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Half of registrars “not sure” about new gTLDs – survey

Kevin Murphy, August 27, 2012, Domain Registries

About half of domain name registrars are still not sold on the idea of new generic top-level domains, according to the results of a small Nic.at report.

The Austrian ccTLD registry commissioned a survey of 220 Austrian companies, 32 .at registrars and 32 creative agencies about the possible impact of new gTLDs.

Nic.at said:

Overall, the industry is approaching the topic of the incoming top level domains with muted enthusiasm: at present around half of registrars are not sure whether they are going to offer their customers the new extensions.

A quarter of the surveyed marketing agencies reckoned internet users will take to new gTLDs, but only 12% of registrars were as confident, according to the report.

The agencies seemed to be more interested in domains than social media, however. Only 12% said that their social media focus made them unaware of the gTLD expansion.

Read the full report in PDF format here.

As well as managing .at, Nic.at is acting as the named registry back-end for 12 new gTLD applications, mostly German.

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Delinquent top 20 registrar not delinquent after all

Kevin Murphy, August 27, 2012, Domain Registrars

China’s largest domain name registrar isn’t shirking its ICANN fees, despite previous allegations to the contrary.

Xin Net, which has over 1.6 million gTLD domains under management, received a breach notice from ICANN last month which stated that the company was $2,000 in arrears with its payments.

The company was given until August 22 to correct the problem or risk losing its accreditation.

But in a subsequent compliance notice ICANN admitted that “due to an error the registrar’s account reflected a delinquent balance”.

The admission was buried deep in the notice and not immediately obvious to anyone browsing ICANN’s compliance pages.

The original notice also alleged a breach of the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy with respect to the domain names rongzhu.net, qsns.net and zuixincn.com, which was not an error.

ICANN posts breach notices to its web site fairly regularly — 84 of them since mid-2008 — and more often than not they allege failure to pay fees in addition to other problems.

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Refunds uncertain as .nxt says sorry for cancelation

Kevin Murphy, August 24, 2012, Domain Services

It’s not yet clear whether people who paid for tickets for the .nxt conference will get full refunds.

In an apologetic email sent to attendees last night, organizer Kieren McCarthy said that .nxt is “trying to recoup” money already paid to the conference venue. The email states in part:

For a number of reasons – the most significant being the fact that the ICANN process is still in flux – we were not able to get the number of attendees or sponsors needed.

Having communicated with a large number of people that the conference was directly aimed at, the conclusion would appear to be: right idea, wrong time. The conference was designed as a meeting place for a new industry to meet and interact. It is now clear that that effort was premature.

Unfortunately that does not resolve the fact that you are currently out of pocket, whether through a conference ticket, hotel room or flight to London.

.Nxt is currently trying to recoup money we have paid to the hotel venue so we are in a position to reimburse at least some of those costs. We will keep in touch with any developments.

Fewer than 100 people were registered for the $950-a-ticket three-day event, .nxt said. The first two conferences, held in San Francisco last year, attracted closer to double that number.

The company plans to offer some of its planned sessions online instead, according to the email and a statement on the conference web site.

McCarthy is currently calling would-be attendees to explain the situation. Many have been understanding, according to the email.

Some attendees have told us they want full refunds for their tickets and hotel rooms, when the hotel was booked via .nxt. Recouping money spent on airfare is a different matter, of course.

The conference, which also left some attendees out of pocket when it was postponed in June, is unlikely to return.

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Fight breaks out over .kiwi

Kevin Murphy, August 24, 2012, Domain Registries

New Zealand country-code manager InternetNZ has approved the creation of .kiwi.nz, setting the stage for a battle over the proposed new gTLD .kiwi.

InternetNZ announced the new second-level domain today. It’s designed to “increase choice” for New Zealanders who want to register their personal names as domain names.

But it stands to clash with .kiwi, a new gTLD applied for by Dot Kiwi Ltd, a New Zealand subsidiary of a Canadian company, which has partnered with Minds + Machines on the bid.

Dot Kiwi, which had objected to the .kiwi.nz domain, has branded InternetNZ’s move “dissappointing and lacking in common sense”, and suggested it is an attempt to capitalize on .kiwi’s advertising.

The applicant said in a statement:

Our opposition to InternetNZ’s confusing introduction of .kiwi.nzis well documented in repeated submissions we have made to them. Those submissions have been ignored. There will now be widespread confusion with the .kiwi.nz domain and the well-advertised forthcoming launch of the .kiwi domain.

But InternetNZ president Frank March said in a press release that the policy used to approve .kiwi.nz does not consider the possibility of confusion with proposed new gTLDs:

The policy for evaluating a new second-level domain takes into account existing second-level domains in .nz but not possible future changes, such as direct registration under .nz (which is currently being consulted on) or new generic Top Level Domains that may or may not be introduced at some point in the future.

The creation of the new second-level domain does not appear to give InternetNZ leverage to object to .kiwi, under a strict reading of the ICANN Applicant Guidebook.

For ccTLDs to file a String Confusion Objection against a new gTLD application, they must assert confusion with the TLD; the objection does not appear to cover 2LDs.

To date, there has been only one public comment filed with ICANN about .kiwi on confusion grounds.

Kiwis will get an opportunity to vote with their wallets, it seems.

Registrations under .kiwi.nz are expected to open September 11, but under InternetNZ policy .kiwi.nz will not actually go live until a minimum threshold of 500 domains has been passed, the company said.

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Malaysia to get new Arabic ccTLD

Kevin Murphy, August 23, 2012, Domain Policy

ICANN’s board of directors is set to approve مليسيا., the Arabic name for Malaysia, at a meeting next week.

Delegation of the internationalized country-code top-level domain is listed on the board’s consent agenda for next week’s meeting, meaning it’s likely to be a case of simply rubber-stamping the decision.

It will be the 40th IDN ccTLD to enter the root, not including test zones, under ICANN’s Fast Track program.

With the notable exception of Russia’s .РФ, IDN ccTLDs have been commercially underwhelming.

The redelegation of Rwanda’s .rw, currently delegated to NIC Congo/Interpoint SARL, is also on ICANN’s board consent agenda for the August 28 meeting.

There are no issues related to the new gTLD program on the agenda.

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