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Over 87,000 new gTLD domains now blocked

Kevin Murphy, November 12, 2013, Domain Registries

The total number of domain names to be blocked due to the risk of name collisions has topped 87,000 with the latest batch of block-lists from ICANN, published yesterday.

According to our database, 87,670 domain names, representing 75,208 unique second-level strings, are to be blocked in the 37 new gTLDs that have published collisions lists.

The string “www” is on all 37 lists, followed closely by “com”, “org” and “net”.

The most commonly blocked names include large numbers of single characters and large numbers of two-character strings matching ccTLDs (which were already banned in new gTLDs anyway).

Lots of protocol-related strings, such as “http”, “ftp”, “isatap” and “wpad” can also be found in the top 100 strings.

Gambling-related strings are also hugely, and so far inexplicably, popular blocking candidates.

Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Apple are the most frequently seen brands.

The full consolidated list of blocked strings can be searched at the DI PRO name collisions database.

The gTLD with the biggest block-list so far is .kitchen, with 13,061 strings, over half as big again as the next-longest list, which is .uno’s 8,187 names.

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Over 100 new gTLD contracts now signed

Kevin Murphy, November 12, 2013, Domain Registries

The pace is stepping up as ICANN starts to lift its heels in moving more new gTLDs towards delegation.

The organization signed contracts with registries covering 34 strings over the weekend, including popular favorites such as .wiki and .ninja.

The full list of gTLDs with freshly signed Registry Agreements goes like this:

.education, .institute, .training, .international, .builders, .build, .solar, .marketing, .solutions, .academy, .company, .camp, .systems, .business, .management, .center, .repair, .red, .glass, .house, .farm, .holiday, .kaufen, .ninja, .gal, .social, .moda, .blue, .ceo, .immobilien, .wiki, .florist, .公益 and .政务.

At 34 in a week, it’s an almost 50% increase on the number of new gTLD RAs ICANN has entered into, and dangerously close to the 40-per-week rate that was originally planned.

By our reckoning, there are now 115 new gTLDs with ICANN contracts.

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ICANN rejects third new gTLD bid

Kevin Murphy, November 12, 2013, Domain Registries

ICANN has formally rejected .thai, only the third new gTLD application to suffer this fate.

It’s been flagged as “Not Approved”, following an objection from a consensus of the Governmental Advisory Committee led by an outcry from Thailand and Thai nationals.

Only DotConnectAfrica’s .africa and GCC’s .gcc have the same designation. Both also were killed off by GAC advice.

Better Living Management Company had applied for .thai, promising to restrict it to people and organizations with a local presence.

Thailand already has the ccTLD .th, of course, as well as the IDN equivalent, .ไทย, which means “Thailand”.

ICANN has not yet rejected any applications that lost crippling objections filed by non-governmental actors.

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XYZ says auctions “comfortably within the rules”

Kevin Murphy, November 10, 2013, Domain Registries

New gTLD registry XYZ.com has responded to criticisms of its plan to auction .xyz and .college names with NameJet before they even have signed contracts with ICANN.

CEO Daniel Negari told DI that the plan to auction 40 names between now and the end of February, is “comfortably within the rules”.

The company seems to be operating at the edge of what is permissible under the new gTLD program’s rights protection mechanisms, which state that no domains may be allocated prior to Sunrise.

But Negari said in an email interview that nothing will be “allocated” before its Sunrise periods are done:

the buyers at auction are not buying the domain names as in a normal auction. They are buying an option to force us to allocate them the domain after the Sunrise Period for the auction price assuming various contingencies are met — such as us being able to allocate the name in the future, the name being available after sunrise, the name not being blocked-out because of name collisions and so on.

He went on to say that the 40 names being put to auction are being drawn from the 100 names the recently redrafted Registry Agreement says registries are allowed to allocate to themselves “necessary for the operation or the promotion of the TLD”.

There’s also the potential problem that neither TLD has yet received its list of name collisions, which are likely to contain thousands of strings that the registry must block at launch.

As we’ve seen with the gTLDs that already have their lists, many desirable second-level strings are likely to be blocked, which could clash with names XYZ is planning to auction.

But XYZ seems to have access to the Day In The Life Of The Internet data from which these lists are compiled, and Negari said that the names it is auctioning off do not appear.

“We think these auctions are a great way to both promote our TLD as anticipated by ICANN in the RA and to bring increased innovation to the space in line with ICANN’s stated goals for the new gTLD program,” Negari said.

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New gTLDs bring back tiered renewal pricing

Kevin Murphy, November 10, 2013, Domain Registries

Only one mass-market TLD used it, and it’s often considered a bad idea, but variable pricing for domain name renewals is making a comeback with the launch of new gTLDs.

What Box? and Plan Bee are the first two new gTLD registries to start selling domains with tiered renewal fees, in .menu and .build respectively, via Go Daddy.

If you pay Go Daddy $189.99 for a “Priority Rre-registration” in .build, your annual renewal fee if you secure the name will be be $149.99, instead of the $99.99 other pre-registrants will pay.

Similarly, a Priority Pre-registration in .menu will set you back $199.99 a year, forever, instead of $49.99.

I understand that the standard Go Daddy initial registration fee for these two TLDs during general availability will also be $99.99 and $49.99 respectively.

The other two new gTLDs with announced pricing, .uno and .luxury, do not appear to be charging tiered rates.

Go Daddy confirmed that the renewal pricing will be permanently higher in the .build and .menu, telling us:

The industry is starting to move toward a tiered pricing system. As such, some registries have elected to make renewals higher on domain names captured during the priority pre-registration period.

It’s actually permitted under ICANN’s standard Registry Agreement.

Generally, the RA prevents registries charging variable renewal fees. If you find yourself running a successful business in a new gTLD, the registry is not allowed to gouge you for higher renewals.

There’s a provision in section 2.10 of the contract that is designed to “prohibit abusive and/or discriminatory Renewal Pricing practices imposed by Registry Operator”.

But the rule does not apply if you’re told at the point of registration that your renewal pricing will be higher.

The contract states that “Registry Operator must have uniform pricing for renewals of domain name registrations”, but grants this huge exception:

if the registrar has provided Registry Operator with documentation that demonstrates that the applicable registrant expressly agreed in its registration agreement with registrar to higher Renewal Pricing at the time of the initial registration of the domain name following clear and conspicuous disclosure of such Renewal Pricing to such registrant

The only major TLD to try variable pricing before now was .tv, which Verisign currently operates.

The .tv registry held back thousands of desirable strings when it launched in 2000. Instead of auctioning them, it priced these names to sell, but with renewal prices matching the initial registration fee.

If you bought a premium .tv name 10 years ago for $10,000, you’ve been paying $10,000 a year ever since.

This proved very unpopular — especially with domain investors, who continue to moan about the high carrying cost of .tv names bought years ago — and Verisign scrapped the policy on new registrations in 2010.

Some say tiered renewal pricing is the main reason .tv isn’t nearly as popular as it arguably should be.

But will it work in 2014?

Tiered renewal fees seems like an excellent way to discourage domainers from participating in your launch.

Would you be willing to pay higher renewal fees ad infinitum just for the chance for first dibs on the new gTLD domain name you want?

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