ICANN and Employ Media are set to sign a new contract for operation of the .jobs registry which is based heavily on the Registry Agreement signed by all new gTLD registries.
.jobs was delegated in 2005 and its first 10-year RA is due for renewal in May 2015.
Because Employ Media, like all gTLD registries, has a presumption of renewal clause in its contract, ICANN has published the proposed new version of its RA for public comment.
It’s basically the new gTLD RA, albeit substantially modified to reflect the fact that .jobs is a “Sponsored TLD” — slightly different to a “Community” TLD under the current rules — and because .jobs has been around for nine years already.
That means it won’t have to sign a contract forcing it to run Sunrise or Trademark Claims periods, for example. It won’t have to come up with a Continued Operations Instrument — a financial arrangement to cover operating costs should the company go under — either.
Its commitments to its sponsor community remain, however.
ICANN said it conducted a compliance audit on Employ Media before agreeing to the renewal.
Employ Media remains the only gTLD registry to have been hit by a formal breach notice by ICANN Compliance. In 2011, it threatened to terminate its contract over a controversial proposal to all job aggregation sites to run on .jobs domains.
The fight came about as a result of complaints from the .JOBS Charter Compliance Coalition, a group of jobs sites including Monster.com.
It appears that the contested new gTLD .love has been won by the law firm Merchant Law Group, after an auction.
Minds + Machines, Richemont, Google and Donuts have all officially withdrawn their competing applications. I gather that withdrawals from Uniregistry and Famous Four Media are on their way.
.love would be MLG’s first successful new gTLD application.
The would-be portfolio applicant applied for eight strings, all of which were contested by others. It has withdrawn bids for .news, .club and .law after auctions.
MLG is odd as new gTLD applicants go. It’s a Canadian law firm that offers services across many areas of law but seems to specialize in class action lawsuits.
According to its application, .love will be positioned in the same space as .wed and .wedding:
.LOVE’s target markets are broad enough to maintain a financially viable TLD and distinct enough that the .LOVE TLD will not become ‘just another .info’. A .LOVE TLD will provide a unique space on the Internet for information and services related to the idea of love, engagements, marriage, and family. It will allow anyone to register a domain name and post information about products and services related to the idea of love, an engagement, a marriage, or family.
It is anticipated to be an open, unrestricted gTLD running on a CentralNic back-end.
A private auction has been used to settle a new gTLD contention set containing two different strings for the first time.
Afilias has won the right to run .pet after Google withdrew its application for .pet and Donuts withdrew its bid for .pets.
The two strings, one the plural of the other, had been placed into indirect contention by ICANN after a String Confusion Objection panel controversially ruled in August 2013 that .pet and .pets were too confusingly similar to be allowed to coexist.
This means that Donuts has been forced to withdraw an uncontested application.
Notably, it was Google that filed, fought and won the SCO complaint, and it didn’t even wind up with the TLD it wanted.
The final settlement of the contention set reflects ICANN’s inconsistent policy on plurals. Several plural/singular combinations — such as .career(s) and .photo(s) — already coexist in the DNS.
CentralNic today announced it has made $2.5 million by selling off some of its stash of premium domain names.
The sales appear to be of “non-core” names unrelated to its registry business that the company has been sitting on for a while, rather than names that it has reserved in its own subdomains and new gTLDs for which it acts as back-end.
The company did not disclose how many or which names it has sold, but the sales all seem to have happened in the last few months, since it first announced its intention to liquidate some of its premiums.
CentralNic said its portfolio comprises some 20,000 names.
The company also confirmed today that its financial results for the second half of the year will be in line with expectations.
Donuts says that problems obtaining “licenses” from the Chinese government are to blame for the fact that it is yet to launch any of its Chinese-script new gTLDs.
Currently, four of the company’s portfolio of 156 gTLDs are in Chinese. Three have been delegated to the DNS root but none of them have been launched.
The first, .游戏 (for “games”) has been in the root since October 2013, but does not yet have a firm date for Sunrise. Another, .商店 (“shop”), was delegated just last week, almost a year after Donuts signed its Registry Agreement with ICANN.
Donuts explained the .游戏 delay with the following statement:
The Chinese government division which handles this area is MIIT [Ministry of Industry and Information Technology] and in conjunction with [.cn registry] CNNIC they are still to advise of the licensing application process. We hope to make these TLDs available during the first half of 2015.
No additional details were available and it’s not clear what licenses Donuts — which is based in the United States — thinks it needs to obtain before launching.
I’ve heard rumors that China may introduce a licensing system in future, but other new gTLD registries with Chinese-script strings in their stable have managed to launch their gTLDs just fine without a Chinese government license.
TLD Registry — legally based in Dublin, Ireland, founded by Finns — launched .中文网 and .在线 earlier this year and has tens of thousands of names under management.
Thousands of those domains, which match Chinese geographic names, were allocated to Chinese government, however.
“No licenses are currently possible, because the new law is MIA,” TLD Registry chief marketing officer Simon Cousins told us.