Donuts’ pricey Early Access Program for its new gTLDs could prove quite lucrative for registrars.
Go Daddy today revealed that it’s charging $12,500 and up for first-day “priority” registrations in 14 Donuts gTLDs, a $2,500 profit on Donuts’ EAP registry fee, which I believe is $10,000.
The EAP is Donuts’ alternative to a traditional landrush period.
Rather than charging premium landrush fees and then running an auction for contested domains, every available domain has a standard premium buy-it-now price that is reduced every day for a week until the fee hits the standard reg fee.
It’s Dutch-auction-like, with a first-come-first-served component.
The EAP registry fees start at $10,000, go to $2,500 on day two, $950 on day three, $500 on day four and $100 from days five through day seven. Then they go to the base fee, which depends on gTLD but typically translates to about $40 at the check-out.
Go Daddy’s respective EAP retail prices are $12,539.99, $3,164.99, $1,239.99, $689.99 and $189.99.
Complicating matters, these are currently “priority pre-registration” fees, so the company will still have to successfully grab the pre-registered names from the registry when they become available.
While customers are billed today, they may not get the name they want. If Go Daddy fails to secure the name it will issue a full refund.
Complicating matters further, the company is accepting multiple pre-registrations on any given name and will auction it off to the highest bidder if more than one person pre-registers at the same level and Go Daddy manages to grab the name.
So $12,500 may just be the tip of the iceberg.
Complicating matters further further, Go Daddy’s site is currently not particularly clear — at least to this elderly hack — which components of its fees are refundable and which are not.
This slogan, currently in use on the Go Daddy pre-reg site, appears to me to be absolute nonsense.
The 14 Donuts gTLD currently on offer are: .estate, .photography, .ventures, .guru, .bike, .clothing, .gallery, .singles, .camera, .lighting, .plumbing, .equipment, .graphics and .holdings.
A small Californian registrar has been sent a contract breach notice by ICANN.
ICANN says Irvine-based Jetpack Domains has failed to comply with a scheduled audit, breaking the terms of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement that require it to supply records on demand.
The company has until January 2 to provide ICANN with the data it has asked for or risk losing its accreditation, ICANN said (pdf).
Jetpack, which had fewer than 6,000 gTLD domains under management at the last count, appears to use DomainCocoon for registrar management services.
ICANN has terminated the registrar accreditation of Pacnames, a small New Zealand registrar.
The roughly 10,000 domain names the company had under management will now be transferred to Net-Chinese, a Taiwanese registrar that is not much bigger as measured by DUM.
The termination was voluntary, according to ICANN, but it follows the suspension of Pacnames’ accreditation in October.
ICANN had held the company in breach of its Registrar Accreditation Agreement for failing to provide records about 25 domain names upon request.
The story told in the October breach notice (pdf) makes it sound like Pacnames had refused to provide the data because it was “burdensome” and too much like an “audit”.
Pacnames’ customers, if there are any, should now receive emails from Net-Chinese informing them about the transfer. Which, let’s face it, are definitely going to look dodgy.
ICANN has terminated the registrar accreditation of Dynamic Dolphin, which it turned out was owned by self-professed “Spam King” Scott Richter.
The company has until December 20 to take down its ICANN logo and cease acting as a registrar.
ICANN, in its termination notice (pdf) late last week, said that it only became aware earlier this month that Richter was the 100% owner of Dynamic Dolphin.
Richter grew to fame a decade ago for being one of the world’s highest-profile spammers. He was sued for spamming by Microsoft and Myspace and was featured on the popular TV program The Daily Show.
As well as being a thoroughly unpleasant chap, he has a 2003 conviction for grand larceny, which should disqualify him from being the director of an ICANN-accredited registrar.
He removed himself as an officer on October 9 in response to ICANN’s persistent inquiries, according to ICANN’s compliance notice.
But he was much too late. ICANN has terminated the accreditation due to the “material misrepresentation, material inaccuracy, or materially misleading statement in its application”.
The question now has to be asked: why didn’t ICANN get to this sooner? In fact, why was Dynamic Dolphin allowed to get an accreditation in the first place?
Former Washington Post security reporter Brian Krebs has been all over this story for five years.
Back in 2008, with a little help from anti-spam outfit KnujOn, he outed Richter’s links to Dynamic Dolphin when it was just a Directi reseller.
Yesterday, Krebs wrote a piece on his blog going into a lot of the background.
Another question now is: which registrar is going to risk taking over Dynamic Dolphin’s registrations?
As of the last registry reports, Dynamic Dolphin had fewer than 25,000 gTLD domains under management.
According to ICANN’s termination notice, 13,280 of these use the company’s in-house privacy service, and 9,933 of those belong to just three individuals.
According to DomainTools, “Dynamic Dolphin Inc” is listed as the registrant for about 23,000 names.
According to KnujOn’s research and Krebs’s reporting, the registrar was once among the most spam-friendly on the market.
The registrar 1&1 Internet has started selling pre-registrations in the first four Donuts new gTLDs for between $50 and $80 a year.
Three gTLDs — .singles, .bike and .clothing — carry a $49.99 price tag at the company’s US site. In the UK, they’re priced at £29.99. A fourth gTLD, .holdings, costs $79.99/£49.99.
Customers are only billed if 1&1 manages to grab the domain when the relevant gTLD launches.
The annual renewal fees appear to be the same as the pre-registration fees, but it’s not yet clear whether they’re the same as the standard reg fee when these gTLDs go to general availability next year.
As we’ve seen already via Go Daddy, some new gTLD registries are choosing to charge higher fees for pre-registered names, due to the more relaxed pricing regulations imposed by ICANN.
1&1 has been widely advertising new gTLDs on TV in the US and Europe for weeks — rumor has it the campaign’s budget is around $80 million — and has amassed four million non-binding pre-registrations to date.
Meanwhile, ICANN today warned internet users about the risks of pre-registering domains.