Freenom settles Meta lawsuit for $500 million and exits domain business.

Freenom, a well-known company in the domain registration field, has announced this week the resolution of the cybersquatting lawsuit filed against them by Meta last year, committing to exiting the domain name business.

In a statement issued on February 12, Freenom has agreed to pay Meta an undisclosed sum and has declared that it has “independently decided to exit the domain name business”. The autonomy of this decision is questionable, considering that the company lost its ICANN registrar accreditation last year and is believed to have also lost its government contracts to operate the ccTLDs of Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Mali, Gabon, and possibly Tokelau, the latter being its flagship .tk domain.

Meta had accused Freenom of registering thousands of domains similar to its trademarks, including domains like, under the U.S. Anti-Cybersquatting law, seeking $100,000 for each infringement, totaling five hundred million dollars.

Freenom and its co-defendant affiliate network argued in their defense that Meta had access to an abuse API that allowed them to deactivate such domains, but never used it. Additionally, they claimed that many of the domains in question had already been closed by the time the lawsuit was filed.

It seems that the names in question were registered by abusive third parties and later claimed and monetized by Freenom under its free domain business model, making its TLDs some of the most abused in the world.

However, the claims of both parties will not be examined in court. The last court filing, dated late December, indicated that both parties would enter into mediation, and this week Freenom issued the following statement:

“Freenom today announces that it has settled the lawsuit filed by Meta Platforms, Inc. on confidential monetary and business terms. Freenom acknowledges Meta’s legitimate interest in asserting its intellectual property rights and protecting its users from fraud and abuse.”

“Freenom and its related companies have also independently decided to exit the domain name business, including running registries. As Freenom winds down its domain name business, it will treat the Meta family of companies as a trusted noticer and implement a blocklist to address future phishing, DNS abuse, and cybersquatting.”

Meta indicated in its Q4 Adversary Threat Report this week that the agreement demonstrates that its approach to addressing DNS abuse is working.

Freenom’s gTLD domains have been transferred to Gandi. It is less clear what will happen to its ccTLD names, although rumors on social media suggest that the company has been granting free nine-year renewals to registrants in affected ccTLDs.

via: Domain Incite

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