Donuts today kicks off the Sunrise periods for its first seven new gTLDs, the first English-language strings to start their priority registration periods for trademark owners.
The big question for mark holders today is whether to participate in Sunrise, or whether Donuts’ proprietary Domain Protected Marks List is the more cost-efficient way to go.
Sunrise starts today and runs until January 24 for .bike, .clothing, .guru, .holdings, .plumbing, .singles and .ventures. Donuts is planning seven more for December 3.
These are “end-date” Sunrises, meaning that no domains are awarded to participants until the full 60-day period is over. It’s not first-come, first-served, in other words.
Where more than one application for any given domain is received, Donuts will hold an auction after Sunrise closes to decide who gets to register the name.
The primary requirement for participating in Sunrise is, per ICANN’s base rules, that the trademark has been submitted to and validated by the Trademark Clearinghouse.
Donuts is not enforcing additional eligibility rules.
The company has not published its wholesale Sunrise application fee, but registrars have revealed some details.
Com Laude said that the Donuts “Sunrise Participation Fee” is $80, which will be the same across all of its gTLDs. Registrars seem to be marking this up by about 50%.
Tucows, for example, is asking its OpenSRS resellers for $120 per name, with an additional first-year reg fee ranging between $20 and $45 depending on gTLD.
Lexsynergy, which yesterday reported on Twitter a spike in TMCH submissions ahead of today’s launch, is charging between £91 ($147) and £99 ($160) for the application and first year combined.
The question for Trademark Owners is whether they should participate in the alternative Domain Protected Marks List or not.
The DPML is likely to be much cheaper for companies that want to protect a lot of marks across a lot of Donuts gTLDs.
A five-year DPML fee can be around $3,000, which works out to $3 per domain per year if Donuts winds up with 200 gTLDs in its portfolio.
Companies will not be able to actually use the domains blocked by the DPML, however, so it only makes sense for a wholly defensive blocking strategy.
In addition, DPML does not prevent a eligible mark owner from registering a DPML domain during Sunrise.
A policy Donuts calls “DPML Override” means that if somebody else owns a matching trademark, in any jurisdiction, they’ll be able to get “your” domain even if you’ve paid for a DPML entry.
I should point out that Donuts is simply following ICANN rules here. There are few ways for new gTLD registries to make names ineligible for Sunrise within their contracts.
Trademark owners are therefore going to have to decide whether it’s worth the risk of sticking to a strictly DPML strategy, or whether it might make more sense to do Sunrise on their most mission-critical marks.
DotShabaka Registry was the first new gTLD operator to go to Sunrise, with شبكة., though the lack of Arabic strings in the TMCH means it’s largely an exercise in contractual compliance.
Top Level Domain Holdings and a few other new gTLD registries signed their first Registry Agreements with ICANN this week.
Its six new RAs were among 15 registry contracts ICANN signed this week. TLDH and its subsidiaries signed for: .horse, .cooking, .nrw (as Minds + Machine GmbH), .casa, .fishing and .budapest.
I’d heard some concerns at ICANN 48 this week about TLDH’s lack of signed contracts to date, but the concerns seem to have been misplaced.
Monolith Registry, partly owned by Afilias, has also signed RAs for .voto and .vote, the latter of which was won at auction.
Small Chinese portfolio applicant Zodiac Holdings got its second and third gTLD contracts: .商城 (“.mall”) and .八卦 (“.gossip”).
German registry I-Registry got .rich and Russian registry The Foundation for Network Initiatives got .дети (“.kids/children”).
Previously contracted parties Donuts and Uniregistry added .tools and .expert (Donuts) and .christmas (Uniregistry) to their portfolios on Friday.
The total number of new gTLDs with RAs is now about 130.
The Belgian government has denied claims that the city of Spa tried to shake down new gTLD applicants for money in exchange for not objecting to their .spa applications.
The Belgian Governmental Advisory Committee representative said this afternoon that Belgium was “extremely unhappy” that the “disrespectful allusions” got an airing during a meeting with the ICANN board.
He was responding directly to a question asked during a Sunday session by ICANN director Chris Disspain, who, to be fair, didn’t name either the government or the gTLD. He had said:
I understand there is at least one application, possibly more, where a government or part a government is negotiating with the applicant in respect to receive a financial benefit from the applicant. I’m concerned about that and I wondered if the GAC had a view as to whether such matters were appropriate.
While nobody would talk on the record, asking around the ICANN 48 meeting here in Buenos Aires it became clear that Disspain was referring to Belgium and .spa.
It was not clear whether he was referring to Donuts or to Asia Spa and Wellness Promotion Council, which have both applied for the string.
The string “spa” was not protected by ICANN’s rules on geographic names, but the GAC in April advised ICANN not to approve the applications until governments had more time to reach a decision.
My inference from Disspain’s question was that Belgium was planning to press for a GAC objection to .spa unless its city got paid, which could be perceived as an abuse of power.
Nobody from the GAC answered the question on Sunday, but Belgium today denied that anything inappropriate was going on, saying Disspain’s assertion was “factually incorrect”.
There is a contract between Spa and an applicant, he confirmed, but he said that “no money will flow to the city of Spa”.
“A very small part of the profits of the registry will go to the community served by .spa,” he said.
This side-deal does not appear to be a public document, but the Belgian rep said that it has been circulated to GAC members for transparency purposes.
There are several applicants whose strings appeared on ICANN’s protected geo names list that have been required to get letters of non-objection from various countries.
Tata Group, for example, needed permission from Morocco for .tata, while TUI had to go to Burkina Faso for .tui. Both are the names of provinces in those countries.
It’s not publicly known how these letters of non-objection were obtained, and whether any financial benefit accrued to the government as a result.
Donuts had seven new gTLDs added to the DNS root zone today.
The strings are: .diamonds, .tips, .photography, .directory, .kitchen, .enterprises and .today.
The nic.tld domains in each are already resolving, redirecting users to Donuts’ official site at donuts.co.
There are now 31 live new gTLDs, 26 of which belong to Donuts subsidiaries.
The third batch of new gTLDs have gone live.
Uniregistry’s .sexy and .tattoo are currently in the DNS root zone, the first two of its portfolio to become active.
The TLDs .bike, .construction, .contractors, .estate, .gallery, .graphics, .land, .plumbing, and .technology from Donuts have also gone live today.
Donuts already had 10 new gTLDs in the root from the first two batches.
There are now 24 live new gTLDs.
The first second-level domains to become available will be nic.tld in each, per the ICANN contract they’ve all signed.
You’ll notice that they’re all ASCII strings, despite the fact that IDNs get priority treatment in the new gTLD program.