ICANN will hold its first public meeting of 2018 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which was originally supposed to the venue for this October’s meeting.
ICANN moved ICANN 57 from San Juan to Hyderabad, India in May, at the height of the scare about the Zika virus.
Zika is spread by mosquitoes and sex and can cause horrible birth defects. An epidemic, beginning in 2015, saw thousands affected in the Americas and South-East Asia.
Puerto Rico was one of the affected regions. At the time of the ICANN postponement, numerous government travel warnings were in effect.
The World Health Organization announced last month that the epidemic is over.
It was always understood that Puerto Rico had been merely postponed rather than permanently canceled, and ICANN’s board of directors this week resolved to hold the March 2018 meeting — ICANN 61 — there.
Go Daddy VP of domains Rich Merdinger has been appointed interim chair of the Domain Name Association, replacing Neustar’s Adrian Kinderis.
In a blog post, Merdinger said the DNA will become more “vocal” under its new leadership and outlined three priorities for 2017 — awareness, adoption and access.
He said the DNA will share ways businesses can pursue a strategy of “blending” TLD types in their online activities, promote domains as search engine optimization tools, and make it easier for DNA members to participate.
There will be a new series of DNA Virtual Town Hall meetings to facilliate communication. Merdinger wrote:
Expect to see a more vocal DNA – whether it is at the next virtual town hall or learning about new research on domain name strategies and their business impact. As Interim Chair, I will be working with our leadership team on ways to spotlight how domain names are being used strategically and tactically to support business objectives in 2017 and beyond.
He replaces Kinderis, formerly CEO of AusRegistry/ARI/Bombora, who is now, post-acquisition, VP of corporate development at Neustar.
Kinderis, DNA’s founding chair in April 2013, will remain on the DNA’s board of directors, representing Neustar.
It’s interesting that Merdinger’s appointment to chair is being linked with the DNA becoming more “vocal”.
While Merdinger certainly isn’t a shrinking violet, Kinderis, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me saying, is one of the bluntest, mouthiest guys in the industry.
That said, GoDaddy has name recognition and has proven to be a bit of a headline magnet over the last decade or so.
It surely has a higher profile among would-be registrants — a big part of the DNA’s audience — than Neustar, which isn’t primarily a domain name company or even necessarily primarily an internet company.
The DNA will continue to operate without an in-house staff, having dumped its second executive director earlier this year in favor of outsourcing to a trade group management company, to cut costs.
Donuts has acquired the new gTLD .irish, which is struggling to gain volume after about 18 months on the market.
The gTLD was applied for and operated by Dot-Irish LLC, a US company founded by Irish and Northern Irish entrepreneurs.
Since going to general availability in June last year, it managed to grow its zone file to a peak of about 2,300 names in the first year.
That’s since dropped off to about 2,000 names.
Even self-consciously Irish registrar Blacknight has only managed to shift fewer than 500 names.
These numbers are disappointing any way you look at them, with the original gTLD application talking about an addressable market of 6 million Irish citizens and 80 million more in the Irish diaspora.
Registrar support does not seem to have been the issue. Registrars with reach, including Tucows, Name.com, Host Europe Group and Go Daddy all sell the names.
Pricing may be a factor. While Blacknight promotes .irish prominently for about $10 a year, elsewhere prices can range from $40 to $50.
The terms of the acquisition, which Donuts said closed last month, have not been disclosed.
Donuts said it will migrate .irish to its own infrastructure March 1, 2017. All policies and protection mechanisms that apply to the rest of the 198-strong Donuts stables will be applied to .irish, the company said.
The new .shop gTLD is likely to see growth over the coming week or so, as registrars begin to offer them for free.
Two retail registrars in the Key-Systems stable — Moniker and domaindiscount24 — said today they will offer a free .shop to each of their customers until December 23.
The offer is limited to one domain per account, so we’re unlikely to see the same level of growth, speculation and abuse we’ve seen in other TLDs that have offered free registrations.
Other popular registrars are currently selling first-year .shop names for $8 to $10, a discount on the usual retail price of between $25 and $30.
Interestingly and perhaps surprisingly, Key-Systems’ native Germany already has the most .shop registrations to date, with over a quarter of the 100,000 or so names registered so far to registrants in that country.
You have to go to number four in its geographic breakdown league to even get to the first Anglophone nation (the US).
The US elections last month seem to be responsible for almost all of Verisign’s “top trending keywords” for November.
Donald Trump topped the company’s monthly list of fastest-growing strings in both .com and .net registries.
The four words of his idiotic campaign slogan “Make America great again” also appear individually in the .com top ten.
The votes to legalize medical and recreational marijuana use in several US states also seems to have inspired speculation in “pot”, “weed” and “cannabis” names, though more noticeably in .net.
In fact, the only string in the .com list not related to the US polls appears to be “near” (at least, I cannot find a connection).
The Verisign report includes words that achieve a certain level of growth month-to-month, factoring out strings that are commonly registered every month.
Here are the November lists.