Google has become the latest new gTLD registry with a string live in the DNS root.
Its .みんな — Japanese for “everyone” — was delegated by ICANN last night. The URL nic.みんな resolves already to charlestonroadregistry.com, the name of Google’s registry subsidiary.
Google plans to operate it as an open, unrestricted namespace, aimed at Japanese-speaking registrants.
It’s the fifth internationalized domain name to go live and one of only three IDN applications from Google.
Google has 96 more active new gTLD applications, 57 of which are contested.
ICANN has terminated the registrar accreditation of Dynamic Dolphin, which it turned out was owned by self-professed “Spam King” Scott Richter.
The company has until December 20 to take down its ICANN logo and cease acting as a registrar.
ICANN, in its termination notice (pdf) late last week, said that it only became aware earlier this month that Richter was the 100% owner of Dynamic Dolphin.
Richter grew to fame a decade ago for being one of the world’s highest-profile spammers. He was sued for spamming by Microsoft and Myspace and was featured on the popular TV program The Daily Show.
As well as being a thoroughly unpleasant chap, he has a 2003 conviction for grand larceny, which should disqualify him from being the director of an ICANN-accredited registrar.
He removed himself as an officer on October 9 in response to ICANN’s persistent inquiries, according to ICANN’s compliance notice.
But he was much too late. ICANN has terminated the accreditation due to the “material misrepresentation, material inaccuracy, or materially misleading statement in its application”.
The question now has to be asked: why didn’t ICANN get to this sooner? In fact, why was Dynamic Dolphin allowed to get an accreditation in the first place?
Former Washington Post security reporter Brian Krebs has been all over this story for five years.
Back in 2008, with a little help from anti-spam outfit KnujOn, he outed Richter’s links to Dynamic Dolphin when it was just a Directi reseller.
Yesterday, Krebs wrote a piece on his blog going into a lot of the background.
Another question now is: which registrar is going to risk taking over Dynamic Dolphin’s registrations?
As of the last registry reports, Dynamic Dolphin had fewer than 25,000 gTLD domains under management.
According to ICANN’s termination notice, 13,280 of these use the company’s in-house privacy service, and 9,933 of those belong to just three individuals.
According to DomainTools, “Dynamic Dolphin Inc” is listed as the registrant for about 23,000 names.
According to KnujOn’s research and Krebs’s reporting, the registrar was once among the most spam-friendly on the market.
April 2016. That’s the likely date of the final new gTLD contention set auction under the rules currently anticipated by ICANN.
As you might imagine, many applicants are not happy about this.
In a series of presentations over the last couple of weeks, ICANN has laid out how it sees its “last resort” auctions playing out.
Preliminary timetables have been sketched out, from which three data points are noteworthy:
- Auctions will start in “early March” 2014.
- There will be one “auction event” every four weeks.
- Applicants can bid on a maximum of five gTLDs per auction.
Currently, the applicant in the most contention sets is Donuts, as you might have guessed given the size of its portfolio. By my reckoning it’s currently contesting 141 gTLD strings.
With a March 1 date for the first auction, and taking into account the aforementioned timing restrictions, it would be April 23, 2016 before the final Donuts contention set is resolved.
That’s four years after the application window closed.
Google would be in auctions until January 2015. TLDH, Uniregistry and Amazon’s contested strings would be tied up until at least October next year.
This is obviously terrible news for applicants competing with portfolio applicants where the contention set has quite a high position in ICANN’s prioritization queue.
A year or two is a long time to wait — burning through your funding and not taking in any revenue — if you’re a single-string applicant on a tight budget. Every dollar spent waiting is a dollar less to spend at auction.
According to ICANN, applicants will be able to waive the five-gTLDs-per-month maximum.
But that only seems to help the larger portfolio applicants, which will be seeing revenue from launched, uncontested gTLDs and could take the opportunity to starve out their smaller rivals.
Auctions themselves are shaping up to be a controversial subject in general, with several community members taking the mic at the ICANN 48 Public Forum last week to call for ICANN to change the process.
A few people pointed the ICANN board to the recent withdrawal of DotGreen — a popular but evidently poorly funded community effort — from the new gTLD program as a harbinger of things to come.
“By not allowing applicants to be in more than five auctions simultaneously it means those applicants, particularly portfolio applicants, are not going to be able to move through their contention sets,” Google policy manager Sarah Falvey said at the Forum.
“It drags in all the single applicants, because they’re stuck on that exact same time schedule and can’t move their applications through as well,” she said, adding that ICANN should create a new process that sets the time limit for auctions at about six months.
“People could be waiting two years to delegate through no fault of their own,” she said.
Later responding to Afilias director Jonathan Robinson, who backed up Falvey’s call for an accelerated schedule, ICANN president of generic domains Akram Atallah said that the rules are not yet set in stone.
The five-a-day rule was created to give applicants the ability to plan payments better, he said, and ICANN is still soliciting input on how the system could be improved.
If you’re trying to market a new gTLD aimed solely at CEOs, and your messaging is security, credibility and authority, what’s the best medium to get that message across?
Why, it’s white rap of course! In Donald Trump masks!
That’s apparently the thought process of PeopleBrowsr, the applicant for .ceo, anyway.
The video below got its first airing during a joint PeopleBrowsr/TLDH party at ICANN 48 in Buenos Aires last week.
I was on a bio break at the time and missed the premiere, but I was assured by other party-goers that it was the most painfully awkward video ever screened at an ICANN meeting.
After PeopleBrowsr published it on YouTube today, I was not disappointed. Enjoy a true classic:
Donuts today kicks off the Sunrise periods for its first seven new gTLDs, the first English-language strings to start their priority registration periods for trademark owners.
The big question for mark holders today is whether to participate in Sunrise, or whether Donuts’ proprietary Domain Protected Marks List is the more cost-efficient way to go.
Sunrise starts today and runs until January 24 for .bike, .clothing, .guru, .holdings, .plumbing, .singles and .ventures. Donuts is planning seven more for December 3.
These are “end-date” Sunrises, meaning that no domains are awarded to participants until the full 60-day period is over. It’s not first-come, first-served, in other words.
Where more than one application for any given domain is received, Donuts will hold an auction after Sunrise closes to decide who gets to register the name.
The primary requirement for participating in Sunrise is, per ICANN’s base rules, that the trademark has been submitted to and validated by the Trademark Clearinghouse.
Donuts is not enforcing additional eligibility rules.
The company has not published its wholesale Sunrise application fee, but registrars have revealed some details.
Com Laude said that the Donuts “Sunrise Participation Fee” is $80, which will be the same across all of its gTLDs. Registrars seem to be marking this up by about 50%.
Tucows, for example, is asking its OpenSRS resellers for $120 per name, with an additional first-year reg fee ranging between $20 and $45 depending on gTLD.
Lexsynergy, which yesterday reported on Twitter a spike in TMCH submissions ahead of today’s launch, is charging between £91 ($147) and £99 ($160) for the application and first year combined.
The question for Trademark Owners is whether they should participate in the alternative Domain Protected Marks List or not.
The DPML is likely to be much cheaper for companies that want to protect a lot of marks across a lot of Donuts gTLDs.
A five-year DPML fee can be around $3,000, which works out to $3 per domain per year if Donuts winds up with 200 gTLDs in its portfolio.
Companies will not be able to actually use the domains blocked by the DPML, however, so it only makes sense for a wholly defensive blocking strategy.
In addition, DPML does not prevent a eligible mark owner from registering a DPML domain during Sunrise.
A policy Donuts calls “DPML Override” means that if somebody else owns a matching trademark, in any jurisdiction, they’ll be able to get “your” domain even if you’ve paid for a DPML entry.
I should point out that Donuts is simply following ICANN rules here. There are few ways for new gTLD registries to make names ineligible for Sunrise within their contracts.
Trademark owners are therefore going to have to decide whether it’s worth the risk of sticking to a strictly DPML strategy, or whether it might make more sense to do Sunrise on their most mission-critical marks.
DotShabaka Registry was the first new gTLD operator to go to Sunrise, with شبكة., though the lack of Arabic strings in the TMCH means it’s largely an exercise in contractual compliance.