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NameJet to auction new gTLD domains before they launch

Kevin Murphy, November 8, 2013, Domain Sales

Many registrars are already offering new gTLD pre-registrations, now NameJet has taken the idea one step further: it’s going to auction premium names months before the gTLDs even go live.

It’s just announced a deal with XYZ.com, which is on track to run the .xyz and .college registries, to sell 40 “premium” domain names this month. In fact, according to its press relase, the first auction started on Wednesday.

These two new gTLDs are uncontested but do not yet have Registry Agreements with ICANN, and have not passed pre-delegation testing or any of the other pre-launch prerequisites.

The companies said they due to go live next year.

Some of the domains to be auctioned include: loans.college, scholarships.college, vacations.xyz, insurancequotes.xyz, students.college, jobs.college, auctions.xyz and health.xyz.

NameJet said it expects the auctions to be wrapped up by the end of February.

Demand Media to spin off domains business as Rightside

Kevin Murphy, November 6, 2013, Domain Registrars

Demand Media has confirmed its plan to spin off its domain name business into a separate company.

The new firm will be called Rightside. As the (rather good) name suggests, it will include the company’s interests in over 100 new gTLD applications and registries.

As well as United TLD, it will also include eNom, Name.com and Demand’s stake in NameJet.

Rightside will be based in Kirkland, Washington, and headed by new appointed CEO Taryn Naidu, who’s been running Demand’s domain unit internally for the last couple of years.

Afternic picked to handle .buzz premium names

Afternic and NameJet have been selected by the applicant for .buzz, dotStrategy, to manage premium domain name allocation in the new gTLD.

Afternic will build the .buzz reserved names list and sell them through its marketplace, while NameJet will exclusively handle sunrise, landrush and premium name auctions, the company said in a press release.

Arkansas-based dotStrategy, which is also in a contention set for .fun, thinks .buzz will be a memorable gTLD for marketing campaigns, among other purposes.

Its .buzz application has already passed Initial Evaluation with ICANN, is uncontested and has no objections or GAC worries. The company reckons it could go to sunrise by October.

NameJet and Afternic sign another gTLD launch

Kevin Murphy, April 3, 2013, Domain Services

NameJet and Afternic will provide launch auctions and premium name distribution for the .build gTLD, should it be approved, the two companies have announced.

The deal was inked with applicant Plan Bee LLC, which is affiliated with Minardos Group, a construction company.

The two companies will handle auctions under the sunrise and landrush phases, according to a press release.

It’s the second such deal to be announced by the Afternic/Namejet partnership to date, after WhatBox’s .menu. The companies are also working with Directi’s .pw registry.

Plan Bee has also applied for .expert and .construction, but these are both contested so there’s less certainty that they’ll end up approved.

The applicant reckons it will be able to bring .build to market in the fourth quarter of this year.

With a prioritization number of 1,049 in ICANN’s queue, this may prove optimistic, depending on how the remaining portions of the program — such as predelegation testing and contracting — pan out.

Demand Media mulls eNom spin-off

Kevin Murphy, February 20, 2013, Domain Registrars

Are the synergies between domain name registrars and content farms not all they were cracked up to be?

That’s a question emerging from last night’s news that Demand Media is planning to spin off its domains business, which includes number-two registrar eNom, into a separate public company.

The company, reporting its fourth-quarter earnings, said that it’s looking into the possibility of breaking up content and domains into two separately-owned businesses.

The new domain company would comprise eNom (wholesale) and Name.com (retail) on the registrar side, any new gTLDs Demand manages to win, the formative registry back-end business, and its stake in NameJet.

“We believe that a separation of the two independent companies will better position each business to pursue their increasingly diverse strategic priorities and opportunities,” CEO Richard Rosenblatt told analysts.

The spin-off would have revenue of over $150 million a year and margins of almost 20%, chief financial officer Mel Tang added.

Rosenblatt said new gTLDs will be “transformative” for the domain industry, saying that Google, Amazon and dot-brands will help grow consumer awareness of the world beyond .com.

Demand has filed 26 new gTLD applications of its own, and has 50-50 rights to 107 more with Donuts.

Previously, Demand has stated in regulatory filings that it used data gathered from domain name lookups to create ideas for the content farm side of its business. It’s not clear if that would continue after a split.