DotFree Group

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DotFree Group.JPG
Type: Privately held
Industry: IT Services/Registry
Founded: 2009
Headquarters: Prazska 636, 25241 Dolni Brezany
Country: Czech Republic
Email: (probably not actual)office[at]dotfreegroup.com
Website: (not actual)dotfree.com
Facebook: (not actual)dotFree
LinkedIn: dotFree Group s.r.o.
Key People
Dominique Alexander Piatti, CEO

DotFree Group is a start-up company based in the Czech Republic, it provides free domain names and it is engaged in offering domain name software, domain name registry and consultancy services. DotFree Group was established in 2009 and Dominique Alexander Piatti is the company's CEO. The company claims that there are more than 600,000 free domain names in its portfolio and it is processing more than 15 million DNS requests per day.[1]

.free

DotFree Group originally announced itself as an applicant for .free, however it did not apply through any entity clearly associated with itself.

Previously, in an e-mail interview conducted by Kevin Murphy of DomainIncite, Dominique Alexander Piatti, CEO of DotFree Group confirmed that the company will apply for the .free TLD with ICANN and an individual can register one domain name for free and if the registrant wants to register more domain names, he or she needs to upgrade his/her status to VIP to be able to register as much as 20 domain names. The registration fee for every domain name will be $5 per year. [2] [3] Piatti also revealed that the company's .free project is supported by venture capitalist from Europe and was able to raise EUR 1.25 million funds in 2011. He also added that his company is also generating substantial revenue from is www.cz.cc and Domain Registrar Script projects. [3] One of the investors is John Barta, founder of the domain investment and generation company called Elephant Orchestra.[4]

Pre-Registration

Dot Free Group launched its pre- registration for .free domain names on its website on November 2010. Kevin Murphy reported that any domain name ending in number 4 is not allowed and presumed to be considered premium. [5] At least 158,000 .free domain names has been pre-registered as of May 2012.[6]

Lawsuit

In January 2012, DotFree Group and Piatti were part in a lawsuit filed by Microsoft involving the Kelihos Botnet, which is infecting the computers of internet users. Microsoft alleged that the company violated Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. § 1030), CAN-SPAM Act (15 U.S.C. § 7704), Electronic Communications Privacy Act (18 U.S.C. § 2701) and the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1125). Microsoft claimed that DotFree Group sold at least 3,723 “cz.cc” sub-domains to Andrey N. Sabelnikov, the primary defendant in the case who operates a software development and consulting firm and used the sub domain names to control, operate, maintain and grow the harmful Kelihos botnet.[7] In October 2012, Microsoft voluntarily dismissed its complaints againts DotFree Group and Piatti.[8] In a press statement, Microsoft cleared DotFree Group and Piatti in the Kelihos botnet case and confirmed that they had no involvement in the command and control structure of the virus after reviewing all the evidence that was submitted voluntarily. Microsoft also confirmed that they reached a settlement agreement wherein Piatti agreed to delete or transfer all the subdomains used to operate the Kelihos botnet and for other illegal purposes to Microsoft. Both companies also agreed to work together in developing and implementing create best practices to prevent the abuse of .free sub-domains and to ensure the security of the .free TLD.[9]

References