GMO Registry has recorded one of the most successful new gTLD launch days to date, selling over 45,000 .shop domain names in the first hours.
The company said it sold 45,427 .shop names in the first two hours after general availability started yesterday afternoon at about 1600 UTC.
The total at that point was 51,755, including about 5,000 that were registered during the Early Access Period, during which names carried higher prices.
The latest .shop zone file contains 46,419 domains.
The registry had sold 616 premium-priced names already, GMO said.
The volume is quite impressive given the retail price tags — .shop is not priced for budget Chinese domainers, it’s selling for $20 to $30 at the major Western registrars.
That’s double, triple or even 10 times as much as Minds + Machines’ self-consciously ‘non-freenium’ .vip domains were selling for when it racked up a six-figure volume during its first day of GA earlier this year.
West.cn, the leading Chinese new gTLD registrar, priced .vip at $3 but is selling .shop at $25.
GMO paid a then record-setting $41.5 million for the rights to .shop at an ICANN auction back in January.
The nine-way fight for the .shop gTLD has raised $41.5 million at auction.
It’s the most-expensive reported new gTLD sale to date.
The victor was GMO Registry of Japan, which runs a few Asian geographic gTLDs and acts as service provider for over a dozen dot-brands.
GMO wanted .shop so badly it actually applied twice for the gTLD in the 2012 application round.
Only two bidders, GMO and an unidentified rival, were prepared to pay over $15 million, according to ICANN.
The previous record-holder for an ICANN gTLD auction was .app, which Google bought for a smidgen over $25 million last February.
Dozens of contention sets have “self resolved” via private auction, but the winning bids of those are typically not disclosed.
According to GMO’s .shop application, .shop will be an open, unrestricted namespace. The company seems to be planning to sell value-added e-commerce services in addition to domain names.
But domainers will not be welcome in the gTLD. GMO’s application reads:
Registration of a .SHOP domain name solely for the purpose of selling, exchanging, trading, leasing the domain name shall be deemed as inappropriate use or intent.
The company plans to do random spot checks to make sure no registrants are breaking this rule.
GMO is using CentralNic as its back-end registry
services software provider, following a 2013 deal.
Radix, Famous Four, Donuts, Google, Amazon, 2000-round applicant Commercial Connect and a company called Beijing Jingdong 360 had all applied for .shop.
But according to ICANN only seven of the original applicants qualified for the auction.
One of the drop-outs was GMO itself. The company has actually applied for .shop twice — once as a regular applicant and once as a “community”.
The non-community application was the one that participated in the auction.
Unsuccessful community applicant Commercial Connect, which has been fighting for .shop since first applying for it in 2000, also did not participate.
On Tuesday, it filed a futile Request for Reconsideration (pdf) with ICANN, complaining about the fact that it lost its Community Priority Evaluation.
.shop was originally linked to .shopping, due to a badly decided String Similarity Objection, but that contention set was resolved separately by Donuts and Uniregistry last week.
The Somalian government has switched registry provider for its .so ccTLD from GMO Registry to soNIC, apparently a local provider.
The IANA records for .so were updated yesterday to indicate that Mogadishu-based soNIC is now the technical contact.
According to the current GMO-managed registry web site, new registrations were halted June 9 and will reopen at some point after July 8, when soNIC takes over.
In the meantime, renewal prices have been cranked up.
The .so domain opened up worldwide in late 2010, having been delegated the previous year.
The new registry tried to ride the wave created by .co’s launch a few months earlier, with middling results.
soNIC will evidently “ramp up abusive use monitoring and enforcement of acceptable use policies”. I wonder if that involves anti-piracy measures (sorry).
At the time the ccTLD launched, I noted that Somalia was pretty much the worst place in the world to live.
But, just as the new registry plans to clean up its namespace, the nation itself has started to clean up its act somewhat in the meantime. It’s now only number two on the Failed State Index.
ICANN signed six more new gTLD Registry Agreements on Friday, bringing the week’s total to eight.
Donuts added .cab, .computer and .support to its rapidly expanding portfolio of generics, while its partner United TLD (Demand Media) added .dance.
GMO Registry, which had teething troubles during Initial Evaluation before switching back-end providers, signed a contract for the Japanese geographic .nagoya.
Finally, Spanish clothing company Punto Fa, S.L., trading as MANGO, got the dot-brand .mango.
ICANN now has 72 new gTLD RAs, the first four of which have gone live.
Did would-be new gTLD registry services provider GMO Registry fail its ICANN technical evaluations?
The Japanese company has made a deal that will see CentralNic take over the back-end operations for all 27 of the applications it was signed up to service, it has emerged.
In a letter, provided by GMO to ICANN last week as part of its sweeping application change requests, CentralNic says:
CentralNic Ltd has entered into a contract with GMO Registry, Inc. (GMO) to provide backend gTLD registry services for their generic top-level domains.
The letter (pdf) goes on to enumerate the 10 critical technical functions — basically everything from EPP to DNSSEC to registrar management — that CentralNic will be taking over.
The letter seems to have been attached last week to change requests for each of the 27 applications for which the DI PRO database lists GMO as the back-end registry provider.
That list includes big dot-brands such as .toshiba, .sharp and .nissan, generics such as .shop and .mail, and city TLDs including .tokyo and .osaka. Even the original dot-brand, .canon, and GMO’s own .gmo are switching back-ends.
The requested changes certainly seem to explain why GMO has yet to pass any of its Initial Evaluations (as we noted on Twitter a couple weeks back) despite having prioritization numbers as low as 111.
GMO parent GMO Internet may not be widely known outside of Japan, but it’s a pretty big deal. The company had 2012 revenue of about JPY 75 billion ($730 million) and it owns a top-ten registrar, Onamae.
Per ICANN rules, the change request switching the applications to CentralNic back-ends are open for public comment for 30 days.