Its been an interesting couple of weeks for the .XYZ registry.
It all started when Domainincite.com published a post on October 12th, talking about that .XYZ might block almost 40,000 domain names at the registry level on the request of China. That number of 40,000 words and phrases seemed to be reduced down to 12K in a Twitter post that now seems to have been deleted.
Since the Domainincite post, several publications and organizations jumped on .XYZ for seemly to agree to ban domain names at the request of China.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), published a post on October 22, entitled “By Accepting Chinese Censorship of Domains, Registry xyz.com Invites More”
In its post the EFF said in part:
“”Domain registry xyz.com has put in a proposal to ICANN [PDF] that would see it automatically censoring new domain names that match a Chinese government blacklist. Industry news site Domain Incite has reported that this puts perhaps close to 12,000 banned words and expressions onto the blacklist, thereby preventing terms such as the Chinese words for “democracy” and “human rights” from being registered within any of the company’s top-level domains—which include .xyz, .college, .rent, .theatre, .protection and .security. This will apply not only to Chinese registrants, but to registrants worldwide.”
“”xyz.com’s casual acceptance of Chinese censorship of its domain space provides an open invitation to China and other governments to apply more pressure on registrars and on ICANN itself to further limit the expression of speech through domain names. In the long term, this will only further erode the ability for users to express themselves online, by registering domain names that describe or complement speech hosted at that domain, or are a short and pithy speech act in themselves.””
However today the XYZ registry put out a post of its own entitled; “XYZ Stands for Democracy”
“”Starting this weekend, there have been a number of articles published with inaccurate information regarding our upcoming accreditation in China. Speculation exists that there is some kind of banned list being driven by the Chinese government. This is not true. There is no banned list. There are no restrictions to registering a .xyz domain, with the exception of Specification 5 of the Registry Agreement, which all new domain extensions are bound to.”
After the statement from .XYZ registry, The EFF updated their post with the following:
“Update, November 4: The CEO of .xyz has written to deny that any domains would be blocked by their registry, as their proposal had suggested. Whether this had been a miscommunication in the proposal, or is a reversal of their previous position, we welcome the now unambiguous statement by .xyz that Internet users in China and worldwide will be free to register strings that offend the Chinese government in any of the .xyz registry’s top-level domains.”
Fortune jumped on the band wagon with a post of its own published today November 4th entitled; “Google Faces New China Censorship Problem” which said in part:
“A new domain service called “.XYZ” is under fire over an alleged censorship contract with China that will forbid anyone around the world from registering thousands of words like “liberty,” “1989” and “democracy.” The controversy highlights a growing trend of countries finding ways to censor the Internet across national borders and could create an ethical dilemma for Google which uses the XYZ domain for its holding company Alphabet. (ABC.XYZ)
However later today Fortune updated their story after the .XYZ Registry statement:
“Update: On Tuesday afternoon, XYZ published a blog post vigorously denying the allegation. The post states in part: “This is not true. There is no banned list. There are no restrictions to registering a .xyz domain, with the exception of Specification 5 of the Registry Agreement, which all new domain extensions are bound to.”
The Wall Street Journal published an editorial on November 1st, entitled “China Censors Your Internet”
In that story WSJ states in part:
“In October, Los Angeles-based XYZ.com, which operates several new Internet domains, made a deal with the Chinese government under which it will enforce Beijing’s censorship globally. The registry will let China ban domain names everywhere based on Beijing’s blacklist that includes “freedom,” “liberty” and “democracy,” as well as any reference to the Tiananmen massacre.”
The WSJ post went on to say:
“Here’s how that will work in practice: Liberty University can use liberty.edu, but not liberty.xyz. Likewise, the foundation that funds the statue can use statueofliberty.org, but not statueofliberty.xyz.”
Well tonight I got copied on an email from a domain investor, Joy Antony of India, who owns the domain name Liberty.xyz along with what he says are over 2,000 other .XYZ domain names.
Mr. Antony says in the email “for your information, I am a domain name investor with 2000+ .xyz names and I sold 36 numbers of .xyz names until now for total $18,500. I got big profit from .xyz investment. (one of my sold name, rally.xyz for $2,000 mentioned on today’s DNjournal.com sales report).
Also I plan to develop more websites using my .xyz domain names.”
As for the other example’s of domain names that would be blocked by .XYZ from being registered cited by both the Wall Street Journal in its editorial and Fortune in its post; Freedom.xyz has been registered since May 2014 under privacy.
The domain name Democracy.xyz has been registered since June 2014, and is owned by Davit Gasparyan of Glendale, CA.
Statueofliberty.xyz is owned by someone in Texas and was registered in June of this year.
It looks like neither Fortune nor the WSJ checked to see whether these domain names were already registered before publishing its scathing editorial on the .XYZ registry blocking domain names on the request of China.
Stay Calm Internet, Stay Calm.
And check the whois first.