Latest news of the domain name industry

Recent Posts

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.

Top-level domain count likely to top 300 this year

Kevin Murphy, August 16, 2010, Domain Registries

Perusing the big stack of marketing literature that I picked up at ICANN Brussels in June, I noticed that few companies agree about how many top-level domains currently exist.

Mildly surprising really, given that the official count isn’t especially difficult to come by. According to IANA’s database, there are 292 delegated TLDs today.

That number breaks down like this:

251 ASCII ccTLDs
9 IDN ccTLDs
4 gTLDs
3 “restricted” gTLDs
1 “infrastructure” TLD
13 “sponsored” gTLDs
11 test IDN TLDs

Interestingly, according to IANA, there are only four vanilla, open gTLDs – .com, .net, .org and .info.

I wonder how many sites NeuStar has shut down because .biz is “restricted” to business users? Or how many .mobi domains have been put on hold for breaking the “sponsored” guidelines.

The list does not yet count the six IDN ccTLDs that ICANN’s board approved August 5. So there are actually 298 approved top-level domains today.

In the IDN ccTLD pipeline as of Brussels were also Qatar, Singapore and Syria, which had met string approval but were not yet delegated, and about 15 others that had not.

There are two (or three) more voting meetings for ICANN’s board this year, and so it seems likely that the delegated TLD count will break through the 300 mark before 2011.

Palestine gets its own Arabic domain names

Kevin Murphy, August 6, 2010, Domain Registries

ICANN has awarded five more non-ASCII top-level domains under its internationalized domain name fast-track process for country-code TLD managers.

Palestine, Tunisia and Jordan will all shortly receive delegations for Arabic-script versions of their existing ccTLDs. They join previous recipients including Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Palestine gets فلسطين, Tunisia gets تونس and Jordan gets الاردن.

These apparently translate as “Falasteen”, “Tunis” and “al-Ordan”, respectively, and are presumably more useful to Arabic speakers than .ps, .tn and .jo.

Because they’re all Arabic, the dots appear to the right of the TLD, rather than the left.

The Occupied Palestinian Territory is, of course, a fringe case when it comes to ccTLDs.

But long ago, IANA made it a matter of policy that it would make no decision about which country or territory deserves its own ccTLD.

If it’s on the ISO 3166-1 list, which is overseen by the UN, it’s in. Palestine was added to that list in 1999, and was awarded .ps by ICANN/IANA in 2000.

The .ps registry is sponsored by the Palestinian National Authority’s telecoms ministry.

ICANN has also resolved to delegate Thailand the IDN ccTLD .ไทย and Sri Lanka both .ලංකා and .இலங்கை.

Interestingly, these two TLDs were approved as part of yesterday’s board meeting’s consent agenda.

The three Arabic names were approved separately, preceded by this:

RESOLVED (2010.08.05.13), the Board IANA Committee is directed, in coordination with ICANN’s CEO, to create improvements to the processes and new guidelines for implementation of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track process.