This July 4th weekend America celebrated its independence from England, and we’re reminded that the fight against The Man continues to this day. The recent news about the National Security Agency’s wiretapping and Internet surveillance programs has sparked Fourth Amendment awareness campaigns from organizations like the Internet Defense League, Restore The Fourth, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. For more on the Fourth Amendment, check out this graphic from the EFF.
Many of you received our email or saw online that name.com was hacked. The truth is that it’s one of the more painful admissions that can be made on the Internet. We want you to know that when we say that we “give a shit” we truly mean it. In an effort to maintain the open, honest, and transparent reputation we’ve built for ourselves, we’re going to give you the lowdown on what happened and what we did in response.
Our security team alerted us that unauthorized individuals had accessed our database. After doing some digging we found that the attack seemed to be geared toward a few specific accounts. The hackers had a target and name.com was a means to that end.
The information that was accessed includes usernames, passwords, physical addresses, email, hashed passwords and encrypted credit card data. EPP codes (required for domain name transfers) are not stored in the same place so those were not compromised. For the techies who are wondering, the encryption on the credit card information is 4096 bit RSA. Since the password hashes were compromised we took proactive steps and initiated a site-wide password reset (hence the email, apologies for the inconvenience).
We are genuinely sorry for the annoyance and the scare. We’re taking this incredibly seriously and are doing everything possible to continue to improve the security of our systems. We greatly appreciate the support across the web and over the phones.
There should be more complications in the new gTLD process. Said no one, ever. But concerns about brand protection have started a new debate in the ICANN community concerning the “Strawman Solution,” a suggested answer to the question, How will ICANN protect the Internet community against intellectual property destruction during the launch of nTLDs?
Since the Strawman Solution is getting so much attention, and since it affects you, as a potential registrant, we decided to break it all down – what the solution is, where it came from, why it’s causing controversy, and how it would affect registration. Once you’ve read everything over, let us know what you think.
The Strawman Solution
The Strawman Solution introduces several tweaks and implementations to policies in the ICANN guidebook, concerning trademark protection. The solution is meant as a talking point and a suggestion of possible changes, and would not go into effect until comments are considered and the proposal could be fleshed-out. Some of the key points of the proposal are:
- Registrars must give a 30 day warning, pre-sunrise period, to promote public awareness and participation in sunrise registration.
- The 60 day period for Trademark Clearinghouse registration would be extended to 90 days.
- An optional “Claims 2” period for the Trademark Clearinghouse would be implemented, during which a claims holder may pay additional fees to keep the basic functions of the TMCH open for six months to a year.
- Trademark owners could register up to 50 labels that have been previously determined by the UDRP or a court proceeding to be abusive or infringing in the TMCH.
In addition to these points of the Strawman Proposal, the document is also dog-eared with an additional proposal, not agreed on by the committee that met after Toronto, but still up for discussion. That proposal, The Limited Preventative Registration, would add a mechanism for trademark owners to prevent second-level registration of their marks.
The Process of Drafting the Strawman Proposal
The Strawman Proposal was drafted after a closed-door meeting following the Toronto summit, in November (2012). The meeting was kept off-record, so until recently the list of who attended wasn’t released. The members included: ICANN staff, IBM and Deloitte representatives (both companies were picked by ICANN to run the TMCH), and representatives from “select stakeholder groups,” who also represent GNSO, or the Generic Names Supporting Organization. The complete list is available on the Strawman document.
After the proposal was drafted, ICANN posted it to its website, and opened the document for commentary, which occurred through Jan. 16, 2013. 85 comments were posted, by applicants, trademark holders, registries and registrars, and the proposal is now in the reply stage of its process, meaning replies may be posted to original comments through Feb. 5. After Feb. 5, ICANN will post a summary of the comments in order to decide whether or not the proposal should pass through to the next stage.
Support for Strawman
Much of the support for the Strawman Solution comes from brand owners who are concerned about the changes nTLDs will cause when they are launched — including more opportunities for cyber-squatting and for string confusion. To those who support the solution, it represents an enforcement of policies already in place, and a necessary step in ensuring that trademarks are better protected without having to place the entire burden of the process on trademark owners.
The Three Main Arguments Against Strawman
Because nothing is ever as simple as it seems, ICANN’s Strawman Solution has caused a complex discussion in the nTLD community. The 85 commenters — representing companies like Facebook, Coca-Cola, DuPont, Donuts, USPS, and Time Warner, just to name a few — have either agreed with ICANN’s proposals, or raised objections. The three most common reasons for objection are:
- The proposal came about from a closed-door meeting. Many argue that the nature of the meeting prevents the Strawman Solution from being able to represent the wants of the ICANN community. Many members feel that because ICANN called the solution a “community” proposal, but did not open the door to the community during the process, the Strawman Solution cannot represent the community.
- “Implementation” versus “policy.” The difference between how you perceive these two words can mean all the difference when looking at the Strawman Solution. For those who support the solution, it doesn’t represent a change in policy, but rather an extension in the implementation of policies already in place. For example, the extension of a 60 day TMCH period to a 90 day period – to those who think the solution is a mere implementation of previous policies, then an extension of a TMCH period isn’t a big deal. On the other hand, some feel that the proposal introduces policy changing practices, which will cost the community more time and money and significantly change the course of nTLD registrations. Changing the TMCH period from 60 to 90 days may not be a big concern, but to those who object to the Strawman Solution, implementing a “Claims 2” period, in which the TMCH can be extended to a year, or allowing trademark owners to register up to 50 abusive strings, weighs down the process of registration and adds policies to the guidelines already in place without going through the channels the policies in the guidebook had to.
- Protection versus overkill. The final argument between the two sides of the Strawman Solution conversation is whether or not the points proposed in the solution are a) protective measures needed to guard against trademark abuse and infringement, or b) a method of using policy to protect trademarks that hinders the free market and ties-up the registration process in red tape.
Where do you Stand?
We’ve heard from all the heavy hitters, and we’ve submitted our own comment, too. But we want to hear what you think. Do you think the Strawman Solution needs to be an Ironman Solution, or do you think ICANN needs to let it burn? Tell us in the comments below, or on Twitter or Facebook.
And keep checking back here – we’ll be watching the nTLDs for you as they make their way through the application process. (You can even sign up to have us watch your favorites, here.)
We are thrilled to announce that, as of the first of the year, name.com is now part of the Demand Media Family! We’ve got new owners but rest assured we’re still the same team you know and love. A large part of what made name.com so appealing to Demand was our free-spirited, off beat company culture (they totally had a crush on us but that’s awkward now since we’re family and all… moving on). They have emphasized that they want to keep our unique culture intact, which we’re very pleased to hear because that means we can keep having fun!
So what does this mean for you? Good things. We have great vibes about joining the Demand family (they have Beer Fridays too). Together we believe we’ll be able to build on our current success and totally kick @$$! We’re happy to have you along for the ride because at the end of the day, it always has been and always will be about you, the customer. Cheers from your favorite beer drinking nerds at name.com!
Oh, and if you have any doubts about us changing, fear not – we’ve already implemented a fail safe to make sure that doesn’t happen. Check it out:
Thanks to Demand for having a good sense of humor. This may have been meant to be.
It’s good to see that a lot of hard working people are getting the attention they deserve. Although I’m not sure if this is how they imagined it.
Gotta say a quick but emphatic THANK YOU to Gregg Moss over at 9News for being awesome and savvy and whatever else it takes to convince your news director that something like this does belong on the news. Oh, and an even bigger apology to the wife of an unnamed employee who could not believe he’d bare his pasty parts on YouTube. It has been of no consolation now that her whole family can see it.
Here you go, the Name.com Cyber Monday Domain Deals ad’s television debut…
The Cyber Monday deal, BTW, has been extended through Friday. Use promo code CYBERFUNDAY for 20% off new domain names and web hosting.
It’s been a big week for Name.com. Entrepreneur Magazine published this golden nugget of juicy goodness about our customer support.
Do they call it Black Friday because it’s truly dark? It’s that time of year you loathe to go out, when people are trampled for TVs and tickle dolls. We’d like to remind you that we’re not going to judge anyone for getting a deal on a flat screen, but we’d also like to say that you don’t need to do anything but hang out at home and be yourself. You don’t need to die for a tickle doll.
This Cyber Monday…YOU DON’T EVEN NEED TO GET DRESSED.
To make that point, neither did we. Because, yes, we’re a company, but we’re not your typical place of business. We’re people. Flesh and blood and, well, flesh. No cover ups or tricky fees. Just happy humans…who know what you want from a customer experience because we know what we want from a customer experience: Deals, customer support, and people we know and trust. We’ve got you covered (seriously, you can borrow our pants).
On November 26th, use the code, ‘CYBERFUNDAY’ for 20% off all new registrations, hosting, and PageZen websites.*
Even better, at Name.com you can be you. You might wonder WHY IN THE SWEET HOLIDAY SEASON IS THIS IMPORTANT? Because when you have ideas, it’s nice to know that we’re here with an easy way to make your website happen. So get a deal on a domain this Cyber Monday. If you run into questions, consider them answered. You wonder if someone will care about your 9-dollar domain, we do. Crikey, WE’RE SITTING HERE IN OUR UNDERWEAR FOR YOU! You can trust that any company that puts itself out there like that isn’t afraid to go the extra distance for the customer.
OK, you don’t need someone shouting any more hype at you. Besides, it’s getting chilly in here.
*Offer expires midnight mst 11/28/12 and excludes .AG, .SC, .JOBS & .INFO registrations.
It’s been a year since it all went down; since David Walsh’s domain name was stolen and we managed to get it back. And it’s been a good year. Since then the word has gotten around, and our intrepid support and domains team are getting the credit they deserve. This article in Entrepreneur Magazine (200k followers…What!?) is written by business consultant and author Erika Napoletano. It’s part of a bigger piece on how businesses go the extra distance to get more customers. It’s nice that by simply being good to people, good things will happen. There’s not all that much sexy about it, unless of course you’re tired of being turned off by bad support. Then it’s so hot it should be the centerfold. Although you can trust we’ll take our time ogling this great piece of writing…
Get Traffic to your site with these SEO Tips
Every search engine has a basic set of rules they use in determining how to rank your blog or website. Learn these rules and help the search engines find your content faster as well rank you higher because you are seen as valuable in terms of content for given keywords. This is all SEO. Wanna get started on learning these rules?
Actually, if you have been following this “get traffic” series, you already have a head start. We’ve been giving you social media tips, tips on engaging your audience, google service tips, and even a quick rundown of 20 methods to try for traffic. Use these methods combined and your already doing SEO, and naturally at that! However, let us give you a clearer perspective on those tips that actually yield SEO and how you can help those little search engine bots find your blog or website.
4 Basics of SEO to get right for traffic:
We introduced you to the methods on keyword research earlier. Google defines a keyword as: “An informative word used in an information retrieval system to indicate the content of a document”. Well if they define it that way – then it’s pretty darn important! Make use of these magical keywords in your post or website title, a few times throughout your content, and even in your images. Keep your images original (psssst – have you noticed I resorted to hand drawing mine?) and then title it including your keyword. You’ll be excited when searching the keyword later and see your website’s image in the image search results.
Remember, my goal is to give you easy tips to immediately try, ones that are FREE. Linking is basically having other blogs or sites link to you and, if you play fair, you’ll thank them by including a link back to them. Don’t forget these other ways of creating links back to your site: Social Media, Social Bookmarking Sites (Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg), and blog directories (Technorati, for example)
Remember, we’re talking FREE methods here, so buying links is not an option in this post. Besides, don’t you think the search engines are aware of this tactic? Be careful not to get ignored! Oh, and for those rogue sites that are linking to you – get help with the new Google Disavow Tool. You can submit to Google the links that you do not intend and it’s not guaranteed, but they are likely to listen and ignore them to improve your rank.
Create and submit a sitemap of your blog or website to tell search engines that you have a new link each time you post. If blogging, check for a plugin on the platform from which you blog on. The easiest example is for WordPress using their Google XML Sitemap. Or, if you run a website, make sure to submit your sitemap to Google WebMaster Tools. If you’re feeling adventurous, then do this for as many search engines as possible. Start by creating an account with each. This process will certainly speed up the time it takes the search engines to find your new content. Meaning earlier than expected traffic. Well, that’s the goal.
All search engines want to provide value to those who search and original content ensures you have value. Google, and similar search engines will index you much lower, if at all, if your content is extremely similar to other web sites. Don’t even think of creating new pages that just link to other pages either. Always give your unique spin on the keyword topic you are discussing. More originality=greater chance of traffic.
In the same vein, be careful of too many affiliate ads on your site. Of course, we hope we are one of them, but ads are considered links away from your site that are not original content. Search engines understand you will have ads – just balance it out with your content.
That wraps up our SEO tips! Our goal was to get you familiar with the basics of SEO. You must practice these tips to become comfortable and watch the changes in your blog or website ranking. Nail them and maybe we can help in the future with a more advanced series!
Anyone tried the new Google Disavow Tool? Let us know how it may have worked for ya in the comments below. Actually, tell us anything you like in the comments below, I’d love to hear from ya’ll!
Whew, that is the last tip we have in this “Get Traffic” series! Check out all your FREE goodies you can immediately try for traffic to your blog or website:
Part 5: The Basics of SEO to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 5 of 5 in a “get traffic” series (that’s what you just finished reading)
Quite simply, affiliate marketing is making money online. Caroline Temple, our Affiliate Marketing Manager, shares how simple it is to pull more income out of the online properties you already have…and it doesn’t even take that much work. This is part 1 of Temple’s quick video tutorial on making affiliate marketing work for you.
The Insightful is posted here every Wednesday, and offers information and advice to entrepreneurs and business ninjas. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for regular informative and entertaining videos.
Using Engagement Tactics to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 3 of 5 in a “get traffic” series
Free Traffic to your site with these Engaging Tips
Engagement. It’s just a little buzzword for describing how you interact with your online audience, both online and even offline. It’s also measurable with the ultimate goal of bringing traffic back to you. It’s funny how the Internet has taken a normal human ability for socialization and has us quantifying our interactions with others, then measuring the outcome of those interactions all in hopes that we can maximize our impact with future interactions. But that is a philosophical debate for another time. Simply, engagement is no different from brick and mortar stores where they talk to their customers, call up their mentors, visit surrounding businesses, and participate in various business associations. All in hopes that the more you put yourself out there, the more business will come your way. Let’s talk about just how to do that on the Wild Wild Webs with our new buzzword – Engagement. (pssst – all methods are FREE)
But before we jump in, I wanted to remind ya this is part of a series for driving traffic to your blog or website – all for FREE. First, we gave an overview of 4 basic tactics for driving traffic. Then we continued the series, by delving into the specifics of our first topic: Social Media. Next up is today’s topic: Engagement. A lot will refer to social media as engagement, which it certainly is part of it, but I’ll provide other, more creative ways of engagement. That discussion begins now…..
5 tips to try today to engage your audience and bring traffic to your site:
1. Blog and Forum Commenting
I’m pretty sure you already are reading blogs that are similar to your niche as well as reviewing specific topics in helpful forums. Get to commenting! Every time. By commenting on other’s blogs and participating in niche specific forums you are interacting with an audience that is targeted to your niche. While commenting use these tips:
-Hopefully you’ve already created a Social Media presence. Most blogs will allow you to comment as your Twitter self – for example. This way, if people are interested in you, they click your avatar and find out information about you -maybe even leading back to your site!
-Leave a thoughtful comment. Avoid: “great post” or “good job”. State specifically what interested you or how the blog enlightened you. These details get attention and give someone a reason to reach out to you.
-Avoid placing a link back to your website in your comment. Most blog commentators or forums will delete your comment if you appear ‘spammy’. Your avatar for commenting should have details on how one can find you online.
If you don’t already have a blog roll you follow, try social sharing forums such as Reddit or Stumbleupon. You’ll quickly come across some you’d like to follow. Bonus: don’t forget to register your blog to these forums to get found.
2. Link back to other sites from your blog or website
If they are checking their analytics, they’ll take notice and most likely visit you. This may lead to a link exchange if they find you relevant. Linking back to you is the ultimate goal here. In this way they share their audience with you, meaning eyeballs to your site.
3. Attend your industry events
Remember our analogy of how brick and mortar stores attend their area business meetings and industry events? Well this is one offline form of engagement that still matters. Begin interacting in person with those who are similar to your niche. With everything so automated lately, a little emotional human interaction will help you to stick out in their minds. People are more likely to work with those they know. Maybe a joint development will come about that shares the audience between you and your new business partner. More visits to your site! Added bonus is the energy you pick up on from the events. You’ll return to your site motivated to make it the best.
4. Install a RSS feed/email subscription on your website or blog
Use the feed and email subscription to remind your traffic that you’re still there. Send them website updates or an email newsletter. Keep in touch with those who are already your visitors in hopes that they will return and just maybe, bring more people to your website. Need help in developing an email newsletter? I got the details for you here: Anatomy of a Weekly Email Newsletter
5. Guest Post
Guest posting is where you write a blog post for another blog. This is in hopes that others will take notice, become interested in what you have to say, and then visit your website or blog. Be careful not to be sales-y in your guest post. It should remain objective and helpful to the audience of the blog you are writing for. Instead, make sure your avatar and ‘about me’ section of the post contain your expertise and the link back to your site or social media channels.
Again, all methods above are the online and offline replacement of the socializing that brick and mortar stores do for bringing in business. Take advantage of these engagement tactics for visits back to your site.
Want more free ways of getting traffic back to your blog or website? Check out the previous two articles in this series.
Next up: We’ll detail some ways of using the various services Google offers for getting your traffic.
Let us know in the comments below if you have anything to add to these tips or ways I did not mention.