The Internet Commerce Association has called for a “moratorium” on the Uniform Rapid Suspension policy being added to legacy gTLD contracts, months before Verisign’s .net contract is up for renewal.
In a blog post, ICA counsel Phil Corwin accused ICANN staff of making policy by the back door by compelling pre-2012 registries to adopt URS, despite a lack of ICANN community consensus policy.
In the last few years the registries for .jobs, .travel, .cat, .pro, .xxx and most recently .mobi have agreed to adopt many aspects of the 2012 Registry Agreement, which includes the URS, often in exchange for lower ICANN fees.
the real test of [ICANN’s Global Domains Division’s] illicit strategy of incremental de facto policymaking will come later this year, when the .Net RA comes up for renewal. We have no idea whether Verisign will be seeking any substantial revisions to that RA that would provide GDD staff with substantial leverage to impose URS, nor do we know whether Verisign would be amenable to that tradeoff.
The .net RA is due to expire July 1 this year.
Verisign pays ICANN $0.75 for each .net domain registration, renewal and transfer. If that were to be reduced to the 2012 standard of $0.25, it would save Verisign at least $7.5 million a year.
The URS provides brand owners with a way to suspend trademark-infringing domains in clear-cut cases. It’s based on UDRP but is faster and cheaper and does not allow the brand owner to seize ownership of the domains.
ICA represents large domain speculators, most of which have their investments tied up in .com and .net domains. It’s complained about the addition of URS to other gTLDs but the complaints have largely fallen on deaf ears.
ICANN has said that it does not force URS on anyone, but that it takes the base new gTLD program RA as its starting point for bilateral negotiations with registries whose contracts are up for renewal.
Afilias has applied to ICANN to have its ban on owning registrars in two of its own gTLDs, .mobi and .pro, lifted.
With requests to ICANN a few days ago (here and here), the company said it wants to be able to own more than 15% of an ICANN-accredited registrar that sells both TLDs, which is currently forbidden by the two Registry Agreements in question.
Afilias’ proposed new .info contract, which was renegotiated this year (because it expired) and closed for public comment last week, would also enable the company to vertically integrate with a .info registrar.
A process for relaxing the cross-ownership rules on a per-TLD basis was approved by ICANN’s board of directors last October.
The only registry so far to have its contractual ban lifted is puntCat, the .cat registry operator.
When an ICANN working group was discussing the vertical integration issue a couple of years ago, Afilias was one of the participants that held fast against any relaxation of the 15% ownership cap, eventually driving the working group into stalemate and forcing the ICANN board’s hand.
The .mobi top-level domain now reportedly has more than a million registered domains.
HosterStats, which tracks the size of TLD zone files, reported today that .mobi currently has 1,002,232 domains.
This would make it only the sixth gTLD to break into seven figures, the third if you only include gTLDs created by ICANN.
The .mobi domain was approved in 2005 and launched by the registry, mTLD, in 2006. The company was acquired by Afilias in February 2010.
It would be far too pedantic to point out that Afilias still has over 5,000 .mobi domains reserved for auction, which would bring the total below a million, so I won’t.
In other news, .CO Internet has had to deny that the .co namespace has also broken through one million registrations, following reports to the contrary.
Barring a sudden spike in demand for .co domains, I’d guess that’s unlikely to happen until the second half of the year.
Earlier today I blogged about how dotMobi had published a list of over 5,000 “premium” domain names that are still registry-reserved.
I thought it might be interesting to see how many of these strings were still available in other top-level domains. If they’re “premium” you’d expect them to have been snapped up long ago in TLDs such as .com and .net.
But that doesn’t appear to be the case.
I ran all 5,108 strings on the dotMobi list through Go Daddy’s bulk registration tool, to see how many were still available in other TLDs, and the results were a little surprising.
More than 80 are still available in .com, although none appear to be English. I suspect some may even be typos of non-English words (pornigrifia.com, for example).
About 375 of .mobi’s premiums are currently unregistered in .org and/or .net. Most are non-English, but there are a handful of exceptions, such as wildparties.org, tooshort.org, and gas-propane.org.
(I’ve no idea why these are considered “premium” domains under .mobi or any other TLD)
Perhaps most usefully, there are well over 800 strings on the .mobi list that have yet to be registered in the new .co namespace, hundreds of which are in English and (I think) Spanish.
The English domains include two-word combos such as banquetrooms.co, bostonterriers.co, carpeltunnel.co, scarletfever.co and raplyrics.co, as well as the odd dictionary word, such as rejected.co and monologues.co.
A great many of these available .co names are adult-oriented, such as adultpics.co, celebritynudes.co, footworship.co and gayhunks.co.
As far as I can tell, Go Daddy’s tool only spits back domains that are available at the standard registration fee. I registered half a dozen .co names this afternoon at reg fee using this method.
The list’s too big to post here, but if anybody’s interested in my spreadsheet, I’d be happy to share. Drop me a line: kevin at domainincite.com
Afilias-owned dotMobi is taking another crack at selling off over 5,000 “premium” .mobi domain names that it has had reserved since its launch in 2006.
They all (or most) now resolve to dotMobi web pages where interested parties can file an expression of interest in the domain, in order to be alerted when they become available.
The actual process by which the domains will be allocated has yet to be announced.
The biggest premium .mobi sale I’m aware of to date was flowers.mobi, which Rick Schwartz picked up for $200,000 in 2006. He plans to sell the domain, probably at a loss, later this month.
The list makes fascinating reading. To my untrained eye, many of the domains appear to be utterly bizarre inclusions.
Businesswoman? Out-of-town meeting? Need to quickly self-administer a Pap smear? Why not visit speculum.mobi for a list of nearby gynecological equipment suppliers?