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Ask Not What ICANN Can Do for You, But What You Can Do for ICANN

CircleID CircleID: In recent weeks, you may have seen several articles asking that "ICANN", the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, move more expeditiously to open up the next application window for new gTLDs. As one commenter wrote "Ask a Board member or ICANN staff when they expect the next application window to open, and they will inevitably suggest 2020 — another three years away. Any reasonable person would agree that eight years for a second application window is anything but expeditious, and some might say potentially anti-competitive." Rather than pointing the finger, maybe it's time to turn the question on its head and ask, "what can we do to help move things forward?"

As one of the co-chairs of ICANN Policy Development Process working on Subsequent Procedures for the introduction of New gTLDs, I certainly understand the requests to move more quickly. That said, we need to stop asking others, like the ICANN Board, to move in a top-down fashion to start a new process when we are not actively participating in the process to enable that new application window to occur in the ICANN multi-stakeholder bottom-up process. We, the community, actually control our own destiny in this regard.

Yes, it has been a number of years since the last round closed. But we, as a community, have all known the milestones that needed to be achieved before the ICANN Board could approve the next application window. Namely, they include completion of the Competition, Consumer Choice and Trust Review (CCT-RT), the ICANN staff implementation review, and the Policy Development Process on Subsequent Procedures.

To date, I would argue that ICANN staff are the only ones that have completed their deliverable, the implementation review. The CCT-RT is several months behind schedule, and the PDP on Subsequent Procedures is making good progress. However, like many PDPs, there is certainly a lack of active participation from those that would like to see the process move more quickly. So rather than complaining to the ICANN Board about the speed of the process, please join the PDP on Subsequent Procedures and actively participate. Submit proposals rather than just complaining about things you didn't like. Respond to questions and surveys when they are released. NOTE: Shortly a Community Comment period will open up with a number of questions on improvements that can be made. This is exactly the kind of opportunity that, with plenty of community engagement, could help move things forward, so please respond in a timely manner.

In short, please help us help you. If you want things to move more quickly, get involved.
Written by Jeff Neuman, Senior Vice President, Valideus USAFollow CircleID on TwitterMore under: ICANN, Top-Level Domains

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Is Nokia’s New Framework Announcement Bringing Us Closer to Truly Smart Cities?

CircleID CircleID: Nokia has developed a framework that will enable governments to implement smart cities. The framework is designed to aid regions to design and obtain services for smart city concepts. However, Nokia states that more emphasis needs to be put on developing an overarching strategy rather than small projects.

The Australian government announced that they are interested in building smart cities, but there are still major gaps in figuring out how to do so. Nokia Oceania CTO Warren Lemmens said, in an interview for ZDNet, that cities are currently not equipped for the digital future and are being left to solve the problem by themselves.

To address the issue, Nokia is suggesting an approach on a government level, where states and territories will work in conjunction with an overarching federal government program, allowing cities to focus on their specific needs.

The Concept of a Smart City

What Nokia has in mind is quite amazing — their six-point framework is using a horizontal approach. This means that Nokia is developing a horizontal Internet of Things platform (IoT). In short terms, IoT will be used to connect every device together. The platform called IMPACT (Intelligent Management Platform for all Connected Things) will manage every feature of machine-to-machine connections (M2M) for any protocol, any device and across any platform.

Nokia's framework will institute one single City Digital Platform for all cities. This platform will help devise a new federal program for innovation that focuses on data. It's a beginning of a more collaborative approach between government, businesses, academia and startups that will cornerstone smart cities. This will assist the public-private partnerships for the improvement of smart cities, eliminating the current tendency to separate device, data and application environments — and ensuring the personalization of each city under the program.

What Nokia is trying to do is gather everyone of importance to work together and contribute to turning the smart city concept into a reality, sooner rather than later.

Smart Cities in the Future

Many of you are probably wondering what will smart city look like in the future. Well if you're thinking about flying cars and teleportation fields, you're going to be disappointed. Smart city will be a hub of information, IoT devices and all kinds of algorithms and scans that will make the city livelier. This won't involve tearing down the old buildings and building them again from scratch. Instead, it will focus on improved urban planning like vertical gardens, new buildings with implemented smart technology and various other gadgets. The point is that a smart city will utilize the digital economy and IoT will be the main distributor of data and information.

According to Nokia: What the discussion about smart cities should focus on, should be data. Silos need to be broken down in order to leverage data, so it could be collected and shared between governments and business. This will improve personalization because we'll find out how businesses and citizens use the city.

Nokia also said that every city needs a "control center" to collect and utilize this data to drive this personalization.

Lemmens said that an operations environment — which consists of three separate layers: application, service, and infrastructure operations, with security "straddling all the operation layers" — should be used in conjunction with this control center.

What is Next?

Basically, the smart city will focus on personalization through the IoT devices. This is quite exciting, because of the possibilities that come with this concept. It is quite possible that cities will prosper based on personalization, digital economy and startup business will flourish with this new trend. It is safe to assume that startup business will have to build new business plans to fully make use of this new market. Another interesting feature that we can look forward is the personalization itself. How will it affect and aid the common person and what benefits we might expect from it?

Sadly though, we can only guess at this point, because the smart city is still a project in its infant stages. We shall have to wait patiently and see how the situation will develop further. Nokia's intentions have stirred everyone's imaginations, we can hope that Australia will further endorse this venture, and maybe even speed up the process a bit. After all, if this concept succeeds, we can expect smart cities all over the world to embrace this concept.
Written by Nate Vickery, ConsultantFollow CircleID on TwitterMore under: Internet of Things

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Could a Vanity URL Strategy with Your .Brand Be the Key to Supercharging Your SEO?

CircleID CircleID: I feel incredibly lucky to work every day with some of the biggest, most recognised and most innovative organisations from around the world on developing strategies for their .brand TLDs.

In this capacity, I also have the privilege to meet some of the most knowledgeable and forward-thinking experts in branding, digital marketing, web development and technology, to name a few.

One such person is the brilliantly talented Matt Dorville, Content and SEO Strategist for Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Matt is widely regarded as a leading global SEO expert and develops SEO strategy for MLB.com, NHL.com and all 61 clubs within as well as advising on SEO for Major League Baseball Advanced Media partners both domestic and internationally.

Matt has some fantastic insights related in particular to recent changes in Google's treatment of vanity URLs, and in particular how using vanity domains within your .brand can supercharge your existing site's SEO ranking.

Vanity URLs: no longer a risk

Matt explains that many SEO managers have shifted their view on vanity URLs as an SEO strategy due to changes in Google's search algorithm.

"In the past, while vanity URLs were frequently seen as a viable strategy for generating quality links and building one's website, there was often conflict with this decision. Many SEO managers tended to request that their sites shy away from vanity URLs, as redirecting each vanity URL redirect resulted in a loss of around 15 percent of the link strength," writes Matt.

"However, recent changes to Google combined with the continued global emergence of .brand TLD usage opens up a new strategy that shows great potential.

"On July 26th 2016 Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes made the announcement that 30x redirects no longer lose PageRank, which was a significant shift in the underlying algorithm. You can hypothesize that Google did this for a great many reasons, no doubt their ongoing campaign to encourage websites to migrate to https being a large factor in this."

It's all about amplification

Matt explains that since Google changed its algorithm to no longer penalise 30x redirects in search, vanity URLs redirecting to deeper content within a site could provide a fantastic opportunity for further amplification of links and therefore an increase in SEO strength.

Using vanity URLs with your .brand allows:

the marketing team to get the URL with the product name they want,
the development team to avoid a lot of work getting the consumers there, and
SEO to gain strength both on the landing page for the campaign as well as use the link building to strengthen the entire site.
"The recent change in 301 redirection is significant news and a vanity URL within a .brand domain should provide excellent benefits in broadcasting on social as well as generating links to the domain through amplification. The simplicity of the vanity domain, most times pairing up the product, action, or campaign with .brand should be able to tie in with marketing to increase SEO strength on both the landing page and the entire site, and generate traffic through organic and social channels."

Why is this relevant for .brands?

According to Matt, .brand TLDs have even greater potential to capitalise on vanity URL strategies for five main reasons:

Direct navigation for customers with simpler URLs that take visitors directly to deep content within a website
Flexibility to change where a vanity URL directs as your business or the market changes
Global benefits with the ability to geo-locate visitors and send them to the most relevant content
No more availability issues as you own the entire namespace and won't spend a fortune acquiring domains
Focus on products and campaigns with stronger calls-to-action that directly tie keywords to your brand.
"For .brand owners — the companies with no limitations to what names they can register with their own extension — this is interesting, as the results of this change now open the door to making vanity URLs an excellent strategy for marketing campaigns and link building. With vanity URLs that are either temporary (302 redirect) or permanent (301 redirect) now transferring link strength as much as a direct link to the site, the opportunity to use a vanity URL strategy with your .brand is now squarely back in focus."

Matt Dorville and Tony Kirsch will both feature on a panel of experts discussing .brand TLDs in a webinar hosted by ClickZ Intelligence next week. More information and registration details can be found here.
Written by Tony Kirsch, Head of Professional Services at NeustarFollow CircleID on TwitterMore under: Domain Names, Web

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Don’t be afraid to drop some domains, just make sure to do this one thing when you do

Morgan Linton Morgan Linton: This might end up being my shortest blog post of the year, at the same time it emphasizes one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned buying and selling domain names for the last ten years. And yes, the title really does say it all… “Don’t be afraid to drop some of your domain names” Now […]

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Get em While they Last! NP’er NameClerk Serving up (free) Available .com Lists

NameTalent NameTalent: I subscribe to several types of threads on NamePros forum and one of them has become quite active in the last few weeks.  Bill E, of NameClerk.com has been posting available .COM lists for several years now on his NamePros thread: Get em While they Last! Available .coms. Bill’s posts almost always have a good […]

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SBI, One of India’s Largest Banks, Switching Its Domain to Branded TLD, bank.sbi

CircleID CircleID: The State Bank of India (SBI) has announced it will be switching its domain name from "sbi.co.in” to the branded "bank.sbi", according to various news sources. SBI is the first banking organization in India to move its online presence under a new gTLD. With the switch to the branded TLD, SBI has said it aims to simplify the digital experience of customers and bring in enhanced security against phishing and lookalike websites. "SBI being the largest bank has always been the pioneer in adapting new technology. SBI has always believed in providing high-tech yet secure internet experience to its customers. Bank's own gTLD is another step in this direction," SBI's Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya said in a statement.
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Hacked ICANN Data Still Selling on Black Market Years After Breach

CircleID CircleID: "Three years after hackers used a spearphishing attack to successfully gain access to internal data at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the data is still being passed around and sold on black markets for $300, complete with claims that it’s never been leaked before," reports Patrick O'Neill in CyberScoop. "The 2014 breach allowed hackers to take ICANN’s internal emails and wiki, its administrative data files, its blog and the Whois portal. ICANN, which has been the target of many cyberattacks over the years, possesses much more critical information due to its day-to-day management of top-level domains ... The fact that nothing else slipped out is a testament to good security. But even a little data from such an important organization has black-market value for years."
Follow CircleID on TwitterMore under: Cybercrime, Security

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Interpol’s Michael Moran Receives 2017 M3AAWG Litynski Award

CircleID CircleID:

Michael "Mick" Moran, assistant director of INTERPOL's Vulnerable Communities Unit, was honored at the 39th general meeting of the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group for his personal commitment to this challenging work and for fostering international cooperation to fight online exploitation. Moran, who has helped rescue thousands of child abuse material victims since he started working in the field in 1997, challenged the internet industry to do more to protect innocent children as he received the 2017 M3AAWG Mary Litynski Award.

The M3AAWG Mary Litynski Award recognizes the life-time achievements of a person whose work has significantly contributed to the safety of the online community. In his acceptance presentation and in a video for the M3AAWG YouTube channel, Moran outlined some of the changing strategies in battling child abuse materials and offered suggestions on how the industry can better safeguard its networks.
Follow CircleID on TwitterMore under: Cybercrime, Security, Web

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