Latest news of the domain name industry

Recent Posts

Teething troubles for TMCH testing

Kevin Murphy, September 5, 2013, Domain Registries

With the first new gTLD delegation likely just a matter of weeks away, registries and registrars are reporting problems getting access to the Trademark Clearinghouse for testing purposes.

ICANN launched an OT&E (operational test and evaluation environment) for companies to test their systems against the IBM-run TMCH back-end last week, but few have so far managed to get in.

Some registrars have been denied access because they have not yet signed the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement.

While that’s a prerequisite for selling new gTLD domains, some say it should not also be a barrier to testing their TMCH implementation before they decide to sign on the dotted line.

At least one registrar that has actually signed the 2013 RAA also says it has been denied access.

Meanwhile, several back-end applicants and back-end registry providers have reported that they too have been told they can’t access the OT&E until they’ve signed the 2013 RAA.

Registries are of course not obliged to sign any RAA in order to act as registries.

Others say they’ve received the credentials needed to access the OT&E but that they don’t work.

ICANN has blamed a mix-up in its workflow for the registries getting blocked, something it expects to get fixed quickly. It’s also looking into the complaints from registrars.

The TMCH is the database that registries and registrars will use to validate trademarks during sunrise periods, and to check for possible cybersquatting during the first few months of launch.

Public Suffix List to get monthly new gTLD updates

Kevin Murphy, September 3, 2013, Domain Registries

New gTLDs are set to be added to the widely used Public Suffix List within a month of signing an ICANN registry agreement, according to PSL volunteer Jothan Frakes.

This is pretty good news for new gTLD registries.

The PSL, maintained by volunteers under the Mozilla banner, is used in browsers including Firefox and Chrome, and will be a vital part of making sure new gTLDs “work” out of the box.

If a TLD doesn’t have an entry on the PSL, browsers tend to handle them badly.

For example, after .sx launched last year, Google’s Chrome browser returned search results instead of the intended web site when .sx domain names were typed into the address/search bar.

It also provides a critical security function, telling browsers at which level they should allow domains to set cookies.

According to Frakes, who has been working behind the scenes with other PSL volunteers and ICANN staff to get this process working, new gTLDs will usually hit the PSL within 30 days of an ICANN contract.

Due to the mandatory pre-delegation testing period, new gTLDs should be on the PSL before or at roughly the same time as they are delegated, with plenty of time to spare before they launch.

The process of being added to the PSL should be fairly quick for TLDs that intend to run flat second-level spaces, according to Frakes, but may be more complex if they plan to do something less standard, such as selling third-level domains, for example.

Browser makers may take some time to update their own lists with the PSL updates. Google, with its own huge portfolio of applications, will presumably be incentivized to stay on the ball.

Economist replaces de La Chapelle on ICANN board

Kevin Murphy, September 3, 2013, Domain Policy

ICANN’s board of directors is to see one new member in November, with economist Bruno Lanvin replacing former French civil servant Bertrand de La Chapelle.

The changes were among several appointments announced by ICANN’s Nominating Committee yesterday.

NomCom has decided to keep previous appointees Cherine Chalaby, who’s head of the New gTLD Program Committee, and Erika Mann, the former MEP who now runs Facebook’s Brussels office.

Lanvin is currently executive director of the European Competitiveness Initiative and the Global Indices projects at INSEAD, a business school, but he spent 20 years of his career with the United Nations.

Outgoing director de La Chapelle was France’s Governmental Advisory Committee representative before his appointment to the board in 2010. He, Mann and Chalaby have initial three-year terms ending in November.

It’s not known if de La Chapelle, one of ICANN’s most vocal and active directors, had nominated himself for a second term.

Only 29 gTLD applications still in IE as 101 pass and nine fail

Kevin Murphy, August 30, 2013, Domain Registries

ICANN has published what was scheduled to be its final week of Initial Evaluation results for new gTLD applications.

It was a bumper week for results as evaluators mopped up stragglers that had previously been asked to provide more information via Clarifying Questions. There were 101 passes and 9 failures.

There are still 29 applications without published results. An ICANN spokesperson said that the results for these will continue to be delivered on a weekly basis as usual until all are done.

One hundred and one applications passed. These ones:

.origins .free .banamex .sex .dog .prof .rockwool .weather .farmers .itv .ford .hkt .inc .phd .blog .kid .esq .memorial .ira .art .gmbh .pccw .music .citi .bms .live .game .news .kone .shop .able .llc .frontier .flir .watches .tires .love .dds .ericsson .dunlop .volvo .fujitsu .telecity .movie .fidelity .mutuelle .stockholm .xperia .search .lupin .med .jewelry .kddi .tires .monster .news .lincoln .book .tube .mint .clinique .buy .goodyear .lego .seven .fresenius .richardli .llp .csc .ses .ftr .ikano .gallup .saxo .mutualfunds .baby .progressive .firestone .corp .music .movie .srl .retirement .seat .mba .pars .islam .nowruz .boston .persiangulf .tci .design .rip .sucks .shia .ally .style .halal .hotel .lifeinsurance .shriram

The failures, which are all “Eligible for Extended Evaluation” are:

  • .livestrong (Lance Armstrong Foundation) — failed on both financial and technical questions. The first I recall seeing to be pushed into EE based on its proposed Registry Services. Also failed a drug test.
  • .unicorn — Scored only 5 out of the required 22 points on its technical evaluation, easily the worst score I can recall seeing. Its back end provider is Gransy sro, a Czech-based registrar.
  • .home (Dothome Ltd) — this is the .home bid Defender Security bought from CGR E-Commerce. The same one that filed all the Legal Rights Objections against other .home applicants. It failed its financial evaluation, but not because it failed to file its financial statements, which is usually the case.
  • .smart (Smart Communications, Inc) — a dot-brand that failed technical.
  • .art (EFLUX.ART, LLC) — failed technical and financial.
  • These applications didn’t provide financial statements, so failed the financial questions: .transunion (Trans Union LLC), .pnc (PNC Domains LLC), .cipriani (Cipirani Hotel), .jcp (JCP Media Inc)

Donuts signs 12 more new gTLD registry contracts

Kevin Murphy, August 30, 2013, Domain Registries

Donuts today announced that it has signed 12 more new gTLD Registry Agreements with ICANN.

The contracts, which have not yet been published, cover .bike, .camera, .clothing, .equipment, .estate, .guru, .holdings, .lighting, .singles, .ventures, .voyage and .企业, which is “.enterprise” in Chinese.

As of a week ago, the firm has also passed all of its Initial Evaluations, with no failures.

According to the DI PRO database, Donuts still has a total of 300 applications in play, of which 148 are contested.

Another 30 have objections, at least 103 have GAC Advice, and 96 are classified as “uncalculated risk”, all factors that could lead to delay and possibly rejection.

Today’s news mean ICANN has signed registry contracts with at least 16 new gTLDs.

It’s not much by the standards it had set itself — expecting to sign 20 a week by now — but it’s almost as many as it’s signed in the preceding 15 years.