.SO Registry, manager of the internet’s newest open-doors top-level domain, will open its systems for sunrise registrations in a few hours, at midnight UTC.
The TLD is the country code for the Republic of Somalia, the mostly lawless east-African nation that is broadly recognized as a failed state.
For that reason, among others, the .so namespace is not likely to be as attractive to registrants as, say, the recent relaunch of Colombia’s .co.
Another reason, perhaps coupled to the fact that .so doesn’t really have a comparable English semantic value to .co, is that the registry appears to have done a rather poor job of publicizing the launch.
There has been no media activity as far as I can tell, and its web site does not currently list its approved registrars.
Key-Systems has press-released its involvement, and a quick Twitter poll earlier today revealed that EuroDNS, Blacknight and NetNames are also among the signed-up.
The back-end for the registry is being handled by Japanese operator GMO Registry.
During the trademarks-only sunrise period, which runs until November 30, companies have to commit to a minimum three-year registration, with a registry fee of $90, cheaper than most sunrise phases.
The .so registry has taken on most of the same sunrise policies as .co – its rules were written by the same people – with the noteworthy exception of the Protected Marks List.
.SO Registry is also the first to require trademark holders use CHIP, the new Clearing House for Intellectual Property, a venture launched earlier this month by sunrise specialist Bart Lieben, who recently joined the law firm Crowell & Moring.
After contested sunrise applications are wound up with a Pool.com auction, a landrush will follow, from December 16 to February 9, 2011. General availability is scheduled to kick off March 1.
.SO Registry recently published its restricted names list (pdf), which appears to be made up mostly of English-language profanities, as well as religiously and sexually oriented terms.
The term “gay” is among the restricted terms.
The registry also appears to have “wildcarded” about 20 strings on its restricted list, including %vagina%, %penis% and %lesbian%.