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China pushes .pw to over 250,000 names

Directi’s .PW Registry has taken over 250,000 domain registrations in the two and a half months since it launched, largely thanks to growth in China.

According to recent DomainTools research, Chinese registrars such as DNSPod and Xin Net lead .pw sales, and .PW business head Sandeep Ramchandani told DI today that this trend is now even more noticeable.

The frankly surprising volume seems to be due largely to its low pricing and some aggressive registrar promotion. Xin Net, for example, sells .pw names for about $6 each, compared to $9 for .com.

While Chinese-script domains are available, most registrations are for Latin strings, Ramchandani said.

The 250,000 number excludes domains that have been deleted for abuse, of which there have been quite a lot.

Ramchandani said that the registry’s abuse department is staffed around the clock.

Directi is using NameSentry from Architelos to track abusive names and has made deals with the most-abused registrars to take down names at the registry level when they pop up, he said.

Pritz resurfaces with consulting gigs for Donuts and Architelos

Kevin Murphy, April 6, 2013, Domain Services

Former ICANN chief strategy officer and new gTLDs head honcho Kurt Pritz is doing a spot of industry work, following the expiration of his post-resignation consulting gig with ICANN.

Pritz, we understand, has developed consulting relationships with new gTLD portfolio applicant Donuts and consulting firm Architelos while he looks for a more permanent position.

As you may recall, he quit ICANN last November after disclosing a personal conflict of interest.

While there are no rules preventing ICANN staff going into the domain industry, Pritz’s is prohibited from sharing confidential information he learned while at ICANN, we’re told.

Given his background, we understand he’ll be focusing mainly on policy-related work at both companies.

Architelos runs new gTLD market readiness survey

Kevin Murphy, February 13, 2013, Domain Services

New gTLD consultancy/software provider Architelos is carrying out a survey of new gTLD applicants in an effort to gauge how ready they are to launch.

The company is of the view that many applicants are under-prepared for the amount of work coming down the pike when they finally pass through ICANN’s long-running evaluation process.

The five-minute Q&A covers areas such as financial planning, compliance, hiring and launch marketing.

It’s also a way for Architelos to prospect for potential customers, though responses can be anonymous if desired.

If you’re an applicant, you can participate in the survey here.

Architelos sees sales double to $2 million in 2012

Kevin Murphy, January 14, 2013, Domain Services

New gTLD consultancy and software provider Architelos said it booked sales of $2 million in 2012, its second year in business, doubling its 2011 numbers.

The company said revenue for the year was $1.7 million. Architelos is bootstrapped and profitable.

Business was no doubt helped by the launch of TLD Sentry, its software service for managing abuse in TLD registries, which signed up Donuts and Top Level Domain Holdings as showcase clients.

The company plans to release another service, designed to help manage gTLD financials, during 2013.

Donuts signs up to Architelos anti-abuse service

Kevin Murphy, October 10, 2012, Domain Services

Architelos has a secured its first major customer win for the NameSentry anti-abuse service that it launched back in August.

Donuts, the highest-volume portfolio gTLD applicant, has signed up for the service, according to the companies.

For Donuts, which is probably the applicant that makes opponents of new gTLDs the most nervous, it’s another chance to show that it’s serious about operating clean zones.

For Architelos, it’s a pretty significant endorsement of its new technology.

The NameSentry service aggregates abuse data from multiple third-party malware, spam and phising lists and presents it in a way that makes it easier for registries shut down bad behavior.

Architelos launches new gTLD anti-abuse tool

Kevin Murphy, August 15, 2012, Domain Services

Architelos, having consulted on about 50 new gTLD applications, has refocused on its longer-term software-based game plan with the recent launch of a new anti-abuse tool for registries.

NameSentry is a software-as-a-service offering, currently being trialed by an undisclosed number of potential customers, designed to make it easier to track abusive domains.

Architelos gave us a demo of the web site yesterday.

The service integrates real-time data feeds from up to nine third-party blocklists – such as SURBL and SpamHaus – into one interface, enabling users to see how many domains in their TLD are flagged as abusive.

Users can then drill down to see why each domain has been flagged – whether it’s spamming, phishing, hosting malware, etc – and, with built-in Whois, which registrar is responsible for it.

There’s also the ability to generate custom abuse reports on the fly and to automate the sending of takedown notices to registrars.

CEO Alexa Raad and CTO Michael Young said the service can help streamline the abuse management workflow at TLD registries.

Currently, Architelos is targeting mainly ccTLDs – there’s more of them – but before too long it expects start signing new gTLD registries as they start coming online.

With many new gTLD applicants promising cleaner-than-clean zones, and with governments leaning on their ccTLDs in some countries, there could be some demand for services such as this.

NameSentry is priced on a subscription basis, based on the size of the TLD zone.

DomainDiction hires industry vets to market gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, May 21, 2012, Domain Services

DomainDiction, a new marketing company set up to help new generic top-level domain registries, officially launches today.

The largely European company, headed by France-based CEO Jennie-Marie Larsen, says it is “the first marketing consultancy dedicated solely to Top Level Domains”.

Larsen started off her career in the domain name industry at NeuStar, and was most recently chief marketing officer at the new gTLD business management firm Sedari.

Fellow industry veteran Pinky Brand, who helped launch .mobi and was revealed last week to have left registry manager Afilias, is DomainDiction’s new chief strategy officer.

Larsen said in a press release:

DomainDiction´s expertise is multi-channel, international domain marketing. By utilizing a wide range of marketing tools, we are able to offer innovative strategies and outreach programs across each phase from sunrise, landrush, to renewals. We leverage our close registrar channel relationships, international PR, online marketing, and complex SEO & PPC strategies to ensure success for each TLD.

Also on the team: John Kirkham (formerly with HostEurope), Tina Lord (former CMO of EasySpace), Henry Lewington (Barracuda Digital) and Christoph Hausel (whose agency, Element C, has previously worked for Afilias and NeuStar).

Rob Rozicki, who a couple of years ago made a lot of noise about applying for five sports-based gTLDs (.skate, .ski, .board, etc) is on board as head of North American online marketing.

While DomainDiction is certainly the first pure-play new gTLD marketing outfit that I can think of, the company will face competition from traditional PR firms and other gTLD consultancies.

Architelos, which made over a million dollars consulting with new gTLD applicants over the application period, recently launched its own marketing service, Velocity.

DomainDiction is set to launch this afternoon.

Architelos makes $1 million in first year

Kevin Murphy, February 23, 2012, Domain Services

The new gTLD consultancy Architelos took in revenue of over $1 million in its just-concluded first year of operations, according to the company.

That impressive sum came from a combination of consulting fees and software licenses for its Business Case Builder, which helps new gTLD applicants model their financial outlook.

Named clients include Verisign, Nominet, .music applicant Far Further and the Canadian Internet Registry Authority, according to Architelos.

Company founder and CEO Alexa Raad earned her chops leading the .mobi and .org registries before going independent.

Second .music applicant is Demand Media partner

Far Further has come out as the second company to say it plans to apply to ICANN for the .music top-level domain.

It’s also, I believe, the first applicant to reveal that it has partnered with Demand Media registrar eNom for its back-end registry services.

Far Further is one of a number of likely applicants for .music. The only other applicant to go public to date is Constantine Roussos’ dotMusic.

The new company is headed by former Warner Music record producer Loren Balman, CEO, and former music journalist John Styll, president. Former PIR chief Alexa Raad of Architelos is advising.

Far Further says its .music will “provide the global music community a secure identifying Internet address that supports the promotion of music, the protection of intellectual property rights, and the advancement of global access to music education.”

It’s my belief that the successful .music applicant will be the one that can secure the support of organizations such as the Recording Industry Association of America and its overseas counterparts.

The RIAA’s concerns about piracy spreading through .music domains, however misplaced, suggest that any other applicant is likely to find itself on the receiving end of objections, if not lawsuits.

Support from such organizations would also be critical to any bid that plans to invoke a Community Priority Evaluation — a trump card that well-supported applications can play in the ICANN process.

Perhaps the most interesting revelation about Far Further is the company’s selection of eNom, and its Shared Registry System, as its back-end technology services provider.

eNom is of course the world’s second-largest domain name registrar, with over 11 million domains under management, but it has yet to enter the registry services market.

There’s still a bit of a question mark over eNom’s ability to pass ICANN’s background checks, due to its UDRP losses, but this may not be a problem if it is merely the back-end provider, rather than the applicant itself.

dotMusic and ICANN execs form TLD consultancy

Kevin Murphy, March 11, 2011, Domain Services

Just what the world needs, another top-level domain consultancy.

Constantine Roussos, best known his campaign for .music, has teamed up with ICANN veteran Tina Dam to launch MyTLD.com, promising to help applicants with their TLD bids.

Dam was senior director of internationalized domain names at ICANN, spearheading the IDN ccTLD Fast Track program, until she quit last December.

Those are good credentials, especially for supporting IDN TLD applicants.

Dam is currently critical of how ICANN’s Applicant Guidebook treats IDN TLDs, saying that the process is too expensive and does not effectively handle transliterations and translations.

Roussos is an entrepreneur, owner of music.us/.biz/.co, who has been pushing his own self-financed .music bid for the last couple of years.

A running joke at the recent .nxt conference was that he was once an “outsider” but has since been firmly institutionalized by the ICANN environment. He’s also critical of aspects of the Guidebook.

MyTLD.com is the latest of a series of companies to form over the last few months to provide consulting to potential TLD applicants.

Recently, domain investors Mike Berkens and Monte Cahn founded Right Of The Dot, which specializes in marketing and premium domain strategy.

And Alexa Raad, former CEO of the .org registry PIR, is currently plugging her new consulting play, Architelos.

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