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Saturday, 19 January, 2002, 08:41 GMT
Challenge to bogus net name holders
dot info logo, Afilias
Speculators with lots of .info domains could lose lots of cash
People who obtained a .info domain under false pretences could soon lose the right to run their new net name.

Afilias, which runs the .info domain, has filed the first challenges to those domains it believes were obtained using bogus information.

Although it tried to limit the chance that speculators would have to buy up potentially lucrative names, flaws in the Afilias registration process allowed people to obtain domains they had no claim to.

Afilias has initially mounted a challenge to 741 suspect domain holders, but the final total of challenges is expected to be in the thousands.

Police farce

Last year Afilias ran a "sunrise" period for the .info domain to give trademark holders a chance to register site names they wanted to keep out of the hands of speculators.

In the event many speculators snapped up potentially valuable names because Afilias did little to check the information people submitted to prove their ownership of a trademark.

An investigation by a University of Minnesota professor into the registrations, estimated that up to 25% of the registered .info domains could be bogus.

The speculators face losing all the money they used to buy the domains because .info domains registered on or before 31 August 2001 were locked for 180 days. This means they cannot be sold or transferred.

Between August last year and mid-January 2002, some of the bogus domains have been taken away from bogus registrants by individual challenges conducted via the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

Now Afilias is preparing a mass challenge against bogus domain holders. The first rounds of this process have seen it question the ownership of almost 800 domains.

Currently Afilias is combing its database for suspect domain holders and will soon mount a challenge to the claims of up to 10,000 bogus .info domain owners.

See also:

12 Oct 01 | Sci/Tech
New net domain 'fiasco'
07 Nov 01 | Sci/Tech
New domains taking hold
25 Jul 01 | Sci/Tech
Step up for .info domains
29 Sep 01 | Sci/Tech
Internet ranges in new domains
15 Jan 02 | Sci/Tech
Net's servers under scrutiny
02 Jan 02 | Sci/Tech
Internet starts to shrink
15 Jan 02 | Sci/Tech
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