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.xxx sales spike 1,000% during discount

Kevin Murphy, September 5, 2013, Domain Registries

ICM Registry saw an over 1,000% spike in .xxx domain name registrations in May, during which it offered new registrations at a steep discount over its regular price.

The numbers were still relatively small. The registry saw 13,136 adds during the period, compared to 1,131 in April and 1,836 in May 2012, according to ICANN reports published today.

Average add-years rose sequentially from 1.34 to 1.88 (compared to a gTLD industry average of 1.23), according to TLD Health Check, with total add-years up over 1,500% to 24,663.

TLD Health Check

For the whole of May, ICM offered .xxx domains — which usually carry a registry fee of $62 — for the same price as .com domains. The promotion applied to any length of registration, from one to 10 years.

There were 747 10-year registrations in May. A small number, but exactly 100 more than ICM saw during its first month of general availability in December 2011. There were similar numbers of three and five-year sales, and over 1,100 two-year registrations.

The company ended the month with 120,409 domains under management.

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dotShabaka Diary — Day 8, Launch Uncertainty

Kevin Murphy, September 5, 2013, Domain Services

Today, the eighth installment of dotShabaka Registry’s journal, charting its progress towards becoming one of the first new gTLDs to go live, written by general manager Yasmin Omer.

Thursday 5 September 2013

Having passed PDT on the 27th of August, we were notified of our eligibility to transition to IANA for delegation and told that we will receive instructions regarding the next steps via the Customer Portal.

We’re still waiting to hear from ICANN. We have no visibility regarding when we will be delegated.

There are so many moving parts in the new gTLD program right now that the delegation timing impacts everything from hiring staff to deciding on launch strategies. Discussions with registrars and marketing agencies beg one simple question – when will you be launching? My response: no idea.

We’re trying to launch a business in what can only be described as a vacuum. We understand that delays may be inevitable right now, however, it would be great if the nature and impact of those delays on our TLD was officially communicated to us (perhaps by a designated account manager?).

Communications during the PDT Pilot and Beta periods were great but seem to have slowed down since we passed PDT. We look forward to receiving some clarity about delegation from ICANN soon.

Read previous and future diary entries here.

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Public Suffix List to get monthly new gTLD updates

Kevin Murphy, September 3, 2013, Domain Registries

New gTLDs are set to be added to the widely used Public Suffix List within a month of signing an ICANN registry agreement, according to PSL volunteer Jothan Frakes.

This is pretty good news for new gTLD registries.

The PSL, maintained by volunteers under the Mozilla banner, is used in browsers including Firefox and Chrome, and will be a vital part of making sure new gTLDs “work” out of the box.

If a TLD doesn’t have an entry on the PSL, browsers tend to handle them badly.

For example, after .sx launched last year, Google’s Chrome browser returned search results instead of the intended web site when .sx domain names were typed into the address/search bar.

It also provides a critical security function, telling browsers at which level they should allow domains to set cookies.

According to Frakes, who has been working behind the scenes with other PSL volunteers and ICANN staff to get this process working, new gTLDs will usually hit the PSL within 30 days of an ICANN contract.

Due to the mandatory pre-delegation testing period, new gTLDs should be on the PSL before or at roughly the same time as they are delegated, with plenty of time to spare before they launch.

The process of being added to the PSL should be fairly quick for TLDs that intend to run flat second-level spaces, according to Frakes, but may be more complex if they plan to do something less standard, such as selling third-level domains, for example.

Browser makers may take some time to update their own lists with the PSL updates. Google, with its own huge portfolio of applications, will presumably be incentivized to stay on the ball.

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CentralNic raises $10 million in IPO

Kevin Murphy, September 3, 2013, Domain Registries

New gTLD registry back-end provider CentralNic raised a reported £7 million ($10 million) on its London Alternative Investment Market debut yesterday.

The IPO, which netted £5 million for the company and £2 million for existing shareholders, valued the company at £32.5 million ($50.6 million).

Its float price was 55p per share, but it’s trading at 66p right now.

CentralNic had previously said that it intends to use the money to expand its new gTLD business and to explore opportunities to provide back-end services for ccTLDs.

The company runs .la, has contracts to run 53 gTLDs, and sells subdomains under numerous pseudo-gTLDs such as and

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Economist replaces de La Chapelle on ICANN board

Kevin Murphy, September 3, 2013, Domain Policy

ICANN’s board of directors is to see one new member in November, with economist Bruno Lanvin replacing former French civil servant Bertrand de La Chapelle.

The changes were among several appointments announced by ICANN’s Nominating Committee yesterday.

NomCom has decided to keep previous appointees Cherine Chalaby, who’s head of the New gTLD Program Committee, and Erika Mann, the former MEP who now runs Facebook’s Brussels office.

Lanvin is currently executive director of the European Competitiveness Initiative and the Global Indices projects at INSEAD, a business school, but he spent 20 years of his career with the United Nations.

Outgoing director de La Chapelle was France’s Governmental Advisory Committee representative before his appointment to the board in 2010. He, Mann and Chalaby have initial three-year terms ending in November.

It’s not known if de La Chapelle, one of ICANN’s most vocal and active directors, had nominated himself for a second term.

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