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Donuts wins .immo gTLD

Donuts has acquired the .immo new gTLD after its three rival bidders withdrew their applications.

Minds + Machines, dotimmobilie and Starting Dot have all withdrawn from the contest in the last few days, presumably due to an auction.

Starting Dot had applied for a Community Priority Evaluation, which would have allowed it to avoid an auction altogether, but it failed to score enough points to pass.

“Immo” is short for “immobilien”, which means “real estate” in German. The contraction is also widely used in other European countries, potentially making it more attractive a string.

The gTLD will compete with .immobilien, which is delegated to RightSide. That TLD has been in general availability since May 28 and has 5,136 domains under management as of today.

It would be fascinating to know whether .immobilien’s performance to date had any bearing on how much the applicants were prepared to bid at auction. But, as usual, I doubt we’ll ever know for sure.

Donuts spends $50 million on new gTLD auctions

Donuts has revealed that its bill for new gTLD auctions has so far come to $50 million.

That, coupled with some other data released in a blog post last week, suggests that it’s spent over $2 million, on average, per gTLD.

CEO Paul Stahura wrote that the company has participated in “roughly” 50 auctions and that it’s won more than 50% of those it’s participated in.

“We’ve spent $50M to win those auctions to secure the resulting TLDs,” Stahura wrote.

According to my numbers, Donuts has been in 45 auctions and won 23. I may be missing a couple, but the numbers fit with Stahura’s. That would make an average spend of $2.17 million per gTLD.

That doesn’t mean the company has burnt through $50 million of its funding, of course.

In private gTLD auctions, the winner pays the losers. By losing at least 22 auctions, Donuts could just as easily be breaking even.

Not all of Donuts’ auctions have been organized by Applicant Auction. A few were settled via other means. Applicant Auction takes a 4% cut, which means its take so far is approaching $2 million.

Donuts wins .gifts, .sarl and .restaurant

Donuts has won the contention sets for three new gTLDs, at least two of which seem to have come as the result of an Applicant Auction auction.

It beat mySARL to .sarl, Lucy Ventures to .gifts and Uniregistry, Minds + Machines and Famous Four to .restaurant. All of these rival bidders have withdrawn their applications now.

.sarl is a company designator in some French-speaking countries, including France.

.restaurant is interesting because it will be competing against .rest. While I prefer .restaurant, .rest’s backers believe it has broader appeal in non-English-speaking nations.

.gifts will be competing against Uniregistry’s .gift, which currently has 5,781 registrations.

Since I was told that Applicant Auction had settled 10 contested gTLDs almost two weeks ago, 11 contention sets have been resolved by withdrawals.

I’m guessing one of these fights was settled by other means. Donuts has been known to make private deals on occasion.

.club now biggest-selling new gTLD

.club has overtaken .guru to become the top-selling new gTLD on the market.

According to today’s zone file report, .club now has 59,120 domains, having grown by 2,504 yesterday. That’s compared to .guru, which grew by 181 names to 58,791.

It’s been 12 days since .CLUB Domains predicted it would be at the top of the league table “within days”.

It’s taken 20 days for the gTLD to beat .guru, something the registry at first reckoned would happen within its first week of full general availability.

I don’t think yesterday’s spike has anything to do with the 50 Cent endorsement deal.

As far as I can tell, Fiddy has only been linking to his .com shop on Twitter since his .club domain went live and the deal does not seem to have generated any media coverage outside of domain blogs.

Taking the number one spot is only a relative success, of course. What’s important is that .club is still managing to move 2,500 names in a day three weeks after launch, something no other new gTLD has managed to date.

ICANN snubs Belgium, gives Donuts the all-clear for .spa

ICANN has rejected demands by the Belgian government by giving Donuts the go-ahead to proceed with its application for .spa, which Belgium says infringes on a geographic name.

Noting that the Governmental Advisory Committee had submitted no consensus advice that Donuts .spa bid should be rejected, the ICANN board’s New gTLD Program Committee said last week “the applications will proceed through the normal process.”

That means the two-way contention set is presumably going to auction.

The English dictionary word “spa” derives from Spa, a small Belgian town with some springs.

The other applicant is Asia Spa and Wellness Promotion Council, which has made a deal with Spa to donate some of its profits to local projects and give the city some control over the registry.

Donuts refused to sign a similar deal, leading to Belgium last month asking ICANN to delegate the gTLD to ASWPC and not Donuts.

The GAC’s last word on .spa was this, from the recent Singapore meeting:

Regarding the applications for .spa, the GAC understands that the relevant parties in these discussions are the city of Spa and the applicants. The GAC has finalised its consideration of the .spa string and welcomes the report that an agreement has been reached between the city of Spa and one of the applicants.

There’s no ICANN fudging here; if the GAC wanted to issue a consensus objection it could have.

The question is: why didn’t it?

Why does the string “amazon”, which does not exactly match the name of a place in its local languages, qualify for a GAC objection, while “spa”, which exactly matches the name of a city, does not?