Donuts’ new gTLD .exposed goes into sunrise today, but will it put the fear into trademark owners?
It’s arguably the first “ransom” TLD to go live in the current round and the first since .xxx, which scared mark holders into blocking over 80,000 domains back in late 2011.
Most new gTLD sunrise periods to date — most of which have been focused on vertical niches — have had sunrise registrations measured in tens or hundreds rather than thousands.
But .exposed, I would say, is in the same free speech zone as yet-to-launch .sucks and .gripe, which lend themselves well to having a company, product or personal name at the second level.
Brand protection registrars are encouraging their clients to pay special attention to this type of gTLD.
Will this cause a spike in sunrise sales for Donuts over the next 60 days?
It might be difficult to tell, given that Donuts also offers brand owners a blocking mechanism via the Domain Protected Marks List service, so the domains don’t show up in the zone files.
But DPML blocks can be overturned by others with matching trademarks, so some trademark owners may decide to register the name instead for an overabundance of caution.
The new gTLD registry Dot Strategy included many famous brands on its list of premium .buzz names, including two that could get its partner, Go Daddy-owned Afternic, in hot water.
Until a couple of hours ago, nic.buzz carried what appeared to be thousands of premium listings, organized by category and carrying prices of $1,000 and up, some of which seemed to target brands.
The names of several sports teams, such as 49ers.buzz and blackhawks.buzz, were listed for sale in the sports category (hat tip: Valideus‘ Brian Beckham).
I also spotted listings for domains such as photoshop.buzz (an Adobe software brand) in the technology category and hobbit.buzz (believe it or not, “Hobbit” is a trademark) in an entertainment category.
But the ones that really caught my attention were academyaward.buzz and academyawards.buzz, which carried prices of $1,900 each.
That’s surprising because if you try to buy these domains you’ll be instructed to contact Afternic, which is handling the premium process. And as of September, Go Daddy owns Afternic.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the Oscars and owns “Academy Award” and “Academy Awards” trademarks, has been locked in litigation with Go Daddy for the last four years.
The Academy claims that Go Daddy is cybersquatting due to its practice of making money parking its customers’ domains, including domains containing Academy trademarks such as academyawardz.com.
Most recently, Go Daddy tried to get the appointed judge in the case kicked out, alleging that she’s in the Academy’s pocket.
While the lawsuit is certainly controversial, attempting to sell $3,800 worth of domain names matching the Academy’s marks probably wouldn’t help Go Daddy look less cybersquatty to its opponent.
It could be argued that many of the premium names that match brands are also generic — Black Hawks could be helicopters and I’m sure there are plenty of academies in the world that hand out awards.
A legitimate registrant could buy many of these trademark-matching listed names and fight off a UDRP, I reckon.
But when somebody lists the name for sale in a category appropriate to the class of trademark, I’d say that makes the name look a lot less generic.
Bieber is a surname presumably shared by many people, but when you list bieber.buzz for sale in a category related to entertainment it can only really refer to one person.
Somebody yanked the premium listings section from the nic.buzz web site after I requested comments from Dot Strategy and Go Daddy a few hours ago. This post will be updated should I receive said comments.
.buzz is currently in its sunrise period and is due to go to general availability in mid-April. As I’ve said before, it’s one of my favorite new gTLD strings and I wouldn’t be surprised if sells quite well.
UPDATE: Go Daddy said: “Afternic is working with dotStrategy, Co. (the .BUZZ registry) to review the list and revise as appropriate.”
Just four weeks after the first new gTLDs went into general availability, the Trademark Clearinghouse has already sent out over 17,500 Trademark Claims notices to trademark owners.
A Claims notice is a warning that is generated whenever somebody registers a domain name that exactly matches a trademark listed in the TMCH’s database.
The 17,500 number refers to post-registration notices sent to trademark owners, not pre-registration warnings delivered to would-be registrants.
Considering that there are somewhere in the region of 180,000 domain names in new gTLDs today, 17,500 represents a surprisingly high percentage of the market (high single figures).
Of course, not all of these will be due to cybersquatting attempts.
There are plenty of marks in the TMCH that are acronyms or dictionary words, either because they match a genuine brand or because somebody obtained trademarks on generic terms in order to game sunrise periods.
I’d count those as false positives, personally, but it’s impossible to know without access to TMCH data how many of the 17,500 alerts delivered to date can be accounted for in that way.
There are 26,802 marks in the TMCH, according to the company.
The Arab Center for Dispute Resolution has gone live as the fifth approved provider of UDRP dispute resolution services.
The Jordan-based outfit, which says it has offices in “all Arab countries”, says it “is uniquely positioned to address domain name issues pertinent to the region, while maintaining an international, multicultural disposition to case settlement.”
The organization does not appear to be competing hard on price. A single-domain case will set trademark owners back a minimum of $1,500 ($1,000 to the panel, $500 to ACDR), which is the same as market leader WIPO.
It’s actually a little more expensive than WIPO — a five-domain case will cost $1,700 compared to WIPO’s $1,500.
I’m a firm believer that the success of new gTLDs will be measured not just in registration volumes but also in usage, and usage is a lot trickier to measure than domains under management.
One way of measuring usage that’s very familiar to many domainers is Alexa, the Amazon-owned web metrics service that uses toolbars and other data sources to rank web sites by popularity.
This kind of popularity data has been incorporated into TLD Health Check for some time, as one of many means to compare TLDs.
Alexa data isn’t perfect, but it is data, so I thought it might be interesting to see which of the 147 new gTLDs currently in the root are showing up in its daily list of the top one million domains.
There are 10 names, half of which are .guru domains, on yesterday’s list. There are not many functioning web sites yet, but for whatever reason these domains all, according to Alexa, have traffic.
These are the domains, with their popularity rank in parentheses:
The highest-ranking new gTLD domain on our list is actually banned by ICANN due to the purported risk of name collisions.
It’s reserved by Uniregistry and will not resolve or be made available for registration for the foreseeable future.
I think what we’re looking at here is a case of somebody (or more likely lots of people) using www.link in web pages when they really should be using example.com.
Possible cybersquatting? Beatport (I’m old and unhip enough that I had to Google it) is an online electronic music store and the domain is registered via Go Daddy’s Domains By Proxy service.
The domain presumably refers to music “singles” rather than marital status, but it doesn’t seem to resolve from where I’m sitting. Quite why it’s getting traffic is beyond me. A typo in a URL somewhere? IP lawyers?
The first resolving name on our list leads to a work-in-progress Blogger blog. It’s registered to a chap in Gujarat, India, leading me to infer that GTU is Gujarat Technological University. Another squat?
The first domainer on the list, I believe. The guy who registered seo.guru paid roughly $2,500 for it during Donuts’ first Early Access Program. It’s currently parked at Go Daddy.
I’d hazard a guess that it’s on the list because it’s a dream URL for an SEO professional (or charlatan, take your pick) and SEOs checking its availability are much more likely to have the Alexa toolbar installed.
This one resolves to an under construction page.
I’d speculate that the pre-release $8,100 sale of deals.xyz caused a lot of domainers to check out whether the same second-level was available in other new gTLDs, spiking its traffic and causing an Alexa appearance.
The only registry-owned domain on our list — nic.club is the official registry web site of .CLUB Domains, which has its .club gTLD in sunrise until the end of March.
Is its appearance on the list indicative of strong pre-launch marketing or something else?
I’m not making this stuff up. This domain belongs to a British pest control company but resolves to a default Apache page. I can’t begin to guess why it’s getting traffic.
An unregistered name in a sunrise gTLD. Possible name collision?
Hot dang, we have a web site!
The domain shop.camera was only registered 10 days ago, but it already leads to what appears to be a fully-functioning Amazon affiliate site, complete with “Shop.Camera” branding.
An email-gathering affiliate marketing site that I personally wouldn’t touch with yours. Still, it looks quite slick compared to the others on the list and it appears that the owner has made some effort to promote it.