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Rightside new gTLD renewals can top 80%

Kevin Murphy, October 14, 2016, Domain Registries

Rightside says it is seeing encouraging renewal figures from its oldest batch of new gTLDs.

The company this week revealed that renewals after two years of ownership on average stand at 81%.

In a blog post, Rightside broke out some numbers for .dance, .democrat, .ninja, .immobilien, .social, .reviews and .futbol.

Those seven are the only ones in its portfolio to have gone through two full renewal cycles.

The renewal rate after year one was a modest 69% — in other words it lost almost a third of its installed base after 12 months — but this increased to 81% after the second year.

The actual number of domains involved in quite tiny — 81% equates to just 21,000 names across all seven TLDs.

Breaking out a couple of TLDs, Rightside wrote:

Our first gTLD to market, .DANCE, saw a 70% renewal rate in year one expand to 83% in year two for that same subset of domains. Our best performing gTLD of the seven is .IMMOBILIEN, which renewed at 83% in its first year, and grew to a stupendous 87% in its second—which certainly makes sense given the permanent nature of real estate.

But Rightside reckons the numbers reflect well on the new gTLD industry. It said:

domain investors with portfolios including new gTLDs recognize the long-term value of these domain names, and rather than let them drop after the first year, are holding onto them to find the right buyer continue to earn parking revenue. Second—and likely the more significant driver—is that end users are actually picking up these domain names and putting them to use.

Clinton.democrat sold to some guy in Kansas

Some guy in Kansas registered the domain name clinton.democrat before Rightside’s new gTLD went into general availability today.

It’s one of 38 .democrat domain names in today’s zone file — a mixture of trademark protections registered during the sunrise period and names sold during a three-week landrush.

Judging by the registration date, the name clinton.democrat appears to have been registered during landrush, one of only a small handful currently in the zone file.

The Whois record for the domain lists one Jared Mollenkamp of “Politically Correct Personal Computers” in Topeka, Kansas as the registrant.

While the email address appears to be protected by Whois privacy, a quick Google reveals that a genuine individual by that name lives in Topeka and is involved in PC enthusiast groups.

Quite why he wants clinton.democrat is not clear. There are many reasons the registration could be completely legit.

It seems to be the only personal name of a politician registered prior to .democrat going to general availability.

The Clintons — Bill and now Hillary, who is tipped for a 2016 run at the presidency — are of course one of the most famous Democratic dynasties, probably second only to the Kennedys.

The string “clinton” has been registered in 22 new gTLDs so far, including clinton.center, clinton.watch and clinton.sexy.

Rightside does not have any special mechanism in place to protect the names of politicians, though it has published a policy that prevents registrants using its gTLDs to mock its own employees.

Public figures generally do not have trademark protection for their personal names, and as such have been ripe for cybersquatting and other types of mischief over the years.

ICANN signs contracts for .wang and .democrat

Kevin Murphy, October 25, 2013, Domain Registries

The new gTLD applicants behind .wang and .democract are the latest to sign Registry Agreements with ICANN.

Demand Media’s United TLD is behind .democrat, while .wang was applied for by small Chinese portfolio applicant Zodiac Holdings. Both were uncontested applications.

Both are to be open gTLDs.

For .democrat, Demand expects names to be registered by anyone who identifies themselves as a democrat. There were no objections, and to the best of my knowledge no explicit support, from “Democrat” parties

.wang is a weird one.

It’s the Latin-script transliteration of the Chinese character 网, which means “net”. Zodiac couldn’t apply for the Chinese because it’s a single character, which are not yet allowed under ICANN rules.

I understand that 网 is often used by Chinese speakers to mean “network” or “website”, but I don’t know how commonly the ASCII “wang” is used instead. Seems like a stretch.

It also of course is a common Chinese surname and a juvenile euphemism for “penis”.

Demand Media: ignore our Republican gTLD rivals

Kevin Murphy, October 31, 2012, Domain Registries

Demand Media has asked ICANN to “ignore” complaints from the US Republican party about its application for the .republican gTLD.

Last month, the Republican National Committee and the Republican State Leadership Committee submitted comments to ICANN arguing that Demand would be an unsuitable custodian for the gTLD.

Demand is best known for its “unofficial, mediocre and sometimes incorrect” content farms, such as eHow, the letter (pdf) said.

The company should not be allowed to run .republican because it implies endorsement by the Republican party, or some kind of community backing for a non-Community application, the letter said.

This week, Demand has responded, saying it’s nothing but competitive posturing, given that the RSLC has applied for .gop (for “Grand Old Party”, a nickname for the Republicans):

A letter to ICANN from Demand subsidiary and .republican applicant United TLD Holdco, says:

Because the RSLC and RNC have applied for .GOP, an arguably competing string, it is easy to see through these arguments and ignore them as nothing more than an attempt to undermine the credibility of United TLD in order to gain a competitive advantage.

By their own admission, RSCL and RNC agree that “.REPUBLICAN has the potential to be a very powerful gTLD.” It is natural then, that they would attempt to discredit United TLD in the hope of eliminating competition for their own string.

The thrust of Demand’s rebuttal is that Republicanism is not an exclusively American movement — other parties around the world use the name — and that it also has generic meaning.

It further argues that the quality of the content Demand provides elsewhere is irrelevant, because the company plans to sell .republican domain names, not produce content there.

Demand has also applied for .democrat, the other major US political party, but did not receive any complaints from the Democratic party during the designated ICANN comment period.