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Our unpredictions for 2014

Kevin Murphy, January 2, 2014, Domain Services

Over the close to four years we’ve been publishing, DI has so far resisted running annual prediction lists.

As a reader, they always strike me as being largely holiday-period filler guff. As a writer, they kind of obligate you to revisit and score yourself a year later. Hugely embarrassing pain in the bum.

But this year we’ve had a change of heart.

It’s really, really quiet out there today.

So here’s our list of events we think will definitely, definitely, definitely happen in 2014.

  • Bob Parsons will give ten bucks to a homeless guy outside a Scottsdale Starbucks, according to a Go Daddy press release.
  • NomCom, hands tied by its gender quotas policy, will be forced to appoint a minor Kardashian to the ICANN board of directors.
  • Pat Kane will quit Verisign in order to head up, the newly launched sub-domain service for North Koreans who couldn’t get the .kp name they really wanted.
  • A pseudonymous domainer will send TLDH’s share price into a death spiral by predicting that “all new gltds will fail lol” in a comment on an industry blog.
  • Tucows CEO Elliot Noss will accidentally blind four people during a particularly enthusiastic bout of gesticulation.
  • An ICANN director will answer Paul Foody’s question during the Public Forum in Singapore. Foody will leave the room moments later, never to be seen again.
  • Somebody will write a blog post about 27-year-old .xyz applicant Daniel Negari without mentioning his age.
  • ICANN will blame a “glitch” after accidentally delegating .islam to a New York synagogue.
  • Mike Berkens will use apostrophes correctly for a week straight.
  • After the GNSO dies for the fifth time, the entire Council will regenerate as Peter Capaldi, forcing an immediate structural review.
  • 1&1 will start selling pre-registrations in new gTLDs that it expects will probably be applied for at some point between 2018 and 2024.
  • Fox will green-light the production of “Jeff Neuman vs Predator”.
  • DotConnectAfrica will finally withdraw its application for .africa, but only after failed attempts to withdraw applications for .africas, .africka, and .dotdotafrica.
  • Christine Jones will suffer a humiliating wardrobe malfunction during a campaign rally.
  • A smartphone-friendly version of DI will be launched.
  • During an unannounced visit to ICANN’s LA office, Fadi Chehade will stumble across John Jeffrey fucking an apple pie in the staff kitchen.
  • Jennifer Wolfe will speak during a GNSO Council meeting.
  • The Intellectual Property Constituency will complain that ICANN’s latest rights protection mechanisms “go too far to protect trademark owners” and demand an immediate rollback.
  • Rick Schwartz will invest $200 million in Donuts.
  • The sentence “Esther Dyson declined to comment.” will appear in a mainstream media article about new gTLDs.

Happy new year everyone!

Donuts’ portfolio swells as ICANN signs 31 new gTLD contracts

Kevin Murphy, December 6, 2013, Domain Registries

ICANN signed 31 new gTLD Registry Agreements yesterday, 24 of which were with Donuts subsidiaries.

Back-end registry provider Neustar was among a handful of companies signing RAs for their dot-brands too.

Donuts signed contracts for: .haus, .properties, .maison, .productions, .parts, .cruises, .foundation, .industries, .vacations, .consulting, .report, .villas, .condos, .cards, .vision, .dating, .catering, .cleaning, .community, .rentals, .partners, .events, .flights and .exposed.

Top Level Design signed for .ink, which is expected to compete with Uniregistry’s already-delegated .tattoo. signed for its uber-generic budget offering .xyz.

BusinessRalliart is now contracted for its Japanese geo .okinawa.

IRI Domain Management, affiliated with the Mormon church, got its .mormon RA, for what is expected to be a “highly restricted” religious namespace.

KRG Department of Information Technology got .krd, which it wants to use to serve the Kurdish people and Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Finally, Italian management consultancy Praxi got its dot-brand .praxi.

XYZ says auctions “comfortably within the rules”

Kevin Murphy, November 10, 2013, Domain Registries

New gTLD registry has responded to criticisms of its plan to auction .xyz and .college names with NameJet before they even have signed contracts with ICANN.

CEO Daniel Negari told DI that the plan to auction 40 names between now and the end of February, is “comfortably within the rules”.

The company seems to be operating at the edge of what is permissible under the new gTLD program’s rights protection mechanisms, which state that no domains may be allocated prior to Sunrise.

But Negari said in an email interview that nothing will be “allocated” before its Sunrise periods are done:

the buyers at auction are not buying the domain names as in a normal auction. They are buying an option to force us to allocate them the domain after the Sunrise Period for the auction price assuming various contingencies are met — such as us being able to allocate the name in the future, the name being available after sunrise, the name not being blocked-out because of name collisions and so on.

He went on to say that the 40 names being put to auction are being drawn from the 100 names the recently redrafted Registry Agreement says registries are allowed to allocate to themselves “necessary for the operation or the promotion of the TLD”.

There’s also the potential problem that neither TLD has yet received its list of name collisions, which are likely to contain thousands of strings that the registry must block at launch.

As we’ve seen with the gTLDs that already have their lists, many desirable second-level strings are likely to be blocked, which could clash with names XYZ is planning to auction.

But XYZ seems to have access to the Day In The Life Of The Internet data from which these lists are compiled, and Negari said that the names it is auctioning off do not appear.

“We think these auctions are a great way to both promote our TLD as anticipated by ICANN in the RA and to bring increased innovation to the space in line with ICANN’s stated goals for the new gTLD program,” Negari said.

NameJet to auction new gTLD domains before they launch

Kevin Murphy, November 8, 2013, Domain Sales

Many registrars are already offering new gTLD pre-registrations, now NameJet has taken the idea one step further: it’s going to auction premium names months before the gTLDs even go live.

It’s just announced a deal with, which is on track to run the .xyz and .college registries, to sell 40 “premium” domain names this month. In fact, according to its press relase, the first auction started on Wednesday.

These two new gTLDs are uncontested but do not yet have Registry Agreements with ICANN, and have not passed pre-delegation testing or any of the other pre-launch prerequisites.

The companies said they due to go live next year.

Some of the domains to be auctioned include:,,,,,, and

NameJet said it expects the auctions to be wrapped up by the end of February.

CentralNic reports profitable first half

Kevin Murphy, September 25, 2013, Domain Registries

CentralNic today issued its first financial statements since floating on London’s Alternative Investment Market earlier this month.

The company is profitable, reporting profit before tax for the first half of 2013 that almost doubled to $636,000 on revenue that was up 16% at £1,735 million ($2.7 million).

Revenue was down substantially and profit more or less flat sequentially, however. In the second half of 2012, the company took profits of £593,000 on revenue of £2.9 million ($4.6 million).

Seasonality? One-time fees from its new gTLD applicant clients? CentralNic didn’t say.

The H12013 results do not include any revenue from its deal with Go Daddy, which started selling .la domains in July, but it did include revenue from partnerships with two Chinese registrars.

Chairman John Swingewood said in a statement to the market:

The Company is undergoing sustained growth resulting from increased demand for our domain names, establishing new retail channels and securing new inventory. What is more impressive is that these results are yet to include revenues from sales of our pipeline of new Top-Level Domains, which include .college, .bar, .wiki and .xyz, for which the first launch activities are due to start at the end of the year.

The company, which is signed up to provide back-end registry services for 14 uncontested and 39 contested new gTLDs, raised £5 million in its IPO on September 3.