Latest news of the domain name industry

Recent Posts

Five more new gTLDs, one in English, get the nod from China

Kevin Murphy, February 14, 2017, Domain Registries

Top Level Design’s .ink has become the sixth new gTLD in the Latin alphabet to be approved for sale in China.

It was one of four new gTLDs given regulatory approval to begin operating properly in the country late last week. The others were all in Chinese script.

From Finnish-founded TLD Registry, .中文网 (“Chinese web site”) and .在线 (“Chinese online”) gained approval.

From local outfit Guangzhou Yuwei Information Technology Co, .集团 (“group”) and .我爱你 (“I love you”) were given the nod.

It’s the third batch of new gTLDs to get Chinese government approval since .vip, .club and .xyz in December. In January, .site and .shop joined their ranks.

Under China’s Draconian domain name regulations, only domains registered via local registries and registrars may be used.

Registries from outside the country have had to set up a local corporate presence and agree to China’s censorship policies in order to be compliant.

Contract breach cited as TLD Registry switches from Afilias to Chinese government back-end

The break between TLD Registry and former back-end provider Afilias may be even less amicable than first thought.

I’m hearing that TLDR served Afilias with a “Notice of Material Breach” of contract earlier this year, threatening to move its two gTLDs to a rival owned by the Chinese government.

There may even be pending litigation.

Today TLDR confirmed in a statement that it’s switching the roughly 30,000 names in .在线 (.xn--3ds443g, “Chinese online”) and .中文网 (.xn--fiq228c5hs, “Chinese website”) from Afilias to Beijing Teleinfo Network Technology Co.

Tele-info is a little-known back-end provider currently servicing four pre-launch Latin-script Chinese gTLDs.

According to TLDR, the company is owned by the Chinese Academy of Telecommunication Research, which appears to be part of the Chinese government’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

According to a source, back in February TLDR told Afilias that it would switch to Tele-info if Afilias was “unable or unwilling to remedy” unspecified contractual breaches by mid-May.

I don’t know what the alleged breaches were and neither company wants to talk about it.

“Afilias does not comment on pending litigation,” a spokesperson said.

“We are not commenting on contractual or litigation matters,” a TLDR spokesperson said.

TLDR said in a statement that the switch to Tele-info will help it get a Chinese government license, so Chinese registrants will be able to start using their domains. CEO Arto Isokoski said:

The completion of this milestone will hopefully pave the way for our accreditation with Chinese regulators, which ultimately allows our China-based customer’s names to resolve legally to a website hosted from within China.

It’s hard to argue with that logic — if it’s using a government back-end for its SRS, one can see how that would oil the gears of bureaucracy.

UPDATE 1753 UTC: Afilias has just provided DI with the following statement:

With respect to TLD Registry’s charges of breach of contract, Afilias categorically denies any breach of any kind whatsoever. Afilias has complied completely with our contractual obligations and responded to all requests for assistance with their various business priorities. Since we began supporting these 2 TLDs, Afilias has met every SLA and enabled the 2 TLDS to be 100% compliant with their technical and contractual obligations to ICANN. Afilias has provided 100% compliance on every SRS requirement, and maintained their DNS with 100% availability throughout the entire period of our stewardship. TLD Registry’s charges are completely without merit.

Afilias loses back-end deals on two Chinese gTLDs

TLD Registry, the Finnish/Irish registry that runs two Chinese-script gTLDs, has ditched Afilias in favor of a Chinese back-end provider.

Afilias said tonight that as of Friday it will no longer be the back-end for .在线 (.xn--3ds443g, “Chinese online”) and .中文网 (.xn--fiq228c5hs, “Chinese website”).

The company said:

Afilias has been directed by TLD Registry to shut down the Afilias operated SRS’s for .xn—3ds443g and .xn—fiq228c5hs on June 17, 2016 at 00:00:00 UTC and transfer the registry files to TLD Registry and its new provider. In accordance with this directive from our client, the SRS will be shut down and the files will be transferred, and Afilias will no longer operate the SRS for these two strings.

TLD Registry VP Pinky Brand declined to name the registry’s new back-end provider, beyond that the winning provider is Chinese.

The new back-end will be named in the next day or so, he said.

Registrars have been informed about the switch, Afilias said.

It’s not yet clear whether TLD Registry has decided to switch providers for cost reasons or in order to more deeply embed itself in China.

The company was founded by and is managed by Finns and is legally based in Ireland, but it only runs Chinese-script gTLDs.

The Chinese government has regulations, and is proposing more, preventing Chinese citizens using domains that do not meet certain guidelines, which include a corporate presence in China.

Several registries are opening up offices in China in order to abide by these rules, but I’m not aware of any that have switched back-ends for that reason.

The two gTLDs have fewer than 30,000 domains in their zone files between them.

Pinyin to beat IDN? .wang ready to overtake .在线

The .wang gTLD has seen great success, relatively, in its first week of general availability, crossing the 30,000 mark yesterday and entering the top 10 new gTLDs by registration volume.

At its current rate of growth, the Zodiac Holdings domain is going to overtake .在线, the highest-ranking Chinese gTLD so far, this week.

.wang went to GA June 30. After its initial spike, it’s added one to two thousand names per day and, with 31,011 names today, currently sits at 9th place in the new gTLD program’s league table.

That’s a whisker behind TLD Registry’s .在线 (“.online”), which had a strong start when it launched at the end of April but has since plateaued at around 33,000 names, adding just a handful each day.

A skim through the zone files reveals that the vast majority of the names in .wang appear to be, like .wang itself, Pinyin — the official Latin-script transliterations of Chinese-script words.

.wang, which would be “网” in Chinese script, means “net”.

To pluck a couple of names from the zone at random, I see tanpan.wang, which could mean something like “negotiation.net” and xingshi.wang, which may or may not mean “shape.net”.

I suspect that many of the registered domains are personal names rather than dictionary words. Wang is a popular surname in China.

The vast majority of the names also appear to be registered via China-based registrars, some of which are promoting the TLD strongly on their home pages.

There certainly appears to be a lot of domainer activity in .wang, but I haven’t seen anything yet to suggest a massive orchestrated effort that would throw out the numbers considerably.

Either way, I find it fascinating that a Latin transliteration of a Chinese word seems set to out-perform the actual Chinese IDNs currently on the market.

Oops! TLD Registry over-reports first-day figures

Kevin Murphy, April 28, 2014, Domain Registries

TLD Registry’s first hours of Chinese IDN gTLD registrations were not as big as previously reported.

We reported earlier today that .在线 (“.online”) and .中文网 (“.chinesewebsite”) had made it to 54,011 names and 38,838 names respectively, just one hour after the 1300 UTC general availability.

However, a few hours later the company told us it had accidentally included thousands of registry-reserved names in those totals.

The actual numbers are 33,012 for .在线 and 17,537 for .中文网, as of 1900 UTC.

These are still extremely impressive numbers, and .在线 is still the biggest launch to date, surpassing the 31,645 with which .berlin ended its first day of GA a month ago.

That gTLD is likely to end the day in third or fourth place in the new gTLD league table, depending on how .photography (with 33,489 names this morning) performed today.

.guru’s crown remains.

Both sets of new numbers include sunrise, landrush and up to 10,000 names registered to the Chinese government under a special pre-release deal the registry negotiated, but they do not include reserved names.

Chinese “.online” beats .guru in one hour

Kevin Murphy, April 28, 2014, Domain Registries

The Chinese new gTLD .在线, which means “.online” has become the biggest new gTLD launch to date, taking tens of thousands of registrations in its first hour of general availability.

According to TLD Registry, which took .在线 and .中文网 (“.chinesewebsite”) to GA at 1300 UTC today, .在线 had 54,011 names and .中文网 had 38,838 names just one hour later.

UPDATE: These numbers were wrong.

That immediately puts .在线 at the top of the new gTLD leaderboard, a clear 1,500 names ahead of Donuts’ .guru (52,428 as of 0100 UTC), which has topped the chart for the last few months.

It took .guru, which launched January 29, 78 days to hit 50,000 names.

With its 38,838 names, .中文网 takes the number four position behind .guru and .berlin.

“As of the last minute before GA, the total number of domains in Dot Chinese Online (.在线) totalled 9,803, and the total number of domains in Dot Chinese Website (.中文网) totalled 8,623,” TLD Registry marketing director Simon Cousins told DI, citing numbers provided by back-end provider Afilias.

The company had allocated 20,452 names, split evenly between the two TLDs, to the Chinese government.

It also auctioned off several dozen names with Sedo at an event in Macau last month.

One of these, a real estate site at 房地产.在线, which means “realestate.online” has already gone live.

TLD Registry sells $584k of new gTLD domains, expects million-dollar sale next month

Kevin Murphy, April 24, 2014, Domain Registries

TLD Registry, the company behind two Chinese new gTLDs, says it has sold over $584,000 of premium domain names already and expects to make a seven-figure sale next month.

The Finnish-founded company is launching .中文网 and .在线, which mean “Chinese web site” and “online” respectively.

Marketing director Simon Cousins told DI this week that the company has sold $584,000 of domains so far and was “confident” of making a seven-figure sale — sounds like a multiple-domain batch — next month

The $584,000 figure includes the $182,000 worth of domains sold at a live/hybrid auction in Macau last month and 101 other domains sold privately for $402,000, Cousins claimed.

“We’re working on some blockbuster tranches right now, and are confident we’ll have a 7-fig sale to report in May,” he said in an email.

The company has been working with Sedo on premium auctions.

The landrush period ended yesterday. The gTLDs are due to go to general availability April 28.

First IDN gTLD auction raises $181,000

Kevin Murphy, March 21, 2014, Domain Sales

TLD Registry today raised over $181,000 in “premium” Chinese IDN domain names.

A live/online auction coordinated by Sedo and held at the China Rouge members’ club here in Macau saw 39 lots go under the hammer, 33 of which managed to raise at least the $2,000 minimum bid.

All the names were in .在线 (“.online”), of two Chinese IDN gTLDs TLD Registry launched this week.

Each lot contained multiple names.

In all cases the ASCII transliteration, or Pinyin, was thrown in. Some lots also contained conceptually related names. So the winner of “casino”.在线 also won “gambling”.在线.

Buyers will presumably be able to split the bundles for resale.

The lot with the highest bid at the end of the day was a collection of domains related to “gaming”, which sold for $25,388. Second was a “casino” bundle, which fetched $25,000

.CLUB Domains CEO Colin Campbell spent $7,100 on “club”.在线 and related terms.

Here’s the full list of auction results. Apologies to my Chinese readers, but I don’t have a Chinese keyboard nor a source document to copy and paste the actual names that were sold.

LotWinning Bid (USD)
TOTAL$181,714
make money2500
Go (the game)2000
pay2250
dinner2000
tall, handsome and rich2100
club7100
cosmetics2200
bitcoin14388
casino25000
go to Hong Kong2000
bookkeeping2000
watch TV2000
reunion0
United Kingdom2550
personal homepage0
domain investing2500
discount4100
buy and sell3100
study English2250
maintaining your health2000
I love you2000
babysitting0
I want to eat2000
diet network2000
furniture2800
real estate16000
hot/popular2000
new cars2000
learn about wine0
luxury watches6400
travel and weather0
sell5588
hot search terms2400
loans7500
delivery information0
rent15500
financing2000
gaming25388
trademark6100

DISCLOSURE: I attended most of the auction and moderated a panel discussion during the lunch break. TLD Registry paid for my airfare and accommodation.

TLD Registry sells 20k+ IDN gTLD names to Chinese gov

Kevin Murphy, March 19, 2014, Domain Registries

TLD Registry has sold 20,452 new gTLD domain names to the Chinese government as it prepares to launch .中文网 (“.chinesewebsite”) and .在线 (“.online”) tomorrow.

The deal, signed this week with the Service Development Center of the State Council Office for Public Sector Reform (SCOPSR) is for 10,226 names in each gTLD.

The domains include the Chinese-script names of every city in China with a population of over 200,000, as well as counties, municipalities and other regional names.

Strings that translate to things like “invest in [place name]” and “tourism [place name]” have also been registered to the government in both TLDs, according to the company.

It looks like this is the first significant anchor tenant deal we’ve seen in the new gTLD program.

Assuming China actually uses these names, it could be great publicity for the new registry’s gTLDs. The government has a policy of transitioning all of its services to fully IDN.IDN domains.

If not, it still means that both gTLDs stand to launch with over 10,000 names in each zone file on day one, even before regular registrants have had a chance to buy them.

The company is also set to auction a bunch of premium names in both namespaces on Friday simultaneously via Sedo and a live event at a private members’ club in Macau.

I’m posting this from Hong Kong airport, en route to the Macau event. As a matter of disclosure: TLD Registry is paying for my flights and accommodation.

.email and two other new gTLDs go live

Kevin Murphy, January 2, 2014, Domain Registries

Three more new gTLDs were delegated this afternoon, including the potentially interesting .email.

The other two were TLD Registry’s .在线 (Chinese for ‘.online’) and United TLD/Rightside’s .immobilien (German for ‘.realestate’).

The reason I think .email could be interesting is that it’s very close to “.mail”, which has been highlighted in several analyses as a potentially dangerous due to the risk of name collisions.

It’s also, I think, one of the highlights of Donuts’ portfolio, despite the fact that the company was the only applicant.

.immobilien is the third delegated gTLD for United TLD. It’s going to be competing against the arguably more attractive .immo — a well-known abbreviation — which is currently contested by four applicants.

For TLD Registry, .在线 is the first delegation. It’s planning to take both .在线 and its companion .中文网 (“Chinese website”) to Sunrise on January 17, so we might expect another delegation soon.

  • Page 1 of 2
  • 1
  • 2
  • >