Groups representing thousands of US winemakers have come out against .wine and .vin, bringing their government’s position on the two proposed new gTLDs into question.
Seven regional associations, representing close to 2,000 wineries, issued a statement last night raising “strong objections” to the gTLDs with “non-existent to grossly insufficient safeguards”.
The joint statement says:
If granted to unscrupulous bidders, second-level domain names such as napavalley.wine or wallawalla.wine could be held in perpetuity by a company or individual that has never seen a vineyard, cultivated fine wine grapes or made a single bottle of wine.
It’s the first mass objection from US winemakers, but they join colleagues from France, Spain and other European Union nations in their opposition to a .wine that does not respect geographic indicators (GIs).
It also makes the US delegation to ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee look rather out of touch with the very companies it professes to be looking out for.
At the ICANN 50 meeting in London last week, US rep Suzanne Radell told the GAC:
The three U.S. wineries that our colleagues in Europe have cited as being privy to the exchanges between the European wine industries and the applicants are, in fact, just three U.S. wineries. If I may emphasize, the United States has thousands and thousands of wineries who are quite interested in this matter and do not support the European model of GI protection. So let’s just please put that to bed.
The US winery groups now objecting comprise almost 2,000 wineries. According to Wikipedia, the US has fewer than 3,000 wineries.
We’re looking at a two-thirds majority objection from the US wine-making industry here.
“The coalition of American quality wine regions representing nearly 2,000 U.S. wineries clearly contradicts Radell’s testimony in London on June 22,” the groups said.
The groups also have Californian congresspeople Anna Eshoo and Mike Thompson on their side. As we reported yesterday, Eshoo has already written to ICANN to urge it to kill off .wine.
The big questions are: will this be enough to change the position the US takes to the GAC in future, and will that help the GAC find consensus on anti-.wine advice?
Australia and Canada have also been vocal opponents of the European demands in the past. They’d need to change their minds too, in order for the GAC to find a new consensus.
Without a GAC consensus, the .wine and .vin applicants have little to worry about.
US Representative Anna Eshoo has written to ICANN’s top brass to express “deep concerns” about the .wine and .vin new gTLDs and urge that they be permanently killed off.
In a letter (pdf) to CEO Fadi Chehade, Eshoo wrote:
it’s my understanding that the .wine and .vin gTLDs have been met with fierce opposition from the wine industry, both here in the US and around the world. Given these concerns, coupled with the complexities of reaching agreement on Geographic Indications (GIs), I urge you to advocate for the .wine and .vin gTLDs to be permanently withdrawn from consideration.
Eshoo, a Democrat, is breaking rank with the official position of the Obama administration on this, which is that no special treatment is warranted for the two wine-related gTLDs.
Europe, on the other hand, is vehemently opposed to the introduction of either without strong protection for GIs.
At ICANN 50 in London last week the European Commission and France led the charge against approval of the gTLDs, with the Commission even floating the idea of legal action at one point.
France, meanwhile, seems ready to throw ICANN’s ambitions for independence under a bus in order to get what it wants.
Eshoo is ranking member of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, which recently passed the DOT-COM Act over her protestations that it was “embarrassing”.
She also represents the Silicon Valley area of northern California, which is known for its wineries.
While a handful of US winemakers do have a decidedly European attitude to GI protections, the US Governmental Advisory Committee delegation last week said that only a few out of “thousands” agree with France.
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).
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.
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.
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.
My Tumblr is http://t.co/PBP0ceJXeF ♛
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) June 27, 2014
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.