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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).

The price of .bar was $100,000 to a school

Wondering how the new gTLD registry Punto 2012 managed to get government approval for .bar, even though it’s a protected geographic term in Montenegro under ICANN rules?

At least part of the deal seems to involve a 10-year, $100,000 commitment to fund a school in the tiny Montenegrin city of Bar, judging by a press release today.

The registry will pay $10,000 a year to the school for the duration of its 10-year registry agreement.

It’s a stroke of good fortune for the city. Whilst not a capital city, it’s also a ISO-designated administrative region of the country and therefore protected by the ICANN Applicant Guidebook.

Punto 2012 intends to reserve a few names for the city, and said it hopes residents will use .bar — intended to represent drinking establishments — as a city TLD also.

With a little over 17,000 inhabitants, Bar is likely going to be have one of the smaller city TLDs, and I expect most registrations will in fact come from bars elsewhere in the world.

In related news, as of last Friday there’s only one new gTLD application of the original 1,930 still under ICANN evaluation and it’s .tata, the dot-brand for a massive Indian conglomerate that is also the name of a province in Morocco. Coincidence? Probably not.

Bieber plug has no impact on .tattoo sales

Justin Bieber used his extensive social media channels to plug a .tattoo domain name to his bazillions of “beliebers” last week, but so far the plug has had no impact on sales of the gTLD.

The pop singer, beloved of 11-year-old girls worldwide, tweeted and Facebooked about the domain joker.tattoo, which leads visitors to his Tumblr blog.

A Facebook update reading simply “My Tumblr is http://joker.tattoo” has been “liked” over 230,000 times and shared almost 2,500 times by the over 70 million people following him on the platform.

Justin Bieber

On Twitter, where Bieber has 52.6 million followers, his identical tweet was retweeted over 50,000 times and favorited close to 60,000 times.

The “news” was even picked up by MTV, which gently ribbed the musician for apparently (don’t ask me, I’m 37) not understanding that Tumblr isn’t just for “selfies”.

But the widespread publicity for a .tattoo name had no impact whatsoever on .tattoo sales, judging by zone files.

The Uniregistry TLD hasn’t grown by more than one name per day since Bieber’s tweet.

One June 27 the .tattoo zone file had 6,312 names in it, today it has 6,316.

The joker.tattoo domain — apparently chosen because Bieber has a tattoo of a joker — is registered to one of the founders of RockLive, a San Francisco selfie-oriented app start-up funded in part by Bieber.

The domain redirects to a Tumblr third-level subdomain, so there’s no visibility for the new gTLD in browser address bars.

There’s also the issue that most of Bieber’s fans are probably too young to own a credit card, which is a prerequisite for buying a domain name.

No mention of .london at ICANN London

The forthcoming .london gTLD didn’t get a look in during the opening ceremony of ICANN 50, held this morning in London.

The host city gTLD’s complete absence from the two-hour event — it wasn’t mentioned once — would have escaped notice had it not been for the abundance of plugs for .wales and .cymru attendees received instead.

.cymru is the Welsh name for Wales. The gTLDs are to be launched simultaneously.

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones was given stage time to announce, in between anti-English quips, that the Welsh government is to dump .gov.uk in favor of the two new Welsh gTLDs.

Later, a Welsh male voice choir (presumably a famous one) took to the stage to sing a couple of songs and announce that they too are planning to use .wales and .cymru for their web sites.

Nominet chair Rennie Fritchie also plugged the upcoming launches during her five-minute slot.

You’d have been forgiven for wondering if you’d accidentally got off the plane in Cardiff.

Where was .london?

Did Dot London Domains seriously drop the ball here?

Or did .london’s absence have something to do with the fact that the host ccTLD and meeting sponsor, Nominet, is the registry for .wales and .cymru but was beaten to the .london back-end contract by Minds + Machines?