ICANN has sent a formal breach notice to top ten registrar NameCheap, saying the company failed to comply with a mandatory audit.
ICANN also claims in the notice (pdf) that the company has failed to keep its web site up to date with pricing information required by policies.
NameCheap, which says it has over three million domains under management, may be the largest registrar to get to the formal, published breach notice stage of the ICANN compliance process.
But it should be noted that while the company is accredited and must comply with its Registrar Accreditation Agreement, it does almost all of its business as an eNom reseller.
Just a handful of domain names are registered under NameCheap’s own IANA number.
eNom reseller NameCheap is actually in the top 10 largest registrars in terms of domains under management, judging by data in regulatory documents filed by eNom parent Rightside.
According to a Rightside SEC filing related to its spin-off from Demand Media, NameCheap accounted for 23% of the company’s total domains under management as of September 30.
With the same document declaring Rightside has over 12 million names under management as of the same date, NameCheap apparently looks after just under 2.8 million domains.
By my reckoning, this means NameCheap is very probably the ninth-largest registrar by DUM out there, sandwiched between GMO Internet and FastDomain.
My comparison is not completely apples-to-apples — NameCheap’s number may include ccTLD registrations and I’m levering the company into a gTLDs-only league table — so may not be fully reliable.
But it’s the first solid indication of the size of NameCheap’s business I’ve seen in a while.
While NameCheap is accredited by ICANN in its own right, it has never registered more than a handful of domains under its own name, leaving it in the sub-900 range in the DUM league table.
According to Rightside, NameCheap is under contract to exclusively use eNom’s wholesale services until December 2014, but the deal does have one-year renewals built in.
Directi appears to be the last man standing in the three-way tie-up for .online, following the latest new gTLD withdrawals.
Namecheap has dropped its .online application, closely following Tucows, which dropped its bid a couple of weeks ago.
The three companies announced a deal in March to see them cooperate to win the contested TLD, but at the time it wasn’t clear which applicants would pull out.
Directi’s bid (filed by DotOnline Inc under the Radix brand) remains. It has already passed Initial Evaluation, which may be part of the reason its application was chosen as the “winner”.
The gTLD is still contested, however. Directi is competing with Donuts, I-Registry and Dot Online LLC.
Separately today, a curious two-way dot-brand battle seems to have had its final twist, with Guardian Life Insurance’s withdrawal of its application for .guardianlife.
The insurance company and newspaper publisher Guardian News and Media had both applied for gTLDs containing the string “guardian”. There were originally five, but only two remain.
It now looks like Guardian News will get .theguardian, having previously conceded .guardian to its brand rival and dropping its bid for .guardianmedia.
It appears that there’s been more than a bit of strategic applying, and maybe some deal-making, here.
Neither remaining application is contested, and neither have objections. It’s likely that .guardian is captured by the Governmental Advisory Committee’s advice against “closed generics”, however.
Three applicants for the .online gTLD appear to have settled their differences in what I believe is the first public example of new gTLD contention set consolidation.
Tucows, Directi and Namecheap said today that that they plan to “work together to manage the .online registry.” From the press release:
applicants for the same TLDs have begun to compete, negotiate, and, in some cases, join forces to ultimately produce one winning bid.
The first such alliance was revealed today, when domain industry veterans Directi, Tucows and Namecheap announced that they would work together to manage the .online registry.
The companies are of course three of the most successful domain name registrars out there.
The press release does not specify how the combination will be carried out. Under ICANN rules, two of the applicants would have to drop their applications. It’s not possible to resubmit as a joint venture.
It also does not acknowledge that there are three other applicants for .online — Donuts and smaller portfolio applicants Dot Online LLC and I-REGISTRY Ltd — which are not party to the agreement.
NameCheap has decided to bring back the promotion that saw roughly 20,000 domain names transferred to it from Go Daddy, in protest of the company’s stance on US legislation, a year ago.
Its “second annual Move Your Domain Day” will be on January 22, with inbound transfers costing $3.99 (a buck cheaper than last year) on domains in the five biggest gTLDs.
It will donate $0.50 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for every transfer, escalating to $1 and $1.50 if it gets more than 10,000 and 20,000 domains respectively.
The original promo was an opportunistic move to capitalize on Go Daddy’s support for the censor-happy Stop Online Piracy Act, which caused a great deal of controversy a year ago.
SOPA is now of course dead, and the senior Go Daddy executive who was most vocally in support of the bill, general counsel Christine Jones, is no longer with the company.