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Four more new gTLDs, including .sexy, get contracts

Kevin Murphy, September 12, 2013, Domain Registries

ICANN signed four more new gTLD contracts with four different registries yesterday.

The lucky recipients of Registry Agreements are:

  • .uno (Dot Latin LLC) — a general-purpose, open gTLD aimed primarily at Spanish and Italian speakers.
  • .menu (Wedding TLD2, LLC) — also open, though the registry plans to run second-level portals corresponding to types of food (italian.menu, etc).
  • .sexy (Uniregistry Corp) — signing a Registry Agreement with boring old ICANN doesn’t strike me as particularly sexy, but Uniregistry went ahead and did it anyway.
  • .世界 (Stable Tone Ltd) — this Chinese string means “.world”. It will also be open and obviously targeted primarily at Chinese-speaking registrants.

The deals mean ICANN has now signed contracts covering 26 new gTLD applications. It’s slow going so far, but the pace is definitely picking up.

As of last week, DI PRO Application Tracker allows you to search for only gTLDs that have signed contracts, along with 23 other search criteria.

Wine gTLDs get a pass as GAC fails to agree

Kevin Murphy, September 12, 2013, Domain Registries

Applicants for wine-related gTLDs will no longer be opposed by the Governmental Advisory Committee, it has emerged.

Writing to ICANN chair Steve Crocker this week, GAC chair Heather Dryden said that the GAC had failed to reach an agreement on whether to issue formal Advice against the applications.

Three .wine applicants and one .vin applicant are affected.

Some governments are concerned about strings at the second level because quite often a word many people associate primarily with a type of wine is also the protected name of the wine-producing region.

Champagne is probably the best-known example of this.

Nevertheless, the GAC couldn’t reach agreement on whether to provide formal advice to ICANN on this topic, so the applications will be free to proceed along the new gTLD program’s track.

Donuts signs three more new gTLD contracts

Kevin Murphy, September 10, 2013, Domain Registries

Donuts today signed Registry Agreements covering the new gTLDs .land, .plumbing and .contractors, according to ICANN.

The deals mean ICANN now has contracts covering 40 gTLDs, 22 of them as a result of the new gTLD program and 16 of which are to be managed by Donuts.

Like all the gTLDs Donuts applied for, they’re to be operated with an “open” registration policy.

It’s therefore ironic that the company should become the contracted registry for .plumbing and .contractors — both regulated industries where I come from — on the same day we find out that it can’t have .architect because architecture is a licensed profession.

dotShabaka Diary — Day 9, Unwelcome and Uninformed?

Kevin Murphy, September 10, 2013, Domain Registries

The ninth installment of dotShabaka Registry’s journal, charting its progress towards becoming one of the first new gTLDs to go live, written by general manager Yasmin Omer.

Tuesday 10 September 2013

After responding to ICANN’s COI Clarification Notification of 10 July 2013, including submitting the Letter of Credit and other required documentation, dotShabaka Registry proceeded to the Contracting Phase. The Registry Agreement was executed in Durban a couple of days later.

Now a full two months after our Letter of Credit was submitted to ICANN we received a portal comment that “ICANN requires an original of the Letter of Credit” and we need to respond “as soon as possible to avoid delaying your progress in the post-evaluation process.”

How is this a requirement that we are only now being made aware of? Why the two month wait? Why is the Letter of Credit suddenly on the critical path to delegation for the شبكة. TLD? We are on the other side of the world from Los Angeles and this cannot be completed in a couple of hours.

We are yet to receive ICANN’s ‘Welcome Pack’ for new gTLD Registry Operators. Are other new gTLD Registry Operators at the front-end of the new gTLD program feeling unwelcome and uninformed?

إذا كان الصبر مُرًّا فعاقبته حلوة – If patience is bitter then its result is sweet…

Read previous and future diary entries here.

Angry Birds backing two Chinese-language gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, September 9, 2013, Domain Registries

The Finnish/Irish new gTLD applicant TLD Registry Ltd has signed two ICANN Registry Agreements, covering the Chinese strings .在线 (.online) and .中文网 (a phrase meaning “Chinese language website”).

The deals were signed yesterday, but the news is set to be formally announced in Beijing on Tuesday by the Finnish prime minister, Jyrki Katainen, who’s on a state visit to the country.

He’ll be joined by Peter Vesterbacka, chief marketing officer of Angry Birds maker Rovio Entertainment, which is supporting TLD Registry as the first announced member of its “founders program”.

The two new agreements mean ICANN has now contractual powers over more new gTLDs (19) than legacy ones (18).

TLD Registry CEO Arto Isokoski told DI this morning that 在线 and 中文网 are already extremely well-known and widely-used phrases on the Chinese internet.

“在线” is the direct translation of “online” and “中文网” is what Chinese web users instinctively type when they’re searching for the Chinese-language version of a foreign brand’s web site, he said.

“It surprises me as well that these were not contested,” Isokoski said. “These are the strings that Chinese users type in when they’re looking for web sites online.”

Both TLDs will be open to registrants anywhere in the world, though .中文网 seems to be particularly suited for brands from the ASCII parts of the world, looking to improve SEO in the country.

Isokoski said that the company hopes to take .在线 and .中文网 to market early next year. If the strings are delegated in early November, then general availability could start in mid-January, he said.

Depending on ICANN delays, the launch schedule may have to be moved back to February or March in order to avoid the “dead period” around Chinese New Year, which starts in late January, he said.

The most directly competitive gTLD would be .网址, an arguably superior string meaning roughly “website”, which is now out of contention and likely to sign its own contract soon.

Two other Chinese gTLDs, both owned by Donuts, have ICANN contracts already — .游戏 (games) and .企业 (business).

Isokoski said that TLD Registry hopes to have about 20 members of its founders program (included Rovio, which is Finnish but makes games wildly popular in China) and about 20 launch registrars.

Like other IDN gTLD registries, the company is hoping that its first-to-market advantage will give its marketing a lift due to the extra media interest.

TLD Registry is based in Ireland, near its back-end provider Afilias, but was founded by Finns. Afilias alum Pinky Brand is managing registrar relationships for the company.