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Verisign selected for 220 new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, April 26, 2012, Domain Registries

Verisign is the appointed back-end registry operator for 220 new generic top-level domain applications, according to the company.

Verisign itself has applied to ICANN for 14 new gTLDs, 12 of which are transliterations — ie, internationalized domain names — of .com and .net.

During its first-quarter 2012 earnings conference call, ongoing right now, CEO Jim Bidzos disclosed the numbers, saying:

VeriSign applied directly for 14 new gTLDs. Twelve of these 14 are transliterations of .com and .net. Also, applicants for approximately 220 new gTLDs selected Verisign to provide back-end registry services.

Many of these are dot-brands, Bidzos said.

Neustar, which also reported earnings yesterday, did not disclose how many applications it is involved in, other than to say that it has not applied for any as a front-end operator.

OpenRegistry behind 20 new gTLD apps

Kevin Murphy, April 25, 2012, Domain Registries

OpenRegistry will provide the back-end technical infrastructure for 20 new generic top-level domain applications filed by 15 clients, according to a report.

Dutch telco KPN, consultancy Deloitte and financial management firm LPL Financial are among its dot-brand clients, according to Knack.be, quoting executives.

Presumably, we’re looking at bids for .kpn and .lpl as well as .deloitte, which Deloitte confirmed earlier this month.

Its portfolio of applications also includes two cities – one is .gent for Ghent, the other is an American city – and two generic terms that have not yet been revealed.

(UPDATE: While OpenRegistry is not naming the American city, I hear through the grapevine that it might be Boston).

Its clients have a total market cap of $150 billion, according to the report.

That’s not a bad roster for the start-up, whose technical arm is known as Sensirius. The Benelux company was founded in late 2010 by former executives from EuroDNS and Belgian ccTLD manager DNS.be.

A year ago it won the contract to manage the back-end for .sx, the new ccTLD for Sint Maarten.

Rugby board tries for .rugby with TLDH

Kevin Murphy, April 23, 2012, Domain Registries

The International Rugby Board has applied to ICANN for the generic top-level domain .rugby with Top Level Domain Holdings, the IRB announced today.

It appears to be a defensive as well as offensive move, judging by the press release.

It’s about “protecting and promoting Rugby’s values and ethos” and ensuring .rugby “resides within the sport”, according to IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset.

The application will be filed in partnership with TLDH, as well as a new company called ROAR Domains, which appears to be a part of a Kiwi sports marketing agency.

If the bid is successful, TLDH subsidiary Minds + Machines will provide the registry back-end.

The IRB is the international body for rugby associations which organizes the Rugby World Cup.

There are already a few .sport bids, and the Australian Football League has applied for a .afl dot-brand, but I think .rugby may be the first sport-specific gTLD application to be announced.

TAS down for at least another week

Kevin Murphy, April 21, 2012, Domain Registries

If you’re just joining us, welcome to the ICANN community.

The TLD Application System will be offline for another week, possibly more, as ICANN struggles to deal with the fallout from its embarrassing data leakage bug.

ICANN had promised an update today on the timing of the reopening of TAS, which was taken offline April 12 just 12 hours before the new gTLD application filing deadline arrived.

But what applicants got instead was a promise to provide another timing update a week from now.

Chief operating officer Akram Atallah said in a statement:

identifying which applicants may have been affected by the technical glitch, and determining who may have been able to see someone else’s data, require extensive analysis of a very large data set. This is a time-consuming task, but it is essential to ensure that all potentially affected applicants are accurately identified and notified.

Until that process is complete, we are unable to provide a specific date for reopening the application system.

In order to give all applicants notice and an opportunity to review and complete their applications, upon reopening the system we will keep it open for at least five business days.

No later than 27 April 2012 we will provide an update on the reopening of the system and the publication of the applied-for new domain names.

So the best-case scenario, if these dates hold up, would see TAS coming back online Monday, April 30 and closing Friday, May 4.

The April 30 target date for the Big Reveal is clearly no longer possible.

ICANN has stated previously that it expects to take two weeks between the closing of the application window and the revelation of the list of gTLDs being applied for.

The Big Reveal could therefore be postponed until mid-May, almost a month from now.

Any applicant who has already booked flights and hotels in order to attend one of the various reveal events currently being planned by third parties may find themselves out of pocket.

Regular ICANN participants are of course accustomed to delay.

ICANN’s image problem now is rather with the hundreds of companies interfacing with the organization for the first time, applying for new gTLDs, which may be wondering whether this kind of thing is par for the course.

Well, yes, frankly, it is.

That said, the time to avoid this problem was during testing, before the application window opened in January.

Now that the bug has manifested, it’s probably in most people’s best interests for ICANN to fully understand went wrong and what impact it could have had on which applicants. This takes time.

How the world’s biggest brands use new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, April 18, 2012, Domain Registries

DomainIncite PRO is excited to reveal the results of the domain name industry’s first in-depth study into how the world’s biggest brands use new generic top-level domains.

In March and April 2012, we surveyed the domain name ownership and usage patterns of the world’s 100 most-valuable brands — representing over $1.2 trillion in brand value, according to Interbrand — in six gTLDs introduced since 2001.

As well as confirming the long-held belief that brand owners see little value in defensive registrations — many not even choosing to benefit from residual traffic — the survey also revealed which brands are more likely to develop their sites, which are most vulnerable to cybersquatting, and which appear to care the least about enforcing their brands.

We also examined how “cybersquatters” use the domain names they register, with some surprising results.

Privacy/proxy registration is not nearly as prevalent as many believe, our study found, and a significant portion of registrants have made no effort to monetize the domains they own that match famous brand names.

This extensive, fully illustrated report includes:

A comparison of defensive registration trends across 100 brands in six new gTLDs. How many domains are owned by the respective brands and how many are owned by third parties? How many are reserved by the registry and how many are still available for registration?

A breakdown of usage trends by gTLD in .asia, .biz, .info, .jobs, .mobi and .pro. When brand owners register domains in new gTLDs, how likely are they to develop content on those domains, and what can new gTLD registries do to encourage this desirable behavior?

An analysis of cybersquatting behavior in over 100 domain names registered to entities other than the brand owner. How much do brand owners have to worry about their brands being impaired by damaging behavior such as redirection to competing web sites or porn?

Full survey results. Subscribers have full access to the survey results, which include details of which brand-domains belong to third parties, which exhibit potentially damaging behavior, and which are currently available for registration.

DI PRO subscribers can click here for the full report.

Non-subscribers can learn how to subscribe instantly here.