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Bulgaria to appeal ICANN rejection

Kevin Murphy, September 15, 2010, Domain Registries

The Bulgarian government will appeal ICANN’s rejection of .бг, its proposed Cyrillic-script version of the .bg country-code top-level domain, according to reports.

“We have reasons to hope that our proposal may be accepted by the end of next year,” Deputy Transport Minister Parvan Rusinov said, according to Novinite.com.

ICANN rejected the string earlier this year due to its confusing similarity to Brazil’s ccTLD, .br.

The Bulgarian government conducted a online poll, offering its citizens the choice of a few lengthier alternatives, but .бг still came back the winner.

In today’s reports, Rusinov is quoted saying that the government could either file a modified application, or wait for the launch of an appeals procedure in 2011.

It does not appear that the IDN ccTLD Fast Track process currently allows appeals, so I can only assume that such a mechanism is under consideration as part of the upcoming process review. It has been rumored.

ICANN doesn’t talk about IDN fast track applications until they are approved, but Bulgaria’s government has been happily chatting to the local press for months.

Technology minister Alexander Tsvetkov was quoted back in June saying that the country would ask ICANN to reconsider its decision. If he meant a Reconsideration Request, that never happened.

.SO launch date is November 1

Kevin Murphy, September 6, 2010, Domain Registries

.SO Registry, the manager of Somalia’s .so country-code top-level domain, has named November 1 as the opening date for sunrise registrations.

The launch plan has been published here. Until the weekend, the organization has just said that it would open in autumn.

The ccTLD is to be unrestricted, along the same lines as .co, but the launch schedule is a little different to the one offered by .CO Internet, with no phases running in parallel.

Trademark holders can file sunrise applications, which will cost a minimum of $90 for a three-year registration, for the month of November. Domains with multiple applications will be auctioned in the first half of December.

Landrush applications will run from December 16 to February 9 at $10 per year. Contested domains will be auctioned February 10 to 28. General availability is slated for March 1, 2011, also with a registry fee of $10.

Other than that, there’s scant information currently available on the .SO Registry web site. Notably, there’s currently nothing about UDRP or other dispute resolution procedures.

The ccTLD has been delegated to Somalia’s Ministry of Post and Telecommunications since April 2009, but the registry is reportedly being handled by GMO Registry, the Japanese company already tapped to handle Canon’s .canon and its own .shop application.

ccTLDs under the hammer at UK domainer conference

Kevin Murphy, August 23, 2010, Domain Sales

The UK will get a rare domainer conference and live auction at the end of the week.

MeetDomainers, organized by NameDrive and the Polish domain investment outfit ddfund.eu, will open its doors for three days at the Hilton in Manchester.

Most of the action (if you don’t count getting drunk or paintballing) is focussed on Friday, culminating in a live auction with about 50 lots.

There are a couple of .coms in there, and one .co, but the majority of the domains are in the .uk namespace. Of the bunch, the most attractive .co.uk names to my eye appear to be:

CoffeeMachines.co.uk
QuadBikes.co.uk
ComputerRepair.co.uk
GymEquipment.co.uk
MediaSales.co.uk

From the .org.uk domains on offer, these look nice:

Shirts.org.uk
Vets.org.uk
Clothes.org.uk

There are also a couple of UK-related geographical .coms, referring to popular(ish) tourist areas in northern England: Penrith.com and Cumbria.com.

Any domainers with an interest in the South African market may well be interested in these category killers:

MobilePhones.co.za
Smartphones.co.za
Phone.co.za
Universities.co.za

The Isle of Man’s .im ccTLD also gets some love, with these domains on offer (note that, unlike .uk, direct second-level registrations are possible under .im as well as at the third level).

apartmentrentals.im
apartmentrentals.co.im
PropertyRentals.im
PropertyRentals.co.im
CarHire.co.im
CheapHotels.co.im
Flights.co.im
HolidayHomes.co.im
Holidays.co.im

And here’s the rest:

HotelBookings.co.uk
CoffeeMachine.co.uk
YouthClubs.co.uk
BowlingClub.co.uk
BowlingWear.co.uk
CampingGoods.co.uk
NewBrighton.co.uk
LinkBuildingServices.co.uk
PersonalisedGift.co.uk
AsbestosTests.co.uk
BlackBoards.co.uk
ChalkBoards.co.uk
StudentCreditCard.co.uk
VII.co.uk
TRX.co.uk
Holy.co.uk
TopUps.co.uk
Groom.co.uk
FashionDesigner.co.uk
Entry.co.uk
EuroPallets.co.uk
HomeCinemaSystems.co.uk
PhoneContract.co.uk
PrivateYachtHire.com
PrivateYachthire.co.uk
HolidayInsurance.CO
BackLinks.co.uk
ProductFeeds.co.uk
Blades.co.uk
Snorkel.co.uk
Media-Sales.co.uk
HighChair
HighChairs.co.uk
Invoicing.co.uk

Opening bids start anywhere from £50 to £20,000 ($31,000). The auction can be found here.

MeetDomainers is also the first domaining-oriented gathering I intend to attend in person. If you’re also planning on heading to Manchester this week, be sure to say hi if you spot me.

ICANN releases (censored) board briefing docs

Kevin Murphy, August 17, 2010, Domain Policy

ICANN has given an unprecedented glimpse into the workings of its board of directors, with the release of hundreds of pages of staff briefing papers.

But the documents are quite heavily redacted, particularly when it comes to some of the more controversial topics.

The documents show what ICANN staffers told the board in the run-up to the Nairobi and Brussels meetings, dealing with important decisions such as .xxx and internationalized domain names.

The Brussels decision to put .xxx back on the track to approval sees more than its fair share of blacked-out text, but the documents do show that ICANN general counsel John Jeffrey’s recommendations were pretty much in line with how the board eventually voted.

Other topics seeing redaction include the implementation of DNSSEC at the root, the activities of the Internet Governance Forum, and specific discussion of IDN ccTLD delegations.

Some topics are deemed so sensitive that even the titles of the pages have been blacked out. But in at least one case somebody apparently forgot to redact the title from the PDF’s internal bookmarks.

So we know, for example, that a section entitled “Chronological-History-ICM” is deemed entirely unpublishable, even though ICANN has previously published a document with pretty much the same title (pdf).

Who voted against three Arabic ccTLDs and why?

Kevin Murphy, August 17, 2010, Domain Registries

Two ICANN board members voted against the recent resolution to grant Arabic top-level domains to Palestine, Jordan and Tunisia, it has emerged.

ICANN has published the preliminary report for its August 5 board meeting, which breaks down the votes for each of the 27 resolutions and provides a minuscule amount of color about the discussions.

While the resolutions approving internationalized domain names for Singapore and Thailand were carried unanimously and without discussion, the three Arabic-script IDNs were discussed and received two negative votes and three abstentions.

So which two board members voted against these ccTLDs and why?

Beats me. The IDN ccTLD fast track process is one area where ICANN is quite secretive, and the report does not break down the substance of the discussion or the identities of the directors.

Strangely, two resolutions I would consider much more controversial faced less opposition.

The report shows that the resolution passing ICM Registry’s .xxx domain to the next stage of approval was carried unanimously, and that only one director voted against the .jobs amendment.

ERE.net has more on the .jobs story.