.CLUB Domains has won the right to launch the .club gTLD at a private auction against two other applicants, according to an announcement from the company.
The company, chiefed by Tucows and Hostopia founder Colin Campbell, also said it has raised $7 million to bring the TLD to market.
Its two rivals for the string were portfolio applicants Donuts and Merchant Law Group. The auction was designed by Cramton Associates and managed by Innovative Auctions of Hong Kong.
Neither competing applicant has had their withdrawals, assuming they’ve been submitted, processed by ICANN yet.
None of the applications were subject to formal objections or Governmental Advisory Committee meddling, giving the successful bidder a relatively clear run at delegation and launch.
.CLUB Domains said in a press release:
Domains like www.golf.club, www.poker.club, and www.book.club should hit the market in late 2013 or early 2014. In addition to acting as the worldwide .CLUB registry, the company has plans to offer .CLUB domain name registrants a web and mobile social platform designed specifically for member engagement and management, making it easy for clubs of any kind to establish themselves on the internet.
According to its application, the registry plans to target:
1. Social Clubs, 2. Sporting Clubs 3. Special Interest/Hobby Clubs, 4. Country Clubs 5. Buying Clubs, 6. Fraternities and Sororities, 7. Personal Clubs, 8. Professional Clubs, 9.School Clubs, 10. Service Clubs, and 11. Night Clubs.
That said, .CLUB does not plan to implement any registration restrictions; .club will be completely open.
The applicant has chosen Neustar to provide its back-end registry.