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.co.com launch compares well to new gTLDs

The subdomain service .co.com, which is being managed more or less like a proper gTLD, reckons it outperformed every new gTLD earlier this week.

CEO Ken Hansen and president Paul Goldstone made the claim in a couple of Facebook posts yesterday.

Hansen clarified today that while the company is not releasing precise numbers, .co.com had “single digit thousands of registrations” following its landrush, which ended July 8.

To outperform every new gTLD, .co.com would have had to have beaten .xyz, which had a relatively quiet day (for .xyz) on July 8, adding just 1,267 names.

We can assume .co.com had somewhere between 1,268 and 9,999 registrations, therefore. I’d err to the lower end of that range, personally.

Those names would have been added cumulatively over the course of the three-month landrush and the preceding sunrise.

Still, it’s not bad for a subdomain, given that many proper new gTLDs are struggling to achieve similar numbers on their launch days.

ICM scraps free .xxx porn star offer, starts new one

ICM Registry has partnered with a company called Model Centro to offer free .xxx domain names to porn performers.

Model Centro offers porn models a managed fan site and social networking service. It’s free to the models, with the company taking a 15% slice of whatever subscription fees are taken from their fans.

The arrangement seems to be related to the sale of Models.xxx, which ICM held back as a premium name until this week but which now mirrors the old modelcentro.com.

The deal will see each Models.xxx user get one free .xxx domain.

It also means ICM’s Adult Performer Program, which reserved the names of 3,500 porn stars and allowed them to be claimed for free via Name.com is no more.

The company said in a statement that the two-year-old program has been scrapped.

The new deal is probably better for .xxx. Because Models.xxx is a web site service, each free domain given away is going to turn into a site almost immediately, potentially increasingly the gTLD’s visibility.

The same group that runs Model Centro also recently acquired the premium bukkake.xxx, while another bought extreme.xxx and public.xxx. The three sold for a total of $150,000, according to the registry.

Slow start for .christmas with under 500 sales

Uniregistry’s latest new gTLDs .christmas and .blackfriday seem to have stumbled out of the gates, both amassing fewer than 500 registrations in their first full day of general availability.

In today’s zone files, .christmas has 501 names and .blackfriday has 445. Those numbers include dozens of sunrise registrations. They both went to GA on Tuesday afternoon UTC.

As you might expect, the .christmas zone comprises a mix of brands and generic words and phrases related to retail and travel. It’s a similar state of affairs in .blackfriday.

What there do not appear to be are large numbers of product categories registered, suggesting that domainers feel that the new gTLDs fail Uniregistry CEO Frank Schilling’s own Toilet Paper Test.

That’s where one judges the potential popularity of a TLD by putting the string “toiletpaper” at the second level.

Domainer Mike Berkens appears to have picked up a handful of decent-looking names, including santatracker.christmas (NORAD’s Santa tracker got 19.58 million unique visitors last year) and whatiwantfor.christmas.

Schilling himself paid $90,000 — half the price of a new gTLD application fee — for blackfridaysales.com back in 2010. In November 2009, Kevin Ham’s blackfriday.com purportedly took 18 million visitors.

Neither Uniregistry TLD appears to be available currently at Go Daddy, despite the two companies’ reported distribution deal.

.christmas and .blackfriday are notable because they’re the first TLDs to launch that are tied to specific calendar dates. Those dates are of course several months away.

I have a feeling that it may prove tough to build up sustainable buzz for these TLDs.

Even if they’re used by big brands in marketing campaigns this year, which is of course by no means assured, it’s still going to take another year to figure out whether they’ve captured the imagination of their target markets.

In an industry of long plays, these could be two of the longer ones.

Pinyin to beat IDN? .wang ready to overtake .在线

The .wang gTLD has seen great success, relatively, in its first week of general availability, crossing the 30,000 mark yesterday and entering the top 10 new gTLDs by registration volume.

At its current rate of growth, the Zodiac Holdings domain is going to overtake .在线, the highest-ranking Chinese gTLD so far, this week.

.wang went to GA June 30. After its initial spike, it’s added one to two thousand names per day and, with 31,011 names today, currently sits at 9th place in the new gTLD program’s league table.

That’s a whisker behind TLD Registry’s .在线 (“.online”), which had a strong start when it launched at the end of April but has since plateaued at around 33,000 names, adding just a handful each day.

A skim through the zone files reveals that the vast majority of the names in .wang appear to be, like .wang itself, Pinyin — the official Latin-script transliterations of Chinese-script words.

.wang, which would be “网” in Chinese script, means “net”.

To pluck a couple of names from the zone at random, I see tanpan.wang, which could mean something like “negotiation.net” and xingshi.wang, which may or may not mean “shape.net”.

I suspect that many of the registered domains are personal names rather than dictionary words. Wang is a popular surname in China.

The vast majority of the names also appear to be registered via China-based registrars, some of which are promoting the TLD strongly on their home pages.

There certainly appears to be a lot of domainer activity in .wang, but I haven’t seen anything yet to suggest a massive orchestrated effort that would throw out the numbers considerably.

Either way, I find it fascinating that a Latin transliteration of a Chinese word seems set to out-perform the actual Chinese IDNs currently on the market.

.london predicts 50,000 landrush names

Two months into its combined sunrise/landrush period Dot London Domains estimates it will end July with 50,000 applied-for names.

A “projection based on current applications”, the number doesn’t say a heck of a lot about how many names have actually been applied for since the TLD opened for applications on April 29.

It could mean that 33,000 names, given that we’re two-thirds of the way through the launch phase. Alternatively, the registry could be predicting the kind of last-minute rush common to sunrise periods before 2014.

The number doesn’t say much about .london’s eventual number of names under management, given that there’s likely to be multiple applications for the same names.

If it were to sell 50,000 names, that would make it the fifth-largest new gTLD, based on today’s numbers.

The three-month launch phase combines the sunrise and landrush, with trademark owners listed in the Trademark Clearinghouse getting first priority.

Registrants based in London applying for a non-TMCH business name get second dibs, followed by Londoners generally and then anyone anywhere in the world.

Clashing applications will see the names going to auction. Sunrise applicants will not have to compete at auction with non-sunrise applicants, of course.

Back-end registry provider Minds + Machines is being promoted heavily as the primary registrar. It’s selling the names for £30 ($51) per year and pushing sunrise applicants to Com Laude.

1&1, 123-reg, GoDaddy, Fasthosts and CentralNic, which all have dedicated .london pages or sites, are also being promoted by M+M as partner registrars.

The cheapest deal of those registrars appears to be at FastHosts, which is selling at £24.99 ($42.85).