They’re BACK! TicketNetwork moves to “corner” the world market by controlling domain names ending with “.tickets”
And now for something completely different…
Tickets TLD LLC, a subsidiary of TicketNetwork Inc., has applied to purchase the “Top-Level Domain” name; .tickets. Tickets TLD LLC, a Delaware company, was registered in Connecticut on April 10, 2012. Tickets TLD LLC uses the TicketNetwork’s headquarters as its business address. TicketNetwork Inc., which is also a Delaware company, was registered, in Connecticut, by Don Vaccaro in 1996,
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), who controls all domain names (i.e. .com, .org, .net), is in the process of selling off additional domain endings.
Tickets TLD LLC is one of five companies angling for control of the domain ending; .tickets
Although ICANN allows the public to comments on applications such as the one put in by TicketNetwork, and the period for making such comments was extended, the period ends tomorrow, September 26, 2012. The link to make comments is: https://gtldcomment.icann.org/comments-feedback/applicationcomment/viewcomments
For many Connecticut residents, TicketNetwork is known as Governor Malloy’s “First Five #2.”
In July 2011, Governor Malloy and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith traveled to South Windsor to give TicketNetwork a $6 million dollar publicly funded economic development package in return for agreeing to create a least 250 jobs.”
Malloy used the event as opportunity to call Don Vaccaro, TicketNetwork’s CEO, a “serial entrepreneur” and claimed Connecticut needed more people like Vaccaro because, “in their very fiber, their very bone marrow, have the ability to come up with great ideas, great concepts, bring to the market place, prove them and grow them.”
The “love fest” would have gone off smoothly, if Hugh McQuaid, of CT Newsjunkie, hadn’t asked Malloy and handlers about the fact that Vaccaro and TicketNetwork were suing the Bushnell’s CEO David Fay because Fay, speaking at a legislative hearing, had referred to TicketNetwork as ticket scalpers. Apparently they prefer to be called ticket resellers, and so they sued the Bushnell for slander.
In addition, Vaccaro was facing a very serious sexual harassment lawsuit from a former employee.
But the Malloy Administration dismissed the concerns, claiming that they weren’t aware of these publicly known lawsuits. Malloy’s spokesperson went so far as dismissing the sexual harassment issue saying it was irrelevant.
Fast-forward to February 2012, and TicketNetwork’s CEO is back in the news, this time for getting himself arrested and charged with a hate crime, threatening, breach of peace, first-degree criminal trespass and interfering with a police officer at an Oscar party at the Real Art Ways in Hartford.
At that point, the Malloy Administration apparently had enough. TicketNetwork announced that it was withdrawing its application for economic development funds and giving up the $6 million in state grants, and Governor Malloy directed Economic Development Commissioner Catherine Smith, “along with Consumer Protection Commissioner William Rubenstein and his top legal adviser, Andrew McDonald, to examine the state’s relationship with TicketNetwork.”
Commissioner Smith told reporters that “After this occasion, if we do another deal with a privately held company, I think, yeah, you’ll probably see us do a little bit more due diligence around both the CEO and potentially other members of the staff.”
Now, comes the late news that TicketNetwork is reaching for world-domination, by purchasing the rights to control the domain name ending, “.tickets”
In their application to control the .tickets domain, Tickets TLD LLC writes, “The .TICKETS TLD would create an easily identifiable Internet space where venues, performers, performances, and booking agents can create websites dedicated to ticketing for any given event, and Internet users know they can go to find precisely the tickets they are seeking. This creates value for registrants in that they can streamline the ticket sales process, offering greater diversity and more targeted value to ticket seekers. Ticket seekers would save time and gain greater access to tickets for events and performances they were seeking.”
By owning the rights to .tickets, Tickets TLD LLC would not only be able to control and sell any domain that ends with the words .tickets, but would be able to, “designate a set of premium domain names” that would be, “set aside for distribution via special mechanisms.”
Public comments to date include endorsements from former New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey, Rufus Edmisten, North Carolina’s former Attorney General and former Secretary of the State, and Connecticut’s own State Representative Tim Larson. Larson writes, “Today I want to add my name to the list of supporters for Tickets TLD LLC to administer .tickets web site requests…The creativity and drive that the employees and leadership of TicketNetwork possess have always been a great source of new innovation and leading-edge technologies in their industry.”
Meanwhile, opposition to the application submitted by Tickets TLD LLC comes from the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC). FAC writes, “We would like to draw the evaluators’ attention to the fact that Tickets TLD LLC, through its parent, Ticket Network, or subsidiaries of Ticket Network or affiliated companies of Ticket Network, has registered 100s of domain names that include artist, sports teams or venue names.”
Another critical comment comes from the group that represents Broadway venues. They claim that, “The parent company of Tickets TLD, LLC is TicketNetwork, Inc., a well-known operator of ticket resale sites. TicketNetwork and its affiliates have registered over 3000 domain names.” The group continues, “We are concerned that TicketNetwork has a long history of registering domains that incorporate the names of Broadway shows. Incorporating the names of well-known Broadway shows and other brands into domain name registrations evidences a disregard for the rights of the owners of these brands. We are of the opinion that the practices of TicketNetwork with regard to domain name registrations make the applicant unfit to be the registry operator of .Tickets.
As noted above, public Comments on the request by the TicketNetwork group to control the domain, .tickets, can only be made through tomorrow, September 26, 2012. The site to make comments is: https://gtldcomment.icann.org/comments-feedback/applicationcomment/viewcomments
A special thanks to a Wait, What reader who sent in this tip.
A search on the word TicketNetwork will bring up earlier Wait, What? posts on this company, its CEO and the their relationship with Malloy Administration.