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Accent wins .tickets auction after $1.6m CentralNic investment

Kevin Murphy, September 22, 2014, Domain Registries

Accent Media, one of four applicants for .tickets, has won the new gTLD at auction after receiving a $1.62 million investment from CentralNic.

As part of the deal, Accent has dumped Afilias as its back-end provider and will switch to CentralNic instead.

Competing applicants Donuts, Famous Four Media, Shubert Internet and Tickets TLD are now expected to pull their applications, though none appear to have had their withdrawals accepted by ICANN yet.

It’s not clear how much .tickets sold for.

CentralNic acquired a 12% stake in Accent in exchange for its investment. Both companies are based in the UK.

The deal is believed to be unrelated to the $1.5 million investment in a gTLD applicant that CentralNic announced — with the proceeds earmarked for auction — last week.

Accent has applied for a quite restricted TLD, with anti-fraud measures at its heart. Its authenticated registration process is described as being a bit like the process of buying an SSL certificate.

CentralNic CEO Ben Crawford said in a statement:

The “.tickets” Top-Level Domain will be a compelling new tool to assist consumers to easily identify legitimate and trusted ticket sales sites, as well as empowering venues, entertainers and sports organizations to improve their use of the internet for enabling fans to purchase tickets. This investment realizes our strategy of investing in Top-Level Domain applicants as well as operating as a business partner to their operators.

CentralNic invests $1.5m in mystery gTLD applicant

Kevin Murphy, September 18, 2014, Domain Registries

Registry back-end provider CentralNic has stumped up $1.5 million to back a new gTLD applicant in a forthcoming private auction.

CentralNic CEO Ben Crawford declined to identify the beneficiary.

The company has also not disclosed what stake in the target company it will obtain if it wins the auction.

Here’s the entirety of the statement the company released to the market this afternoon:

CentralNic plc (AIM:CNIC), the internet platform business which derives revenues from the global sale of domain names, today announces that the Group intends to invest US$1.5 million in a Company which is in a contention set to acquire a new generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”). The funds will be placed into an escrow account, pending the resolution of the contention set, with the winning applicant expected to be resolved by a private auction within the next two weeks. The investment is contingent upon the Applicant Company successfully obtaining the rights to the gTLD by winning the auction. If the company is unsuccessful, the funds will be returned in full to CentralNic by the escrow agent.

Assuming CentralNic is investing in an existing registry services client, possible beneficiaries include Top Level Design, Fegistry, Merchant Law Group and XYZ.com.

These clients have more than 20 applications in contention right now, but not all of them could plausibly head to private auction soon.

Some have been blocked, some are in contention sets with applicants that do not participate in private auctions, and some strings have been applied for by more than one CentralNic client.

With those criteria in mind, one could possibly narrow down the target string to: .auto, .cafe, .chat, .design, .forum, .gay, .golf, .law, .news, .now, .realty, .school, .style or .sucks.

CentralNic pays up to $7.5m for Internet.bs

CentralNic has acquired the unfortunately named Bahamas-based registrar Internet.bs for up to $7.5 million, in an effort to bolster its registrar business.

The deal is for a mixture of cash ($2.7 million), newly issued shares ($2.5 million) and a delayed performance-related payout of up to $2.3 million.

CentralNic is best known as a registry and back-end provider, but it also has a registrar, TLD Registrar Solutions, which is aimed primarily at registries that want to vertically integrate.

The acquisition means the company now has a medium sized ICANN-accredited retail registrar arm too.

Internet.bs has well over half a million gTLD names under management, according to registry reports. According to CentralNic, it has 28,000 customers in 199 countries.

The company made a profit of $730,000 last year, CentralNic said.

.xyz launch crashed CentralNic

The launch of .xyz took back-end provider CentralNic’s registry down for 15 minutes on Monday.

That’s according to an email sent by the company to registrars, copies of which were forwarded to DI today.

The email says that CentralNic’s EPP systems were down between 1603 and 1618 UTC on Monday, just a few minutes after .xyz went into general availability. It goes on to say:

The large volume of EPP commands exceeded our database system’s capacity to handle them, causing a bottleneck which then propagated back to the EPP application servers.

As you know, we have launched a number of SLDs and TLDs in the past; this is the first launch that we have experienced any issue with, despite some of our previous launches being of comparable size.

.xyz took almost 15,000 registrations in its first 10 hours, many of which will have been concentrated in those first few minutes.

CentralNic said it intends to put in place some measures to prevent a similar crash when it handles .ink’s launch day for Top Level Design on June 23.

Registrars will have their number of simultaneous connections to the registry limited, the email says. CentralNic will also turn off some functions of the database for the short duration of the initial surge.

The company added that the time of registration recorded by registrars may be out of whack with the time recorded by the registry as a result of the outage.

ARI and Radix split on all new gTLD bids

Kevin Murphy, March 31, 2014, Domain Registries

Radix no longer plans to use ARI Registry Services for any of its new gTLDs, I’ve learned.

The company has already publicly revealed that CentralNic is to be its back-end registry services provider for .space, .host, .website and .press, but multiple reliable sources say the deal extends to its other 23 applications too.

I gather that the split with ARI wasn’t entirely amicable and had money at its root, but I’m a bit fuzzy on the specifics.

The four announced switches are the only four currently uncontested strings Radix has applied for.

Of Radix’s remaining active applications, the company has only so far submitted a change request to ICANN — which I gather is a very expensive process — on one, .online.

For the other 22, ARI is still listed as the back-end provider in the applications, which have all passed evaluation.

Radix is presumably waiting until after its contention sets get settled before it goes to the expense of submitting change requests.