CentralNic gets its foot in the door as Famous Four back-end

Kevin Murphy, February 18, 2014, Domain Registries

New gTLD portfolio applicant Famous Four Media has selected CentralNic to provide back-end registry services, joining existing providers ARI Registry Services and Neustar.

CentralNic will be “a preferred provider” of Domain Venture Partners, which is the parent company of Famous Four’s 60 new gTLD applicants, according to a joint statement issued by the companies today.

Neither firm wanted to give any firm details about how CentralNic fits into Famous Four’s strategy, such as whether CentralNic might replace existing back-ends as it did with 27 formerly GMO Registry bids.

Famous Four is already partnered with Neustar on 52 new gTLD applications and ARI on five more.

DVP chief operating officer Charles Melvin told DI in a statement:

CentralNic will sit as one of our preferred backend technology partners. We are in the process of agreeing terms with a limited number of select providers to sit on our preferred panel. Until such agreements have been put in place it would be inappropriate for us to comment on them.

The deal is related to DVP II, an investment vehicle through which DVP hopes to raise up to $400 million “to acquire Top-Level Domain registries, some of which are already live.”

We were leaked a copy of a June 2013 investor presentation related to DVP II, in which the company said its back-end partner had “the lowest fees in the industry”.

With its new “preferred panel”, it looks like the company is hedging its bets.

NCC buys .trust new gTLD from Deutsche Post

Kevin Murphy, February 17, 2014, Domain Registries

NCC Group, owner of .secure applicant Artemis, has bought the rights to .trust from Deutsche Post, which has an uncontested bid for the new gTLD but decided it doesn’t want it.

The price tag of the deal was not disclosed.

NCC, which is also one of the two major data escrow providers supporting new gTLD applicants, said in a statement:

Deutsche Post originally obtained the gTLD through ICANN’s new gTLD allocation process during 2013 but has now chosen not to utilise it.

NCC Group will use .trust as the primary vehicle for launching its Artemis internet security service, which aims to create global internet safety through a secure and trusted environment for selected customers.

The Group remains in the contention stage with its application to ICANN for the .secure gTLD. It believes that there will be a benefit in having a number of complementary named gTLDs, all of which offer the same high levels of internet security.

While Artemis has applied for .secure, it’s facing competition from the much richer Amazon.

Its initial hope that Amazon’s bid would be rejected due to the controversy over “closed generics” seems to have been dashed after Amazon was allowed to change its application.

NCC may be characterizing .trust as an “additional” security TLD, but it’s quite possible it will be its “only” one.

Deutsche Post, which as owner of DHL is the world’s largest courier service, has passed Initial Evaluation on .trust but has not yet signed its ICANN contract.

ICANN’s web site still shows Deutsche Post as the applicant for .trust and it’s not clear from NCC’s statement how the transfer would be handled.

ARI parent goes all surfer dude with rebranding

Kevin Murphy, February 17, 2014, Domain Registries

AusRegistry Group, parent of new gTLD back-end ARI Registry Services, has rebranded itself Bombora Technologies.

The change, which comes with a new web site, is said to reflect AusRegistry’s corporate evolution and not necessarily a reflection of its growing internationalization.

The rebranding does not affect ARI (aka AusRegistry International) or .au ccTLD provider AusRegistry itself, which both keep their names and remain subsidiaries of Bombora.

A third, new company, ZOAK, will take on the software consulting work previously performed under the other brands.

The name Bombora is apparently Australian Aboriginal, describing waves crashing over a shallow reef, that has been adopted into surf culture.

With the rebranding comes a not inconsiderable amount of corporate marketing guff, such as the wealth of gigglesome head-scratchers over on the company’s Belief System page. One example:

Our success is a collection of inspired significance defined by our teams. Your success symbolises a state of mind that forever challenges the status quo and works at building a better alternative.

Reading that, you’d be forgiven for wondering whether plain-speaking CEO Adrian Kinderis had been kicked out. But no, he’s apparently still in charge of Bombora and its subsidiaries.

M+M sees 200,000 .london names in its future

Kevin Murphy, February 14, 2014, Domain Registries

Minds + Machines CEO Antony Van Couvering reckons the company’s forthcoming .london new gTLD could see as many as 200,000 domains under management, just from small businesses.

He told DI the target is realistic following the results of a YouGov survey of 1,001 London-based small businesses, which found that 26% were “likely” to buy a .london name.

From this, YouGov extrapolated that there are at least 218,140 companies ready to register a .london.

Van Couvering would not put a deadline on hitting the ambitious goal, but said that registry Dot London Domains and M+M as technical provider are “going to do our best to make the launch well-publicized and successful.”

Judging by the gTLD’s official web site, which carries quotes from the likes of Selfridges, the London Eye and Carnaby Street, there’s been a fair bit of outreach to recognizable London brands already.

Dot London backer London & Partners is the Mayor’s office’s official PR agency, so you can imagine there’s going to be some decent marketing resources thrown at marketing.

The .london gTLD is due to launch April 29 this year, according to the registry.

It’s been contracted with ICANN since November 14, so is running well over the average time to delegation of 70 days.

.photography, on day one, becomes second-largest new gTLD

Kevin Murphy, February 12, 2014, Domain Registries

Donuts’ new gTLD .photography has become the second-largest new gTLD after .guru, just a few hours after it hit its regular general availability pricing.

Zone files dated 1840 UTC today show that .photography had 8,878 domains, compared to .guru’s 27,698 and .bike’s 6,524.

That’s just a few hours after .photography finished with its week-long premium-pricing Early Access Program period. By contrast, .bike and .guru finished their EAPs exactly a week ago.

The other six Donuts gTLDs going to regular pricing this afternoon fared less well, with .gallery at 2,869, .estate at 2,465, .equipment at 1,900, .graphics at 1,368, .lighting at 1,338 and .camera at 1,227.

Those are the numbers for about two and a half hours of proper general availability, which will reflect hand-registrations and any pre-registrations that were made over the last few months.

DI PRO subscribers can see the full list of new gTLD zone file counts here.