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ROTD conducts first new gTLD auction as One.com wins .one

Kevin Murphy, February 25, 2014, Domain Sales

Danish registrar One.com has won the .one contention set in the first private auction carried out by new gTLD consultancy Right Of The Dot.

One.com beat Radix, the United Arab Emirates-based portfolio applicant, to the string. Radix withdrew its application last week. The price has not been disclosed.

ROTD, Mike Berkens and Monte Cahn-managed company, has been competing with Applicant Auction for contention set resolution services and this is its first win.

The .one auction was carried out using a “single sealed bid second price” methodology, in which all participants privately submit a single bid and the winner pays the second-highest losing bid.

In this case, One.com will have paid Radix whatever bid Radix had put forward, with ROTD and escrow partner Escrow.com taking their fees from the winning bid.

Applicant Auction uses an “ascending clock” method, where bids are set in increments by the auctioneer over the space of several rounds, with bidders choosing to stay in or drop out in each round.

Cahn said in a press release: “Our Single Sealed Bid Second Price auction method protects the participants from ‘auction fever,’ which often causes over-bidding as people get emotionally tied to the process of winning at any cost due to time committed and sometimes throw their budgets out the window.”

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Uniregistry doing private new gTLD auctions? Company deals with Donuts on five strings

Kevin Murphy, February 21, 2014, Domain Registries

Uniregistry and Donuts have settled at least five new gTLD contention sets this week, raising the question of whether Uniregistry has reversed its objection to private auctions.

I think it has.

In five of the six head-to-head contention sets between the two companies, Donuts has won the rights to .furniture, .auction and .gratis, and Uniregistry has won .audio and .juegos.

The losing company has already withdrawn their applications in all five cases.

I gather that a deal was made, but Uniregistry won’t say whether it was via a private auction or not and I’ve not yet had a reply to a request for comment from Donuts.

The withdrawals come the same week as Applicant Auction was scheduled to conduct its latest private auction for new gTLD contention sets. The auction was slated for February 18.

But Uniregistry, which has previously spoken out against the private auction concept — saying it raises antitrust concerns — declined to confirm or deny whether these five contests were resolved by auction.

“We’re grateful to have found a way through the impasse and resolved the contention,” was all Uniregistry CEO Frank Schilling would say.

Applicant Auction’s project director Sheel Mohnot confirmed that a new gTLD auction took place this week but said he could not disclose the participants or the strings.

To the best of my knowledge, that’s a new line — the auctioneer has always kept quiet about sales prices in the past, but has always revealed which companies were involved.

So has Uniregistry changed its mind about the legality of private new gTLD auctions? My guess is: “Yes.”

The only remaining string where the two companies are competing in a two-horse race is .shopping, according to the DI PRO database, but that’s subject to some weird string similarity nonsense and probably not suitable for a private auction yet.

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Donuts looking for accountant with IPO experience

Kevin Murphy, February 21, 2014, Domain Registries

Anyone want to take bets on Donuts’ exit strategy?

The largest new gTLD portfolio applicant has placed a job ad on its web site for an accountant with “Understanding of SEC and/or IPO related accounting”.

That’s SEC for Securities and Exchange Commission and IPO for Initial Public Offering, of course.

It appears IPO experience is a desired quality of the sought-after individual, rather than a must-have, but it seems to point to where Donuts plans to take the company in future.

Donuts of course now has revenue, and it’s been almost two years since it raised its first $100 million venture capital investment in a funding round led by Austin Ventures.

That a VC-backed tech company should be eyeing an eventual IPO should not come as a surprise to anyone — and I wouldn’t expect to see an S-1 any time soon — but it does look like Donuts is already planning for its exit when it comes to its staffing arrangements.

(Thanks to Silver Siwei Wang for the tip).

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Euro registrars miffed about ICANN privacy delays

Kevin Murphy, February 21, 2014, Domain Registrars

Registrars based in the European Union are becoming increasingly disgruntled by what they see as ICANN dragging its feet over registrant privacy rules.

Some are even refusing to sign the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement until they receive formal assurances that ICANN won’t force them to break their local privacy laws.

The 2013 RAA, which is required if a registrar wants to sell new gTLD domains, requires registrars to keep hold of registrant data for two years after their registrations expire.

Several European authorities have said that this would be illegal under EU privacy directives, and ICANN has agreed to allow registrars in the EU to opt out of the relevant provisions.

Today, Luxembourgish registrar EuroDNS said it asked for a waiver of the data retention clauses on December 2, but has not heard back from ICANN over two months later.

The company had provided ICANN with the written legal opinion of Luxembourg’s Data Protection Agency

In a snippy letter (pdf) to ICANN, EuroDNS CEO Lutz Berneke wrote:

Although we understand that your legal department is solely composed of lawyers educated in US laws, a mere translation of the written guidance supporting our request should confirm our claim and allow ICANN to make its preliminary determination.

EuroDNS has actually signed the 2013 RAA, but says it will not abide by the provisions it has been told would be illegal locally.

Elsewhere in Europe, Ireland’s Blacknight Solutions, said two weeks ago that it had requested its waiver September 17 and had not yet received a pass from ICANN.

“Why is it my problem that ICANN doesn’t understand EU law? Why should our business be impacted negatively due to ICANN’s inability to listen?” CEO Michele Neylon blogged. “[W]hile this entire farce plays out we are unable to offer new top level domains to our clients.”

But while Blacknight is still on the old 2009 RAA, other European registrars seem to have signed the 2013 version some time ago, and are already selling quite a lot of new gTLD domains.

Germany’s United-Domains, for example, appears to be the third-largest new gTLD registrar, if name server records are anything to go by, with the UK’s 123-Reg also in the top ten.

ICANN is currently operating a public comment period on the waiver request of OVH, a French registrar, which ICANN says it is “prepared to grant”.

That comment period is not scheduled to end until February 27, however, so it seems registrars agitated about foot-dragging have a while to wait yet before they get what they want.

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100 .sexy names reserved by Uniregistry

Kevin Murphy, February 21, 2014, Domain Registries

areyou.sexy? youare.sexy?

If you’re thinking about trying to bag these names when Uniregistry takes .sexy into general availability next week, you’re out of luck — they’re among almost 100 registry-reserved names.

Under ICANN’s standard Registry Agreement, new gTLD registries are allowed to register up to 100 names to themselves “necessary for the operation or promotion of the TLD”.

To date, not many registries appear to have taken advantage of this contractual allowance, but .sexy is one of them.

Uniregistry has mostly reserved fairly standard operational names such as register.sexy, about.sexy, names.sexy and so on, but there are a few interesting choices that hint at possible future services.

Do auctions.sexy and marketplace.sexy hint at moves into the secondary market? Could areyou.sexy be the destination of a future advertising campaign? What are we going to see at build.sexy and pay.sexy?

Here are the names Uniregisty seems to have reserved:

247.sexy, a.sexy, about.sexy, abuse.sexy, account.sexy, areyou.sexy, auction.sexy, auctions.sexy, build.sexy, buy.sexy, cart.sexy, com.sexy, contact.sexy, corp.sexy, create.sexy, dev.sexy, diy.sexy, dom.sexy, domain.sexy, domains.sexy, email.sexy, finance.sexy, find.sexy, free.sexy, get.sexy, geta.sexy, getmy.sexy, help.sexy, home.sexy, host.sexy, hosting.sexy, http.sexy, iwanta.sexy, join.sexy, lease.sexy, legal.sexy, link.sexy, list.sexy, login.sexy, lookup.sexy, mail.sexy, main.sexy, make.sexy, manage.sexy, market.sexy, marketplace.sexy, mobile.sexy, move.sexy, name.sexy, names.sexy, net.sexy, news.sexy, operations.sexy, ops.sexy, partners.sexy, pay.sexy, payment.sexy, pro.sexy, reg.sexy, register.sexy, registera.sexy, registrar.sexy, registrars.sexy, registry.sexy, renew.sexy, rent.sexy, report.sexy, reports.sexy, reserve.sexy, reserved.sexy, s.sexy, search.sexy, secure.sexy, sell.sexy, seo.sexy, sexy.sexy, shop.sexy, signup.sexy, site.sexy, support.sexy, trade.sexy, transfer.sexy, try.sexy, uni.sexy, unireg.sexy, uniregistry.sexy, use.sexy, web.sexy, webmail.sexy, website.sexy, www.sexy, youare.sexy, your.sexy and youre.sexy.

Of particular note: your.sexy, with which Uniregistry seems to acknowledge the declining standards of grammar among the internet-using public, and www.sexy, which seems to be registered and resolving despite appearing on .sexy’s list of must-block name collisions.

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