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ICANN is in a pickle with its .sucks domains

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April 10, 2015

ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), a non-profit firm that was formed to assume responsibility for the allocation and management of domain names, IP addresses and root servers has placed itself in an awkward position, and is now asking for help to various governments.

To be sure, ICANN really opened the floodgates to a whole slew of new dot domain extensions on the internet, and now it says it desperately needs help in killing one of those dot extensions, the .sucks domains.

In a letter to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Canadian Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA), ICANN claims its .sucks domains are being sold to trademark owners in a predatory manner.

What's really strange in this matter is that it can't seem do anything about that thorny issue unless specific laws are being broken.

So now ICANN wants someone officially-looking to knock on doors and find out more. And if specific laws are being broken, ICANN can use that to shutdown the .sucks domains. Otherwise it can't, according to ICANN officials.

For instance, ICANN is upset that a firm under the name of Vox Populi, which acquired the rights to sell .sucks domains, is charging people US $2,500 to defensively register domains before the trolls do.

But in a strange outcome, all remaining .sucks domains go on sale to everyone from May 29, 2015.

For its part, Vox Populi, whose parent company Momentous is based in Canada, denies any wrongdoing.

However, to better understand what's going on here, it's worth clarifying that ICANN actually engineered the dot-word conundrum by allowing anyone with enough cash to apply for and create generic top-level domains, from .book to .sex.

Vox Populi claims that it paid ICANN $185,000 to apply for the .sucks extension and won it in a private auction against rival registries a few months ago.

"ICANN, through its registry agreement, may seek remedies against Vox Populi if the registry's actions are determined to be illegal," ICANN's top attorney John Jeffrey wrote in a letter to the FTC and Canada's OCA.

He added "ICANN is concerned about the contentions of illicit actions being expressed, but notes that it has limited expertise or authroity to determine the legality of Vox Populi's positions, which we believe would fall within your respective regulatory regimes."

The issue, says ICANN, is that it has no legal powers to take down Vox Populi as it stands now. But if the dot-sucks company is found to be in violation of any federal, state or provincial laws, then it would be in breach of the terms of its contract with ICANN to run the .sucks registry.

If Vox Populi or any other company breaks such an ICANN contract, the top-level governing body (in this case, ICANN) has the legal right to shut it down and cancel the domain extension.

"We can enforce the terms and conditions of our contracts with registries, but it is the responsibility of governmental regulatory agencies, law enforcement and the courts to police illegal activity," ICANN chief contract compliance officer Allen Grogan said yesterday.

"ICANN is not a regulator and we have very limited expertise or authority to assess the legality of Vox Populi's activities," added Grogan.

In late March, the Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC), which advises the ICANN board, described Vox Populi as "predatory, exploitive and coercive."

And in 2014, U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller labelled dot-sucks "a predatory shakedown scheme" in a a missive to the ICANN board.

"Approving '.sucks', a Top Level Domain with little or no public interest value, will have the effect of undermining the credibility ICANN has slowly been building with skeptical stakeholders," Rockefeller suggested in his note.

Vox Populi had yet to respond to a request for comment at the time of publication. Its CEO John Berard previously said that .sucks is a "cheeky domain space," and reckons it represents a key aspect of the web.

"Allowing people to speak freely and be heard about the products they buy and the companies they support is one of our main goals," said Berard.

During the financial meltdown of 2008, insurance companies have generally demonstrated a greater resilience than other financial organizations, where achieving a precise understanding of risks has become increasingly very difficult.

Insurance companies are dealing with a riskier environment both in terms of natural and manmade catastrophies.

Government regulators, company directors and investors all demand a clearer accounting system for all these risks.

Organizations continue to struggle in order to meet those demands due to the disparate and disconnected systems and data quality issues.

Every successful insurance or financial organization adequately managed risks from an enterprise perspective. And in order to continue managing risks organizations need to develop the risk management capabilities.

ERM (Enterprise Risk Management) software solutions generally consist of a process and framework that enables these organizations to clearly identify and measure all the exposures across the organization, applying analytic capabilities in order to produce coherent reports that business managers can apply to their daily decision making processes.

The main objective of ERM software is to enable these organizations to take up risks in a much better manner. When designed correctly, an ERM program align the organizations risk appetite with its risk taking initiatives.

Bill Spaniard provides insurance and technology editor Anthony O’ Donnell with the following criteria in order to build an effective insurance ERM framework.

Increasing the efficiencies -- Through integration and convergence to make certain that you remove unnecessary oversight in order to prevent the duplicate control activities. Consistency also needs to be established across the different risks that occur within the organization and business functions they work with.

They also include minimizing the touch points to business in control assessments, establishing a faster reporting timeframe.

Organization and governance -- To establish a clear definition of transparency in terms of the risks, the responsibilities, the various strategies in terms of finance and internal audit. A company strategy should state the definition of the board in terms of a desired risk strategy, along with an alignment of risks with definitive roles and responsibilities.

Integration -- In order to be widely communicated, the guidelines need to be properly integrated in terms of business planning, capital planning, and risks limit setting with performance measurement. A successful integration of the risk functions as it pertains to the data, the IT systems, modelling, business knowledge and commercial awareness is also critical.

Common language around risks -- The main function of enterprise risk management must be able to establish and effectively communicate with the organization regarding all the risks. Most common definition for risks is the potential for loss or the diminished opportunity to gain something that could help the organization achieve all objectives.

Roles and Responsibilities -- Roles and responsibilities have to be clearly communicated to each and every member of the organization. Board members and CEOs of a specific organization do have the accountability for all risks within their organization. Risks management practices need to be discussed periodically along with the risk management policies being reviewed and approved.

Risk Monitoring and Reporting -- The key risks that were identified within the organization should be monitored and periodically report it to the board members and CEO of the organization.

The establishment of an enterprise risk management framework is not just a one kind of exercise that involves just a few participants.

It's a dynamic, intensive and continuous process that requires a wider participation from the company. And when implemented successfully, ERM would lead the organization with unlimited frameworks.

About the author: Sophia Wright covers the latest news and updates in Risk Management strategy. With more than seven years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications. She has over six years of experience in journal risk analysis and as a practicing manager of enterprise risk management software solutions and successfully executing several projects in ORM software Solutions, internal audit risk assessment and Governance risk compliance.

In other technology news

The changes today in the technology and in the new trends they've created have greatly modified the way people live, the way they carry out their business and in the manner people think.

The elements behind such a faster response being offered to the technological innovations is the benefits attached to them.

Among several other things taking the lead over the technological innovation carrying out business online and having a professional website have also been something important.

The first and foremost reason behind developing a professional website and conducting business online is cost savings.

A website takes a lot less up-front investment than a physical business. Moreover, when you start working over the internet you have a list of such marketing opportunities that are free or very low cost.

Having a professional website makes you save a lot of money. The physical location of a business might not be easily accessible however-- the virtual address of a website may be accessed throughout the world.

By way of an established website you may keep your customers informed with everything that comes around.

You may post your latest stock details, promotional messages, announcement of sales and much more by way of a single click.

Author Bio: Victoria Lucy is an experienced writer who contributes in different technology forums to assist students. She works with a web development company in the U.K.

In other technology news

A mere fact that no one can ignore these days is that trends are mostly meant to change over time.

No matter which industry you think of, with the passage of time every trend that is seen in the market tends to be replaced sooner or later.

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Similar situations go perfectly well with website designs. As time changes, every new year has something new to offer to sites as well in terms of the overall designs such as layout, style, color combinations, typography and much more.

But for the designers, predicting the layout beforehand is always a great approach as it helps deliver the latest appearance on time.

There are a number of ways a site designer may predict the upcoming trends in terms of the website of which few are provided below.

To be sure, going through different portfolios of different well known website designers gives an insight to what is going to happen in the world of site design for the upcoming year.

Source: ICANN.

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