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Uncontested .catalonia drops out of gTLD race

The regional Government of Catalonia has withdrawn its application for .catalonia.

This is a bit of a weird one.

The application was designated officially “geographic”, but also presented as a single-registrant “dot-brand”, exclusively for the government’s use in promoting tourism.

It wasn’t contested, had no objections and was not covered by Governmental Advisory Committee advice.

Residents of Catalonia, a region of Spain, are of course already served by the .cat TLD, which served as the model for a multitude of regional and cultural gTLD applications.

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TLDH bags $10m in share sale

Top Level Domain Holdings has raised roughly $10 million by selling shares to institutional investors and directors.

The company, listed on the Alternative Investment Market in London, said today it has placed 110,375,276 new ordinary shares at £0.06 apiece.

The money will be used to help the company win some new gTLD contention set auctions and to promote the uncontested geo .london, which TLDH has been hired to manage.

The company is involved in 88 new gTLDs, some as applicant and some as back-end registry provider via its Minds + Machines subsidiary.

TLDH said it expects to start launching TLDs in the fourth quarter.

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Directi’s t.co? Single-letter .pw sold to Upworthy

Directi has sold u.pw to social media linking service Upworthy for what is likely to be a five-figure sum.

Upworthy will use the domain for its custom link-shorteners.

It’s the third announced single-character .pw sale to be announced. The first two, w.pw and p.pw were sold to a hosting company for $8,000 each.

I expect u.pw sold for a little more, judging by the catalog of single-letter names listed on PremiumDomains.pw, which have buy-it-now prices of $10,000 to $12,000.

It’s potentially a nicer deal in terms of visibility for the recently relaunched ccTLD too.

Year-old Upworthy, which has been funded to the tune of $4 million, is a viral video site for “worthy” content, meaning its main purpose is to have its links spread far and wide.

Another recently relaunched ccTLD, had a similar — if much more high-profile — anchor tenant in Twitter, which bought t.co for its in-house URL shortening service.

At one point, single-character .co domains were said to be selling for $1.5 million a pop, which just goes to show how far a nice TLD string can impact prices.

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ICANN hires new VP from Yahoo!

Kevin Murphy, June 3, 2013, Domain Policy

ICANN has poached a Yahoo! executive to head up its outreach efforts in Asia.

Singapore-based Kuek Yu-Chuang, who held a similar role at Yahoo, has been named vice president for global stakeholder engagement for Asia. He starts August 1.

Asia is one of the regions in which ICANN is trying to establish itself a more prominent presence.

Singapore has been named as a “hub”, ostensibly of equal importance to its LA headquarters, and it was announced in April that a satellite office will also be opened in China.

Before Yahoo, Yu-Chuang had experience working for the Singapore government.

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.eu registry contract up for grabs

The European Commission has opened up the .eu registry contract to competitive bidding.

The sort-of ccTLD has been managed by EurID since it launched 2004 but its contract, which has already been extended to its maximum term, is due to expire in October next year.

Would-be usurpers must be not-for-profit organizations based in the European Union, according to a Commission RFP, which should narrow the field quite a lot.

The .eu space has 3.7 million registered domain names, growing at 5.4% a year. Considering that the TLD is open to all in the EU, the numbers fare poorly compared to many European ccTLDs.

The deadline for submissions is June 20.

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