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Fox promises dot-brand will be “the next big thing”

Kevin Murphy, January 26, 2016, Domain Registries

Fox seems set to become an unexpectedly early adopter of its dot-brand gTLD, .fox.

The only live .fox web site, nic.fox, is currently promising that the gTLD will become “the next big thing” in “Spring 2016”.

On the site, a glossy, quick-cut show-reel of Fox media carries the text:

Cue the lights. Roll the cameras. The next big thing is coming. And you’re invited. Welcome to .FOX. Spring 2016.

.fox will be a “a trusted digital space for everything you love about Fox” the site promises.

It suggests that Fox content in DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD formats will be available via .fox web sites.

.fox has only been in the root since late November; its owners have not so far appeared to be champing at the bit to get their dot-brand online, and Fox has not exactly been enthusiastic about new gTLDs.

Its IP lawyers were some of the most outspoken critics of the program in its early days, estimating they would have to spend millions of dollars on defensive registrations.

Not only has that not happened, but Fox now seems to be grasping the “trusted source” dot-brand sales pitch with both hands.

It’s going to be interesting to see not only what the company has up its sleeve, but also how extensively it is promoted.

Aussie government slams .food closed generic bid

Kevin Murphy, October 30, 2015, Domain Policy

The Australian government is among those asking ICANN deny a request to make .food a “closed generic” gTLD.

Eight people have filed comments opposing Lifestyle Domain’s application for Specification 13 status for its .food registry contract, which would allow the company to keep all .food domains for itself, since we reported the news earlier this month.

The Aussies are arguably the highest-profile opponent, and the one most likely to be taken seriously by ICANN.

Governmental Advisory Committee rep Annaliese Williams wrote:

The Australian Government issued an Early Warning to Lifestyle Domain Holdings, Inc on the grounds that ‘food’ is a common generic term, and that restricting common generic strings, such as .food, for the exclusive use of a single entity could have a negative impact on competition…

The Australian Government does not consider that Lifestyle Domain Holdings’ application to operate .food for its exclusive use serves a public interest goal.

Lifestyle Domain is a subsidiary of Scripps Networks, the company that runs the Food Network TV stations and Food.com web site.

The company claims that it has trademark rights to the word “food” that should allow it to run .food as a dot-brand gTLD.

That would mean nobody but Scripps, which won the right to .food at auction, would be able to register .food domains.

ICANN has also received negative comments from employees of registrars (both retail and corporate) and registries.

One comment, taken at face value, appears to be pro-Scripps, but I’m fairly confident it’s actually just extreme sarcasm.

The decision about whether to allow Scripps to add Spec 13 to its contract will be made by ICANN legal staff.

ICANN told me this week that there’s no ETA on a decision yet.

World’s fourth-largest bank dumping old domains in switch to dot-brand gTLD

A French bank appears to be the first major company to commence a permanent switch from a legacy TLD to a new dot-brand.

BNP Paribas, the fourth-largest bank in the world, is dumping its .fr and .net domains in favor of .bnpparibas for customers in its domestic market, where it serves close to eight million retail banking customers.

Visitors to the .fr and .net domains are directed to a landing page that informs them that mabanque.bnpparibas (“mybank.bnpparibas”) is the company’s new domain.

BNP Paribas

The new dot-brand site appears to be a fully functional online banking service, not just brochureware.

It’s the ninth most-visited new gTLD domain name, with an Alexa rank today of 6,005, climbing the ranks every day.

As it’s a redesigned web site, customers are able to switch back to the familiar .net site (Alexa rank: 2,543) if they wish.

The domain was registered in January and BNP Paribas began a transition campaign in April. The transition away from the .net and .fr domains appears to have started at some point over the last month, but there hasn’t been a great deal of media coverage.

The .com domain is still live, serving Anglophone customers.

The mabanque.bnpparibas site leaves little doubt about the reason for the transition (translated with Google’s assistance):

BIZARRE, THIS ADDRESS WITHOUT .FR OR .NET? IS IT SECURE?

YES, A 100% SECURE SITE!

Any address ending with .bnpparibas is managed by BNP Paribas and has an advanced security certificate. Even more reliable, this new extension now acts as a signature.

Of course the architecture https and the padlock are still on your URL bar, confirming that the connection is secure.

So you can browse and view your accounts in all serenity!

BNP Paribas is a bit of a big deal, the fourth-largest bank in the world, managing assets of $2.5 trillion.

It’s bigger than Barclays, which earlier this year said it intends to transition away from .com and .co.uk to .barclays. The .barclays and .barclaycard sites are still just brochureware, however, with no transactional features.

Other dot-brands have launched sites at their new gTLDs, but .bnpparibas is the first transfer of a fully transactional web site from a legacy TLD to a dot-brand I’ve seen.

The Chinese conglomerate CITIC dumped its .com for .citic last September, but soon switched back.

Two more dot-brand gTLD bids withdrawn

Kevin Murphy, February 18, 2013, Domain Registries

Two applications for “dot-brand” new gTLDs were pulled last week.

General Motors has withdrawn its bid for .gmc and Hartford Fire Insurance Company dropped .thehartford.

Both bids had been assigned priority numbers in ICANN’s prioritization draw last December, but neither applicant had purchased tickets, suggesting a lack of interest in operating the TLDs.

The withdrawal of .gmc at this time, less than two weeks before the publication by ICANN of string similarity evaluation results, is particularly interesting, and a little strategically puzzling.

There’s an active application by GMO Internet for .gmo, which could conceivably be ruled confusingly visually similar to .gmc.

By pulling out now, GM has lost its right to file a string similar challenge at a later date, and may have lost its ability to win .gmc in all future application rounds too (if .gmo is approved this time around, GMO could claim confusing similarity against future .gmc bids).

But GM still has active bids for the much more meaningful .chevrolet, .buick, .chevy and .cadillac, all of which also have prioritization numbers suggesting GM mainly applied defensively.

Hartford’s .thehartford was its only application.

The two withdrawals bring the total to date to 15, at least 10 of which were dot-brands. There are now 1,915 applications still in play.

The new gTLD consultants involved in the withdrawn bids — which one assumes were mostly filed defensively based on advice received — are a fairly mixed bunch so far.

Google, L’Oreal execs tapped for new gTLD summit

Kevin Murphy, February 11, 2013, Domain Services

Executives from Google, L’Oreal and The Boston Globe have been lined up to speak at the new gTLD marketing conference taking placing New York next month.

Hal Bailey, director of Google’s domains business, will speak on the panel “Domains in 2015, 2020, 2025: A View of the dot Future” at the Digital Marketing & gTLD Strategy Congress, according to organizers.

L’Oreal’s chief digital officer has dropped out of the conference, but he has been replaced by Brigitte King, senior vice president of the company’s digital business.

L’Oreal and Google are two of the new gTLD applicants currently under fire for applying for so-called “closed generic” gTLDs, which could make for some interesting discussions.

King will chair the conference and deliver a keynote entitled “The L’Oreal Story: Building Beauty Brands with Digital, Data and Direct Relationships”. L’Oreal has applied for 13 new gTLDs.

The Boston Globe, which has applied for .boston, is sending Jeff Moriarty, it vice president for digital products, and industry IP lawyer Bart Lieben to talk about the newspaper’s plans for the gTLD.

Momentum Consulting, which is organization the dot-brand focused event, says it has 80 confirmed attendees and is on target to have more than its expected 120 by the time ticket sales close.

DI will also be in attendance. I’m hosting a fireside chat with ICANN’s Sally Costerton, head of stakeholder relations.

The conference runs March 11-12 in New York City.