Planet Dot Eco has finally passed its ICANN evaluation, meaning the four-way contention set for one of the oldest public new gTLD ideas, .eco, can move forward a little.
In its Initial Evaluation last August, the company scored a miserable 1 point on its financial evaluation, failing to hit the target of 8 points, and scored a 0 on one of its technical criteria.
But with the Extended Evaluation results published today (pdf), Planet Dot Eco managed to scrape passing scores on both parts of the evaluation.
This means that the .eco contention set, which also includes Donuts, Minds + Machines and Big Room, is no longer being held up by evaluations.
However, Big Room’s is a Community application and the company has indicated that it will go for a Community Priority Evaluation.
Unless Big Room wins the CPE (which strikes me as unlikely), that will also delay any possibility of contention resolution.
Uniregistry and Donuts have settled at least five new gTLD contention sets this week, raising the question of whether Uniregistry has reversed its objection to private auctions.
I think it has.
In five of the six head-to-head contention sets between the two companies, Donuts has won the rights to .furniture, .auction and .gratis, and Uniregistry has won .audio and .juegos.
The losing company has already withdrawn their applications in all five cases.
I gather that a deal was made, but Uniregistry won’t say whether it was via a private auction or not and I’ve not yet had a reply to a request for comment from Donuts.
But Uniregistry, which has previously spoken out against the private auction concept — saying it raises antitrust concerns — declined to confirm or deny whether these five contests were resolved by auction.
“We’re grateful to have found a way through the impasse and resolved the contention,” was all Uniregistry CEO Frank Schilling would say.
Applicant Auction’s project director Sheel Mohnot confirmed that a new gTLD auction took place this week but said he could not disclose the participants or the strings.
To the best of my knowledge, that’s a new line — the auctioneer has always kept quiet about sales prices in the past, but has always revealed which companies were involved.
So has Uniregistry changed its mind about the legality of private new gTLD auctions? My guess is: “Yes.”
The only remaining string where the two companies are competing in a two-horse race is .shopping, according to the DI PRO database, but that’s subject to some weird string similarity nonsense and probably not suitable for a private auction yet.
Anyone want to take bets on Donuts’ exit strategy?
The largest new gTLD portfolio applicant has placed a job ad on its web site for an accountant with “Understanding of SEC and/or IPO related accounting”.
That’s SEC for Securities and Exchange Commission and IPO for Initial Public Offering, of course.
It appears IPO experience is a desired quality of the sought-after individual, rather than a must-have, but it seems to point to where Donuts plans to take the company in future.
Donuts of course now has revenue, and it’s been almost two years since it raised its first $100 million venture capital investment in a funding round led by Austin Ventures.
That a VC-backed tech company should be eyeing an eventual IPO should not come as a surprise to anyone — and I wouldn’t expect to see an S-1 any time soon — but it does look like Donuts is already planning for its exit when it comes to its staffing arrangements.
(Thanks to Silver Siwei Wang for the tip).
Donuts’ new gTLD .photography has become the second-largest new gTLD after .guru, just a few hours after it hit its regular general availability pricing.
Zone files dated 1840 UTC today show that .photography had 8,878 domains, compared to .guru’s 27,698 and .bike’s 6,524.
That’s just a few hours after .photography finished with its week-long premium-pricing Early Access Program period. By contrast, .bike and .guru finished their EAPs exactly a week ago.
The other six Donuts gTLDs going to regular pricing this afternoon fared less well, with .gallery at 2,869, .estate at 2,465, .equipment at 1,900, .graphics at 1,368, .lighting at 1,338 and .camera at 1,227.
Those are the numbers for about two and a half hours of proper general availability, which will reflect hand-registrations and any pre-registrations that were made over the last few months.
DI PRO subscribers can see the full list of new gTLD zone file counts here.
Who said shorter domains are more popular?
Donuts’ new .photography and .camera gTLDs, which both come out of their Early Access Period premium pricing phases this week, have seen .photography get more than twice as many registrations so far.
During their EAP and sunrise periods, where retail prices can range from $150 to $13,000, .camera has racked up 146 names to .photography’s 383.
There’s a difference of meaning here of course, which is reflected in the types of domains being registered; .camera names tend to be hardware-related, while .photography is heavy with personal names.
Donuts’ strategy of picking strings that already feature heavily at the end of the second level of .com seems to be reflecting the reality of registration patterns in new gTLDs too.
The photography-related gTLD space is going to an interesting one to watch.
We’re also waiting for the launch of .photo and .photos (.photos in two weeks, .photo in April), which will crowd the space further. These two are also likely to be the first plural/singular competitors.