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Fatal timeout? A dozen dot-brands procrastinating to death

Kevin Murphy, January 7, 2015, 11:00:36 (UTC), Domain Registries

Over a dozen new gTLD applications have been iced because the applicants couldn’t or wouldn’t talk to ICANN about signing contracts before their deadlines.

Volvo and PricewaterhouseCoopers are among the 13 dot-brand applicants whose $185,000+ investments could vanish in a puff of smoke because they can’t bring themselves to sign on the dotted line, I’ve discovered.

The following gTLD applications, filed by 10 different companies, are no longer active because of contracting problems:

.select, .compare, .axis, .origins, .changiairport, .nissay, .lamer, .clinique, .pwc, .volvo, .amp, .招聘 (Chinese “.recruitment”), .wilmar

They’re all uncontested applications. They’re also all, with the exception of .招聘, envisaged having single-registrant policies (dot-brands, in other words).

All had their apps flagged by ICANN as “Will Not Proceed” in the new gTLD process late last year, having failed to sign or start negotiating their Registry Agreements in time.

Under program rules, applicants originally had nine months from the day they were invited to contract with ICANN in which to sign their RAs.

After protests from dot-brand applicants planning to sign up for so-called “Spec 13” code of conduct exemptions, ICANN last June gave such applicants an extension until July 2015, as long as they hit a September 1 deadline to respond to ICANN’s overtures.

Applicants that did not request an extension had an October 29 deadline to sign their RAs.

According to an ICANN spokesperson, a failure to hit such “interim milestones” disqualifies applicants from signing RAs.

It’s not entirely clear from the Applicant Guidebook how applicants can extricate themselves from this limbo state without withdrawing their applications, but ICANN assures us it is possible.

“Will not Proceed is not a final status,” the spokesperson cautioned. “But they are currently not eligible to sign the RA with ICANN. But if that status changes, we’ll update it accordingly on the site.”

Withdrawals would qualify the applicants for a 35% refund on their application fees, he confirmed.

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Comments (6)

  1. Marc says:

    Seems clear that the gtlds have failed to appeal to the masses and are doomed. At this point, they’d be foolish not to withdraw and get a 35% refund rather then forge ahead and end up with a totally worthless gtld.

  2. David Walker says:

    dotOVH is the only dotBrand I see moving in the right direction. However, OVH became the largest internet service provider of Europe in 2011. With that being said, they do domains too.

    You have the option of paying for one, or what I see quoted on their registry website: “The extension to beat all extensions! Available to anyone with an OVH customer ID (NIC handle)”.

    I believe that it is a valid claim for that .OVH to make as they are their own registry, registrar and have 180,000 servers as of 2014.

    I’m just wondering why the low amount of domains registered when you can give them away.

    What other dotBrands are out there that nobody else is aware of?

    Is dotRealtor counted as a dotBrand or just a typical new gTLD? If so, they’re ahead of dotOVH, but who honestly cares as it appears both of these are restricted to an extent.

    Hopefully they put their $64,750 to good use and give out some bonuses to people. They already got a write-off for the loss of wanting a dotBrand, so why not give back?

    • Dan Rodgers says:

      There are issues with simply “giving them away” – Most data indicates that when you sell domains for below ~$2.50 renewal rates are abysmal – People register it because it’s free, or cheap and when it comes time to renewing at the regular price… it’s just not worth it.

      So it can result in big jumps first year, but it just comes crashing down year 2 – All about the recurring income to make it a stable business.

    • KC says:

      dot AXA is live, but there no much news I hear about them.

    • Jean Guillon says:

      Can we expect OVH to become its own back-end Registry too?

  3. Andrew says:

    Interesting…. PWC was pitching new TLD strategy to its clients.

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