Registrar tells court it is ceasing business next week.
ICANN-accredited domain name registrar OnlineNIC says it’s shutting down on July 26 after throwing in the towel in a lawsuit.
[See update, including new shutdown date.]
Facebook sued the registrar and its privacy service in October 2019, alleging that either OnlineNIC or its customers used domains such as www-facebook-login(.)com and login-lnstargram(.)com.
The social media company recently filed an unopposed motion for default judgment in the case. OnlineNIC told the court that it doesn’t have the funds to continue defending the case and will cease doing business on July 26, subject to any ICANN requirements.
Attorneys for Facebook say that OnlineNIC is trying to avoid paying the judgment. Its attorneys also filed for a Temporary Restraining Order (pdf), alleging that OnlineNIC is transferring some of its domain name assets (pdf) to another registrar. (When I looked up the same domains Wednesday evening, they showed they are now locked and not pending transfer.)
According to the most recent Verisign report filed with ICANN, OnlineNIC has many domains under management. It had over 500,000 .com domains at the end of March. It’s not clear how many of these are customers’ domains.
Update: on July 22, attorneys for OnlineNIC said they intend to fight the TRO. It said it indeed was transferring some domains to Ename, but with a goal of selling them to help pay the fees it owes the Special Master in the case. The attorney also mentioned a previous plan it had proffered to Facebook that would allow the company to be sold as a going concern to generate cash to settle the judgment. You can read OnlineNIC’s response here (pdf).