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Amazingly, .blockbuster will soon be a gTLD

Video rental chain Blockbuster may have gone the way of the the 8-track, the VCR, and the Nokia cell phone, but it will soon have a gTLD of its own.

The .blockbuster gTLD application completed its pre-delegation testing with ICANN this week and is now with IANA/Verisign, ready to go live on the internet in the coming week or so.

It’s a fairly straightforward dot-brand application, even though the brand itself is pretty much dead.

Blockbuster, which at its peak in 2004 had 9,000 rental stores in its chain, was rescued from its Netflix-induced bankruptcy by TV company Dish Network back in 2011.

Dish applied for .blockbuster in 2012 when the brand was still, if only barely, a going concern.

However, since that time all of its remaining Blockbuster stores have been closed down and the Blockbuster-branded streaming service has been renamed Sling.

The web site at blockbuster.com is a husk that hasn’t been updated since 2014.

And yet the brand will shortly be at the cutting edge of online branding by having its own new gTLD.

A dot-brand without a brand? Surely this will be among the most useless new gTLDs to hit the ‘net.

.mobile will be restricted after Donuts loses auction to Dish DBS

Kevin Murphy, March 15, 2016, Domain Registries

The contention set for the new gTLD .mobile has been resolved, seemingly by private auction, with Dish DBS emerging victorious.

The portfolio registry withdrew its application at the weekend, leaving the satellite TV provider the only remaining applicant.

This means that .mobile will be a restricted gTLD, available only to vetted members of the mobile telephony industry.

Dish had originally proposed .mobile as a so-called “closed generic”, in which it would be the registry and only registrant, but changed its application last year.

It’s a similar story to .phone, which Dish also won.

Dish applied for 13 gTLDs. It withdrew two applications, and 10 others are either in pre-delegation testing or ICANN contracting.

.phone will be restricted after Dish gTLD auction win

Kevin Murphy, December 21, 2015, Domain Registries

The new gTLD .phone is going to be tightly restricted, after Dish DBS won the contested string at auction.

The American satellite communications firm beat Donuts to the gTLD, judging by Donuts’ withdrawal from the two-horse on Friday.

This means that if you’re not a licensed telecoms or voice-over-IP service provider, you won’t be able to register a .phone domain, at least at first.

Dish originally applied for .phone as what became known as a “closed generic” — a non-trademark, dictionary word that would nevertheless be operated as a dot-brand, with a single eligible registrant.

Due to Governmental Advisory Committee advice against such business models, Dish changed its application this September to describe .phone instead as a “controlled” gTLD.

Its application states that only Dish, its affiliates and “Qualified Applicants” will at first be able to register .phone domains.

“Qualified Applicants” basically means any company licensed to run a telecommunications service anywhere in the world. The eligibility gate appears to be the “license”.

The application says Dish will reserve the right to open up the gTLD to further classes of registrants at a later date.

While it also says that Dish will not give itself or friendly registrars any “undue preference”, the telecoms industry is suspicious.

USTelecom, the industry body representing large and small US-based telecoms companies, wrote to ICANN in November to say Dish’s volte face was “unconvincing” and its proposals “simply fail to satisfy” ICANN’s rules banning closed generics.

It said in its letter (pdf):

While Dish purports in its amended application that the .phone gTLD will be operated as a “controlled gTLD,” it is in reality an exclusive generic TLD, prone to discriminatory and subjective determinations on which entities are “Qualified Applicants,” and a discretionary reservation “to open this TLD to additional classes of registrants in the future,” who “will not be considered members.”

USTelecom says it negotiated with Dish, in an attempt to resolve its earlier formal objection against the bid, to have Dish include some reassuring Public Interest Commitments in its application, but Dish refused.

ICANN, responding to USTelecom, said that any Registry Agreement Dish signs for .phone will include the clauses that prevent it operating as a closed generic.

Now that the contention set has been settled, Dish’s next step is to proceed to contract negotiations with ICANN.

Another new gTLD goes to a closed generic applicant

Kevin Murphy, September 3, 2015, Domain Registries

Dish DBS has won the contention set for the .data gTLD, even though its proposed business model has been banned by ICANN.

Competing applicants Donuts and Minds + Machines have both withdrawn their competing applications.

It’s the second string this week to go to a “closed generic” applicant, that wants to keep all the domains in the TLD to itself even though it’s not a dot-brand.

Earlier this week, the company behind the Food Network TV show won .food.

Most companies that applied for closed generics changed their minds after the Governmental Advisory Committee issued advice against the model, but Dish was one of the ones that stuck to its original plans.

In June, ICANN ruled that .data, .food and a few others could either withdraw their bids, drop their exclusivity plans, or have their applications frozen until the next new gTLD round.

As withdrawal now seems to be off the cards, it seem that .data will not see the light of day for some time to come.

Google beaten to .dot for a paltry $700k

Kevin Murphy, November 20, 2014, Domain Registries

Dish DBS, a US satellite TV company, has beaten Google to the .dot new gTLD in an ICANN auction that fetched just $700,000.

It’s further proof, if any were needed, that you don’t need to have the big bucks to beat Google at auction.

Dish plans to use .dot as a single-registrant space, but unusually it’s not a dot-brand. According to its application, the company:

intends to utilize the .dot gTLD to create a restricted, exclusively-controlled online environment for customers and other business partners with the goal of further securing the collection and transmission of personal and other confidential data required for contracted services and other product-related activities.

Google had planned an open, anything-goes space.

.dot was the only new gTLD contention set to be resolved by ICANN last-resort auction this month. The other applicants scheduled for the November auctions all settled their contests privately.