The .co top-level domain may have more registrations, but more tech start-ups are opting for .me domain names, according to an informal study.
Doctoral student Thomas Park compiled a list of 1,000 start-ups added to TechCrunch’s CrunchBase database last year and found that entrepreneurs chose .co 1% of the time, versus 1.7% for .me.
As caveats, the difference between the two TLDs only works out to seven companies and .me, which launched in 2008, does of course have a two-year head start over .co.
I’m also guessing that CrunchBase has an English-language bias, which could skew the results. While .co has meaning in more countries it lacks the call-to-action punch of .me in English.
Nevertheless, I think the results are interesting because .CO Internet heavily targets start-ups in its marketing and currently has twice as many domains under management (over 1.1 million) as doMEn, the Afilias/Go Daddy joint-venture .me registry.
Park’s results show that .me had a 0.50% share in 2010 and a 0.80% share in 2009 while .co managed to get one company (0.10%) on the list during the half of 2010 it was live.
The survey found that .com is the runaway first choice for entrepreneurs, with about 85% of the start-up market, but you knew that already.
Go Daddy’s unpopular 60-day domain name lockdown period, which prevents customers moving to other registrars, could be reduced to as little as five days under new ICANN policy.
ICANN’s GNSO Council this week voted to amend the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy, which is binding on all registrars, to clarify when and how a registrar is allowed to block a transfer.
Today, Go Daddy has a policy of preventing transfers for 60 days whenever the registrant’s name is changed in the Whois record.
Other registrars may have similar policies, but Go Daddy is the only one you ever really hear complaints about.
Some have even posited that the practice violates the IRTP, which explicitly prevents registrars spuriously locking domains when customers update their Whois.
But ICANN’s compliance department has disagreed with that interpretation, drawing a distinction between “Whois changes” (cannot block a transfer) and “registrant changes” (can block a transfer).
Essentially, if you change your name in a Whois record the domain can be locked by your registrar, but if you change other fields such as mailing address or phone number it cannot.
Go Daddy and other registrars would still be able prevent transfers under the revised policy, but they would have to remove the block within five days of a customer request.
This is how ICANN explains the changes:
Registrar may only impose a lock that would prohibit transfer of the domain name if it includes in its registration agreement the terms and conditions for imposing such lock and obtains express consent from the Registered Name Holder: and
Registrar must remove the “Registrar Lock” status within five (5) calendar days of the Registered Name Holder’s initial request, if the Registrar does not provide facilities for the Registered Name Holder to remove the “Registrar Lock” status
Registrars may have some freedom in how they implement the new policy. Unblocking could be as simple as checking a box in the user interface, or it could mean a phone call.
Go Daddy, which was an active participant in the IRTP review and says it supports the changes, supplied a statement from director of policy planning James Bladel:
In the coming months, Go Daddy is making a few changes to our policy for domains in which the registrant information has changed.
We believe this new procedure will continue to prevent hijacked domain names from being transferred away, while making the transfer experience more user-friendly for our customers.
The changes were approved unanimously by the GNSO Council at its meeting on Thursday.
Before they become binding on registrars, they will have to be approved by the ICANN board of directors too, and the soonest that could happen is at its February 16 meeting.
The changes are part of a package of IRTP revisions – more to come in the near future – that have been under discussion in the ICANN community since 2007. Seriously.
A likely new gTLD applicant has secured a US trademark on the term “.bank”.
Asif LLC, a Wisconsin start-up with an undisclosed number of employees, won approval for the trademark 4,085,335 on Tuesday, for use in “domain name registration services”.
(UPDATE: Asif actually does business now as Domain Security Company LLC, but the trademark application was filed under its former name.)
As Domain Name Wire reported last year, Asif became a Go Daddy reseller in order to provide the US Patent & Trademark Office with proof it was using the brand.
It appears the gambit was successful, and the company now has a card to play in its inevitable battle with other .bank applicants, such as the BITS/American Bankers Association project.
Mary Iqbal, Asif’s CEO, told DomainIncite today that the company also has a trademark pending in Pakistan, where it has existing business connections.
Iqbal says she’s serious about her .bank application. It’s an idea she’s been working on for a few years.
Asif has been talking to security companies about providing the security infrastructure for the gTLD and has already signed up with a registry back-end provider, she said.
All she was prepared to disclose at the moment is that one of these partners has “ground-breaking encryption technology” and that the company has solid plans for its security profile.
The .bank gTLD would of course be limited to manually verified financial institutions, Iqbal confirmed.
Explaining the reseller site used to get the trademark, Iqbal said: “We intend to use that in future to sell .bank domain names but for now we’re selling names in other TLDs.”
Asif also has a pending US trademark on “.secure”, which it also plans to apply for as a gTLD.
Iqbal said that the company plans to offer small and medium sized e-commerce businesses extra security services if they redirect their customers to their .secure domain at the checkout.
While I am unaware of any other public .secure applicants, the .bank gTLD is expected to be contested.
A joint project of the American Bankers Association and BITS, part of the Financial Services Roundtable, has already essentially confirmed that it plans to apply for .bank and possibly two other financial gTLDs, using Verisign as its back-end.
“We don’t know for sure if they’re going to apply for .bank,” Iqbal said, however. “If somebody else does apply, all I can say that we are the legal rights holder for .bank.”
Holding a trademark on a term gives companies the right to file a Legal Rights Objection against new gTLD applicants.
However, as much as I love an entrepreneur, I estimate the chances of Asif getting its .bank application approved at roughly zero, trademark or not.
There are about half a dozen different reasons Asif would probably not pass the Legal Rights Objection test, which would leave it in a contention set with other .bank applicants.
The final mechanism offered by ICANN to resolve contested gTLDs is an auction, and nobody goes into an auction against the American Bankers Association expecting to win.
ICANN also encourages applicants in contention sets to talk it out amongst themselves before resorting to auction. If Asif is lucky, a rival .bank applicant will pay it to go away before the string goes to auction.
If it’s very lucky, somebody will acquire the trademark before the company – which Iqbal said is already funded but would welcome additional investment – splashes out $185,000 on its application fee.
The Asif .bank application also stands a substantial chance of being objected to by governments.
ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee, and in particular the influential US representative, has very strong views on gTLDs purporting to represent regulated industries.
If the GAC is faced with a choice between a .bank backed by the ABA and BITS with a Verisign back-end, and one backed by a tiny Wisconsin start-up, I believe there’s a pretty good chance the Wisconsin start-up is going to find itself on the receiving end of a GAC Advice objection.
Just a hunch.
Erstwhile Go Daddy gripe site No Daddy, formerly found at nodaddy.com, has been relaunched under new ownership at nodaddy.co.
The original site opened in 2007 as a place for customers to share “horror stories”, but was acquired by Go Daddy last July at around the same time it secured a reported $2.2 billion investment.
It’s still not entirely clear whether Go Daddy paid off the previous owners, or whether it was legal or other threats that caused the nodaddy.com domain to change hands.
The site once ranked second only to Go Daddy itself in Google search results for the company’s name.
The new site, NoDaddy.co, is unaffiliated with the previous owners.
The owner identifies himself as “AdverseVariable” and the domain is registered using a Whois privacy service offered by Bahamas-based registrar Internet.bs.
The new forum currently only has one post.
Go Daddy lost tens of thousands of domain name registrations totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost recurring revenue due to yesterday’s SOPA-related boycott.
NameCheap, the eNom reseller that spearheaded the campaign against Go Daddy, said on Twitter that it had raised over $25,000 for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, suggesting that it saw over 25,000 inbound transfers using its SOPASUCKS discount code.
Twitter noise also suggests that several other registrars, such as Name.com and Gandi, gained from the protest.
The boycott went ahead due to Go Daddy’s former support of the Stop Online Piracy Act, which many Americans believe will infringe civil liberties by erecting a great big DNS firewall around the country.
The company withdrew its support for the bill before Christmas, but many customers either chose to ignore its new stance or to point out that “not supporting” did not necessarily mean “opposing”.
Frankly, I think many people just wanted to lash out, and withdrawing business from a company with an established reputation for being a bit downmarket is a lot easier than, say, turning off SOPA-supporting ESPN or cutting up your SOPA-supporting Visa card.
Warren Adelman, Go Daddy’s new CEO, issued this statement last night, clarifying the company’s position:
We have observed a spike in domain name transfers, which are running above normal rates and which we attribute to Go Daddy’s prior support for SOPA, which was reversed.
Go Daddy opposes SOPA because the legislation has not fulfilled its basic requirement to build a consensus among stake-holders in the technology and Internet communities. Our company regrets the loss of any of our customers, who remain our highest priority, and we hope to repair those relationships and win back their business over time.
The company has over 50 million domains under management. Even if 50,000 were transferred to other registrars, that’s still only 0.1% of Go Daddy’s installed base.
Name server records compiled by DailyChanges also heavily suggest that the company sold over 43,000 new domain registrations yesterday.
The fact that Adelman chose to eat humble pie rather than pointing this out was probably a wise PR decision.
Also, NameCheap deserves some kudos for running a very effective social media campaign.