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Does this sexy .sx ad portend a clash with .sex?

In the occasional DI tradition of linkbaiting Domaining.com with promises of scantily clad eye candy, I humbly invite male readers to get their goggles around this beauty:

.sx marketing

Phwoar! Eh?

Apologies.

Anyway, there’s a serious point here.

SX Registry, which is in the process of launching the new .sx ccTLD for the recently formed territory of Sint Maarten, distributed this flyer in the goody bags at ICANN 44 in Prague last week.

The marketing was aimed at registrars, presumably, but the company’s web site has similar imagery as well.

It’s pretty clear what angle SX Registry is going for, and it could portend a clash with .sex and .sexy, which have both been proposed by applicants under ICANN’s new gTLD program.

ICM Registry (.sex), Uniregistry (.sexy) and Internet Marketing Solutions Limited (.sex) may have a potential objector on their hands.

Verisign’s .name contract up for renewal

Fresh from winning ICANN approval for its money-spinning .com franchise, Verisign is now going through the same process to renew its .name registry agreement.

Notably, the company isn’t getting the ability to raise its prices — the registry fee for a .name domain will still be fixed at $6 per name per year, according to the new contract.

There are lots of other changes, though. Many terms have been changed to make .name more in line with .net, which Verisign renegotiated last year, and with the standard new gTLD contract.

The company will, for example, be able to launch geographically focused promotions, in line with .net, and will be bound by new service level agreements, in line with new gTLDs.

While there are tweaks to the fee structure, the amount of money ICANN will reap from the deal appears to remain at the current rate of $0.25 per transaction or domain-year.

ICANN published the proposed agreement for public comment on Tuesday. They’re cutting it pretty fine — the current deal, signed in 2007, is due to expire on August 15.

.co.no opens for business after court win

The Norwegian registrant of the domain name co.no has won a court case against .no registry Norid that will allow it to finally launch as a pseudo-ccTLD, according to the company.

A Trondheim court ruled that Norid cannot revoke Elineweb’s registration of co.no for alleged policy violations, but has also ruled that the domain cannot be transferred to a third party.

Therefore, Elineweb plans to start offering third-level .co.no domain names to companies and individuals unable to register the names they want under Norid’s strict policy regime.

The company will open .co.no on a first-come, first-served basis — having already conducted sunrise and landrush periods — tomorrow at 10am Central European Time.

The full list of 70+ accredited registrars can be found here.

DI first covered the lawsuit back in October 2011.

The .co.no namespace is managed by CoDNS, a subsidiary of the registrar EuroDNS that already operates .co.nl as a pseudo-ccTLD, in partnership with Elineweb.

The two namespaces are not official ccTLDs, but they are both recognized by the Public Suffix List, which makes them behave similarly in browsers.

Microsoft, Yahoo and others involved in new dot-brand gTLD group

HSBC, Microsoft, Yahoo and jewelry maker Richemont have told ICANN they plan to form a new GNSO stakeholder group just for single-registrant gTLD registries.

The group would comprise dot-brand registries and — potentially — other types of single-user gTLD manager.

A letter (pdf) to ICANN chair Steve Crocker, signed by executives from the four companies, reads in part:

As a completely new type of contracted party, we do not have a home to represent our unique community. In addition, the existence of conflicts with other contracted parties makes it challenging for us to reside within their stakeholder group.

Combined, the companies have applied for about 30 single-registrant gTLDs, mostly corresponding to brands.

Richemont, which is applying for dot-brands including .cartier, is also applying for the keywords .jewelry and .watches as single-user spaces.

The group plans to discuss formalizing itself at the next ICANN meeting, in Toronto this October.

During the just-concluded Prague meeting, the GNSO’s existing registries stakeholder group accepted several new gTLD applicants — I believe mainly conventional registries — into the fold as observers.

How the influx of new gTLD registries will affect the GNSO’s structure was a hot topic for the Governmental Advisory Committee during the meeting too. I guess now it has some of the answers it was looking for.

ICANN gives Verisign’s .com contract the nod

ICANN’s board of directors has approved Verisign’s .com registry agreement for another six years.

In a closed meeting on Saturday, the results of which have just been published, the board decided against making any of the changes that had been suggested by the community.

There had been a small uproar over the fact that Verisign will retain the right to increase its .com registry fee by 7% in four out of the next seven years.

The new contract also rejiggers the fees Verisign pays ICANN to bring them more into line with other registry agreements. As a result, ICANN will net millions more in revenue.

Other parties had also asked for improved rights protection, such as a mandatory Uniform Rapid Suspension system, and for the current restrictions on single-character domain names to be lifted.

But the board decided that “no revisions to the proposed .COM renewal Registry Agreement are necessitated after taking into account the thoughtful and carefully considered comments received.”

The agreement will now be forward to the US government for approval. Unlike most registry contracts, the Department of Commerce has the right to review the .com deal.

The current contract expires November 30.