Konstantinos Zournas, Theo Develegas, and many many other domain industry bloggers and professionals are all part of that 5% minority too.
Nate Hayes says
I see a lot of bias from other people on this subject, too, conflating the same suppositions for facts as you are. So it’s not surprising.
Like I said before, there’s no way to know if a large majority of the email recipients saw the emails and decided not to opt-out, like I did.
So anyone who has a bias against Daniel or XYZ is obviously going to choose to assume, believe or hope that the majority of recipients had no knowledge of the emails and therefore provided no consent in accepting the free domain, even though no one can produce any hard data which actually proves this is the case.
In other words, the whole argument is just one big appeal to possibility, which is the logical fallacy of taking something for granted because it might possibly be the case or what you want to be the case.
To use your “scientific theory” analogy, it’s an untestable theory. This makes it more in the realm of philosophy, belief or religion. Nothing wrong with any of those things, of course, but if the theory isn’t really testable, it’s not a scientific argument, is the point. It’s just a crusade.
I don’t claim to know what the truth is. I don’t even claim to know that you are wrong. But I do believe that a truly objective and unbiased approach to discussing the issue needs to be honest about the fact that without the missing data, it’s all supposition.
In fact, a much more productive discussion would focus on trying to obtain the missing data. That may prove to be an impossible task, and if it is, then certainly it is an impossible argument that can never be definitively settled.
But feel free to continue tilting at windmills, if you must.
Joseph Peterson says
“there’s no way to know if a large majority of the email recipients saw the emails and decided not to opt-out, like I did.”
What are you smoking? As if these .XYZ robo-registrations were 1 of the unknowable mysteries of the cosmos!
We’ve heard from others (who outnumber you), saying that they didn’t see the email, didn’t consent, and even opted out. Common sense isn’t enough for you; so go empirically test my claim. It’s easy.
Since you’re hung up on this, go pay for a statistical survey. Select a large random sample of .XYZ robo-registrations. Email the registrants. Ask them if they read the email, wanted the domain, opted out, etc.
Saying that this is “in the realm of philosophy, belief or religion” is utterly inane. You can find out empirically with a poll.
Nobody but you is asking for this because we’re all pretty much in agreement, and you’ve just missed the boat.
Think about it. NetSol would have every reason to prove that its customers really did consent. The company’s reputation went down a man hole! Yet NetSol has never presented any evidence. Why not? Because the facts would be damning.
In any case, most of us don’t regard requiring people to opt out as fair or consensual. Laws in many many areas require opt-in for a reason, my friend.
Suppose you add 500,000 people to a mailing list and spam them. Some will opt out by clicking the “unsubscribe” link. Many wouldn’t. Did they consent to receive that email or future emails? Hell, no!
You can test this if you want to, Nate. Nobody but you thinks it’s worthwhile. The whole world is biased, I guess, except Nate Hayes.
Nate Hayes says
“You can test this if you want to, Nate. Nobody but you thinks it’s worthwhile.”
I am not surprised to hear you make such a statement, that as bloggers and “journalists” you and your colleagues don’t think the truth is worthwhile.
So you have a few blogger friends with the same bias, that doesn’t impress me.
It only goes to show the lack of objectivity in reporting this story is systematic and probably even intentional.
I’ve suspected that for a while. Now you’ve made it abundantly clear, I no longer have to wonder. So thank you for that.
I do believe the truth is worthwhile, but I am not the one making the claims against Daniel and XYZ. You are. As I’ve said before, it is your burden to provide whatever proof is necessary to back up your claims. Not mine.
Don’t be so lazy and irresponsible about the evidence, is my unsolicited advice.
If you can’t prove it, or if you don’t even think the evidence is worthwhile, then it’s just speculation and gossip, which can be viewed as worse behavior than the things you are condemning others for.
Joseph Peterson says
NetSol put domains in customers accounts whether they saw an email or not, without waiting for any sign of consent.
That isn’t ok.
Daniel Negari pointed to .XYZ registration numbers as if they represented market demand, even though he knew hundreds of thousands of them had been placed in NetSol accounts with or without the awareness and consent of registrants. Consent be damned! He wanted big numbers. Big numbers helped lure new customers.
That isn’t ok.
Did NetSol customers all monitor their email addresses? Unlikely. Did they all read the email in question? Unlikely. Did no emails go to spam? Unlikely. Did none of them opt out? Certainly untrue.
If you don’t respond to unsolicited email, does that mean you consent to receive it? No. If you don’t object to unsolicited domains being stuffed into a registrar account you’ve perhaps already abandoned, does that mean you want the domain and understand the consquences? No.
Believe whatever you want, Nate. Truth is worthwhile. Chasing ghosts isn’t.
Nate Hayes says
“NetSol put domains in customers accounts whether they saw an email or not, without waiting for any sign of consent.”
False premise. I received emails with the opt-out option and it was quite a bit later that the domain showed up.
“Daniel Negari pointed to .XYZ registration numbers as if they represented market demand, even though he knew hundreds of thousands of them had been placed in NetSol accounts with or without the awareness and consent of registrants. Consent be damned! He wanted big numbers. Big numbers helped lure new customers.”
You don’t know that any assumption Daniel made about whether consents were provided was correct or not. That’s my whole point. You just want to believe that the majority of recipients didn’t see the emails and chose not to opt out. What makes you so special? Why can’t anyone assume the opposite?
You have no proof one way or the other. You may very well be the one who is making the false assumptions.
“Did NetSol customers all monitor their email addresses? Unlikely. Did they all read the email in question? Unlikely. Did no emails go to spam? Unlikely. Did none of them opt out? Certainly untrue.”
False premise. Again, this the logical fallacy I spoke about earlier. It’s an appeal to possibility, that you are taking for granted the case that you want to be true. Not the one you actually can prove is true.
“If you don’t respond to unsolicited email, does that mean you consent to receive it? No.”
For the NS emails, if you saw the email and took no action, it does.
“If you don’t object to unsolicited domains being stuffed into a registrar account you’ve perhaps already abandoned, does that mean you want the domain and understand the consquences? No.”
That’s funny. Neustar stuffed .BIZ domains into my NetSol account. I mean literally stuffed — I wasn’t given any advance warning or opt-out. I just received a notification after it was already there. No one seems to be holding Neustar’s feet to the fire. Again, bias.
“Truth is worthwhile.”
You contradict yourself.
Joseph Peterson says
I’ve never heard of .BIZ domains stuffed into people’s NetSol accounts. If that’s true, then I’d criticize NetSol (again) and NeuStar for some of the same reason reasons that I’ve criticized NetSol an .XYZ in this case.
You accuse me of “bias” on that score, of leaping to conclusions without evidence – based on … bias? suppositions without evidence?
Yes, you’re right, I hate Truth.
At this point, Nate, there’s no reason for us to discuss this further. We’ve each presented our views and arguments – more than thoroughly. Let other people decide.
Nate Hayes says
“I’ve never heard of .BIZ domains stuffed into people’s NetSol accounts. If that’s true, then I’d criticize NetSol (again) and NeuStar for some of the same reason reasons that I’ve criticized NetSol an .XYZ in this case.”
“You accuse me of “bias” on that score, of leaping to conclusions without evidence – based on … bias? suppositions without evidence?”
No. If you’ve not heard of the .BIZ stuffing, then I’m not going to accuse you of anything on that score.
“At this point, Nate, there’s no reason for us to discuss this further. We’ve each presented our views and arguments – more than thoroughly. Let other people decide.”
That’s fine. I just wanted to clarify on the .BIZ comment before dropping off.