Pool.com Launches 'Open Listing Service' to Support Registrar-Based Re-Sale, Auctioning of Internet Domain Names

OTTAWA, Ontario--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 7, 2004--

Open API, Terms Provide Improved Intellectual Property Protection, Equal Access, Market-Based Auction Pricing and Robust Back-End Technology

Pool.com, a leading provider of Web domain name backordering services, today announced a new "Open Listing Service" (OLS) to provide ICANN-accredited registrars of any size and any registrant the opportunity to sell or buy domains for the highest value and with the best rights protection in a competitive, open-market, open-architecture environment. The OLS is a technology platform and set of market services that support the resale, auctioning and re-registration of domain name addresses.

Pool.com helped create and then lead the backordering business that now generates about $60 million a year in revenue. Much like real estate, Web addresses have become important parts of a company's investment portfolio. But unlike real estate, where resale value has long been well understood, it took companies like Pool.com to establish the secondary domain name market. And now, according to the company, registrars and domain name holders want to play more of a role.

"We are moving from solely being a customer-facing backordering services company to one providing an open, back-end technology platform," said Taryn Naidu, general manager, Pool.com. "We are offering registrars of any size a centralized location to list their domains for sale and the ability to develop their own, unique interface for their customers."

The OLS breaks new ground in the vibrant backordering business. But not only does the new service meet the needs of an increasingly sophisticated market, it is in sharp contrast to proprietary solutions likely to be offered by the largest registrars.

"When Network Solutions announced a month ago it would retain expired domain names and not release them into the open market, it sought to impose a system that will unfairly extend the value of the near-monopoly it enjoys over '.com' addresses," Naidu said. Network Solutions is owned in part by VeriSign, the sole ICANN-appointed registry for the ".com" top level domain (TLD) address.

The OLS is designed to maximize domain name holder value, while encouraging similar levels of rights protection and transparency afforded by practices such as the Redemption Grace Period and Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Process instituted over the years by ICANN and such groups as WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization.

From a legal standpoint, the news from Network Solutions is another attempt by VeriSign and its affiliates to undermine a free market. The unilateral change in policy was one of a number of reasons Pool.com, along with 99 other plaintiffs, sued VeriSign last month for damages in excess of $150 million.

The lawsuit and the launch of the Pool.com OLS are separate matters moving down the same path, said Naidu. "If ICANN had said 'no' as it should have to VeriSign's anti-competitive actions, the suit would not be necessary. But, in fact, on September 21, the organization issued an advisory that seemed to endorse the move." Naidu based his opinion on ICANN saying that Network Solutions needed only to modify its registrant agreement to qualify as consent required.

In contrast, the Pool.com OLS builds back in consumer protections that the Network Solutions' plan will eliminate.

"Right now, there is a redemption grace period (RGP) that gives trademark and TLD rights holders the opportunity to maintain a Web address that may expire," Naidu said. "The Pool.com OLS will encourage participating registrars to commit to a 30-day hold on re-sale and thereby emulate the protections afforded by the RGP."

Naidu added that such an approach respects the trademark and copyright laws that could be undercut by the Network Solutions proposal.

Pool.com is currently in discussion with a number of registrars who recognize the value of an open alternative. The company said that as registrars join the OLS, it will generate the kind of productive network effect seen on the Internet itself.

"A monopoly position cannot withstand the power of innovation," Naidu said. "The OLS gives every registrar the opportunity to deliver real value for its customers and its shareholders without any loss of control."

About Pool.com

Pool.com is a leading company in the domain name backordering and secondary market sales. It offers a complete set of acquisition, direct and auction sales, domain security and DNS management as well as the technology to create it. Headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Pool.com is a member of the Momentous.ca family of online enterprises, providing customers with high-quality, high-value online services. The OLS API is available at www.pool.com; questions can be directed to OLS@Pool.com.

Contacts

Zeno Group for Pool.com
John Berard, 415-845-4388
john.berard@zenogroup.com