The results of the first “auction of last resort” in the new gTLD program are in, and it’s a bit of a head-scratcher.
Afilias lost out to rival applicant Beijing Tele-info Network Technology in the ICANN-backed auction for .信息 which means “info” or “information” in Chinese.
The winning bid was $600,000, ICANN said.
That money goes into a special ICANN fund, which will be put to some kind of unspecified purpose (to be determined by the ICANN community) at a later date.
It seems like quite a low price. Given what little we know about new gTLD auctions conducted privately, over a million dollars seems to be pretty standard for a gTLD.
It also strikes me as odd that Afilias wasn’t willing to shell out over $600,000 for a gTLD that could take a localized version of its existing .info brand into the world’s largest market.
It’s the only contention set to be settled by ICANN auction so far. The next will take place July 9, and will see Minds + Machines take on Amazon for .coupon.
The third, which will see 22 strings hit the block, will take place August 6.
The .poker contention set has been settled, apparently at last week’s Applicant Auction auction, leaving Afilias the winner.
Rival applicants Donuts, Famous Four Media and Dot Poker have all withdrawn their applications.
The winning bid was, per usual, not disclosed. I’d be interested to know how much it went for, as I have a feeling there might be some pretty sweet premium sales to be had.
It also emerged today that Rightside won the auction for the altogether less exciting .rip — a gTLD for memorials — after withdrawals from Momentous and DotRIP.
The .restaurant gTLD appears to one of the two remaining auctions from last week’s batch for which we don’t yet know the result. Uniregistry and Famous Four have withdrawn, leaving Donuts and Minds + Machines with active applications.
Afilias won the auction for the .green new gTLD, it emerged today.
Rightside withdrew its application for the string in the last few days, according to the ICANN web site, leaving Afilias the only remaining applicant in the four-way contention set.
Top Level Domain Holdings said last week that it had lost a private auction with Afilias and Rightside. The fourth applicant, Dot Green, withdrew last year citing the likely cost of an auction.
It’s not known how much Afilias paid in the auction, but it’s likely to have been in the millions.
Donuts, Afilias and Atgron were the beneficiaries of 10 new gTLD delegations yesterday.
Various Donuts subsidiaries had .boutique, .bargains, .cool, .expert, .tienda (“shop” in Spanish), .tools, .watch, .works delegated, bringing the company’s total portfolio to 70 gTLDs.
Afilias had its fourth new gTLD of this round go live in the DNS root: .kim, which is expected to serve people who have the first or last name Kim.
I think it’s the first personal-name gTLD to hit the internet.
Finally, Atgron had .wed delegated. It’s going to be an unrestricted gTLD aimed at marrying couples. It will eventually compete with the currently contested string .wedding.
I have to ponder what the renewal rates are going to be like for what seems to be the first event-focused TLD.
How long before their big day will registrants register their names, and for how long afterwards will they keep the registration alive for sentimental reasons? Atgron reckons such sites stay live for about 18 months.
There are also reportedly
twice half as many divorces as marriages in the US at the moment. One wonders why nobody applied for .divorce.
ICANN has signed Registry Agreements this week with three new gTLD applicants, covering the strings .wed, .ruhr and .pink.
I would characterize these strings as a generic, a geographic and a post-generic.
regiodot GmbH wants to use .ruhr as a geographic for the Ruhr region of western Germany while Atgron wants to providing marrying couples with .wed for their wedding-related web sites.
Afilias’ .pink belongs to that unusual category of applied-for gTLDs that I’m becoming increasingly interested in: the non-SEO generic.
The vast majority of generic, open gTLDs that have been applied for (mostly by domainer-driven portfolio applicants) in the current round are essentially “keyword” strings — stuff that’s very likely going to prove useful in search engine optimization.
I’m talking here about stuff like .music, .video, .football and .porn. These may prove popular with small business web site owners and domainers.
But there’s another category of generic gTLDs I believe have little SEO value but offer a certain quirky-cool branding opportunity that may prove attractive to regular, non-commercial registrants.
I’d put strings such as .ninja, .bom, .wow, .hot, .love and .pink into this category.
I’m very curious to see how these kinds of strings fare over the next few years, as I suspect we may see many more such applications in future gTLD rounds.