Latest news of the domain name industry

Recent Posts

ICANN has 99 gTLD passes but .payu ain’t one

ICANN has delivered another 100 new gTLD Initial Evaluation results this evening, with 99 passes and one failure.

The failure is the application for .payu, a dot-brand filed by a Dutch e-payments company. It’s eligible for extended evaluation, having scored a 0 on its “financial statements” question.

These are the successful applications, many of which are receiving their results well after their original due dates:

.dnp .otsuka .okinawa .media .extraspace .tickets .bradesco .mtpc .infiniti .ooo .lilly .everbank .mom .latrobe .maif .town .free .tube .wales .ist .ong .auto .shopyourway .golf .viajes .doosan .tatar .yoga .mail .chk .pru .one .medical .limo .ovh .storage .infy .desi .secure .domains .computer .racing .zara .target .pictet .music .nba .bank .goodhands .ing .sling .meme .giving .jewelry .deals .nadex .credit .one .here .luxury .cern .salon .ninja .zip .vana .lancome .tires .recipes .film .teva .auto .istanbul .grocery .web .diet .baby .support .hotel .infosys .lol .beats .vons .moscow .inc .guge .car .forsale .hsbc .energy .man .team .book .family .green .aetna .movie .politie .home .group

There are now 819 passes, 9 failures and 1,019 applications still in Initial Evaluation. Next week, we’ll pass the halfway mark, with IE due to be completed in August.

PuntCAT cross-ownership ban lifted

PuntCAT has become the first gTLD registry operator to have a ban on owning an affiliated registrar lifted.

The change means the company will be able to directly market its .cat domain names to registrants via a registrar that it owns.

An amendment to its ICANN contract posted yesterday deletes the clause that prevents the company owning more than 15% of an ICANN-accredited registrar. The change follows a December request.

PuntCAT is the first to take advantage of ICANN’s liberalization of rules on registry-registrar cross ownership.

Afilias and Neustar will benefit from the same changes, but their respective .info and .biz registry agreements are currently in public comment periods and not yet signed.

New registrar contract could be approved next week

ICANN’s board of directors is set to vote next week on the 2013 Registrar Accreditation agreement, but we hear some last-minute objections have emerged from registrars.

The new RAA has been about two years in the making. It will make registrars verify email addresses and do some rudimentary mailing address validation when new domains are registered.

It will also set in motion a process for ICANN oversight of proxy/privacy services and some aspects of the reseller business. In order to sell domain names in new gTLDs, registrars will have to sign up to the 2013 RAA.

ICANN has put approval of the contract on its board’s June 27 agenda.

But I gather that some registrars are unhappy about some last-minute changes ICANN has made to the draft deal.

For one, some linguistic tweaks to the text have given registrars an “advisory” role in seeking out technical ways to do the aforementioned address validation, which has caused some concern that ICANN may try to mandate expensive commercial solutions without their approval.

There also appears to be some concern that the new contract now requires registrars to make sure their resellers follow the same rules on proxy/privacy services, which wasn’t in previous drafts.

Two more new gTLD bids dropped

Uniregistry and LʹOréal, two of the highest profile new gTLD applicants, both withdrew applications today.

Uniregistry has pulled out of the .marketing race, leaving it a two-way battle between Tucows and Donuts. It’s the first application withdrawn by the company, which has applied for 54 gTLDs.

Its .marketing bid was due to get its Initial Evaluation results today. By withdrawing before this happens, the company gets a much bigger refund from ICANN.

LʹOréal, meanwhile, has withdrawn is fourth dot-brand, .maybelline, which is due its IE results next week. The company has 10 applications, a mixture of brands and closed generics, outstanding.

Demand Media commits Designs.com to new gTLDs

Demand Media has announced a new web publishing service that it says is designed specifically for new gTLD registrants, at the category-killing domain Designs.com.

Designs.com will provide users with tools to quickly build web sites for their new domains, with no coding experience required, according to the site.

Conceptually, there’s nothing new about selling do-it-yourself web site building services alongside domain names of course; they’ve been around for over a decade.

But Demand says it’s tailoring the product to niche gTLDs, promoting certain features depending on the gTLD string in which the customer has bought. From a press release:

“A consumer using .FAN needs features related to sharing, ‘liking’ and growing a community, while a professional using .ARCHITECT needs features related to a strong visual portfolio and self-promotion,” explained Nick Nelson, general manager of Designs.com for Demand Media. “Until today, tools and templates have been designed for no-one in particular. New gTLDs are for specific audiences, so we must have tools that create a web presence with the same tailored approach, making the website and web address inseparable.”

It’s exactly the kind of marketing effort that new gTLDs are going to need if they’re going to be successful, particularly if they’re targeting greenfield opportunities such as small business owners.

Based on the little we know today, it almost sounds like innovation.

The Designs.com service will be made available via partnering registrars, according to the company. We can only assume that eNom and Name.com are a shoo-ins.

On the registry side, there’s nothing stopping the company adding the service to pretty much every new gTLD for which, as a registrar, it is accredited.

Demand has 26 active new gTLD applications and has rights to buy into about 100 of Donuts’ gTLDs, should they be approved by ICANN and win their contention sets.