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DotFree wants to give away .free domains

Kevin Murphy, August 10, 2010, 16:05:16 (UTC), Domain Registries

A Czech company has become the latest to say it will apply for a new top-level domain, but it’s got a unique twist – domain registration will be free.

The dotFree Group, based near Prague, says it will apply for .free and offer the domains free of charge.

.FREE is going to be a generic Top Level Domain, which is going to be available for free, as the name itself says. Individuals, companies, organizations, groups, etc. are going to be able to register their .FREE website under a desirable name.

Can: open. Worms: everywhere.

  • How many registrars will actually want to carry this TLD?
  • How will dotFree fund its ICANN application fee and ongoing running costs?
  • Will there be a landrush? How will that work?
  • Will there be an after-market? With a no-risk investment, .free would be a domainer’s paradise.
  • How will the registry prevent rampant abuse by spammers?
  • Are these guys serious?

I’ve got a call in, so maybe we’ll find out more soon.

The dotFree Group already offers free domain names at the third level under cz.cc, and sells a pricey script so anyone can become a “registrar”.

The company sounds like it already has the infrastructure to support a small TLD.There are apparently 50,000 .cz.cc domains registered today, which already makes it bigger than some gTLDs.

(Hat tip: @dotRadio)

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Comments (16)

  1. Michele says:

    Based on what they’re doing with their .cz subdomain I suspect they’re hoping for the upsell..

    From a registrar perspective I can’t see how that would work for me at all

  2. andrew says:

    Yeah, I’m thinking ad-supported or upsells.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Those seem to be the most likely models.

      There’s going to have to be some kind of limitation, otherwise it’s a free-for-all with a handful of domainers sitting on hundreds of thousands (millions?) of strings, providing no revenue to the registry.

  3. Jim Fleming says:

    http://www.TK

    …also many Dynamic DNS services offer FREE sub-domains. Software could easily map them under .FREE.

    Microsoft’s Peer-Name-Resolution Protocol PNRP appears to be FREE and is root-less. It also is flat, without “TLDS”.

    DHT Keys will be essentially FREE because they are built into the .NET infrastructure. A one-year “Registration” costs nano-cents.

  4. Jim Fleming says:

    “providing no revenue to the registry”

    With DHTs – Distributed Hash Tables there is NO Central Single Point of Failure Registry.

    The .NET IS the Registry.

    Each SCUBA – Self-Contained Broadband Appliance is part of the .NET and Registry.

    There is NO “revenue to the registry”.

  5. UDRPtalk says:

    I really like this idea.

    I hope the model is sustainable.

  6. Jim Fleming says:

    “I hope the model is sustainable.”

    It will depend on millions of Americans keeping their Set-Top-Box powered (electrified). As Google’s Eric Schmidt has said several times, “the Future .NET depends on someone paying the electric bill”.

    Google can not pay the electric bill for millions of TVs and Set-Top-Boxes and they would not want to. Google would likely want to “own” the activity in those Set-Top-Boxes. The “Registry” is a tiny part of that activity, and uses very little storage.

  7. Kitvy says:

    Interesting idea.
    Let’s wait and see. 🙂

  8. Jim Fleming says:

    The last 3 LLL.CO domains…???

    BI.TLY.CO

    DLY.CO

    ERY.CO

  9. Upsell or monetization seem the most logical reasons though I have my doubts why domainers would want to acquire domains with little (or no) resale value.

    Also what this does is create a massive customer base in a relatively short span which can be used creatively. Chi.mp comes to mind immediately.

    Of course it remains to be seem how successfully they can leverage it, if it is what they have planned

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Surely “free” is a desirable TLD, if only for SEO purposes.

      I would have “product.free” domains at least would have a decent resale value.

  10. Jim Fleming says:

    http://Con.fess.CO

    Jon Postel wanted .NESS added because many words have that ending.

    http://Celebrate.FREE.NESS

  11. […] I reported a couple of days ago, a Czech company called The dotFree Group wants to apply to ICANN for a .free […]

  12. df says:

    It is interesting.
    We must wait…

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