ICANN, the regulatory body of the internet’s domain name system (DNS), recently issued a warning to the public revealing that it’s systems were allegedly hacked by an opportunistic cyber-criminal. Having issued a public warning stating that usernames and passwords were retrieved by an unauthorised person, ICANN urged the online community to stay vigilant and immediately change any saved passwords as a pre-emptive security measure.

The following statement was issued by the organisation on the 5th of August,

‘ICANN has reason to believe that within the last week, usernames/email addresses and encrypted passwords for profile accounts created on website were obtained by an unauthorised person’

Whilst investigations continue, it is strongly recommended that all subscribers to ICANN’s website reset their password. They further emphasised that using the same username and password on other online accounts increases security risks. In essence, It is highly recommended to avoid using the same password and usernames for different online accounts. This security approach applies to both professional and personal accounts.

As part of any organisation’s digital brand protection strategy, dotNice further reiterate the importance of using unique encrypted usernames and passwords for all company accounts. As enterprises become more and more aware of cyber-security and potential threats, starting off with basic security measures should be enforced throughout any business, whether large or small.

The security breach comes at a crucial time for ICANN as plans are underway for the US government to relinquish it’s oversight of the DNS and relegate the responsibility to ICANN. This handover is expected to happen in March 2016 when Fadi Chehadé, President and CEO of ICANN, plans to step down from his position.

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Fadi Chehadé, CEO of ICANN recently announced to the public that he would be resigning from his position in March 2016. Following this revelation, ICANN’s Board of Directors have established a committee to source and assess potential candidates.

Candidate Profile

ICANN requires a public interest-minded leader with a combination of business, diplomatic and organizational skills to assume the leadership of a successful multi-stakeholder organization. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate to the highest degree possible the following experience and skills. These have been grouped in no particular order under several headings that embody the multi-faceted nature of the role:

ICANN seeks candidates motivated to increase the effectiveness of the global Internet for the benefit of all.

Management and Operational Experience

Solid record of achievement in respected public, corporate, academic service, NGOs, foundations, and/or other public service institutions

Proven record of strengthening, fostering and consolidating operational excellence

Previous experience working with and/or on Boards of non-profit and/or profit organizations

Ability to foster consensus-building

Significant experience of, and achievements in, a multi-stakeholder environment, and an understanding of policy development processes.

Experience in fostering diversity

Strong operational experience running an established organization of substantial size, with ultimate responsibility for all key functions

Success in managing the continued evolution of a dynamic organization, with complex legal issues and significant contractual relationships

Experience in resource allocation and the management of competing priorities

Experience in establishing, strengthening and consolidating business systems and processes

Good negotiator who would be able to represent ICANN and present it well in potentially adversarial environments
Global Experience

Understanding of relevant political and policy processes, with awareness of current Internet issues around the world

The candidate will be expected to work at ICANN’s United States headquarters in Los Angeles, California. Substantial travel will be required.

(For a more detailed job specification please see the link below)


Applicants should submit a current curriculum vitae and a cover letter specifically linking their background and abilities to the candidate profile above. Applications should be submitted by e-mail to:

Attachments should be submitted in RTF, Word, or PDF format.

The period for acceptance of applications closes on 20 September 2015.

For Further information contact:

Odgers Berndtson Assignment Team
Bernard Tobin, Senior Partner,
David Webber, Partner,

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The web has become a notorious channel for fraudsters to sell counterfeit and often dangerous drugs to unsuspecting consumers. Over the past number of years, newspaper headlines had been dominated with genuinely frightening tales of the dangers of purchasing unregulated drugs online. Many consumers are often attracted by cheap, inexpensive deals advertised for such products. But at what cost?

Following on from the precedent set in the US by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NAPB), The European Commission recently proposed a new policy to further strengthen the regulation of online sales of pharmaceutical products. To effectively police the sale of online drugs, they issued a directive stating that a universally accredited hallmark must be clearly visible on all online drug sites. The hallmark itself allows consumers to identify whether the site is certified and legitimate. Only authorised online pharmacies who have proven lawful licenses will be granted this essential ‘seal of approval’.

The European Commission’s decision comes a few months after a similar initiative was promoted by the National Association of Pharmacists of the USA. The association submitted an application on ‘behalf of international pharmacy coalitions and national pharmacy associations to ensure that the .PHARMACY gTLD shall serve as a trusted, hierarchical, and intuitive namespace for legitimate Internet pharmacies’.

Investigations by the association uncovered some startling statistics. After analysing numerous websites selling pharmaceutical products since 2008, they found that more than 96% of the 11,000 sites assessed were non-compliant with United State’s federal law for the sale of drugs. At present, 62% of these sites did not present an official mailing address. In addition, 91% of the sites did not appear to be linked to online networks authorised to sell drugs on the web.

It goes without saying that rogue websites selling unregulated drugs online present great dangers to the health of consumers on a global level. Thankfully, the proposal presented by the European Commission marks a progressive step forward in consumer protection.

This directive will also be of enormous benefit to pharmaceutical distributors in terms of protecting their brand equity, online reputation and digital assets. The decision of the European Commission is ultimately a victory for legitimate online drugs stores in protecting their brand. Ridding the web of rogue sites selling counterfeit drugs ensures that consumers can purchase safe products from genuine and lawful distributors. Trust between consumers and digital brands will be further cemented.

dotNice – Experts in Digital Brand Protection
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Over the past few weeks ICANN has caused quite a stir to businesses and trademark owners alike after announcing it was considering a proposal to force commercial registrants’ to display their identity when registering new domains.
This new proposal would see an end to commercial domain registrants’ ability to shield and hide their identity and rendering their registration details accessible on WHOIS platforms. It comes as no surprise that privacy campaigners are angered by the proposal.

ICANN released the ‘Initial Report on the Privacy & Proxy Services Accreditation Issues Policy Development Process’ on the 5th May, to allow for public comment on some of the points addressed. Some of the key questions raised in the report asked whether or not commercial entities registering domain names for economic and financial purposes should be exempt from privacy rights. Further questions examined what measures and policies would be required to enforce the contactability of the registrants. Furthermore, the report also asked to what extent should full WHOIS reference details be disclosed? The time frame for public comment ended on the 7th of July and at present we are waiting for press release on the report’s findings.

It comes as no surprise that many trademark owners are perturbed by ICANN controversial proposal. The digital landscape is fraught with potential threats to both personal and professional security. Many businesses enforce a policy of proxy registrations as an integral part of their brand protection strategy. The Online Abuse Prevention Initiative, a collective of activists for civil rights and internet anonymity, contend that the proposal would benefit and encourage cyber-criminals, online harassers and internet stalkers allowing them access to the personal details of women and LGTBQ campaigners. They argue it would deprive domain owners of their privacy and security. This type of activity, known as doxing allows confidential data of internet users to be exposed on the web.

Not all enterprises are put off by ICANN’s proposal. Naturally enough, the US entertainment industry is a strong supporter of the proposal as access to registration data will allow them to pursue copyright and trademark infringers with greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness. It would save the industry millions in legal enforcement. For the moment we will have to wait and see what decision ICANN will reach on this matter. Stay tuned for more updates.

dotNice International Limited – experts in digital brand protection
For more information email:

There has been steady progress in the ongoing release of new gTLD’s. With ICANN’s shakeup of the digital landscape, the era of dot com dominance is possibly coming to a close. Optimising your domain portfolio will ultimately benefit your business. By protecting your brand, you can grow your business.

We’ve outlined below the newly available gTLD’s available for public registration for since June and July. Keep an eye out also for the upcoming new gTLD’s in August.

August 2015


July 2015:


June 2015:


To view more New gTLD’s available for registration, click here !

The well established banking institution, Barclays recently revealed that it is turning it’s back on the dot com. TLD and instead will be transferring it’s online presence to .barclays and .barclaycard. The move is motivated by an effort to prevent ‘phishers’ scamming it’s online customers. Over the coming weeks, the Barclays group will cease to use the .com and TLD’s. Chief Information Security Officer, Troels Oerting, stated that the reasoning behind this change ‘ultimately serves to increase trust and confidence in Barclays’ online entities’ and to provide a ‘more secure service’ for it’s customers.

The term Phishing has pervaded newspaper headlines over the past week as a recent report released by the APWG ( Anti-Phishing Working Group) revealed that fraudulent phishing activity reached an unprecedented high in 2014, with a large majority originating from China. The report showed that domain names are more and more being used as a mechanism to ‘phish’ for web users private data and confidential financial information. Popular TLD’s are often the target of phishing attacks as naturally top TLD’s attract the greatest number of web users.

The APWG report also highlighted that phishing attacks have been steadily on the increase across a variety of different industries. Further findings in the report were quite shocking. Phishing attacks increased from 8hours 42 mins in 2014 up to 10 hours and 6 mins, So what explains this exponential rise in this fraudulent activity? Many speculate that ICANN’s new gTLD program may explain the huge rise in phishing attacks globally.

Brands Beware!

With the steady release of new domain extensions from .club to .finance over the past few months, domain names can be purchased at relatively affordable prices. It comes highly recommended that brands who wish to protect their digital assets, reputation and customers should invest in trademark monitoring of all associated company domain names. Such monitoring could save companies enormous revenue loss from opportunistic scammers.

Financial institutions are increasingly apprehensive for the potentiality of online scammers to use their digital assets like domain names to attract and deceive unsuspecting web users.
The Barclay’s group is clearly demonstrating their awareness of the essential need for protecting their digital assets if they are to protect their customers.

dotNice International Limited – Experts in digital brand protection
For more information email:

Digital Brand Protection For Start-Ups

Making your start -up a success is no easy feat. Recently Forbes magazine revealed a bleak truth that 9 out of 10 startups fail. It goes without saying that entrepreneurs face many challenges when developing their business into a thriving successful enterprise. One key feature that arises time and time again regarding the failure of a startup is their inability to garner trust from new customers. Without loyal customers, you have no business. One of the greatest challenges facing brands today is building your brand name into something or someone associated as trustworthy. Building this trust with your prospective customers is a true recipe for success. It naturally makes sense that start-ups should protect their online brand identity.

How can a start-up with limited budgets and resources fully safeguard their online identity and brand integrity?
We outlined a list of precautionary steps below on how to safeguard your digital brand presence without breaking the bank!

1. Invest a Little, Save Alot.

Invest a little time and revenue in developing your domain name portfolio. If your business is expanding into new markets, ensure you have trademarks registered in all countries you operate in. Investing a little revenue in trademark monitoring will help you manage your intellectual property assets proficiently. This will allow you to be aware if some third party is trying to harness your brand equity. It also will allow you to identify any case of infringement.

2. Embrace New Opportunities

Optimise your domain name portfolio by registering appropriate new gTLD’s. When used correctly, domain names can be integrated as part of an effective digital marketing campaign for start-ups with limited funds and resources. In this way you can further develop your digital asset portfolio, whilst also generating web traffic to your website. Two birds, one stone!

3. Stay One Step Ahead: Defensive Registrations.

Following on from celebrities like Taylor Swift, Kevin Spacey and Oprah Winfrey, defensively registering ‘controversial’ domain extensions may save your business huge fortunes down the line. Many enterprises are purchasing the domain extension dot-SUCKS in a bid to ensure that opportunistic domain-squatters or brand-hijackers don’t get the chance. Failing to register your brand name with this controversial gTLD could result in your brand falling victim to online slander, brand-jacking and defamatory abuse.

Alternatively, you can turn something bad into something good. Many online brands are choosing to redirect Web traffic from a .SUCKS domain to a ‘customer service forum’ where customer comments can be voiced. This is an excellent example of turning a bad situation into a good one. This would allow you to always stay informed of what your customers think of your product or service and allows you great opportunity to further enhance your customer relationships. Adopting this ethos when your business is still in start-up phase will definitely contribute to your success.

4. Renew, not Regret

Renewing an expired domain name is considerably cheaper than negotiating a domain sale with a third party. In the long run, renewals are cheaper than legal arbitration proceedings. Many start-ups simply would not have the capital to recover a domain name from a domain squatter. Therefore, It is important to make sure you have enough resources to monitor domain expirations, particularly if you have a global presence.

5. Trademark Trolling

All Startups must monitor the domain names related to their trademark. Failing to do so could result in a domain-squatter or typo-squatter registering a web address. Investing a little capital in trademark surveillance services will ultimately save you potentially huge financial costs in the future.

6. Reputation Reporting

It is essential in todays digitised world for startups to monitor their online brand reputation. Web tracker software can provide valuable insights into the public’s perception of your brand or product. Approximately 8 in 10 American consumers read customer reviews prior to purchasing and item or service. In other reports, it was revealed that 73% of prospective customers considered positive consumer reviews as a deciding factor in making them trust a particular brand. As startups begin to scale, it is crucially important that while you establish your online reputation, you also safeguard it from slander. Maintaining awareness of what is being said in the public space (social media, online platforms and peer to peer networks) will be key to your start ups survival.

Although scaling your startup can seem like a daunting task, implementing some of the steps above will ensure your businesses future success in the digital space. Maintaining a solid digital brand protection strategy will assure that your business will not only survive, but thrive.

dotNice International Limited – Experts in Digital Brand Protection
For more information email:

Surviving in the digital space can pose difficult challenges to business owners. In order for businesses to survive today in the digital world they must have an online presence. It goes with out saying that traditional models of business have dramatically changed with the advent of the internet. The digital age has brought enormous opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs and established businesses alike. The global market is within arms reach with merely a laptop and a solid wifi connection. Unknown performers can suddenly become an internet sensation over night, businesses can increase their global reach into new markets with minimal cost and consumers have greater choice and say in the product they choose, or don’t choose to purchase.

Indeed, the digital space has created unprecedented opportunities for businesses to grow and evolve. However, it also presents brands with novel challenges. Global IP management is complicated and digital technology is constantly changing at an ever increasing pace. Many brand or marketing managers naturally are intimidated by this new, innovative digital landscape.

Savvy, intelligent brands invest time and money into promoting, protecting and growing their brand identity and reputation online. They understand that a brand’s online presence is intrinsically connected to a brands bottom line and survival. However, many organisations have no concrete or focused strategy for managing their most important intangible asset – their online presence.

So, what constitutes a brands digital or online presence?

All brand portfolios today are digital or at least should be.

Smart digital brands view their digital assets (domain names, social media platforms etc…) from a holistic perspective. This all- encompassing approach to brand management as a single entity is at the core of thorough digital brand protection strategies. In order to fully manage your online presence, brands need to monitor and manage their domain name portfolio (gTLD’s , ccRLD’s and IDN’s) track their registered trademarks, supervise social media sites and of course protect all their digital assets from external abuse or internal misuse. The only way to succeed in the digital space is to manage your digital asset portfolio centrally.

All organisations want to protect their brand online at minimal cost. They seek to increase their global reach and break into new markets whilst securing their digital assets against fraudulent online behaviour and cybercrime. This can be a daunting task for brand managers managing established international brands due to the size and complexity of their digital asset or IP portfolio. Scaling smb’s who wish to expand into international markets also find it difficult to implement a digital brand protection strategy. Many can be confused as to where to start. Needless to say, whether you’re a long established global brand or a developing SMB, your enterprises success in any case relies on the effectiveness of your digital brand protection strategy. Ultimately, spending a little will save a lot!

How can intangible assets like digital assets be protected and managed?

Managing your digital asset portfolio involves three key essential steps: monitoring, managing and enforcing.


Are you monitoring all domain names related to your trademark internationally? Trademark surveillance and monitoring are essential in preventing IP infringement or online abuse in protecting your domain names. This ongoing supervision and investigation is crucial when safeguarding your digital assets as it ensures you are aware when third parties attempt to harness your brand equity.

Similarly, who is monitoring your online reputation? Have you implemented tools to gauge online sentiment on social media and peer to peer networks regarding your digital brand? Have you identified any cases of defamation against your brand reputation? Successful supervision of your brand reputation involves monitoring of the whole web. Integrating online monitoring toolkits will allow you to keep your finger on the pulse of public perception pertaining to your brand. Maintaining monthly brand sentiment reports will help you stay on top. A proactive approach is required.

2 Managing:

Enterprises often fail to competently manage their digital asset portfolios as many of the departments responsible for such supervision often work in isolation from one another. Managing digital assets often is the responsibilIty of three key departments within an organisation – a. Marketing/ Brand management, b. Legal or c. IT. In most instances, these three departments generally work in silo’s and fail to communicate with each other. Employing an effective digital brand protection strategy engenders that all three departments work collectively.

When managing a domain name portfolio, communication between all three departments is essential. Using a centralised platform that aggregates all important information about your portfolio will greatly improve management processes. In many cases, outsourcing the management of your portfolio to an experienced and specialist third party often yields better results than internal management.

3. Enforcement

All organisations with an online presence know of the threats that face their digital brand each day. Cybercrime is increasing every year and the expense it can incur for digital brands is enormous. Enforcing a thorough digital brand protection strategy ensures enterprises’ have safeguards in place to defend against instances of cybercrime. It allows them to act efficiently and cost effectively when required. Applying a proactive approach to enforcing your brands online IP rights will safeguard your brands most important intangible assets. Recovering domain names from third parties can be a complex process for those unfamiliar with UDRP. Consulting with legal experts who have extensive experience in this field will save you time and money and ultimately benefit your digital brand.

dotNice International Limited Experts in digital brand protection

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Traditional modes of brand building have drastically changed over the last number of years. In the past, brand building consisted of presenting a refined image of a business or individual, delivered in glossy packaging. Brands had a considerable amount of control in presenting the ideal image or idea. Once upon a time, what was presented was generally believed by the general public. Any potentially negative or inappropriate truths were hidden behind a marketing facade driven by a well oiled PR machine. In todays digital age, the whole nature of brand building has dramatically changed. Today, customers, consumers and individuals worldwide have the opportunity to question everything they are presented with. With the proliferation of consumer forums, social media networks and peer to peer platforms, negative consumer experience can be vocalised and spread virally and ultimately trust in brands can diminish. The transparency of the web is naturally a very positive development in the democratisation of the internet and the freedom of information. It has however created a challenge for many brand owners as they fail to keep up with the rapidly changing nature and fluidity of interaction of the internet. Stuck in traditional modes of brand building, they are failing to adapt to this changing digital landscape.

So what are the potential problems facing brands today in the digital space and what are the subsequent solutions?

Hardly a day goes by without an article appearing on the web debating the pro’s and cons of ICANN’s (Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers) new gTLD program. This program was designed to introduce new generic top level domains like .REVIEWS, .SERVICES, .BUY into the domain name space, the idea being that consumer choice and the nature of search will be optimised to deliver greater accuracy. Some speculate that the release of new domain extensions including .GLOBAL, .CLUB and .BUSINESS will be of great benefit to organisations and consumers alike. Other domain extensions like .SUCKS have been a source of great apprehension for brand owners as they blindly navigate these unchartered waters. No one wants to be associated with a .FAIL now do they?

Many tech savvy celebrities including Kevin Spacey and businesses including Apple, Hershy’s and Microsoft have already purchased controversial domain extensions. By defensively registering these somewhat ‘destructive’ domain names they are preventing any malicious registration by opportunistic cybersquatters. A proactive approach is more cost effective and efficient than a reactive response. In the long run, it is more cost effective to register domain names than to attempt the costly expense of recovering them. The importance of managing digital assets like domain names is clearly demonstrated in the cases listed below.

A perfect example occurred recently with US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Anticipating that Clinton might one day run for president, cyber squatters have held the name for more than a decade, which is valued today at approximately $750,000. is currently retailing for as much as $14,500. Domain names are proving to be lucrative and immensely valuable digital assets not just to politicians and celebrities but also businesses. Indeed nothing confirms this statement more than Taylor Swift’s recent registration of and Maintaining her brand identity online is clearly of great importance as negative association with certain domains could have disastrous consequences.

The power of domain names was also recently exhibited in another recent case when Konrad Juengling (LGBT rights activist) bought up available domain names for various Republicans including Dale Devon, Martin Carbaugh, Don Lehe and Donna Schaibley. Angered by their passing of the “religious freedom’ bill that allegedly discriminates against the LGBT community, Juengling registered and redirected their domain names to a site advocating for the rights of LGBT individuals. Regardless of your personal perspective on this issue, this instance highlights the intrinsic link between brand reputation and domain names. More and more, domain names are being used as political arsenal in online brand battles. It is clear to see that meticulous management of your domain name portfolio is an essential part of digital brand building and indeed digital brand protection.

What proactive steps can you take to make your brand bullet proof?

1. Monitor online trademark registrations in domain name databases globally

2. Submit key trade marks for registration through the Trademark clearing house. This will provide you with up to date notifications when identical domain names are being registered.

3. Conduct a domain portfolio audit. Ask yourself…What domains do you own? Who manages them? Are there any due to be renewed? Are there any domains that you need to register in new markets internationally? Are there domain name to be recovered from third parties?

4. Build a domain name strategy. Harness the positive elements of the new gTLD program for digital marketing campaigns. Develop an effective gTLD strategy to enhance your business and marketing ROI.

5. Register domain names in countries/markets you anticipate you may expand into in the future.

6. Consult with domain recovery specialists to retrieve domains owned by third parties. (Only consult specialists with extensive UDRP experience).

7. Integrate brand reputation monitoring as part of your customer service operations. This will assist in bettering your relationship with your customers and allow your to track your brand reputation internationally.

Maintaining a bullet proof online presence requires ongoing monitoring of both brand reputation and domain names. Failing to enforce a digital brand protection strategy will ultimately affect your digital brand identity at some point or another. A proactive approach will help avoid financial damage or loss of brand equity. Which would you rather be – a .ROCKS or a .SUCKS?

dotNice International Limited – experts in digital brand protection
For more information on domain name portfolio management email:

The release of the .SUCK domain extension has set tidal waves of apprehension across the web. In light of ICANN’s new controversial gTLD program, a common question brand managers, CMO’s and Intellectual Property consultants are asking is…. Does your brand .SUCK? Well established global brands have been eagerly purchasing the new gTLD in the hopes of warding off any haters, domain-squatters or cybercriminals with nasty intent. The domain name extension still remains in the sunrise registration period and will not be available for purchase by the general public for some months.

Over the past few months dotNice have been following the controversy. Just this week Apple purchased , following a long line of brands who have begun defensive registrations of domain names to protect their brand identity and reputation. Other international brands include Citigroup, Monsanto, Facebook, Microsoft and Hersheys to name a few. Celebrities are also hopping on the brand protection band wagon in an effort to safeguard their brand image including Kevin Spacey and the queen of brand management – Taylor Swift.

The real bitterness of the controversy stems from the pricing of the suffix in it’s Sunrise period. The Sunrise period is essentially a grace period where Trademark owners get priority access to a newly released domain name before the suffix is available for purchase by the public. As this point in time, we are three weeks into the a 60 day sunrise period, where only brands whose trademarks are registered in the Trademark ClearingHouse are exclusively able to register this particular domain extension. After this 60 day trial period, the domain extension will be available to anyone and for a considerably lower cost. This is the key issue at stake. Global brands sense they are being backed into a corner and threatened with a ‘pay now or pay further down the line in brand equity’ form of intimation.

Vox Populi Registry were granted the administrative rights over .SUCKS and have been overtly criticised over the pricing of this particular domain extension. It has been argued that the hefty fee of $ 2,499 per year to maintain the domain extension is close to extortion. Brands will have to pay this annually to retain the rights for their respective domain names.

In light of the chaos and uproar that has emerged, ICANN appears to be looking for a way to get out of the mess it helped create. Over the past few weeks they have appealed to the Federal Trade Commission and Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs to distinguish the legality of the whole affair. In the meantime, many brands are holding their breath.

dotNice – Experts in digital brand protection.
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