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Free .shop domains until Christmas

Kevin Murphy, December 13, 2016, Domain Registrars

The new .shop gTLD is likely to see growth over the coming week or so, as registrars begin to offer them for free.

Two retail registrars in the Key-Systems stable — Moniker and domaindiscount24 — said today they will offer a free .shop to each of their customers until December 23.

The offer is limited to one domain per account, so we’re unlikely to see the same level of growth, speculation and abuse we’ve seen in other TLDs that have offered free registrations.

Other popular registrars are currently selling first-year .shop names for $8 to $10, a discount on the usual retail price of between $25 and $30.

Interestingly and perhaps surprisingly, Key-Systems’ native Germany already has the most .shop registrations to date, with over a quarter of the 100,000 or so names registered so far to registrants in that country.

You have to go to number four in its geographic breakdown league to even get to the first Anglophone nation (the US).

Key-Systems to take a loss on .hiv domains

Key-Systems said yesterday that it plans to make .hiv domain names available at “below net cost price”, in solidarity with would-be new gTLD registry dotHIV.

The registrar said it will also offer free .hiv names at launch to organizations involving in fighting the virus via its Moniker and domaindiscount24.com retail registrars.

dotHIV, also a German company, plans to donate all of its profits to HIV/AIDs charities.

Its application is uncontested and has already passed Initial Evaluation, but is the target of Governmental Advisory Committee advice, which has put its bid on hold.

Despite this uncertainty, Key-Systems said it expects the Sunrise phase for .hiv to start in December.

First .xxx domain name prices revealed

New .xxx domain name registrations could retail for as much as $158 a year, a markup of almost $100 over the wholesale registry fee, it has emerged.

Key-Systems, one of the first registrars approved to sell .xxx names, plans to charge €92.44 ($133), or €110.00 ($158) including VAT, per name per year during general availability.

The prices were revealed on the German company’s consumer-facing web site, DomainDiscount24.com.

ICM Registry’s wholesale fee is $60 per year. Excluding VAT, Key-Systems stands to make a whopping $73 margin on .xxx domains.

For comparison, the registrar’s margin on .com domains is less than $10.

Prices for trademark holders that wish to register .xxx names defensively will be even higher.

In the first sunrise period, reserved for porn companies with trademarks, the company will charge a non-refundable application fee of €134.95 ($194), plus €130.90 ($188) per name per year.

In a second sunrise, which “grandfathers” registrants of porn domains in other TLDs, domains will cost €95.20 ($137) in non-refundable application fees, with the same again for the first year’s registration.

If you’re a non-porn trademark holder, and you want to block your brand from the .xxx namespace – say you’re Disney and you want disney.xxx permanently reserved – it will cost €450 ($648).

That’s a “one-time fee”, but it’s not yet clear how many years it covers for 10 years, which works out to €45 per year.

Landrush fees, for non-trademark holders, will be €80 ($115) per application, non-refundable, plus €95 ($137) per domain per year.

Key-Systems is the first registrar to disclose its pricing plans. It’s possible other registrars will offer lower (or, I suppose, higher) prices.