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You might be surprised how many new gTLDs have changed hands already

Kevin Murphy, July 1, 2015, 16:15:05 (UTC), Domain Registries

At least 86 new gTLD registry contracts have changed hands since the end of 2013, I have discovered.
ICANN calls the transfer of a Registry Agreement from one company to another an “assignment”. Global Domains Division staff said in Buenos Aires last week that it’s one of the more complex and time-consuming tasks they have to perform.
So I thought I’d do a count, and I discovered some interesting stuff.
The biggest beneficiary of incoming assignments so far is of course Rightside, aka United TLD Holdco, which has so far taken over 23 of the gTLDs applied for by Donuts.
The two companies have had an agreement since the start that allows Rightside to take on as many as 107 of Donuts’ original 307 applications.
Interestingly, Rightside sold .fan to AsiaMix Digital after Donuts had transferred the gTLD to it.
We also discover that Amazon is repatriating its gTLD contracts en masse.
So far, 21 gTLDs applied for by Amazon EU Sarl — the Luxembourg-based company Amazon uses to dodge tax in other European countries — have been transferred to US-based Amazon Registry Services Inc.
Amazon EU has made money losing new gTLD auctions.
Given the company’s usual MO, I have to wonder whether Amazon Registry Services, under the US tax regime, plans to make any money at all from its new raft of gTLDs.
Subsidiary changes
Speaking of tax, four gTLDs associated with the Hong Kong-based Zodiac group of applicants have been transferred to new Cayman Islands companies with similar names.
A bunch of the other assignments appear to be registries shifting contracts between various subsidiaries.
IG Group, a large UK derivatives trader, has assigned seven gTLDs (such as .forex, .markets and .spreadbetting) to newly created UK subsidiaries, for example.
Also, Ireland-based Afilias transferred the .green RA to a new Irish subsidiary, while Germany-based .srl applicant mySRL has sent its contract to a Florida-based sister company from the InternetX stable.
There are several other example of this kind of activity.
Actual acquisitions
As best as I can tell, there have been only eight actual post-contracting acquisitions so far: .trust, .fan, .meet, .reise, .xn--ses554g, .rent, .theatre, and .protection.
The only one of those I didn’t know about — and haven’t seen reported anywhere — was .meet, which Afilias seems to have sold to Google back in February.
It should be noted that while I’ve counted 86 assignments, I may have missed some. At least one —’s acquisition of .security from Symantec, does not appear have been completed yet, judging by ICANN’s web site.

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Comments (3)

  1. Acro says:

    Great research! Such “behind the scenes” transactions generate extra millions in capital shifting.

  2. Ruben Couto says:

    Interesting info!

  3. Thanks for doing that digging, Kevin. My own to-do list just got 1 item shorter.
    It would be interesting to identify nTLDs in advance – the isolated registries or registry applicants – that seem poised or vulnerable for buyout.
    That way, we’d have a hypothetical picture of the future consolidated nTLD landscape.

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