.CLUB Domains sold half a million dollars worth of reserved premium names in the first quarter, bringing its cumulative to-date total to almost $5 million, the registry reported at the weekend.
Q1 sales were $505,139, the company said, bringing its total since launch to $4,844,428.
There were 475 premium sales in total, sold via auctions, registrars and aftermarket platforms, it said.
Headline sales in the period included seniors.club and pet.club for $18,000 apiece, and photo.club for $10,000.
The numbers may indicate that its broker program and financing options, introduced in January, may be taking off.
The registry’s Q1 sales amount to more than half of what it sold in the whole of 2016.
More sales figures are available in the .CLUB Domains blog post.
.CLUB Domains said it has seen some early successes with its new 0% financing option, selling $150,000 worth of premium .club domains in its first week.
The registry announced that it sold 39 premiums for a total of $149,480, and that 37 of those names were sold using the financing option.
This option allows registrants to spread the cost of their domains over five years — 60 monthly payments — for names priced over $1,000.
The scheme was announced at the NamesCon conference in conjunction with a new brokers program, which gives brokers the ability to pass on 10% discounts to their clients and earn 15% commissions.
Seventeen of the 39 names were sold via brokers.
The results of the the first seven days of these programs compare favorably to other periods. In the fourth quarter of 2016, .CLUB said premium sales were $112,000.
For the whole of 2016, the registry sold $941,000 of reserved premium names, making a total of $4.3 million since .club launched May 2014.
.CLUB Domains will today release 9,200 previously reserved .club names into the channel at premium prices.
The registry is also offering free T-shirts to the first 500 people to purchase a premium name for $59.99 and more, personalized with said name.
While the names will become available at 1500 UTC today, the full list is not expected to be published until midnight UTC at landrush.club
CMO Jeff Sass gave the following list of examples of names to be released: watches.club, vino.club, ocean.club, elite.club, driving.club, comicbook.club, Chinese.club and gambling.club.
A thousand of the names are three-character strings.
The first-year prices are suggest at between $100 and $10,000 at the retail level, Sass said.
All premium names renew at standard-name pricing, he said.
The T-shirt offer requires the user to tweet using promotional hashtags and expires December 31.
The Chinese government has granted licenses to operate in the country to its first tranche of new gTLDs — .vip, .club and .xyz.
The agreements mean that Chinese registrars will be able to give their Chinese customers the ability to actually use their domains for web sites.
It also means the companies will be obliged to censor domains the government does not like, but only those domains registered via Chinese registrars.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced the licenses, given to the Chinese subsidiaries of Minds + Machines, .CLUB Domains and XYZ.com respectively, today.
M+M CEO Toby Hall told DI that it’s “a great moment of support for Chinese registrars”, giving them a “very clear signal about which TLDs they can focus on”.
XYZ.com said in a blog post that some of its Chinese registrars (its biggest channel) are planning on offering discounts to celebrate the approval.
It’s always been possible for Chinese people to register new gTLD domains via Chinese registrars — it’s estimated that 42% of the 27 million new gTLD domains in existence today are Chinese-owned.
However, Chinese citizens need a government license if they want to launch a web site, and the government only issues licenses for domains in approved TLDs.
In addition to .cn and China-based gTLDs, which were the first to be given the nod, Verisign was approved earlier this year for .com.
Hall said that while .vip has been popular with Chinese domainers, the MIIT license means it can start to tap the small business market there too.
Obtaining the license means that the three registries, which are all based in the US or Europe, will have to comply with Chinese regulations when it comes to Chinese customers.
That basically means the Chinese government gets to censor pretty much anything it doesn’t like, up to and including sites that “spread rumors”.
Hall said that there’s no chance of this censorship bleeding out to affect non-Chinese customers.
M+M, along with XYZ and .CLUB, are using Chinese registry gateway ZDNS to act as a proxy between their own back-ends (Nominet for .vip, Neustar for .club and CentralNic for .xyz) and Chinese registrars.
“All of our Chinese web sites go through ZDNS, so only web sites going through ZDNS would be affected,” Hall said, referring to the censorship rules.
Hall added that he was “not aware” of there being a blocklist of politically sensitive strings that Chinese customers are not allowed to register.
The .xyz gTLD at the weekend became the first new gTLD to pass the two million domains mark, as it experiences ridiculously fast growth.
Its zone file has grown by 274,315 domains in the last seven days, hitting 2,092,346 yesterday.
It added 130,000 names on Saturday alone.
That’s the kind of growth more usually associated with .com, and pre-2012 new TLD launch periods.
It’s reasonable to assume that the majority of these names are being registered for investment purposes. It seems Chinese registrars processed much of the spike.
But XYZ.com isn’t the only registry that saw a big spike over the weekend.
.CLUB Domains’ .club added almost 44,000 names to its zone between Saturday and Monday. Its usual daily add rate is around the 1,000 mark.