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New gTLD domains top 500,000 as Schilling goes on parking spree

Kevin Murphy, April 16, 2014, 12:58:16 (UTC), Domain Registries

The total number of new gTLD domains broke through half a million for the first time yesterday, but it seems to be due to Frank Schilling obtaining tens of thousands of names in his own TLDs.

Uniregistry’s .link became the fifth-largest new gTLD, moving almost 20,000 names, but it appears that the vast majority are registered to a company affiliated with CEO Schilling.

Uniregistry’s other gTLDs — .tattoo, .sexy, .pics, .photo and .gift — all saw huge jumps too, apparently for the same reason.

This morning’s .link zone files show a pop of 19,945 names, to a total of 20,050.

That would be the third-best GA-day performance, after .guru and .berlin, of any new gTLD to date, but it seems the vast majority are actually premium names acquired by a Uniregistry affiliate.

Of those new .link names, 18,272 (91%) are being parked on internettraffic.com, another Schilling company.

I took a random sampling and found them all registered to North Sound Names, a company based on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, which is where Schilling lives.

Schilling said this on Twitter yesterday:

Premium names are of course those that were reserved by the registry. So either a third-party has bought them wholesale, or Uniregistry has simply shifted them over to an affiliated company.

I’ve asked Schilling to confirm that North Sound Names is also his company and will update this post with his answer.

Testing some domains in Uniregistry’s other gTLDs, I found a similar pattern — big spike, mostly parked at internettraffic.com, North Sound Names in a sampling of the Whois.

Here’s a screenshot of today’s best-performing new gTLDs from DI PRO (click to enlarge):

Overall, six of Uniregistry’s new gTLDs grew by a total of 50,735 domains today — 95% of the 53,147 industry total — and internettraffic.com’s name servers are responsible for 37,668 new names.

This brings the total number of “registered” domains to 538,093, though I would suggest that this metric may no longer be a decent measurement of actual end user interest in new gTLD domains.

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Comments (25)

  1. equalizatore says:

    UN-registry = North Sound
    collusion, false appearances…smoke and mirrors.
    Insulting the domainers intelligence?

    promise (made publically at Traffic Schwartz vs Shilling) of all domains available at the gate is broken.

    Good grief.
    Trixie

  2. Ben says:

    Lol, +1 for house. of. cards. +1 for hype. Losing respect for Frank with each move.

    Always knew he was just another one of those snake oil salesman trying to flood the market with a diarrhea of garbage gtlds nobody wants and taking part in further confusing the public under the auspices of “expanding the Internet.” <- ha ha, what? Market-y enough?

    Even sadder to see these greedy savages are actually qualified registry operators. Seriously? No agenda there, right guys? /sarcasm.

  3. New gTLDs are educational, as they’re a lab experiment to see how quickly one can burn through one’s goodwill and reputation. “Fake it ’til you make it” doesn’t just apply to registrants of new gTLDs, it also seems to be the approach taken by registries, given the lack of transparency and obfuscation.

    As for “North Sound Names”, check the MX (mail) records for northsoundnames.com:

    ;; ANSWER SECTION:
    northsoundnames.com. 3600 IN MX 10 mx1.hostingnet.com.

    Of course, the owner of hostingnet.com should not be a surprise to anyone. Check the MX records for uniregistry.com:

    ;; ANSWER SECTION:
    uniregistry.com. 3600 IN MX 10 mx1.hostingnet.com.

    What a surprise, they are the same….

  4. So Frank wants everyone to register the crap that is left after he cherrypicks the good domains to try to resell at mark ups. Nice Frank.

  5. ADI says:

    I saw previous new TLDs statistics and all the biggest crap like .sexy,.tattoo were at the bottom, Frank`s extensions.
    Its funny that guy who has been so long in domaining did not know which extensions are worth investing.

    I heard what Shilling said at the Traffic conference too.
    I also remember what Shilling was talking about .xxx , next rubbish.

    The Shilling`s words worth nothing and I definitely will not use his services.
    I really hate getting constantly email from his platform, emails like.

    Hi XXX,

    Hope you are having a good day. It has been over one month since we discussed xxxx.com

    Are you still currently interested in this opportunity?

    Or are you still looking for an alternative?

    Please let me know if you need any assistance.

    Review & Respond Online

    Eddie Mullen
    Domain Name Specialist | DomainNameSales.com
    O: 1-800-818-1828 x 6275
    D: 1-345-929-5272
    F: 1-508-365-3930
    S: eddiecmullen

    It has been almost years since I asked about domain!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • John Berryhill says:

      “I really hate getting constantly email from his platform”

      I can’t stand that sort of thing either. Yes, when you submit an expression of interest in a domain name and provide your email address, the system will send scheduled reminders to you if the negotiation does not terminate. Each one of those emails has a link you can click to indicate you are no longer interested. If you did that, and you are still receiving emails, then please send me the details, so I can find the person responsible and beat them about the head.

  6. equalizatore says:

    “consumer choice and enhance competition”
    ICANN

    Minute 2, 42 seconds

    “When we do our landrush….we are going to put out everything AVAILABLE..like the BEST names”

    Minute 6 ….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izsxteuqhv8

  7. Frank Schilling says:

    Many of our strings are out at registration price and with no premiums. .PICS, .GUITARS are completely open and nearly completely unreserved, but if nobody sees any value, and great names remain unavailable, please do not be surprised if we register some names tomorrow or next week.

    10, 20 even 50,000 names do not a domain name extension make. Fantastic opportunities remain, as corroborated by the 2000 registrants who reserved names in our spaces today.

    We understand if you do not wish to participate and we respect that. But your lack of participation will not make you more successful in future.

    • numedia says:

      As for .guitars, I found myself making a purchase via Key Systems and told that my purchase was successful only to have an e-mail sent later on, with NO HEADS UP, that I would have to complete my registration via an acknowledgement on a possible trademark. This process is flawed at best. Before taking anyone’s money, both the registry/registrar should include in the process, such acknowledgements, so a registration can be completed as part of the payment. Instead, both the registry/registrar received my payment and someone else came in afterwards and scooped the domain. Yeah, I’ll eventually get my refund. What good will that do me now? Frank, want to give me one of your premium names and call it even?

    • numedia says:

      FYI – Luis has my prior ticket with my contact information.

  8. Shatners Bassoon says:

    Just to avoid any confusion in the above statement, North Sound Names own some .guitar domains.

  9. It is almost reminiscent of Domain Tasting and that’s how some domainers will see it. The problem for these new gTLDs is that the reaction of the domainers may influence other non-domainer registrants and they may not be so eager to register domains in these TLDs.

    You saw the mess that Eurid made of the .EU ccTLD, Frank. Cutting such large numbers of domains out of general availability could have a similar effect on development and usage in some of these gTLDs. The .EU fiasco spurred an explosion of growth in national European Union ccTLDs as people ignored .EU as a viable alternative to .COM TLD. Even now, development and usage in .EU ccTLD is around the .BIZ level (very low).

    While these may only be generic keyword domains, the real challenge will be to get people, the mom and pop businesses, developing sites on the ngTLDs. The held back domains will be a sideshow to the magnitude of this task.

  10. John I really appreciate that comment.. All the most sought after spaces are messy because millions hang in the balance. Everybody wants what the registry has. I have tried to please the domaining community by offering good strings at low prices, a great registrar and a way to use that registrar to make money, but some of the most vocal want the very best names at reg price and we can not do that.

    Namespaces take decades to build out. We are going to get there because our spaces will be run with lower prices and with tools to make their uptake better. We’ve learned the same things from EU and have plans for our premiums but those plans do nit include giving away the best names on the time-table demanded by others

    You’re right about the hardest part in your last sentence

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      I think you’re taking a lot of heat from domainers not necessarily because you’ve reserved thousands of names (which I think would be a highly hypocritical complaint to come from a domainer) but because you’ve previously said you weren’t going to do so and you’ve now changed your mind.

      They thought it was going to be Christmas. Free money. But you shot Santa.

      The Youtube link in an earlier comment is a good example of your previous statements, I think.

      • Rubens Kuhl says:

        Exactly so. I think Uniregistry is right preventing arbitrage by early registrants, but since they said they wouldn’t do it, they opened the door to such criticism.

    • Running a registry is a tough thing, Frank,
      The registry has a duty to run it in the best interests of all its registrants not just domainers and that’s like trying to keep everyone happy at the same time.

      A lot of existing TLDs have moved from the generic (the keyword domains) to the specific (business names/tm/brands) as they matured. The idea of keeping back premiums did seem to be an attempt to maintain interest in .MOBI when it launched and there was a “must develop” element to a few of these sales. However the rise of the smartphone (and other things) effectively stopped the growth of .MOBI as a TLD. The same hold back/auctions strategy was seen in .ASIA and that’s taken quite a few years to gain registrations. The .CO ccTLD had thousands of premium domains held back too (and I think that it still has). However development and usage in .CO ccTLD is very low and there were more websites pointing to the registrant’s primary website in other TLDs than there were developed and unique websites in .CO the last time I ran a web usage survey.

      The numbers on the newly launched new gTLDs are low and in some cases they are terrifyingly so because there is a compressed Sunrise/Landrush in operation. Patterns and trends that do not show up until six months or so into a large TLD launch are showing up in days and weeks with some new gTLDs. Part of this is down to the lack of awareness amongst the general public but some of it is down to the TLD string acting as a limiting factor.

      Providing users tools is an interesting thing. WordPress and Joomla have become the website production tool for web developers (it used to be Dreamweaver) and while most registrars now have their own website builder options, it is the web developers (not registrars) who do most development work for their clients and drive registration volume. This is why, in a healthy TLD, there are so many small hosters with less than a few hundred domains on their nameservers.

      The most useful tool to drive registrations for these web developers would be a kind of white label registrar that they could use to register domains without having to become an accredited registrar. (However that might be jumping the gun because the important thing will be to have the large registrars/players in each country level market become “brand champions” for the new gTLDs and let them handle registrations via their existing systems.)

      Namespaces taking decades to develop is a very important point. Since 2000, there have been about 150 million or so dropped .COM domains that have not been reregistered. While some of that figure is down to Domain Tasting, a lot of it reflects the fact that namespaces change as they develop. Some of the new gTLDs are at a disadvantage because people are applying dotCOM logic to them and expecting them to develop along dotCOM lines. Most will not. The successful ones will be those that build a community around the TLD that develops and uses the TLD. It is the virtuous circle that some registries talk about where development drives awareness which drives use which drives development.

      The ironic thing is that in the late 1990s, a .COM registration was a two year registration and cost $100 for the two years (it later fell to $70). That might be looked upon as a high registration fee today.

  11. @Frank Schilling

    You said that “In fact seeing so many of my domainer competitors, so lathered up (whether they be trying to protect their .com turf (talk down every development with the new stuff) or trying to get the premium names we control, shows me we are doing exactly the right things. – See more at:
    http://domainnamewire.com/2014/04/16/uniregistry-activates-thousands-of-reserved-domains-per-tld/#sthash.2aoWLgN8.dpuf

    This may end up being a big issue. I don’t see how ICANN can allow someone with an obvious conflict of interest, and who perceives Registry/Registrant relationship to be one of “competitors” to operate many Registries, and hold such important fiduciary trust over said competitor.

    It’s almost like appointing the CEO of Exxon-Mobil to be Secretary of Energy of the United States, and letting him keep his private sector post. Well, not exactly, but close. The onus is not really on you, but it makes one wonder what ICANN would do without a responsible government oversight. This is their foray into expanding the name space without the ‘overbearing’ hand government of government, however it looks bad by them letting unfettered conflict of interest, and money dictating what they do.

    Like Mr. Murphy indicated above, those who are complaining, it seems to me, have a very good reason to do so. Frank Schilling, you reserved the best names in your strings, be it 20,000 or 5000, it doesn’t matter; you keep citing that there are millions more unregistered, however, I’m sure you must know that strings have a limited number of good names in the eyes of domainers, I don’t see any good names at all in all gTLDS, but some people do, so how can you ignore the fact that you registered the best ones? Do you not understand that these domainers respected you, and do-idn’t look at you as a competitor per se in the new gTLD realm, but a Registry, their own Registry?

  12. John says:

    Well I’m the same John who just recently posted positively about both Frank and “.link” over at the DI blog, but one thing I will also say here: one of the absolute biggest turn-offs and deterrents to me being interested in any even half-way desirable new gTLD is and has been this whole issue of the best of the bunch and creme of the crop being “reserved” or either completely unavailable or available only for big bucks. As far as I’m concerned that’s a big World Wide Web-sized “no thank you.”

    While I haven’t been involved with domains as long as many others who go back to the 90’s, I was there for the releases of .info, .biz, and .us. I’m not aware if any of this was going on for .info or .biz, which I doubt, and for .us you had a very fair chance of obtaining many of the best for reg fee or reg fee plus a reasonable fixed pre-order fee. In some cases of successful registrars allowing multiple pre-orders you may have gone to auction, but it was nothing like what I’ve encountered these days when checking domain availability for these “new gTLD’s.”

  13. Ben says:

    I’m over this gTLD garbage. Dot com or go home. ICANN is so corrupt and in bed with all of these new gTLD operators that the stench of scum is smells so high.

    In fact, if anything, these gTLDs should be paying ME every day to register on top of their .what-the-fuck-ever nonsense. Just kidding, I would never buy into this never-ending hype.

    Think about it:

    1.) This is contributing to general public confusion — trust me, I have 0 interest in trying to remember if the business ended in .this, .that, or .theother and will ultimately give up in frustration and try the .com extension, OR to Google, or Yahoo, or whatever search engine to figure out where the brand is (and even then, that would be iffy if there are multiple businesses operating under the same name across different industries.)

    Even as a relatively tech-savvy individual, I sure as hell won’t have the patience to go try and figure out what obscure extension it sits on. What do you think your everyman 40-year old mechanic or 25-y/o sociology major that works as a barista is going to do? Oh, right. Try and remember your for-profit extension. Gotcha. Lots of benefit there!

    Startups that try to build a business on these random ass .strings are going to bite themselves in the ass.

    2.) Every time you promote your business, you’re giving these ngTLDs FREE advertising for them. For what?

    Not only do you, as the business owner, have enough to worry about your competitors and other mission-critical functions within your industry, NOW you have to educate your potential customers on HOW to get to you, and hope that they won’t make a mistake.

    Yes, please give me more work to try and reach my customers. I love wasting money and ad spend! Gah, I could go on and on about how pathetic this whole charade is, but it’s not even worth it.

  14. Endeavour Morse says:

    I’m a little confused as I am unable to find the status from Frank S on Twitter that you have included in your article.

  15. Endeavour Morse says:

    It isn’t upon his Twitter page;;

    https://twitter.com/Frank_Schilling

  16. Robert McLean says:

    I am guessing that Mr. Schilling is smart enough to have consulted legally before embarking on cherry picking registrations of domains in extensions he owns.

    As far as conflict of interest is concerned, the environment in which Frank first employed his ambition and smarts in 2001 was wrought with conflict of interest, I can assure you.

    So, for me, working within this pervasive, systemic “conflict of interest” culture is, while unpleasant, is nothing new.

    The nature of the domaining business as long as I have been involved has had a heaping helping of “CONFLICT OF INTEREST.”

    NOW, HOW CAN WE MAKE SOME MONEY?

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