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New gTLD plans November 30 sunrise

Kevin Murphy, September 20, 2013, Domain Registries

I-Registry, which signed an ICANN Registry Agreement for the new gTLD .onl this week, plans to launch its Sunrise period on November 30, according to the company.

It’s the first date for a new gTLD Sunrise period I’ve come across to date, though it is of course an informal target rather than a firm commitment.

ICANN has signed contracts covering a few dozen gTLDs but as yet none have been delegated. As anyone who has been following dotShabaka’s diary on DI will know, there’s still a lot of uncertainty

.onl, which is short for “online”, is expected to be an open gTLD with no registration restrictions.

I-Registry plans to donate a portion of its profits to charity.

Google signs first new gTLD contract

Kevin Murphy, September 18, 2013, Domain Registries

Google has signed its first Registry Agreement with ICANN, covering the new gTLD .みんな.

The string means “everyone” in Japanese. It had priority number 34.

Google proposes to use it as an open TLD, available for anyone to register names in.

Signed by Google subsidiary Charleston Road Registry, it’s the 34th new gTLD contract ICANN has executed.

Google has 96 new gTLD applications remaining. One of them, for .search, is still Initial Evaluation.

ICANN looking into string confusion confusion

Kevin Murphy, September 18, 2013, Domain Policy

ICANN is looking at “consistency issues” in new gTLD String Confusion Objections, program manager Christine Willett said in an ICANN interview published last night.

The nature of the probe is not clear, but ICANN does appear to be working with the dispute resolution provider, the International Centre For Dispute Resolution, on the issue.

In the interview, Willett said:

Staff is working diligently with dispute resolution service providers to ensure that all procedures have been followed and to look at the expert determinations — we’re looking at these consistency issues.

The SCO has come in for tonnes of criticism due to the conflicting and downright ludicrous decisions made by panelists.

I would hope that ICANN is looking beyond just whether “all procedures have been followed”, given that the root cause of the consistency problems appears to be the lack of guidance for panelists in the policy itself.

Also in the interview, Willett said that she expects the first new gTLDs to be “in production” before the end of the year, and guessed that the second round of applications “is a couple of years down the road”.

Watch it here:

.CLUB offers solution to name collision risks

Kevin Murphy, September 16, 2013, Domain Tech

.CLUB Domains has come up with a simple workaround for its applied-for .club gTLD being categorized as risky by ICANN.

The company wants to reserve the top 50 .club domains that currently see DNS root traffic, so that if and when .club goes live the impact on organizations that use .club internally will be greatly reduced.

It’s not a wholly original idea, but .CLUB seems to be unique at the moment in that it actually knows what those 50 strings are, having commissioned an Interisle Consulting report of its proposed gTLD.

You’ll recall that Interisle is the company that ICANN commissioned to quantify the name collisions problem in the first place.

Its report is what ICANN used to categorize all applied-for gTLD strings into low, high and “uncalculated” risks, putting .club into the uncalculated category, delaying it by months.

(Interisle was at pains to point out in its report for .CLUB that it is not making any recommendations, interpreting the data, or advocating any solutions. Still, nice work if you can get it.)

By reserving the top 50 clashes — presumably in such a way that they will continue to return error responses after .club is delegated — .CLUB says .club would slip into ICANN’s definition of a low-risk string.

In a letter to ICANN (pdf) sent today, .CLUB chief technology officer Dirk Bhagat wrote:

blocking the 50 SLD strings from registration would prevent 52,647 out of the 89,533 queries from a potential collision (58.88%). After blocking the top 50 strings as SLD strings, only 36,886 (41.12%) queries remain, which is 12,114 fewer invalid queries at the root than .engineering, which ICANN classified as a low risk gTLD.

He adds that a further chunk of remaining SLDs are random strings that appear to have been created by Google’s Chrome browser and, many say, pose no risk of name collisions, reducing the risk further.

It’s hard to argue with the logic there, other than to say that ICANN’s categorization system itself has already come in for heavy criticism for drawing unjustified, arbitrary lines.

The list of domains .CLUB proposes to block is pretty interesting, including some strings that appear to be trademarks, the names of likely .club registrants, or potentially premium names.

ICANN smacks Cheapies with the ban hammer

Kevin Murphy, September 16, 2013, Domain Registrars

ICANN for only the second time has suspended an accredited registrar’s ability to sell domain names.

Cheapies.com, which has roughly 12,000 gTLD domain names under management, will not be able to create new domains or accept inbound transfers until January 2, 2014, according to ICANN.

The 90-day suspension of its accreditation, longer by two months than the 30 days Alantron received last year, comes because it’s the third time this year Cheapies has been sent an ICANN breach notice.

The latest breach concerns the domain ebookvortex.com. Apparently Cheapies did not provide the registrant with the required authorization information when he initiated a transfer request.

In January, the company received breach notices related to its records-keeping and another instance of failing to abide by ICANN’s inter-registrar transfers policy.

It’s also being spanked for consistently ignoring or stonewalling ICANN’s attempts to resolve the situation.

Cheapies has the opportunity to rectify its problems to avoid losing its accreditation entirely. In the meantime, it also has to display the following notice “prominently” on its web site:

No new registrations or inbound transfers will be accepted from 4 October 2013 through 2 January 2014.

There’s a clear takeaway for fly-by-night registrars here: ignore ICANN Compliance at your peril.