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Donuts applies for 307 (yes, 307) gTLDs

Donuts Inc has finally showed its hand.

The company, which was set up as a portfolio gTLD player by domain industry veterans Paul Stahura, Richard Tindal, Jonathon Nevett and Daniel Schindler, is applying for 307 gTLDs.

Yes, 307. That’s roughly 15% of all the applications ICANN has received.

We were all expecting big plans from Donuts, but I’m not sure many people thought it would go for so many strings.

The company has raised $100 million from Austin Ventures, Adams Street Partners, Emergence Capital Partners, TL Ventures, Generation Partners and Stahurricane to fund the ambitious plans.

Demand Media has been chosen to provide the back-end registry.

Donuts has also staffed up with some familiar faces. Former ICANN CFO Kevin Wilson is its new CFO, former Oversee marketing chief Mason Cole has joined as vice president of communications and industry relations.

The company says it has created almost two dozen new rights protection mechanisms for its gTLDs, but that it has an “open internet” philosophy.

“We have resources set aside for handling objections by parties who, for whatever reason, believe only they are equipped to administer a generic term,” Stahura said in a press release.

“The Internet is an engine of information, ideas and commerce, and one that’s not restrictive unnecessarily. Donuts intends to preserve that openness for all users, not operate a ‘by invitation only’ section of the Internet.”

I’m guessing this means there’s going to be fireworks in contention sets such as, say, .music.

The full list of applied-for strings doesn’t seem to be available yet.

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GAC gets its way in new Applicant Guidebook

Kevin Murphy, June 5, 2012, Domain Policy

ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee is the beneficiary of the biggest changes in the new version of the new gTLD program Applicant Guidebook.

Published late last night, the Guidebook has been revised with mainly cosmetic changes.

The exception is the updated text on GAC Advice on New gTLDs, the mechanism through which the GAC can effectively torpedo any new gTLD application it doesn’t like.

The new text is exactly what the GAC asked for following the ICANN meeting in Dakar last October, rather than the edited version ICANN chose to put in the Guidebook in January.

Basically, the GAC put ICANN staff on the naughty step in Costa Rica this March for failing to insert its advice into the Guidebook verbatim, and this has now been rectified.

The changes don’t mean a heck of a lot for applicants.

Essentially, if the GAC finds a consensus against an application, there’s still a “strong presumption” that the ICANN board should reject it.

If only some governments object, the board is still expected to enter into talks to understand the scope of the concern before making its call.

The new Guidebook has removed two references to the fact that the ICANN board can overrule a GAC advice-objection, but that power still exists in ICANN’s bylaws.

The main reason the text has been removed was that the GAC complained in Costa Rica that it appeared to weaken the consultation process required by the bylaws.

And it was pissed off that ICANN staff had edited its text without consultation.

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Dot Registry applying for four US-only gTLDs

Dot Registry LLC, a new company to the domain name industry, has applied to ICANN for four company-themed gTLDs, saying it has the backing of US secretaries of state.

It’s going for .inc, .corp, .llc and .llp.

CEO Shaul Jolles says the plan is for all four to be restricted to US-registered companies, even though some other countries give their companies the same labels.

“While the extensions do exist in other countries, they do not have definitions similar to the entity classifications in the US,” Jolles said in an email.

“We will not offer registrations to companies not registered in the US,” he said. “We chose this option because we are able to easily verify business entity registration in the US.”

Dot Registry, which is using .us contractor Neustar as its registry services provider, says it has support from various US secretaries of state.

As we blogged in April, the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State wrote to ICANN to express reservations about these types of gTLD strings.

But Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock indicated in a separate letter that Dot Registry’s propose regime of restrictions, which would manually match domains to company names, might be acceptable.

I’m still somewhat skeptical about the value of these kind of gTLDs. You can pretty much guarantee plenty of pointless defensive registrations, and the benefits seem fuzzy.

“The benefit of these strings is two-fold,” Jolles said. “For consumers it creates a level of reassurance and the ability to quickly ascertain if a company is legitimate or not.”

“From a company perspective it has simple benefits such as guaranteeing that you receive a domain name that matches your registered business name, increased consumer confidence which increases revenue, and a decreased possibility of business identity theft in a cyber setting,” he said.

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Third .app gTLD applicant revealed

A Ukrainian software developer has become the third company to publicly reveal that it has applied for the .app top-level domain.

MacPaw’s main business is developing software for Apple platforms, as the name suggests. It’s formed a new company, Dot App Inc, based in California, to manage the gTLD bid.

The application imagines a very pro-developer space. Domainers, it appears, will not be welcome.

Some policies from its web site:

– Only application developers or publishers will be able to register domain names in this zone

– Misused domains will be analyzed and repurposed if found to violate the Registration policy

– No need to pay a small fortune for a great but squatted .com or .net domain.

– The rights of app creators will be protected in the same way trademark rights are

Top Level Domain Holdings and Directi both last week announced plays for .app among their large portfolios of gTLD applications.

More applicants will no doubt be revealed next week.

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Afnic working with 16 gTLD applicants in France

Sixteen French new top-level domain applicants have selected .fr manager Afnic to provide the back-end registry for their applications, according to the company.

The applicants are from “local public authorities, companies and associations”, Afnic said in a press release. An application for .paris is thought to be among them.

The announcement puts Afnic in the customer-win lead in terms of European ccTLD operators branching out into the gTLD back-end market.

Austria’s Nic.at is involved with 11 applications, while .uk’s Nominet is involved with seven.

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