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Fiddy drops da C-bomb at .club launch party

Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson accidentally supported “.com” while he was endorsing da new .club gTLD at a launch party at a New York nightclub last night.

As previously reported, Fiddy is da first significant celebrity endorser of a new gTLD. He’s being paid to use 50inda.club, a web site developed by .CLUB Domains, as his new social media hub.

“In Da Club” was of course his breakthrough hit, in 2003.

He showed up at da Tao nightclub in New York — which had been rebranded “.CLUB” for one night only — last night for about 90 minutes in order to meet fans and pose for selfies, etc.

I was there. As disclosure, .CLUB had paid for my airfare from London, a night in a hotel, and copious amounts of alcohol.

I didn’t attempt to get into da roped-off VIP area where Fiddy was being held, but I gather that da bouncers guarding it were somewhat selective in who he got to meet.

He also publicly spoke, alongside .CLUB’s CEO Colin Campbell and CMO Jeff Sass, for about 30 seconds, in order to provide his official endorsement of da new gTLD.

Da problem was that during his brief address he referred to his support for “.com”, which is a little bit like a celebrity being paid to endorse Pepsi referring to how much he loves Coke.

Probably just a Freudian slip. We’ve all done it.

Unfortunately, I can’t give you da full quote just yet. It was quite noisy in there, and I’d consumed quite a bit of Cristal with diamond flakes floating in it. But a lot of people who videoed da address on their phones tell me it will be on YouTube shortly.

Fortunately for .CLUB, I don’t think what he said matters that much.

What matters is how frequently his people link to his new .club domain on his social media channels, how much mainstream media coverage his endorsement generates, and how many people register .club domains as a result.

Getting Fiddy as an anchor tenant will not have come cheap — my guess, and it is just a guess, is that da deal is costing .CLUB high six figures at least — so da company will have to sell a lot of domains to make it pay off.

UPDATE May 26: Here’s .CLUB’s video of da event. Fiddy says he’s very excited to launch his “50 in da .com club”. He later gets it right, referring to “.club” more than once.

Clinton.democrat sold to some guy in Kansas

Some guy in Kansas registered the domain name clinton.democrat before Rightside’s new gTLD went into general availability today.

It’s one of 38 .democrat domain names in today’s zone file — a mixture of trademark protections registered during the sunrise period and names sold during a three-week landrush.

Judging by the registration date, the name clinton.democrat appears to have been registered during landrush, one of only a small handful currently in the zone file.

The Whois record for the domain lists one Jared Mollenkamp of “Politically Correct Personal Computers” in Topeka, Kansas as the registrant.

While the email address appears to be protected by Whois privacy, a quick Google reveals that a genuine individual by that name lives in Topeka and is involved in PC enthusiast groups.

Quite why he wants clinton.democrat is not clear. There are many reasons the registration could be completely legit.

It seems to be the only personal name of a politician registered prior to .democrat going to general availability.

The Clintons — Bill and now Hillary, who is tipped for a 2016 run at the presidency — are of course one of the most famous Democratic dynasties, probably second only to the Kennedys.

The string “clinton” has been registered in 22 new gTLDs so far, including clinton.center, clinton.watch and clinton.sexy.

Rightside does not have any special mechanism in place to protect the names of politicians, though it has published a policy that prevents registrants using its gTLDs to mock its own employees.

Public figures generally do not have trademark protection for their personal names, and as such have been ripe for cybersquatting and other types of mischief over the years.

ICANN snubs Belgium, gives Donuts the all-clear for .spa

ICANN has rejected demands by the Belgian government by giving Donuts the go-ahead to proceed with its application for .spa, which Belgium says infringes on a geographic name.

Noting that the Governmental Advisory Committee had submitted no consensus advice that Donuts .spa bid should be rejected, the ICANN board’s New gTLD Program Committee said last week “the applications will proceed through the normal process.”

That means the two-way contention set is presumably going to auction.

The English dictionary word “spa” derives from Spa, a small Belgian town with some springs.

The other applicant is Asia Spa and Wellness Promotion Council, which has made a deal with Spa to donate some of its profits to local projects and give the city some control over the registry.

Donuts refused to sign a similar deal, leading to Belgium last month asking ICANN to delegate the gTLD to ASWPC and not Donuts.

The GAC’s last word on .spa was this, from the recent Singapore meeting:

Regarding the applications for .spa, the GAC understands that the relevant parties in these discussions are the city of Spa and the applicants. The GAC has finalised its consideration of the .spa string and welcomes the report that an agreement has been reached between the city of Spa and one of the applicants.

There’s no ICANN fudging here; if the GAC wanted to issue a consensus objection it could have.

The question is: why didn’t it?

Why does the string “amazon”, which does not exactly match the name of a place in its local languages, qualify for a GAC objection, while “spa”, which exactly matches the name of a city, does not?

Will anyone buy .luxury names?

The new gTLD .luxury went into general availability this afternoon, having reported a surprisingly promising sunrise period, but will it attract any interest from early-bird registrants?

The gTLD’s names are priced at roughly $700 retail, regardless of name, which is usually high enough to deter many professional domainers. This should mean volumes on day on will be low.

But the registry, Luxury Partners, reckons it had over 600 sunrise registrations — made mostly by recognized luxury brands — which it said made it the biggest new gTLD sunrise to date.

Does that show demand by luxury brands, as the registry posits, or merely targeted defensive registration strategies by companies that feel a particular affinity with the “luxury” tag?

The registry said in a press release:

While most registrants expressed interest in securing their brand name under .LUXURY, the namespace also holds great appeal to companies and investors wanting to secure premium generic terms to target specific market verticals within the luxury sector.

For a high-priced name, it’s also got a surprising amount of registrar support. I count something like 50 accredited registrars listed on its nic.luxury web site.

GA started at 1500 UTC today. If the registry approves our request for zone file access we’ll have its day one numbers tomorrow.

.club pips .berlin to #2 spot

.CLUB Domains moved into the number two spot on the new gTLD league table overnight, but its growth appears to be slowing.

In today’s zone files, .club has 47,362 domains under management, having added 734 on Sunday; .berlin stood at 47,243, having added 33 yesterday.

.guru still leads with 56,813 names.

Sunday is typically a slow day for domain registrations across the industry, but .club’s growth does appear to be slowing compared to its first few days of general availability, regardless.

It saw 1,141 net new names on Friday and 1,351 on Saturday. The previous Friday and Saturday adds were at 4,904 and 3,828.

It’s difficult to get a comprehensive picture of daily growth due to the registry missing a few days of zone files last week.