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Directi to relaunch .pw as an open TLD

Kevin Murphy, October 8, 2012, Domain Registries

Directi will soon relaunch .pw, the ccTLD for the tiny Micronesian nation of Palau, as an open pseudo-gTLD.

The official launch of the registry will happen at the ICANN meeting in Toronto next week, according to Directi CEO Bhavin Turakhia, with a sunrise period kicking off in December.

It’s the first TLD for which Directi — an applicant for 30 new gTLDs as well as a top-ten registrar — will act as the registry.

.pwThe company will brand the offering around the retroactive acronym “Professional Web”.

Turakhia hopes success will come from a combination of low cost — registry fees are not yet finalized, but will be sub-.com, he said — and the fact that .pw is mostly virgin territory.

“It’s a pretty good pricing model,” he said. “We’re making sure that people have access to desirable names at an affordable cost.”

The company plans to run .pw “exactly like a gTLD”, with standard sunrise, landrush and registration lifecycle policies. It will even adopt the UDRP, Turakhia said.

CentralNic, which already runs subdomain services such as .gb.com and .us.com, has been hired to run the back-end, despite the fact that Directi is using ARI Registry Services for its gTLD bids.

Sunrise is expected to start in early December and run for about 70 days. Landrush will run for a month, starting in February 2013. Pricing has yet to be finalized.

Directi is currently looking for registrars to sell the domains, above and beyond its own network of registrars.

Directi obtained the exclusive license to .pw about four years ago via EnCirca, the registrar that attempted to relaunch .pw under the “Personal Web” slogan in 2004.

The company originally planned to use the second level as a bundled service to tie in with a social networking slash instant messaging product that it was working on, but those plans have changed.

As a result .pw hasn’t been accepting registrations for a while.

Palau is a Pacific island nation with only about 20,000 citizens. As such, .pw doesn’t have a great many legacy registrations.

One such registration is pay.pw, which Directi is using for a payment gateway service.

Turakhia said that six second-level domains have been reserved for Palau’s use: co.pw, ne.pw, or.pw, ed.pw, go.pw and belau.pw. No other two-letter domains will be available.

Whacky lawsuit targets ICANN, eNom, CentralNic, NetSol, Verisign

Kevin Murphy, September 18, 2012, Domain Registrars

ICANN and several domain name companies have been slapped with a bizarre, virtually incomprehensible anti-cybersquattng lawsuit in Virginia.

Canadian Graham Schreiber, registrant of landcruise.com, has beef primarily with CentralNic — the UK-based company that sells third-levels domains under us.com, uk.com and the like — and one of its customers.

As far as I can tell, the complainant, who’s representing himself pro se, has issues with CentralNic’s entire business model. Here’s his complaint (pdf).

He discovered that a British individual named Lorraine Dunabin — who has a UK trademark on the word Landcruise — had registered both landcruise.co.uk and landcruise.uk.com.

Having failed to take the .co.uk using Nominet’s Dispute Resolution Service (repeatedly referred to in the complaint as UDRP), Schreiber has instead filed this lawsuit to accuse Dunabin of “Dilution, Infringement [and] Passing off” by registering the .uk.com.

CentralNic is named because it owns .uk.com and various other geographic pseudo-gTLDs, which Schreiber says “dilute the integrity of .com” and amount to a “shakedown”.

Verisign is named as a contributory infringer because it runs .com. Network Solutions and eNom are named because they manage uk.com and landcruise.uk.com respectively as registrars.

ICANN is named because… I don’t know. I think it’s because all of the other companies are ICANN contractors.

ICANN, which has a web page for the litigation here, has already filed a motion to dismiss (pdf).

Schreiber is seeking monetary damages from all of the defendants, most of which he wants donated to the Rotary Club.

ICANNWiki boss applies for 10 gTLDs

A new company run by ICANNWiki founder Raymond King and business partner Peter Brual has applied to ICANN for 10 new generic top level domains.

Top Level Design has applied for: .blog, .llc, .group, .wiki, .gay, .art, .style, .design, .ink, and .photography.

The company is entering contention sets on most of those, but I believe it’s the first .wiki bid announced to date.

It’s also the only portfolio player so far to announce that it’s using CentralNIC, best known for pseudo-gTLDs such as uk.com, as its back-end registry provider.

The company said the venture “will not interfere with the presentation or neutrality of ICANNWiki.com”.

Paul Goldstone puts co.com up for sale

Kevin Murphy, March 8, 2012, Domain Sales

The domain name co.com has been put up for sale by domain investor Paul Goldstone.

The domain, which received 4.5 million unique visitors and 14 million page views in 2011, will be brokered jointly by DomainAdvisors and SellDomains.com, according to a press release.

I can immediately think of two companies that should be interested.

It might be a very smart move for .CO Internet, the .co registry, to buy the name and wildcard the third level in order to capture .co typo traffic.

It’s also exactly the kind of address CentralNic – which sells third-level names under domains such as us.org and uk.com – likes to use as a pseudo-gTLD.

If these two and others get into a bidding war, Goldstone could wind up making a packet.

DomainAdvisors CEO Tessa Holcomb said she expects the domain to fetch a “multi seven-figure” price.

CentralNic working with .mls new gTLD bidder

Kevin Murphy, February 20, 2012, Domain Registries

MLS Domains has contracted with CentralNic to provide the back-end registry for its .mls new top-level domain application, which it expects to be contested.

MLS in this context stands for Multiple Listing Service, a form of real estate listing aggregation service common in the US.

MLS Domains is already selling .mls preregistrations, at $800 a pop, to qualifying MLS companies, which will partially fund its application.

Company president Bob Bemis said in a press release that CentralNic was selected due to its experience with “novel TLDs”:

we expect no more than two or three thousand second-level domains ever to be registered on .MLS, so we need a registry partner who can provide a high level of service for a relatively small market of customers.

CentralNic sells sub-domains in alternative suffixes such as uk.com, gb.com and us.org. It manages these domains as if they were regular gTLDs, offering a Whois service, UDRP, etc.

The registry will also provide an integrated, affiliated registrar for the .mls project, MLS Domains said.

That’s if the company’s application is successful, of course.

.mls is expected to be contested by the Chinese owner of mls.com – Nanning Billin Network Ltd has applied for a US trademark on the gTLD.