Public Interest Registry has become the first major gTLD registry to start taking pre-registrations for a not-yet-approved gTLD.
PIR said today that it’s allowing non-governmental organizations to register an “expression of interest” for .ngo and .ong domains.
Pre-registrations are of course free and non-binding. They’re mainly a way to opening the marketing communications channel with customers well in advance of the launch of a TLD.
PIR does not expect to launch .ngo or .ong until 2014. Its ICANN evaluation priority numbers for the two TLDs are 810 and 958, in the first half of the list.
Pre-registration is not a new concept, of course, but it’s one generally embraced more often by registrars (eNom and United Domains are the two most prominent examples) rather than incumbent registries.
For PIR to start engaging directly with potential registrants is one of the first signs that, in the wake of ICANN’s lifting of the ban on vertical integration between registries and registrars, the new gTLD market won’t be playing by the old rules.