Two applications for “dot-brand” new gTLDs were pulled last week.
General Motors has withdrawn its bid for .gmc and Hartford Fire Insurance Company dropped .thehartford.
Both bids had been assigned priority numbers in ICANN’s prioritization draw last December, but neither applicant had purchased tickets, suggesting a lack of interest in operating the TLDs.
The withdrawal of .gmc at this time, less than two weeks before the publication by ICANN of string similarity evaluation results, is particularly interesting, and a little strategically puzzling.
There’s an active application by GMO Internet for .gmo, which could conceivably be ruled confusingly visually similar to .gmc.
By pulling out now, GM has lost its right to file a string similar challenge at a later date, and may have lost its ability to win .gmc in all future application rounds too (if .gmo is approved this time around, GMO could claim confusing similarity against future .gmc bids).
But GM still has active bids for the much more meaningful .chevrolet, .buick, .chevy and .cadillac, all of which also have prioritization numbers suggesting GM mainly applied defensively.
Hartford’s .thehartford was its only application.
The two withdrawals bring the total to date to 15, at least 10 of which were dot-brands. There are now 1,915 applications still in play.
The new gTLD consultants involved in the withdrawn bids — which one assumes were mostly filed defensively based on advice received — are a fairly mixed bunch so far.