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New gTLDs top 100 as first dot-brands hit the root

Kevin Murphy, January 18, 2014, Domain Registries

There are now 107 new gTLDs live on the internet, following the latest batch of delegations.

Sixteen strings were entered into the DNS root today, including the first two dot-brands, which are Monash University’s .monash and CITIC Group’s .中信 (“.citic” in Chinese).

.CLUB Domains, Luxury Partners and Plan Bee became freshly-minted registries with the delegations of .club, .luxury and .build while legacy gTLD registry Afiias added .red, .pink and .shiksha to its roster.

Uniregistry added five new gTLDs to the two it had delegated in an earlier batch: .gift, .guitars, .link, .photo and .pics.

The delegation of .photo means the root now has its first singular/plural clash; Donuts already owns .photos.

Finally, I-REGISTRY added .rich to its .onl and China’s CNNIC had .网络 (“.network”) and .公司 (“.company”) delegated.

UPDATE (Jan 22): This post originally overlooked the delegation of .公司. It has been updated accordingly.

Right Of The Dot partners with Heritage for hybrid auctions

Kevin Murphy, January 15, 2014, Domain Services

Domain sales consultancy Right Of The Dot and collectibles auctioneer Heritage Auctions have made a deal to bring hybrid live/online auctions to the new gTLD space.

According to a ROTD press release, such services will be made available for new gTLD contention set resolution and premium second-level domain sales.

Heritage is pretty new to the domain name space, but its IP division is headed by Aron Meystedt, current owner of symbolics.com, the world’s oldest .com domain.

LogicBoxes customers get registry pre-pay “wallet”

Kevin Murphy, January 14, 2014, Domain Registrars

LogicBoxes has launched a new “wallet” service for its registrar clients, designed to make it easier for them to manage payments to the rapidly growing number of TLD registries.

The new Registry Wallet product — bundled in at no extra charge for existing customers — is a way for registrars to consolidate the process of managing pre-paid registry accounts.

Instead of managing accounts with dozens of registries for potentially hundreds of new gTLDs, LogicBoxes customers will be able to use the Wallet as a buffer and single management interface.

Many existing registries require registrars to fund an account in advance that gradually gets chipped away as more domains are sold to registrants. During quiet periods, the money sits dormant.

While some new gTLD registries are planning to allow credit card or post-payment options, others are sticking to the old ways and the legacy TLDs show no sign of changing, according to LogicBoxes senior marketing associate Vivek Desai.

“This service also aims at simplifying the invoicing and reconciliation process,” he said. “Imagine registrars having to reconcile statements and invoices with 30 or 40 or even more providers. Having one place to manage everything, will make things simpler.”

The company said it uses “pattern recognition algorithms” to predict usage, with manual oversight. It also features “threshold reminders, emergency credits and deactivation protection”, LogicBoxes said.

Eight more new gTLDs delegated

Kevin Murphy, January 14, 2014, Domain Registries

Donuts and United TLD had a combined total of eight new gTLDs added to the DNS root zone today.

Donuts subsidiaries saw .zone, .agency, .cheap and .marketing go live, while United TLD (Demand Media/Rightside) got .dance, .democrat, .moda (Spanish for “fashion/style”) and .social.

The nic.[tld] domains all appear to be resolving, albeit to the registries’ web sites in other TLDs.

There are now 91 new gTLDs live in the root, more than five times the number of legacy gTLDs. It seems likely that we’re going to pass 100 this week.

TLDH opens up list of 70,000 premium names for all new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, January 14, 2014, Domain Services

Top Level Domain Holdings has ramped up its new gTLD pre-registration effort with a new database service that enables registries to automatically collate and price their premium names.

The new OpenDB.co service builds on the Online Priority Enhanced Names system we reported on during the ICANN meeting in Buenos Aires a couple months ago.

TLDH chairman Fred Krueger told DI today that new gTLD registry operators will be able to automatically generate a list of up to 70,000 premium names — with associated prices — for their TLD(s).

It works using a proprietary taxonomy of strings in 500 categories, put together by about 30 people working for TLDH, and baseline .com pricing estimates calculated by various online tools such as Estibot.

If you’re the registry for .web, for example, you might decide that all premium .web domains are worth 50% of the .com price, and you could create your premium names list accordingly with just a few clicks.

But if you’re the registry for a narrower, niche gTLD, you might want to assign values by category, subcategory or individual name.

If you’re .poker, you might decide that names in the OpenDB “gambling” category are worth 300% of .com, due to the affinity between the TLD and the second level, and that “sports” names are worth 50%, but everything else is worth just 1% of the corresponding .com name.

A possible drawback of the system might be that the algorithmic .com price estimates underlying it are just that — estimates, based on factors such as Google search volume and Adwords cost-per-click.

Online tools that do this kind of price estimation are quite often criticized or mocked for under- or over-pricing names in existing TLDs.

Another drawback might be that while 70,000 is certainly a lot of strings, it might not dive deeply enough into the potential premium pool for very niche gTLDs.

If the service catches on, I expect it will wind up competing with consultancies that offer expertise-based pricing, such as Right Of The Dot, and brokerage platforms such as Sedo.

So far only PeopleBrowsr (.ceo, .best) has openly committed to use the system.

TLDH says that it will start offering any names in OpenDB via its affiliated Minds + Machines registrar, with a 20% markup.

There’s also an OpenDB API that registrars can use to add these premium names to their own storefronts, Krueger said.