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Cowley quits Nominet

Lesley Cowley has unexpectedly quit her job as Nominet’s longstanding CEO.

The .uk registry today announced that she will leave the company July 9, and that the remaining C-suite will manage the company until a replacement is found.

No reason for Cowley’s departure was given, beyond Cowley saying “it is now the right time to move on”.

It’s not known if she has a new gig already lined up. She’s believed to have applied for the ICANN CEO job a couple of times, but that spot isn’t currently vacant.

Cowley has been with Nominet for 15 years and was appointed CEO in 2002.

A small but vocal group of Nominet members has been trying to get her kicked out for the last few years, alleging among other things that she lied to members.

Nominet tells me Cowley’s resignation has nothing to do with that.

Millions spent on new gTLDs as 11 auctions settled

Kevin Murphy, April 30, 2014, Domain Registries

New gTLD portfolio applicants settled at least 11 new gTLD contention sets last week, sharing the spoils of a private auction that looks to have totaled seven figures in sales.

Applicant Auction carried out auctions for 13 contested strings last week, which I believe lasted at least three days.

I’ve been able to determine that Donuts won six sets, Uniregistry won three and Minds + Machines won two. Radix seems to have lost at least five auctions, walking away with a great big pile of cash instead.

.hosting — Uniregistry won after Radix (which owns .host) withdrew.

.click — Uniregistry beat Radix.

.property — Uniregistry won after withdrawals from M+M and Donuts.

.yoga — M+M won, beating Donuts and Uniregistry.

.garden — M+M beat Donuts and Uniregistry again.

.娱乐 — Donuts won this string (Chinese for “.entertainment”) after Morden Media withdrew.

.deals — Donuts beat M+M and Radix.

.city — Donuts beat TLD Registry and Radix.

.forsale — Donuts beat DERForsale.

.world — Donuts beat Radix.

.band — Donuts beat What Box?

Minds + Machines disclosed this morning that the four auctions in which it was involved cost it $5.97 million.

It’s not possible to work out how much .garden and .yoga cost the company; the $5.97 million figure is net of the money it won by losing .property and .deals, ICANN refunds and auctioneer commissions.

However, it seems reasonable to assume that the average price of a gTLD, even not particularly attractive ones (.garden? Really?), has sharply risen from the $1.33 million I calculated from the first 14 auctions.

In January, M+M raised roughly $33.6 million for auctions with a private share placement. The company is listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market.

The company said it now has an interest in 28 uncontested applications.

Also today, the Canadian Real Estate Association withdrew its Community application for .mls, but this is not believed to be related to the auctions. It has a non-Community application for the same string remaining.

Oops! TLD Registry over-reports first-day figures

Kevin Murphy, April 28, 2014, Domain Registries

TLD Registry’s first hours of Chinese IDN gTLD registrations were not as big as previously reported.

We reported earlier today that .在线 (“.online”) and .中文网 (“.chinesewebsite”) had made it to 54,011 names and 38,838 names respectively, just one hour after the 1300 UTC general availability.

However, a few hours later the company told us it had accidentally included thousands of registry-reserved names in those totals.

The actual numbers are 33,012 for .在线 and 17,537 for .中文网, as of 1900 UTC.

These are still extremely impressive numbers, and .在线 is still the biggest launch to date, surpassing the 31,645 with which .berlin ended its first day of GA a month ago.

That gTLD is likely to end the day in third or fourth place in the new gTLD league table, depending on how .photography (with 33,489 names this morning) performed today.

.guru’s crown remains.

Both sets of new numbers include sunrise, landrush and up to 10,000 names registered to the Chinese government under a special pre-release deal the registry negotiated, but they do not include reserved names.

Chinese “.online” beats .guru in one hour

Kevin Murphy, April 28, 2014, Domain Registries

The Chinese new gTLD .在线, which means “.online” has become the biggest new gTLD launch to date, taking tens of thousands of registrations in its first hour of general availability.

According to TLD Registry, which took .在线 and .中文网 (“.chinesewebsite”) to GA at 1300 UTC today, .在线 had 54,011 names and .中文网 had 38,838 names just one hour later.

UPDATE: These numbers were wrong.

That immediately puts .在线 at the top of the new gTLD leaderboard, a clear 1,500 names ahead of Donuts’ .guru (52,428 as of 0100 UTC), which has topped the chart for the last few months.

It took .guru, which launched January 29, 78 days to hit 50,000 names.

With its 38,838 names, .中文网 takes the number four position behind .guru and .berlin.

“As of the last minute before GA, the total number of domains in Dot Chinese Online (.在线) totalled 9,803, and the total number of domains in Dot Chinese Website (.中文网) totalled 8,623,” TLD Registry marketing director Simon Cousins told DI, citing numbers provided by back-end provider Afilias.

The company had allocated 20,452 names, split evenly between the two TLDs, to the Chinese government.

It also auctioned off several dozen names with Sedo at an event in Macau last month.

One of these, a real estate site at 房地产.在线, which means “realestate.online” has already gone live.

Microsoft dumps .live gTLD bid

Kevin Murphy, April 24, 2014, Domain Registries

Microsoft has abandoned its application for the .live new gTLD, leaving the erstwhile dot-brand in the hands of either Donuts or Google.

I found this quite surprising initially, as “Live” has been a core, cross-platform brand for the company, covering services such as Windows Live, Xbox Live and Office Live. The company also owns live.com.

But it recent years the brand has started to be phased out.

While Xbox Live is still a thing, Windows Live was closed down in April 2013 and Office Live seems to have suffered a similar fate in 2012, after the new gTLD application phase ended.

The withdrawal means that the .live contention set now only comprises Google’s Charleston Road Registry and a Donuts subsidiary. It’s likely headed to ICANN auction.

Unlike Microsoft, both remaining applicants propose open-registration spaces.