Latest news of the domain name industry

Recent Posts

Donuts sells millionth domain name

Kevin Murphy, October 13, 2014, Domain Registries

Donuts today sold its millionth domain name, according to a company press release.

The name, according to Donuts, was heavenly.coffee.

I’m not saying heavenly.coffee wasn’t the one millionth name, but I reckon that if the one millionth name had been get-free-viagra.guru, I’d still be looking at a press release talking about heavenly.coffee this afternoon.

Donuts is obviously the first company to hit this target. It owns the largest portfolio of new gTLDs by a considerable margin.

The company has 150 delegated gTLDs, 140 of which are in general availability.

Iceland yanks Islamic State domain

Kevin Murphy, October 13, 2014, Domain Registries

Iceland’s ccTLD operator has suspended one or more domain names affiliated with Islamic State, the terrorist group currently running riot in parts of Iraq and Syria.

ISNIC runs .is, which matches the IS acronym.

In a statement on its web site, the company said:

ISNIC has suspended domains that were used for the website of a known terrorist organisation. The majority of ISNIC’s board made this decision today, on the grounds of Article 9 of ISNIC’s Rules on Domain Registration, which states: “The registrant is responsible for ensuring that the use of the domain is within the limits of Icelandic law as current at any time.”

Never before has ISNIC suspended a domain on grounds of a website’s content.

The domain in question was reportedly khilafah.is, which had a web site titled “Khilafah #IS | Media Releases from Islamic State”. Khilafah is the Latin-script version of the Arabic word for Caliphate.

IS has previously been known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). It’s current media practice here in the UK to call it “so-called Islamic State”.

Governments totally cool with two-letter domains

Kevin Murphy, October 13, 2014, Domain Registries

ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee does not plan to advise against the release of two-character domain names in new gTLDs.

In fact, judging by a GAC discussion at ICANN 51 in Los Angeles yesterday, the governments of many major nations are totally cool with the idea.

Under the standard Registry Agreement for new gTLD registries, all two-character domains (any combination of letters, numbers) must not be sold or activated in the DNS.

The blanket ban was designed to avoid clashes with two-letter ccTLD codes, both existing and future.

ICANN left the door open for registries to request the release of such names, however, and many companies have formally applied to do so via the Registry Services Evaluation Process.

Some registries want all two-character domains released, others have only asked for permission to sell those strings that do not match allocated ccTLDs.

There seems to have been an underlying assumption that governments may want to protect their geographic turf. That assumption may turn out to be untrue.

Representatives from the United States, Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, Australia, Austria and Iran all said yesterday that the GAC should not issue formal advice against the the two-character proposals.

No governments opposed that apparent consensus view.

“The use of the ‘US’ two-letter country code at the second level has not presented any technical or policy issues for the United States,” US rep Suzanne Radell said.

“We, in fact, do not require any approval for the use of US two-character country codes at the second level in existing gTLDs, and do not propose to require anything for new gTLDs,” she said.

She even highlighted domains such as us.com and us.org — which are marketed by UK-based CentralNic as alternatives to the .us ccTLD — as being just fine and dandy with the US government.

It seems likely that the GAC will instead suggest to ICANN that it is the responsibility of individual governments to challenge the registries’ requests via the RSEP process.

“What we see at the moment is that ICANN is putting these RSEP requests out for public comment and it would be open to any government to use that public comment period if they did feel in some instances that there was a concern,” Australian GACer Peter Nettlefold said.

I’ve not been able to find any government comments to the relevant RSEP requests.

For example, Neustar’s .neustar, which proposes the release of all two-character strings including country codes, has yet to receive a comment from a government.

Many comments in other RSEP fora appear to be from fellow dot-brand registries that want to use two-letter codes to represent the countries where they operate.

Uniregistry wins .cars gTLD

Kevin Murphy, October 8, 2014, Domain Registries

Uniregistry has won the .cars new gTLD at auction.

Donuts withdrew its competing application for the string this week. Third candidate DERCars’ application is still showing as active on ICANN’s web site.

However, Uniregistry CEO Frank Schilling confirmed to DI that his company has won the contention set.

The automobile-related gTLD space is quite congested and, one might argue, confusing.

Uniregistry’s .cars will compete with Google, which has an uncontested application for the singular .car, and DERCars which stood uncontested for the now-delegated .autos.

Uniregistry previously won the four-way fight for .auto at auction but has yet to contract with ICANN.

Gay community not gay enough to win new gTLD

Kevin Murphy, October 8, 2014, Domain Registries

An applicant for .gay has lost its chance to get exclusive rights to the new gTLD, partly because the self-defined gay community it wants to represent is not “gay” enough.

Dotgay LLC is one of four applicants, and the only “Community” applicant under ICANN rules, for .gay.

But the company yesterday failed in its attempt to pass a Community Priority Evaluation, scoring just 10 out of 16 available points and failing to reach the required 14-point passing threshold.

Most of its points were lost on the “Nexus between Proposed String and Community” criteria, where 4 points were available but Dotgay scored zilch.

The CPE panel concluded that the gay community described in the Dotgay application was too broad to be described by the string “gay”, because it includes lots of people who aren’t gay — such as transgender people or heterosexual campaigners for gay rights.

Under the CPE rules, applicants can score the maximum points if their chosen string “matches” the name of the community. Partial points can be won if it “identifies” the community.

The panel decided that it did neither:

Included in the application’s community definition are transgender and intersex individuals as well as “allies” (understood as heterosexual individuals supportive of the missions of the organizations that comprise the defined community). However, “gay” does not identify these individuals. Transgender people may identify as straight or gay, since gender identity and sexual orientation are not necessarily linked.8 Likewise, intersex individuals are defined by having been born with atypical sexual reproductive anatomy; such individuals are not necessarily “gay”. Finally, allies, given the assumption that they are heterosexual supporters of LGBTQIA issues, are not identified by “gay” at all. Such individuals may be an active part of the .GAY community, even if they are heterosexual, but “gay” nevertheless does not describe these individuals

Because “gay” was not found to identify the applicant-defined community, Dotgay lost 3 points. A knock-on effect was that it lost another 1 point for not “uniquely” identifying the community.

The applicant lost another two points on the “Community Endorsement” criteria — one point for not being backed by an organization recognized as representing all gays and another because the application had received informal objections from at least one significant community member.

The CPE decision means that rival applicants Top Level Design, Rightside and Minds + Machines are back in the game.

The .gay gTLD, assuming there are no successful appeals against the CPE, is now likely headed to auction.