The first month of 2020 is still young, and ICANN has already announced the termination of the first registrar contract. World Biz Domains, based in Los Angeles, is the company that earned this dubious honor. It could hardly be called the market’s leader: even at its peak the company had just over 5,000 domain names, and to date it is fewer than 100.
The list of ICANN’s pretenses is not short. According to Domain Incite, the company didn’t provide Whois records in the proper format and was regularly behind on its ICANN accreditation fees. However, the suspicious history of several domain transfers to World Biz Domains was probably the main reason such harsh measures were taken.
At the end of 2018, the company suddenly turned out to manage several domains, including 28.net, 68.net, 88.org, sentosa.org and raffles.net. All of them are quite valuable: for example, domains with two numbers are valuable by themselves, especially on the Asian market; while Sentosa is a popular Singapore resort island and Raffles is a luxury hotel network, with the most famous hotel also located in Singapore. Before this, all these domains had belonged to a Singapore investor and been managed by DomainDiscover. World Biz Domains did not disclose the details of the transfer, and the data of the new registrar were hidden by the confidentiality settings. ICANN had been waiting for over a year for a response proving the transfers were legitimate, but got none. The termination of the registrar contract will come into effect on January 22.