New gTLD domains top 500,000 as Schilling goes on parking spree

Kevin Murphy, April 16, 2014, Domain Registries

The total number of new gTLD domains broke through half a million for the first time yesterday, but it seems to be due to Frank Schilling obtaining tens of thousands of names in his own TLDs.

Uniregistry’s .link became the fifth-largest new gTLD, moving almost 20,000 names, but it appears that the vast majority are registered to a company affiliated with CEO Schilling.

Uniregistry’s other gTLDs — .tattoo, .sexy, .pics, .photo and .gift — all saw huge jumps too, apparently for the same reason.

This morning’s .link zone files show a pop of 19,945 names, to a total of 20,050.

That would be the third-best GA-day performance, after .guru and .berlin, of any new gTLD to date, but it seems the vast majority are actually premium names acquired by a Uniregistry affiliate.

Of those new .link names, 18,272 (91%) are being parked on internettraffic.com, another Schilling company.

I took a random sampling and found them all registered to North Sound Names, a company based on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, which is where Schilling lives.

Schilling said this on Twitter yesterday:

Premium names are of course those that were reserved by the registry. So either a third-party has bought them wholesale, or Uniregistry has simply shifted them over to an affiliated company.

I’ve asked Schilling to confirm that North Sound Names is also his company and will update this post with his answer.

Testing some domains in Uniregistry’s other gTLDs, I found a similar pattern — big spike, mostly parked at internettraffic.com, North Sound Names in a sampling of the Whois.

Here’s a screenshot of today’s best-performing new gTLDs from DI PRO (click to enlarge):

Overall, six of Uniregistry’s new gTLDs grew by a total of 50,735 domains today — 95% of the 53,147 industry total — and internettraffic.com’s name servers are responsible for 37,668 new names.

This brings the total number of “registered” domains to 538,093, though I would suggest that this metric may no longer be a decent measurement of actual end user interest in new gTLD domains.

Pricey .luxury made $500k already

Kevin Murphy, April 15, 2014, Domain Registries

The new gTLD .luxury seems to have sold more than $500,000 worth of domain names already.

(UPDATE: That’s probably not accurate. I seem to have misread some registrar pricing pages. The sunrise price was actually much lower than $1,000. See comments below.)

Saturday’s zone file for the Luxury Partners-owned TLD popped from 1 domain to 470 domains. Most of the new names appear to have been registered during the sunrise period, which ended early last week.

Given the current retail price of over $1,000, it seems .luxury is already a $500,000 business, at least for 2014. Renewal pricing is around the $700 mark, equating to $329,000 a year just on sunrise registrations.

That’s including the registrar markup, of course. The registry will be making a bit less.

“Luxury” brands such as Cartier and Formula 1 bought multiple domains during sunrise. Some tech firms, such as Facebook and Google, continued their blanket approach to defensives.

With such a high price, one wonders what some of these rights holders are thinking: do they really believe cybersquatters are prepared to drop $700 a year infringing their brands?

Sadly there are already a couple of examples of newbie squatters spending absurd sums on clearly infringing new gTLD domains.

It will be interesting to see whether any of these registrants actually use their domains, or whether they’re mainly defensive registrations. I suspect the latter will be more often the case.

Currently in landrush, .luxury is due to go to general availability in about a month.

Famous Four wins .party gTLD contest

Kevin Murphy, April 11, 2014, Domain Registries

Famous Four Media has won the .party new gTLD contention set after coming to a private agreement with the only other applicant for the string, Oriental Trading Company.

Financial details of the arrangement were not disclosed.

Oriental Trading is a supplier of party goods that intended to run the gTLD as closed, single-registrant namespace.

But Famous Four expects the open .party registry to be used for parties in the social gathering and political senses of the word.

It now has 13 uncontested applications and 44 more outstanding.

In related news, Minds + Machines today announced that it intends to take at least three of its applications — .garden, .property, and .yoga — at a private auction April 22 managed by Applicant Auction.

Top-level domains top 500

The number of live top-level domains on the internet has surpassed 500 for the first time.

The delegation yesterday of 12 new gTLDs — .archi, .consulting, .cooking, .country, .fishing, .haus, .商城, .horse, .miami, .rodeo, .vegas and .vodka — tipped the total TLD count to 507.

For the numbers geeks, here are some stats from the DI PRO database:

  • 285 ccTLDs
  • 222 gTLDs
  • 60 IDN TLDs
  • 24 IDN gTLDs
  • 199 gTLDs delegated in the 2012 round
  • 15 gTLDs delegated in previous rounds
  • 8 legacy gTLDs
  • 129 new gTLDs have started Sunrise periods
  • 65 new gTLDs have started Trademark Claims periods
  • 367 new gTLDs have ICANN contracts
  • 1 new gTLD application is still in Initial Evaluation
  • 6 new gTLD applications are still in Extended Evaluation
  • 9.7 new gTLDs have been delegated per week, on average, since January 1, 2014
  • 36 new gTLDs were delegated in March

Based on the rate that Verisign has been adding new gTLDs to the root recently, we should expect that to top 200 in the next few days. The number of new gTLDs could outstrip the number of ccTLDs next month.

Donuts buys out rival .place gTLD applicant

Kevin Murphy, March 31, 2014, Domain Registries

Donuts has won the .place new gTLD contention set after paying off rival applicant 1589757 Alberta Ltd.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, was another “cut and choose” affair, similar to deals made with Tucows last August, in which the Canadian company named its price to withdraw and Donuts chose to pay it rather than taking the money itself.

1589757 Alberta has withdrawn its application for .place already.

The deal means Donuts now has 165 new gTLDs that are either live, contracted or uncontested.