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.xxx faces big test as landrush kicks off

Kevin Murphy, November 8, 2011, Domain Registries

The landrush phase for ICM Registry’s .xxx domain is scheduled to begin today, following the oversubscribed sunrise period that closed last week.

Given the inherently defensive nature of sunrise periods – most of the almost 80,000 applications were for non-resolving domains – landrush is the first big test of public demand for working .xxx names.

I expect healthy interest from domainers, despite the relatively high price of landrush registrations.

High-profile investors including Frank Schilling and Mike Berkens have already invested seven figures in .xxx via its Founders Program, which may set the tone for the rest of the community.

The landrush period runs until November 25. Contested domains will go to auction in December. General availability is currently scheduled to begin December 7.

Domain Name Wire has compiled a handy guide to the best-priced landrush registrars.

.xxx sunrise auctions delayed after 80k applications

Kevin Murphy, November 2, 2011, Domain Registries

ICM Registry has apparently delayed the results of its just-closed .xxx sunrise period until December to give it a chance to clear its backlog of unverified applications.

Corporation Services Company, a major brand-protection registrar, is reporting tonight that ICM and its validation firm, IProta, does not expect to finish validating trademark claims until November 28.

That’s a week later than ICM had planned to kick off the auction phase of the sunrise period, during which contested domains will be awarded to the highest bidder.

“The results of the applications that were submitted during the Sunrise phase will therefore not be available until the first week of December,” CSC said on its blog.

ICM announced yesterday that it has received almost 80,000 sunrise applications from trademark owners and porn companies seeking .xxx domains to match their .coms.

Almost half of those applications were filed during the last week of sunrise. Each trademark claim needs to be individually validated against government databases by IProta.

The plan, according to ICM’s web site, was to start auctioning contested sunrise domains November 21 and to take .xxx into general availability December 6.

Landrush kicks off next Tuesday, running for 17 days. Landrush auctions are scheduled to commence December 12, according to ICM’s web site.

Court throws out Russian gaming scandal claims

Kevin Murphy, November 2, 2011, Domain Registrars

Russian registrar RU-Center has won its appeal against a $7.5 million government fine, following claims that it gamed the launch of .РФ, registering tens of thousands of names to itself.

The Moscow Arbitration Court yesterday reversed the decision of the Federal Antimonoply Service, according to a statement from RU-Center, the .РФ registry and local media reports.

The dispute centers on the launch of the Cyrillic-script ccTLD last November, which saw over 200,000 registrations in the first six hours and half a million domains registered in the first few weeks.

RU-Center was quickly hit by claims that it had used its access to the registry, ccTLD Coordination Center, to register over 65,000 premium names to itself in order to auction them to users.

It later emerged that some of the Coordination Center’s launch policy-setters had ownership interests in RU-Center either directly or through family members.

In challenging the FAS ruling, RU-Center said that it only registered domains in its own name, via other registrars, because it had taken over 120,000 pre-orders from customers but was limited to filing 4,800 registrations per hour by the registry.

It also said that the domains remained in its own name because registry rules prohibited transfers during the first year of registration. The transfers will be effective November 11, it said.

Open .co landrush re-auctions — the full list

Kevin Murphy, October 4, 2011, Domain Sales

.CO Internet is putting 100 .co domain names that failed to auction during its landrush last year up for “re-auction”, and it looks like there are a few possible gems on the list.

The company said last week that the 100 names are the last of the domains that went to auction but failed to change hands due to a lack of bidders or non-payment by the winner.

While the first auctions were restricted to only those who had paid the landrush fee, this time around anybody can participate. Pool.com will again handle the auction.

There are some potentially nice names, such as accidentlawyers.co, injurylawyers.co, seoul.co, comicbooks.co and businessintelligence.co.

Click here for the full list of names.

The first .xxx porn site has gone live

Kevin Murphy, August 2, 2011, Domain Registries

Casting.xxx tonight has become officially the first live porn site to use a .xxx domain name.

It’s very not safe for work, of course, but if you head over there right now you can watch a handful of streaming videos, according to sources.

Casting.xxx is the first site to use a domain granted under ICM Registry’s Founders Program, which let the registry sell off or basically give away premium names to publishers.

ICM says it’s allocating about 1,500 domains to about 35 Founders, which is quite a lot more domains than I was expecting.

The .xxx top-level domain has been active in the domain name system for a few months now, but to date the only resolving domains have been those belonging to registry manager ICM.

Casting.xxx is registered to a Really Useful Ltd, which appears to have been set up purely to build sites on .xxx domains, of which casting.xxx is the first of several.

The .xxx sunrise period begins next month, with landrush in November and general availability slated for December.