The new gTLD .blog goes into general availability today, after some mild controversy about the way the registry allocated reserved domain names.
Knock Knock Whois There, the registry affiliated with WordPress maker Automattic, last week apologized to some would-be customers for declining to honor some landrush pre-registrations.
Some registrants had complained that domains that were accepted for pre-registration were subsequently added to KKWT’s list of registry-reserved names, making them unavailable for registration.
KKWT said in a blog post Thursday that the confusion was due to it not having finalized its reserved list until just before its landrush period kicked off, November 2.
Registrars, including those accepting pre-registrations, were not given the final lists until the last minute.
Landrush applications cost around $250 but were refundable.
KKWT also revealed the make-up of its founders program domains, the 100-strong list of names it was allowed to allocate pre-sunrise.
The founders program currently seems to be a bit of a friends-and-family affair.
Of the 25 live founder sites currently listed, about 20 appear to be owned by the registry, its employees and close affiliates.
The registry said in its blog post that 25 super-generic domains had been given to WordPress.com. It seems the blog host will offer third-level names in these domains for free to its customers.
.blog had 1,743 domains in its zone file yesterday.
General availability starts about 30 minutes from the time this post was posted, at 1500 UTC. Prices are around the $30 mark.
New gTLD applicants and ICANN seem to have failed to reach an agreement on how new registries can roll out founders programs when they launch.
A new draft of the Rights Protection Mechanism Requirements published last night, still appears to make it tricky for new gTLD registries to sell domain names to all-important anchor tenants.
Applicants want text adding to the Requirements document that would allow them to give or sell a small number of domains to third parties — namely: anchor tenants — before and during Sunrise periods.
Their suggested text reads:
As set forth in Specification 5 of the Agreement, Registry Operator MAY activate in the DNS up to one hundred (100) names necessary for the operation and promotion of the TLD. Pursuant to these Requirements, Registry Operator MAY register any or all of such domain names in the TLD prior to or during the Sunrise Period to third parties in connection with a registry launch and promotion program for the TLD (a “Qualified Registry Launch Program”), provided that any such registrations will reduce the number of domain names that Registry Operator MAY otherwise use for the operation and promotion of the TLD as set forth in Specification 5.
The base new gTLD Registry Agreement currently allows up to 100 names to be set aside before Sunrise only on the condition that ownership stays in the hands of the registry for the duration of the registration.
Left unaltered, that could complicate deals where the registry wants to get early registrants through the door to help it promote its gTLD during the critical first few months.
A second request from applicants deals with the problem that Sunrise periods also might interfere with preferred allocation programs during the launch of community and geographic gTLDs.
An example given during the recent ICANN Durban meeting was that of the .london registry giving first dibs on police.london to the Metropolitan Police, rather than a trademark owner such as the Sting-fronted band.
The applicants have proposed to allow registries to request “exemptions” to the Requirements to enable this kind of allocation mechanism, which would be offered in addition to the standard obligatory RPMs.
Because these documents are now open for public comment until September 18, that appears to be the absolute earliest date that any new gTLD registry will be able to give its mandatory 30-day pre-Sunrise warning.
In other words, the hypothetical date of the first new gTLD launch appears to have slipped by a couple of weeks.