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TMCH extends Trademark Claims indefinitely, kinda

Kevin Murphy, December 11, 2013, Domain Services

The Trademark Clearinghouse is to give the intellectual property lobby something that it’s been crying out for for years — an indefinite extension of parts of the Trademark Claims service.

And it’s going to be free.

Trademark Claims is a mandatory service for all new gTLD operators, sending pre-registration warnings to registrants and post-registration alerts to mark owners whenever a domain matching a trademark is registered.

But it only runs for 90 days, per the ICANN new gTLD contracts, which TMCH project director Jan Corstens said is IP owners’ “number one complaint” about the system.

So the TMCH is going to extend the post-registration alerts half of the service indefinitely.

When the first new gTLDs officially end their Claims periods next year, the TMCH will continue to send out alerts to mark owners (or, in 90% of cases, their registrar “agents”) when matching domains are registered.

Would-be registrants will only receive their pre-registration warnings for the original 90-day period.

Corstens said that the pre-registration side of Claims would only be possible with the cooperation of registries and registrars, and that there’s a lot of reluctance to help out.

“A lot of them are not really interested in doing that,” he said. “I understand it takes work, and I understand they think it could demotivate potential registrants.”

Trademark owners that have directly registered with the Clearinghouse, rather than going through an agent, will get the extended service for no added charge.

However, Corstens made it clear that the TMCH is not trying to compete with registrars — such as MarkMonitor and Melbourne IT — that already offer zone file monitoring services to trademark owners.

“We know the market exists,” he said. “It’s not our intention to become a monopoly. We will deliver it to them, of course, and assume they can integrate with it.”

Agents will be able to plug the service into their existing products if they wish, he said.

There are a few initial limitations with the new TMCH service such that its registrar agents may not find it particularly labor-saving.

First, only domains that exactly match labels in the Clearinghouse will generate alerts.

By contrast, brand-monitoring registrars typically generate alerts when the trademark is a substring of the domain. To carry on doing this they’ll need to carry on monitoring zone files anyway.

Second, the TMCH service only currently covers new gTLDs applied for in the 2012 round. It doesn’t cover .com, for example, or any other legacy gTLD.

Corstens said both of these limitations may be addressed in future releases. The first Trademark Claims period isn’t due to end until March, so there’s time to make changes, he said.

He added that he hopes the extension of Claims will lead to an uptick in the the number of trademarks being registered in the TMCH. Currently there are about 20,000.

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Go Daddy to take $2,500 profit on Donuts’ first-day domains

Kevin Murphy, December 11, 2013, Domain Registrars

Donuts’ pricey Early Access Program for its new gTLDs could prove quite lucrative for registrars.

Go Daddy today revealed that it’s charging $12,500 and up for first-day “priority” registrations in 14 Donuts gTLDs, a $2,500 profit on Donuts’ EAP registry fee, which I believe is $10,000.

The EAP is Donuts’ alternative to a traditional landrush period.

Rather than charging premium landrush fees and then running an auction for contested domains, every available domain has a standard premium buy-it-now price that is reduced every day for a week until the fee hits the standard reg fee.

It’s Dutch-auction-like, with a first-come-first-served component.

The EAP registry fees start at $10,000, go to $2,500 on day two, $950 on day three, $500 on day four and $100 from days five through day seven. Then they go to the base fee, which depends on gTLD but typically translates to about $40 at the check-out.

Go Daddy’s respective EAP retail prices are $12,539.99, $3,164.99, $1,239.99, $689.99 and $189.99.

Complicating matters, these are currently “priority pre-registration” fees, so the company will still have to successfully grab the pre-registered names from the registry when they become available.

While customers are billed today, they may not get the name they want. If Go Daddy fails to secure the name it will issue a full refund.

Complicating matters further, the company is accepting multiple pre-registrations on any given name and will auction it off to the highest bidder if more than one person pre-registers at the same level and Go Daddy manages to grab the name.

So $12,500 may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Complicating matters further further, Go Daddy’s site is currently not particularly clear — at least to this elderly hack — which components of its fees are refundable and which are not.

This slogan, currently in use on the Go Daddy pre-reg site, appears to me to be absolute nonsense.

Horseshit

The 14 Donuts gTLD currently on offer are: .estate, .photography, .ventures, .guru, .bike, .clothing, .gallery, .singles, .camera, .lighting, .plumbing, .equipment, .graphics and .holdings.

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GAC kills off two more new gTLD bids

Kevin Murphy, December 11, 2013, Domain Registries

A new gTLD applicant has withdrawn two of its Chinese-language applications after failing to secure the necessary government support.

Guangzhou YU Wei Information Technology Co withdrew its applications for .深圳 (.shenzhen) and .广州 (.guangzhou).

Both are the names of very large cities in southern China.

The ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee had previously issued official Advice against both bids.

The applicant had failed to get a passing score on its Initial Evaluation earlier this year, with ICANN ruling that governmental “support or non-objection was either not provided or did not meet the criteria”.

To get a geographic gTLD, you need to prove local government support, something which the applicant seems to have been unable to provide during Extended Evaluation.

Weirdly, Guangzhou YU Wei has previously passed EE for .佛山 (.foshan) and IE for .广东 (.guangdong), which are both also Chinese geographic names.

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German geo .ruhr enters the root

Kevin Murphy, December 11, 2013, Domain Registries

Verisign today delegated the new gTLD .ruhr to the DNS root zone, making it the 35th new gTLD to go live.

It’s a geographic string, meant for residents of the north-west German region of Ruhr, operated by Regiodot.

nic.ruhr is already resolving.

Regiodot is already taking pre-registrations via approximately 10 signed-up registrars, which all appear to operate in German-speaking countries.

The Ruhr (in German, it’s short for Ruhrgebiet) has over eight million inhabitants, according to Wikipedia, making the potential market for .ruhr larger than many European ccTLDs.

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Win free tickets to NamesCon Las Vegas (even if you’ve already paid)

Kevin Murphy, December 9, 2013, Domain Services

We’ve got five (FIVE!) free tickets to NamesCon to give away to lucky DI readers.

NamesCon is “a pro-new TLDs conference” happening at the Tropicana hotel in Las Vegas from January 13 to 15, 2014.

It’s being organized by domain investor Richard Lau, Jothan Frakes (Domain Roundtable, DomainFest), and Jodi Chamberlain of 32Events (TRAFFIC, Domaining Europe)

NamesCon seems to be planning something a bit different when compared to new gTLD conferences held to date, judging by the speaker line-up, in that there’s more of a crossover between the ICANNer-heavy new gTLD industry and the traditional domainer community.

There’s a whole bunch of confirmed speakers and panelists (including yours truly) and the organizers tell us that over 300 people have so far registered to attend.

Tickets currently cost $399 (it’s $749 on the door) but we have five passes to give away to DI readers.

The organizers tell me that if any of the winners have already purchased a ticket, they’ll get a full refund.

To enter the draw, just leave an answer to the following question (set by NamesCon) in the comments section of this post.

What’s the best way to explain the benefits of new gTLDs to somebody from outside the domain industry?

Winners will be selected from comments using a random number generator at the weekend.

The prizes are 100% discount codes for full conference passes. You’ll still have to arrange and pay for your own travel and accommodation.

If you cannot or do not intend to attend, but still feel compelled to leave a comment, please say so, so I can be sure to exclude you from the draw.

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