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M+M offers .brand gTLDs from $25k

Kevin Murphy, September 21, 2011, 14:20:40 (UTC), Domain Registries

Minds + Machines is promoting its gTLD registry services to brand owners at the International Trademark Association meeting in Washington DC, revealing prices as low as $25,000 a year.

Its .brand package covers preparing and filing the application with ICANN and then running the technical back-end.

The company also appears to have introduced a price ceiling of $100,000 a year for .brand clients, according to a press release.

M+M is even offering to throw in a private, ICANN-accredited registrar. I believe the company may be the first registry to publicize this kind of bundled service.

The company is targeting brand owners that may not be convinced by the attractiveness of a .brand, and may have no clue what to do with one, but which nevertheless do not want to be left behind in the event that the second round of new gTLD applications is delayed for many years.

M+M CEO Antony Van Couvering is quoted as saying:

There are a lot of innovative ways for brands to use new gTLDs, but most brands want to first secure their gTLD for a reasonable price, and maybe use it internally, before deciding on the next step.

M+M, which hired former ICANN chair Peter Dengate Thrush as chairman in June, has been among the most aggressive marketers of new gTLDs (which are, after all, it’s entire raison d’etre).

Its enthusiasm has already caused a couple of raised eyebrows.

A teaser announcement from M+M earlier this week, which mentioned how its “registry platform is connected with all major registrars, including MarkMonitor” caused MarkMonitor to issue a clarification stating that it has “no business relationship” with the company.

While MarkMonitor is plugged into CoCCA, the registry platform that handles dozens of ccTLDs, it is not plugged into Espresso, which is M+M’s in-house version of the open-source CoCCA software, the company said in a blog post.

(UPDATE: M+M’s Antony Van Couvering notes in the comments below that MarkMonitor accepts .fm registrations, and that the .fm registry uses Espresso)

CoCCA itself felt compelled to issue a statement in July, clarifying that CoCCA and M+M are not working together on Espresso, as some had inferred from an M+M interview.

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Comments (7)

  1. M says:

    “There are a lot of innovative ways for brands to use new gTLDs, but most brands want to first secure their gTLD for a reasonable price, and maybe use it internally, before deciding on the next step.”

    An Applicant doesn’t have to very specifically explain what and how the new gTLD will be used prior to the ability of securing it?

    Also, does an applicant have the ability to change the ‘designation’ at a later point? (Doesn’t look like it’s going too great for .jobs in that area).

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      ICANN has some bare minimum requirements for all gTLDs, such as having a nic.gtld domain live.

      Brands could apply saying “we’re going to use it to promote our brand” without spelling out the specifics. Then they could just leave it essentially lying fallow.

      If they wanted to do something particularly unusual later, they may or may not have to go through ICANN’s Registry Services Evaluation Process, depending on the details.

  2. Kevin – thanks for the link. I’m a bit surprised by the traffic and the discussion generated by my Q&A with Antony. I’ll reread that section and see if it needs to be clarified.

  3. M says:

    This is what i see, i am probably missing something:

    Question 18 – Mission/Purpose: “Describe the mission/purpose of your proposed gTLD.”

    “The information gathered in response to
    Question 18 is intended to inform the post-launch review of the New gTLD Program,
    from the perspective of assessing the
    relative costs and benefits achieved in the
    expanded gTLD space.
    For the application to be considered
    complete, answers to this section must be
    fulsome and sufficiently quantitative and
    detailed to inform future study on plans vs.
    results.”

    And M+M’s interpertation to that seems to be:

    “Question 18 β€” Mission/Purpose

    This question asks about your mission, but it’s really about your performance. You must submit quantitative and detailed answers. Your response will be used in post-launch studies to verify that the introduction of new gTLDs has promoted competition and consumer choice, and that your new TLD has been a benefit to the public, rather than a harm.”

    Detailed seems to be a keyword used by both πŸ™‚

    http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/rfp-clean-19sep11-en.pdf

    http://www.mindsandmachines.com/services/icann-application/

  4. Thanks Kevin for the coverage of our announcement; early results indicate that our offering is exactly what brands are looking for.

    Question 18 of the ICANN application asks for a TLD to state their mission. As a commenter noted, that can be vague, but it can also be multi-pronged, as in “to use internally as an initial step and then to promote the brand worldwide,” or similar language. With regard to how the TLD will benefit the Internet, I should think that an eventual public use is more benefit than never allowing public access at all. I’m not sure of why there is confusion about this.

    As for Mark Monitor’s statement, it’s all a bit junior high school, but I suppose I should respond lest people suppose that silence meant assent.

    Mark Monitor’s scrupulous adherence to accuracy would be laudable if it weren’t wrong, in several respects.

    First, we didn’t claim we had a business relationship with them.

    Second, they do have a connection to our registry
    platform, Espresso, which hosts .FM, operated by BRS Media. Mark Monitor performs .FM registrations for its clients, which necessarily means that it is using Espresso. It is not a misstatement to claim that, in fact it would incorrect to say they didn’t.

    What’s a little confusing to me is that our statement was meant to reassure clients that our offer of a packaged registrar did NOT mean that they had to abandon their existing registrar. I’m not sure why this merited an entire blog post by Mark Monitor, especially since they got it wrong. I can only speculate that they are unhappy with our strong advocacy of the new gTLD program, for which we make no apologies.

  5. Rubens Kuhl says:

    Wouldn’t a brand find awkward to have data escrow publishing their “internal” domains to ICANN ?
    Or find it too expensive to have a 3-year letter-of-credit to fund a registry operation that only has its own domains ?

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