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GM down to one gTLD bid after dropping .chevy

Kevin Murphy, August 21, 2013, Domain Registries

General Motors looks set to leave the new gTLD program completely, after dumping its application for .chevy.

It’s the fourth of GM’s five dot-brand gTLD bids to be withdrawn after .chevrolet, .cadillac and .gmc. Only .buick remains in the Initial Evaluation process.

Of the 116 new gTLD applications to be withdrawn to date, 55 have been uncontested and for single-registrant zones. Almost all of the 55 applied-for strings are famous brands.

It would be wrong to assume that each of these was a “defensive” application — some represent discontinued brands — but it’s still a worryingly high number, representing over $10 million in ICANN fees.

That said, it’s still less than 3% of the total applications submitted in the current round.

AIG withdraws new gTLD bid due to rebrand

Kevin Murphy, February 25, 2013, Domain Registries

The insurance company American International Group has dropped its application for .chartis, apparently due to a merger-related rebranding.

It’s the 21st gTLD application to be withdrawn. Dot-Nxt did the legwork to figure out that the company has pulled out because the .chartis brand itself is being wound up.

When we asked ICANN last week how many bids were in the withdrawal queue, we were told the magic number was three.

Two of those are expected to be .chevy and .buick, which General Motors has confirmed it is withdrawing in addition to its already-gone .chevrolet, .cadillac and .gmc; .chartis is likely the third.

That doesn’t mean it is is the last, however.

Smart dot-brand applicants that are not completely sold on the new gTLD concept will be waiting for the publication of ICANN’s string similarity evaluation panel’s results, currently expected this Friday, before making their calls.

The string similarity results will go a long way to determine whether certain strings will have potentially lethal problems being applied for in future application rounds.

If .gmc had have been ruled confusingly similar to .gmo, for example, that may have reduced GM’s chances of successfully applying for .gmc in future rounds.

Pile up! GM cancels two more new gTLD bids

Kevin Murphy, February 19, 2013, Domain Policy

Is General Motors bowing out of ICANN’s new gTLD program completely? It’s certainly looking that way, following the withdrawal of two more of its five original applications.

ICANN updated its site yesterday to reflect that GM has yanked its bids for .chevrolet and .cadillac, two of its proposed automotive dot-brands.

It comes just a few days after its .gmc application was pulled, and suggests that its remaining applications — for .buick and .chevy — may also be withdrawn in the near future.

The total number of gTLD applications withdrawn is now up to 17, a dozen of which are dot-brands, from an original list of 1,930.

We may be seeing more in the near future. Applications withdrawn before ICANN publishes Initial Evaluation results — expected to start March 23 — qualify for a refund of 70%, or $130,000. After that, the refund halves.

The final number of withdrawn applications will be telling, and likely to inform future new gTLD application rounds.

If it turns out a large number of companies applied for dot-brands purely defensively (I wouldn’t consider 12 to 17 withdrawals a large number) then ICANN may have to rethink how the program is structured.