Telefonica Brasil, part of the massive Telefonica group of telecoms companies, has lost its registrar accreditation after failing to pay its ICANN fees.
The company, which had revenue last year of $14.6 billion, is facing termination of its Registrar Accreditation Agreement over the pitiful sum of $3,082.12.
It’s also embarrassing because Telefonica is applying for the new gTLD .vivo, its consumer brand in Brasil, which will require it to sign a Registry Agreement with ICANN.
I don’t think the loss of the RAA affects the company’s ability to get its gTLD contracted and delegated.
According to ICANN (pdf), Telefonica also failed to comply with the Registrar Information Specification, a pretty basic rule in the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement requiring registrars to provide their address and names of officers and any parent companies.
The company has no gTLD names under management, so registrants will not be affected by the termination, which will take effect September 25.
ICANN sent its initial breach notice in July, but Telefonica did not comply before the August deadline. It also received a breach notice over an unpaid $10,000 bill a year ago.
Reliance Industries, owner of the Mumbai Indians cricket team, has withdrawn its application for the new gTLD .indians after an objection from the Indian government.
ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee has said in formal advice several times, most recently in March, that India was not cool with the idea of a .indians TLD, but noted that the country stood alone.
Following the Singapore meeting this year, the GAC said: “the Government of India has requested that the application for .indians not proceed.”
As a piece of non-consensus advice, ICANN would have been able to more easily reject India’s objection, but the withdrawal means it will not have to make that decision.
India has a similarly dim view of .ram, which Chrysler has applied for to protect a car brand but which also matches an important deity in the Hindu pantheon. That bid is still active.
But recently we’ve seen two other dot-brand applicants get out of the new gTLD program.
Dun & Bradstreet has just withdrawn its bid for .dnb. Last week, Myriad International Holdings yanked its application for .mih.
Amazon has paid almost a billion dollars for the gaming community Twitch and immediately set about defensively registering some domain names.
amazontwitch.com, amazontwitch.net, and amazontwitch.org were all registered via MarkMonitor on Monday, coinciding with the announcement of the acquisition.
The company even registered twitchamazon.com, but not the corresponding .net and .org.
But Amazon, a major new gTLD applicant itself, does not appear to have registered the string in any new gTLDs, despite being one of the most prolific defensive registrants.
The company owns the string “fire” in scores of new gTLDs and appears to have blanket-registered “prime” and “kindle” in pretty much every new gTLD sunrise to date.
Twitch, pre-acquisition, doesn’t seem to have involved itself in new gTLDs at all, though the string “twitch” has been registered in several.
Bad news for the owners of these domains?
Radix Registry has gone into landrush with its first new gTLDs, promising a “risk-free” experience for buyers who want to get into .website, .press and .host early.
But different registrars are handling the phase in different ways — with a staggering range of prices — so you could still lose money on domains you don’t get unless you shop around.
Business head Sandeep Ramchandani confirmed that while Radix does not have any nonrefundable components at the registry end, it’s up to the individual registrars to decide whether to follow suit.
Radix has set up a microsite to help would-be registrants compare prices and find a registrar with a refundable fee.
It’s a useful tool, because prices vary wildly by registrar.
For .website, the lowest-cost of the three gTLDs, you’ll probably want to avoid Go Daddy. Its “priority pre-registration” service costs a whopping $174.98 for a bog-standard domain, compared to landrush fees around the $40 mark at all the other listed registrars.
General availability pricing for .website appears to be in line with .com, with Name.com and Go Daddy both listing GA domains at $14.99.
.press and .host, which cater to rather more niche markets, have correspondingly higher base pricing. Both will hit GA with pricing ranging from $100 to $130, it seems.
To apply for names in either during landrush you can expect to pay between $250 and $360, depending on registrar.
You’re also going to have a harder time finding a registrar that will refund landrush fees in .press and .host; Radix currently lists four registrars doing this for .press and only two for .host.
For premium names, Radix is going the now fairly industry standard route of charging premium fees on renewals as well as the initial registration.
investing.website will set you back $3,125 a year at Name.com, for example, while whiskey.website will cost $312.50 a year.
Go Daddy is not yet carrying Radix premium names.
Some names have five-figure renewal fees attached, Ramchandani said.
But he added that Radix has only set aside “a few hundred” premium names in each of the three TLDs, a much lower number than most previous new gTLD launches.
The idea is to get domains out there and in the hands of users, he said.
The new microsite also carries a few downloadable spreadsheets of supposedly attractive names that are available at the basic, non-premium registration fee.
Seasoned domain investors might find some bargains there (assuming they don’t go to landrush auction), but there are also some oddities.
Is wellnessfinder.website worthy of a recommendation, just because the domain+website wellnessfinder.com sold for €300,000 in 2011?
And to what possible use could you put a vagina.press? I shudder to think…
.hiv, the first charity gTLD, is set to go to general availability at 2pm UTC tomorrow with one of the strangest and riskiest business models of any new gTLD to date.
While registrants will be able to use .hiv domains more or less as they please, as with any other gTLD, Berlin-based registry dotHIV is banking on an innovative microdonation system to set the space apart.
When you buy a .hiv domain, you’ll be sent an invitation by the registrar or registry to join an optional Click-Counter service, according to dotHIV chief marketing officer Michael Twist.
If you join the service, every time somebody visits your .hiv web site, dotHIV will donate a tenth of a US cent to one of four (initially) HIV/AIDS-related charity projects.
The donation will come from a pool of cash set aside by the registry from its registration fees.
While .hiv names are going to be sold, by 80 to 100 registrars at launch, for close to $200 per year, $120 of each registration or renewal fee will go into this charitable pool.
This business model is unprecedented in the domain name space, and it’s leading to the registry behaving in ways you wouldn’t expect from a new gTLD business.
For starters, dotHIV isn’t overly concerned about promoting its end users in a big way right out of the gates. It needs to refill its diminished cash pool to be able to cover the microdonations.
At first, it’s more concerned about volume and premium domain sales.
This problem is more pressing because of the longer-than-expected process of getting the .hiv application through the ICANN evaluation and delegation process.
“The microdonation system only works if we’ve got money in the pot,” said Twist. “The delay in the ICANN process has eaten up some of the funds.”
With a $120 donation from each sale, any given .hiv domain would only need to generate 1.2 million clicks in any given year to render it ‘unprofitable’ — ie, taking more from the pot than it put in.
dotHIV therefore needs time to ensure the pot of money from registrations is big enough to cover any big traffic spikes — what if a .hiv link goes viral, or a big-brand company starts using one? — before promoting the end-user sites in any meaningful way.
“First we need to push for registrations, and then traffic,” said Twist. “We can’t get too many people clicking before we hit a critical mass to support what we’re trying to do.”
There’s also the other possibility: that dotHIV, which is a registered charity, may wind up sitting on a pile of cash from registrations that is not going to its designated causes due to a lack of clicks on its users’ sites.
There’s risk in both directions, which begs the question: why not just donate the $120 to charity at the point of registration?
“More than just trying to raise funds what we’re doing is trying to raise awareness,” said Twist.
By encouraging (eventually) viral, click-based fund-raising, the registry hopes to put a spotlight back on the virus, which perhaps isn’t as trendy a cause as it once was due to the development of drugs that can delay the onset of AIDS by decades.
dotHIV is launching with some premium sales and some big-name anchor tenants under its belt.
Twist said that a “handful” of $10,000 names, which he declined to identify, have already been sold to pharmaceuticals companies involved in the development of HIV drugs.
There are about 10,000 reserved premiums in the space, he said, with a starting price of $5,000. Premium buyers will have to commit to usage rules including a commitment to use the Click-Tracker.
From the domain world, corporate registrars Mark Monitor and IP Mirror are to use .hiv domains.
There are no rules preventing domainers registering in .hiv (perhaps even treating it as a donation rather than an investment) but Twist said the registry would be disappointed to see large numbers of parked sites.