Directi will soon relaunch .pw, the ccTLD for the tiny Micronesian nation of Palau, as an open pseudo-gTLD.
The official launch of the registry will happen at the ICANN meeting in Toronto next week, according to Directi CEO Bhavin Turakhia, with a sunrise period kicking off in December.
It’s the first TLD for which Directi — an applicant for 30 new gTLDs as well as a top-ten registrar — will act as the registry.
The company will brand the offering around the retroactive acronym “Professional Web”.
Turakhia hopes success will come from a combination of low cost — registry fees are not yet finalized, but will be sub-.com, he said — and the fact that .pw is mostly virgin territory.
“It’s a pretty good pricing model,” he said. “We’re making sure that people have access to desirable names at an affordable cost.”
The company plans to run .pw “exactly like a gTLD”, with standard sunrise, landrush and registration lifecycle policies. It will even adopt the UDRP, Turakhia said.
CentralNic, which already runs subdomain services such as .gb.com and .us.com, has been hired to run the back-end, despite the fact that Directi is using ARI Registry Services for its gTLD bids.
Sunrise is expected to start in early December and run for about 70 days. Landrush will run for a month, starting in February 2013. Pricing has yet to be finalized.
Directi is currently looking for registrars to sell the domains, above and beyond its own network of registrars.
Directi obtained the exclusive license to .pw about four years ago via EnCirca, the registrar that attempted to relaunch .pw under the “Personal Web” slogan in 2004.
The company originally planned to use the second level as a bundled service to tie in with a social networking slash instant messaging product that it was working on, but those plans have changed.
As a result .pw hasn’t been accepting registrations for a while.
Palau is a Pacific island nation with only about 20,000 citizens. As such, .pw doesn’t have a great many legacy registrations.
One such registration is pay.pw, which Directi is using for a payment gateway service.
Turakhia said that six second-level domains have been reserved for Palau’s use: co.pw, ne.pw, or.pw, ed.pw, go.pw and belau.pw. No other two-letter domains will be available.