Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Show Your Support for Frank Michlick, CIRA Board of Directors Nominee

By Zak Muscovitch.

I just showed my support for Frank Michlick, who is running for a position on the Canadian Internet Registration Authority's Board of Directors. He has set up a campaign page here. Many of you know Frank as a domain name industry expert who is always willing and able to share his unique and extensive knowledge of domain names. He would be a tremendous asset to the CIRA Board.

It is crucial for the CIRA Board of Directors to have qualified people who are able to voice the interests of the domain name investor community. The declining growth of the .CA namespace is a tremendously important issue to Canadian domain name investors, and having Frank on the Board will provide a crucial voice on this issue.

If you are a .ca registrant, you are entitled to show your support, and then vote on his candidacy. CIRA will have sent you an email with a link to show your support, together with an ID code and pin number. It takes all of 5 seconds, so please take your time and support a candidate from the domain name community.

Frank's Member Nominee Candidate Statement is reproduced below:

Thank you for the opportunity to submit my application to become a Director on the Board of CIRA. Since 2000 I've devoted my career to Canada’s Internet while living in Ottawa, Toronto and now Montreal with my wife and son.I first became familiar with the Internet in 1993 and registered my first domain name in 1995, culminating in 21 years of experience in the domain and Internet industry. Since then, I have participated in the Internet’s growth from a relatively small community to the invaluable resource it is today.

Being well versed in almost every area of the domain business and I have extensive business & technology experience from building websites and managing servers to working with governments as well as public, private and non-profit companies. I also spent 5 1/2 years as a Senior Sales Engineer at the Canadian wholesale Domain Registrar Tucows/OpenSRS and in 2007 I started DomainCocoon, a consulting business for Domain Investors, Registries, Registrars, Hosting companies and Resellers. My international background and extensive domain industry travels have given me a broad perspective on global domain issues and how the would affect and benefit CIRA.

I have held several leadership roles in the domain community, including acting as one of the managing editors of the industry website DomainNameNews.com. This is a position where I was able to utilize thought leadership skills through analysis of breaking industry news and events. Working together with my fellow editors to become one of the domain industries most important news sources has given me an even greater appreciation of how much can be accomplished through collaboration. These experiences as well as my ability to focus on details while remaining mindful of the big picture, and an ability to quickly adapt and develop expertise in new technology are qualities that would uniquely position me to serve CIRA as a Director on its board.

I am also involved in the most pressing current industry issues including Internet Governance, privacy, security, IPv6, DNSSEC, new gTLDs, the secondary market and the financial health of the domain business. I host Industry gatherings to connect the Canadian domain community. I am passionate about issues of personal privacy and data collection online as well as how emerging Internet technology changes our society. Becoming active on the board of CIRA is an incredible opportunity to participate in shaping Canada's Internet future. Having spent more than the last decade serving the Canadian Internet, I look forward to joining CIRA's board as a director to work together in forming the strategy for the nation’s continued online success. More information about my application for the CIRA Board elections canbe found at http://FrankForCIRA.ca/ - please feel free to reach out to me with your questions and suggestions.

Candidate Resume: https://cira.ca/sites/default/files/public/frank-michlick-cv2016.pdf

Answers to Mandatory Questions:

1. Why do you want to be on CIRA’s Board of Directors?

Having worked with the Internet since 1993 with a focus on Canada since 2000, I welcome the opportunity to use my extensive experience combining technology and business in order to help shape the development of CIRA, .CA and the Canadian Internet. I have worked with a number of online organizations as an employee, manager, board member, working group member and entrepreneur and have participated in the Internet's growth from an experimental community of early adopters to the thriving, global industry it is today. Working with CIRA as a member of the board would allow me to use the unique skills I have acquired in the domain Industry to assist the organization in the successful adaption of new technologies. Much of my work was within virtual organizations and utilized social media in order to connect with stakeholders, investors and customers. I want to use my experience to bring CIRA, its members and all of Canada closer together to help shape the future of the Internet.

2. What specific skills or experiences do you have that make you a qualified candidate for the CIRA Board?

I'm able to understand technical and business needs, thus I am able to bring both worlds together to create the best results. In my professional live I've worked with a number of governments, public and private companies and a number of non-profits. Having registered my first domain name in 1995, I've got many years of experience working with domain names. Aside from having worked in web development, hosting, I also spent 5 1/2 years as a Senior Sales Engineer at the Canadian Domain Registrar Tucows/OpenSRS. Since 2007 I own and run a consulting business for Registrars, Domain Investors, Registries, Hosting companies and Resellers called DomainCocoon Inc. I also participate in ICANN and IETF working groups, since Internet Governance and policy development are important to me. While working in the industry, I've developed a vast and varying network of contacts which helps me to gather and distribute knowledge.

3. What do you feel are the top three challenges and opportunities facing the .CA domain name space over the next three to five years?

a) Declining growth.The declining growth rate for .CA registrations over the last year is a concern, especially compared with the market saturation and industry growth overall. Increased competition through the introduction of new gTLDs is one factor in this challenge. b) Political Challenges Censorship & Surveillance initiatives and Net Neutrality affect the industry and internet users and there's a continuous push from governments that affect internet access, i.e. bills like C-51, the order of a BC court for Google to remove certain search engine results worldwide or the call to Quebec ISPs to censor specific websites. c) Lack of membership /lack of participation/involvement of membership I would like to find and explore more ways to grow CIRA and for members to be involved in decisions outside of the board elections to involve more of the stakeholders. The Canadian Internet Forum and public consultations are a great start, but should be expanded on.

4. What specific actions do you propose that the Board of Directors could take to overcome the challenges and/or take advantage of the opportunities presented?

a) Declining Growth CIRA must continue and increase their efforts to rekindle growth in registration numbers. CIRA's plans to support applications for city TLDs in the next new TLD round (.Montreal, .Toronto and .Calgary) is a great proposal to widen the offering. The challenge is, will CIRA be able to focus on the new ventures while continuing to pay the required attention to .CA itself? .CA has to be the first priority for the organisation. b) Political Challenges Continue to speak out on issues that may affect the freedom of the internet and communication. Seek dialogue with regulators and legislators in order to offer expertise. c) Lack of membership /lack of participation/involvement of membership I would like to find and explore more ways to grow CIRA and for members to be involved in decisions beyond the board elections.

Monday, June 20, 2016

DomainNameWire's Latest Podcast: Domain Name Leasing and Options

By Zak Muscovitch

I am relatively new to podcasts - listening to them, and certainly being interviewed on one, so I was very excited to be interviewed by Andrew Allemann for his DomainNameWire.com podcast.

If you are anything like me, you visit Andrew Allemann's excellent domain name news website, about a dozen times a day to keep on on domain name industry developments. Andrew recently wrote that he had a positive experience in closing a domain name option deal, and reached out to me to join him for the interview.

If you have thought about domain name leasing or optioning yourself, or wonder what it involves, listening to this podcast is a great and easy way of getting quickly up to speed on the dynamics and issues surrounding the basics of domain name leasing and options. We cover a lot of the pitfalls and considerations, particularly from a domain name owner's perspective. You will hear about due diligence, various structures available for domain name leasing, escrow of domain names, determining payments, risk management, leasing disputes, and other interesting issues.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Planning on Going to India for DomainX or ICANN?

By Zak Muscovitch.

Two big upcoming conferences are taking place in India; DomainX in August, and ICANN in November. I have been to India twice now, with my most recent trip being August, 2015, for DomainX. I plan on going for my third trip this August, for DomainX 2016. Here are five observations/tips about traveling to India for a domain name conference:

1.    The Next Billion People on the Internet to Come from India

 According to former ICANN CEO, Fadi Chehade, with the next billion people on the Internet likely to come from India, the country has the power to shape the future of the Internet. “India is central to what the Internet is at the global level... India is not simply getting into the digital world. The country is already an incumbent, a driver in the digital world in every sense of the word”, Mr. ChehadĂ© said speaking at an event in India in March, 2015.   As I wrote and explained in my previous Blog post, all the evidence points towards India becoming the leading Internet powerhouse as a result of its highly educated, English speaking, young, dynamic, and massive workforce. If your business has the potential to expand into the Indian market, there is no better place to start than visiting India yourself. The .in market is showing a lot of promise and there is substantial growth in the number of Indian domain investors in many extensions. It could be "the next China" in terms of the huge potential demand for domain names amongst a population of 1.3 billion people who are only now getting online. Currently only about 20% of India's populace is online, and it is increasing by about 14% per year.

2.   Use Your Points from Buying Thousands of Domain Names on Your Credit Card

You probably have a ton of points saved up from buying thousands of domain names on your credit cards, so it may be time to burn them on some flashy flights. Aside from India's national carrier, Air India, and its other major airline, Jet Airways, two of the world's greatest airlines fly to India; Emirates and Etihad. Both Emirates and Etihad a380 aircraft feature showers in their first class cabins, and there are even bars in business class, and both  are available via points redemptions. I had the time of my life flying on Emirates on my first trip to India. For more information about redeeming your points for flights, you can read a blog called, One Mile at a Time.

3.    Take a Tour of India and see the Taj Mahal

If you are going to India on business, tag on a tour to see some of India. DomainX 2016 will be held in Delhi, and ICANN will be held in Hyderabad. Delhi is a major hub for Internet businesses, as is Hyderabad, which has earned the Moniker, "Cyberbad". Hyderabad was the location of the first DomainX conference, in 2014.

Both cities have a lot to offer in terms of sightseeing. In Delhi you can visit the old Delhi market, the Indian parliament buildings, and Humayun's Tomb - all impressive sights worth seeing. But a few hours' drive from Delhi, you can see a true Wonder of the World - The Taj Mahal. Now, I live near Niagara Falls, and to be honest, it has nothing on the Taj Mahal. It is simply mind-blowing in terms of its architecture and what was involved in building it. DomainX will be taking some attendees on a tour of the Taj Mahal on August 6, 2016, but you can also go on your own, and it is a relatively short drive away on a new highway. In Hyderabad, it is worth visiting the Taj Faluknuma hotel, which is one of the great hotels of the world. It used to be a palace owned by the richest man on earth. He kept a diamond so big that he used it as a doorstop.

But aside from these two great cities and Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located, also take the time to visit some wonderful places like Udaipur, Rajasthan, Kerala, Mumbai, and the other many incredible places throughout India. Udaipur is where part of Octopussy was filmed - at the Taj Lake Palace hotel - as you may recall from the below picture.

4.     Enjoy the Indian Food with New Indian Friends

When networking at DomainX or ICANN, be sure to make some new friends who can show you some genuine Indian cuisine at local favorites. At DomainX 2015, I met one fellow who put me on to my all time favorite restaurant, Punjabi By Nature, which despite the somewhat odd name, featured incredible north Indian cuisine, such as marinated and grilled leg of mutton. Wherever you go, you will see "Thalis" on offer, which are set dinners of various dishes, available in vegetarian and non-veg, such as the one depicted below:

5.   Learn About Indian History

Before you go, take some time to research the amazing history of India through documentaries and books. The most fascinating documentary on the subject that I saw, was Michael Wood's "The Story of India". Nobody does documentaries like the BBC. Also, go back and watch the Gandhi movie with Ben Kingsley, which is extraordinarily well done, and will mean a lot more to you once you visit India for yourself.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Bring Your Domain Name Leasing Questions to Namescon® 2016

By Zak Muscovitch.

Last year at Namescon, my Domain Name Leasing Workshop was (to my surprise) packed, and attendees got to go through an entire domain name lease agreement with me. Attendees also received an annotated domain name lease agreement, which contained explanatory commentary about the provisions of a typical domain name lease agreement.

This year at Namescon® 2016, I will be joined by eminent domain name attorney and friend, Karen Bernstein from Berstein IP in New York City, and we will be going deeper, and discussing domain name leasing issues together with all attendees. It will be an informal session where you can bring your basic and advanced questions and have a discussion with us about common issues that arise in domain name lease transactions. You can even pose specific questions about particular issues that you have encountered or are concerned about and Karen and I will do our best to answer without providing any actual legal advice! :)

The session is on Sunday, January 10, 2016, at 12:00 noon, and is called "Table Topic C: Leasing a Domain".

In preparation for the session, you may want to watch my interview on DomainSherpa, where Michael Cyger and I provided an unprecedented examination of domain name leasing issues, in remarkable detail. Michael sure went into specifics as is his trademark style, and I think viewers got to learn a substantial amount about domain name leasing.

By watching the DomainSherpa presentation before Namescon® 2016, you will familiarize yourself with the issues and procedures of domain name lease transactions, so that when you come to Namescon® 2016, you may be able to ask follow up or more specific questions about domain name leases from two experienced attorneys, Karen and myself. You can also download a copy of the annotated sample 'Domain Name Lease Agreement with an Option to Purchase' here, from the DomainSherpa website (which was originally distributed to Namescon® 2015 attendees.

I look forward to meeting you at Namescon® 2016, and will also be available at my Network Lane Table on Sunday, January 10, 2016, for informal chats and to meet old and new friends. See you in Vegas!