Tens of thousands of dollars worth of registry secret sauce is set to be released under a Creative Commons license on a new wiki, courtesy of the International Telecommunications Union.
Applying for a new generic top-level domain could be about to get a whole lot cheaper.
Before October, the ITU plans to publish template answers to all 22 of the questions about registry technical operations demanded by ICANN’s Applicant Guidebook.
Because they will be published under a Creative Commons license, new gTLD applicants will be able to copy and paste the whole lot into their applications for free.
And because they will be on a wiki, approved contributors will be able to fine-tune the templates to increase their chances of passing ICANN’s technical evaluation.
Currently, gTLD applicants are generally paying registry back-end providers to take care of this part of their applications, paying $10,000 and up for the privilege.
I think the word that applies here is “disruptive”.
Consultant and former ICANN board member Michael Palage, who has worked on a number of previous TLD launches, is coordinating the creation of the templates with input from registries and engineers.
The resulting “best in class” material will also be used by the ITU and the League of Arab States in their bid for .arab and its Arabic equivalent, .عرب.
According to the Guidebook, applicants do not need hands-on experience running a registry in order to have their application approved. ICANN is trying to enable competition, after all.
But there is a period of pre-delegation testing that each successful applicant must endure before their new gTLD is added to the root, so a simple copy-paste of the ITU’s templates will not suffice.
I doubt this project will take a great deal of money out of the pockets of the incumbent registries – well-funded applicants will presumably be happy to pay the extra money for certainty – but it will provide a bit of flexibility for applicants not already in bed with a back-end.
It could also help open up the new gTLD market to companies that may not have otherwise considered it, such as those in the developing world.
Indeed, part of the rationale for the Creative Commons publication is to aid with “capacity building” in these nations, according to an ITU presentation delivered in Cairo this week.
We’ve already seen pricing competition hit the registry services market in the wake of the approval of the new gTLD program, now it appears we’re seeing the dawn of “free”.
The lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret has won a cybersquatting complaint over the domain name victoriasecretswimsuit.com for the second time in as many years.
Judging by the Whois history, it appears that the company lost the domain following the demise of rogue registrar Lead Networks, which lost its accreditation last year.
Victoria’s Secret first secured the domain with an easily won UDRP complaint in May 2009.
An attorney from its outside law firm was subsequently listed as the admin contact, but the registrar of record remained the same – the Indian outfit Lead Networks.
At some time between August and October last year, the Whois contact changed to the current registrant, who’s hiding behind a privacy service.
Probably not coincidentally, that was about the same time as ICANN, having terminated Lead Networks’ accreditation, bulk-transferred all of its domains to Answerable.com.
Lead Networks was placed into receivership in March 2010 following a cybersquatting lawsuit filed by Verizon.
Answerable.com, a Directi business also based in India, was the registrar’s designated successor under ICANN’s policies. It has subsequently changed its name to BigRock.com.
The latest UDRP decision does not explain how Victoria’s Secret managed to lose its registration, but I’d speculate the inter-registrar transfer may have had something to do with it.
When a registrar loses its accreditation the names are transferred to a new registrar but the term of the registration is not extended. If a registrant ignores or does not receive the notifications sent by the gaining registar, they may find they lose their domains.
Don’t all rush at once.
ICANN is looking for an advertising agency to help it get the word out about the new generic top-level domains program, but it only has $750,000 to spend.
The organization published a request for proposals last night.
The budget is not much in the advertising world, especially considering that ICANN’s awareness program will have to be global and multilingual to be truly effective.
With such a limited budget, the RFP and accompanying FAQ acknowledges that it will need “creative solutions” from its ad agency.
This is likely to mean a big PR push for advertising equivalent editorial – lots and lots of news stories about new gTLDs.
To an extent, the word is already out by this measure. My standing Google News and Twitter searches for “ICANN” have been going crazy since the gTLD program was approved two weeks ago.
I think it’s fair to say that the vast majority deal of the coverage so far has been either neutral or negative, with much of the focus on potential legal, branding and security problems.
That’s pretty much par for the course in the domain name business, of course.
And ICANN does not necessarily need positive spin – it’s trying to raise awareness of the program’s existence, and negative coverage does that job just as well.
There is, as they say, no such thing as bad publicity.
ICANN’s job of promoting the program is already being done to a large extent by the registries, many of which were investing heavily in media outreach before new gTLDs were approved.
RU-Center, Russia’s largest domain name registrar, will have to repay 240 million rubles ($8.6 million) for grabbing thousands of domain names and auctioning them during the .РФ landrush.
The company could also be fined up to 75% of its 2009 revenues for breaking competition law, according to a statement from the country’s Federal Antimonopoly Service.
When .РФ was launched by the .ru registry launched last November, it offered domain names on a first-come first-served basis, without the premium landrush period offered by other TLDs.
RU-Center took this opportunity to register 60,000 domains in its own name and sell them off to the highest bidder, essentially bringing the landrush to the registrar level.
Some ccTLD Coordination Center council members, responsible for setting the launch policies, had ownership interests in RU-Center either directly or through family members, according to FAS.
The registrar is currently being acquired by a company called RBC.
ICANN president and CEO Rod Beckstrom has been awarded a performance-related bonus for the 12-month period ending today, it has emerged.
As it is classed as a personal personnel matter, the portion of his “at risk component” approved was not revealed, but it is known that Beckstrom’s annual bonus is capped at $195,000.
His base salary is $750,000.
It’s the second consecutive year that he has received some part of his bonus. For the year ended June 30, 2010, the board voted it through in December.
As Beckstrom enters the third year of his three-year contract, it’s understood that he has already been making overtures to the board to extend his tenure for a second term.