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Industry: Internet
Founded: 2009
Headquarters: Prospero House 241 Borough High Street

London, SE1 1GA

Country: UK
Products: Brand Protection, Domain Name Management, Domain Acquisitions, Online Security
Blog: NetNames Blog
LinkedIn: Netnames
Twitter: TwitterIcon.png@NetNamesDomains
Key People
Gary McIlraith, CEO

NetNames is an ICANN accredited registrar which provides domain name management, online brand protection, online security, anti-piracy and acquisitions services. The company is based in London and maintains offices in different locations including Cambridge, Copenhagen, Munich, New York, Nice, Oslo, Paris, Stockholm, Strasbourg and Zurich.

In 2007, NetNames acquired Ascio Technologies and Envisional while INDOM was acquired in 2010. These acquisitions made the company into one of the largest domain name management and online brand protection specialists in Europe.[1]

In late 2011, the company was acquired by private equity firm HgCapital Plc and delisted from the AIM.


  • Domain Name Management- The company provides registration services for gTLDs, ccTLDs and IDNs, buys and sells domain names, facilitates registrant changes, domain auditing and strategic analysis of portfolio as well as application and outsource management for .brand gTLDs. The company also offers account management services such as invoicing, DNS hosting, domain renewals and other services.
  • Brand Protection- NetNames offers anti-counterfeiting services, brand infringement services and reputation monitoring services. In 2009, the company introduced ImageFlare, a new service intended for companies to protect their trademark and logo online.[2]
  • Anti-Piracy-The company provides automatic anti-piracy monitoring and enforcement services by conducting thorough investigations of websites, individuals and organizations as well as the revenue generated from pirated products. The company also provided strategic advice on how companies can resolve their piracy problems.
  • NetNames Security- The company provides online security tools such as SSL Certificates, Trust Seals and DNS Security.

ICANN Involvement

NetNames is active in ICANN. Some of its latest participation was during ICANN's global consultation outreach for the the implementation of the new gTLD program held in London on July 15, 2009.[3] The company also provided comments on the issue of Trademark Protection for new gTLDs in response to the IRT Report. The following comments were submitted to the ICANN forum:[4]

  • NetNames recognized the importance of the IP Clearinghouse to protect the rights of new TLDs and it agreed to the idea that the services should be technically state-of-the-art and support open communication standards. The company suggested that the IP Clearinghouse should be developed through an open competition among service providers.
  • The proposal regarding the Globally Protected Marks List needs a careful evaluation.
  • The IP Claims service is valuable.
  • NetNames accepted that the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) is a feasible concept for a low-cost and rapid method to address problems on infringing domain registrations.
  • The post delegation dispute resolution mechanism is not necessary.
  • The company supported the IRT recommendation regarding the specific requirements for Whois and the expansion for the analysis of string confusion.

Complaints Regarding ICANN's Digital Archery

In a letter addressed to ICANN Chairman Steven Crocker and Cherine Chalaby, Chair of the ICANN New gTLD Program Committee, NetNames General Manager and GNSO Chairman Stephane Van Gelder complained about the digital archery batching system, describing it as a "contentious system", and that it generates applicant confusion. He also said that the system was "created without formal community input and it was "hastily put together" by the internet governing body. He encouraged ICANN to delay the implementation of the digital batching until the ICANN meeting in Prague from June 24-29, 2012, in order to develop a better solution and allow community-wide consultation to develop a fair and equal opportunity for all gTLD applicants in the initial evaluation process.[5] [6] The Digital Archery program was abandoned during ICANN Prague.