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Two new TLDs to be approved next week

Kevin Murphy, October 6, 2011, Domain Registries

ICANN is set to approve two new country-code top-level domains next week – .cw and .sx – for the year-old nations of Curacao and Sint Maarten.

The two countries were created when the Netherlands Antilles split last October.

The ICANN board of directors plans to rubber-stamp the delegations of both ccTLDs next Tuesday, according to the consent agenda for its meeting.

It also plans to vote on the “transition” arrangements for the Netherlands Antilles’ .an, which is now a ccTLD without a country.

The .an space won’t be the first TLD to be deprecated. Yugoslavia’s .yu disappeared in March last year, for example, a few years after Serbia and Montenegro acquired their own ccTLDs.

The recipient of .sx is expected to be SX Registry, a joint venture of Luxembourg registry startup OpenRegistry and Canadian registrar MediaFusion.

OpenRegistry CEO Jean-Christophe Vignes said that if ICANN votes for the delegation the company will start talks with potential registrar partners at the ICANN Dakar meeting later this month.

MediaFusion and Vignes’ alma mater EuroDNS have already been approved to act as .sx registrars.

The company plans to use CHIP, the ClearingHouse for Intellectual Property, for its sunrise period.

Anyone with a .an registration predating December 2010 will be able to request the equivalent .sx name under a grandfathering program the company plans to launch.

It will be the first TLD that OpenRegistry has provided the back-end infrastructure for.

OpenRegistry wins .sx contract

Kevin Murphy, March 16, 2011, Domain Registries

OpenRegistry, the recently formed registry services provider, has won its first top-level domain deal.

The Benelux-based company has been signed up to provide the back-end registry for .sx, the country-code TLD newly assigned to Sint Maarten.

The deal with Sint Maarten’s government will see the formation of a new company, SX Registry SA, a joint venture of OpenRegistry and MediaFusion, a small Canadian registrar.

MediaFusion’s president, Normand Fortier, will serve as CEO of the company.

The registry’s policies and registrar partners will be announced over the coming weeks, but OpenRegistry CEO Jean-Christophe Vignes tells me the plan is to have a completely open, global ccTLD, along similar lines to the recently relaunched .co domain.

The ClearingHouse for Intellectual Property, CHIP, has been engaged to provide trademark protection services for .sx’s sunrise period.

Sint Maarten is a new country, one of three that formed following the break-up of the Netherlands Antilles (.an) last October. It was assigned .sx in December.

As such, the ccTLD has not yet been officially delegated to anyone, and the new company is hopeful it will be able to lock it down by ICANN’s June meeting in Singapore.

OpenRegistry, while employing experienced staff, does not currently operate any TLD registries. The .sx deal may make the company more appealing to other new TLD applicants.