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The latest new gTLD passes and signings

Kevin Murphy, December 16, 2013, Domain Registries

Five new gTLD applications passed Extended Evaluation late Friday, while one more contract was signed.

Four of the five EE passes were dot-brands that had previously failed to provide ICANN with enough financial information to pass their Initial Evaluation.

They are: .mckinsey (McKinsey Holdings), .alcon (Alcon Laboratories), .cipriani (Hotel Cipriani), and .jcp (JCP Media).

The fifth was DotHome Ltd (Defender Security/CGR-Ecommerce) with .home, a bittersweet pass given that the .home gTLD is now unlikely to ever see the light of day due to name collision risks.

Also late Friday, another registry signed its Registry Agreement with ICANN. This time, it was Dai Nippon Printing with .dnp, a Japanese dot-brand.

The contract has not yet been published, but it seems unlikely to be ICANN’s newly proposed dot-brand contract, which is still open for public comment.

NamesCon ticket winners selected

Kevin Murphy, December 16, 2013, Domain Services

Over the weekend we randomly selected the five winners of free tickets to the NamesCon conference.

To enter, all you had to do was leave a comment answering the question:

What’s the best way to explain the benefits of new gTLDs to somebody from outside the domain industry?

The prizes are free conference passes to NamesCon, which runs at the Tropicana hotel in Las Vegas from January 13 to 15.

The winners were picked using the random number generator at Random.org. By screen name, they are:

  1. JS
  2. Tony C
  3. Nic Steinbach
  4. Adam Strong
  5. Pat

They will be all contacted via email by DI today to arrange for ticket delivery.

Many thanks to everyone who participated. There were some interesting answers in there.

No costs to registries from TM Claims extension

Kevin Murphy, December 13, 2013, Domain Services

New gTLD registries will not have to pay any extra fees due to the Trademark Clearinghouse’s extension of the Trademark Claims service, according to the the TMCH.

When the TMCH announced a few days ago that it planned to extend Claims indefinitely — beyond the 90 days required by ICANN contract — a couple of gTLD registries asked me if it would mean more costs for them.

According to the TMCH, the answer is “no”.

The TMCH said in a statement (with my emphasis):

no additional costs will be charged to the registries

The Clearinghouse will create an extra interface that works separately from the existing trademark database interface for the 90 days Claims Notifications (during these 90 days registries have to pay 0.25 USD per registration when there is a successful registration matching a mark in the Clearinghouse). The 90+ interface will charge no such fee when there is an exact match.

The TMCH plans to use other means, such as scraping zone files, to provide the extended service.

Blocked trademarks still eligible for Donuts sunrises

Kevin Murphy, December 13, 2013, Domain Registries

Donuts has confirmed that it is to allow trademark owners to participate in its new gTLD Sunrise periods even if their marks appear on name collisions block-lists.

The decision means that companies will be able to choose whether to grab names matching their marks during Sunrise, or take the risk that they will be released at a later date.

Donuts, like all gTLD registries, has been given block-lists for each of its TLDs. The idea is to avoid collisions with names already in use on private name-spaces behind corporate firewalls.

Lots of these blocked names match or contain well-known trademarks.

(Trademark owners can use the DI PRO collisions search engine to figure out which gTLDs have been asked to block their marks.)

While this appears at first glance to be good news for mark owners that just want their marks blocked in as many TLDs as possible, it also poses potential risks.

Blocked names are not likely to be blocked until after the first wave of Sunrise periods are over, and ICANN’s unblocking process has not yet been written.

For a company that wants to register its brand in a new gTLD, but is on a block-list, that could cause problems.

By allowing companies to participate in Sunrise regardless, Donuts is giving them a way to mitigate the risk of somebody else grabbing their brands in future.

Donuts does not plan to allow any of these names to be activated in the DNS until the ICANN collisions mitigation plan has been finalized, however.

So companies could find themselves paying for Sunrise names but unable to use them until some unspecified future date — if at all.

Ten more new gTLDs get ICANN contracts

Kevin Murphy, December 13, 2013, Domain Registries

.bar, .pub, .fish, .actor, .caravan, .saarland, .yokohama, .ren, .eus and .рус all have new gTLD contracts with ICANN as of yesterday.

It’s an eclectic batch of TLDs. Unusually, only one belongs to Donuts.

Of note is .caravan, which on the face of it looks like an English-language generic, but which is actually a closed, single-registrant dot-brand.

While “caravan” is an English dictionary word in the UK and Australasia, in the US it’s a 50-year-old trademark belonging to Illinois-based applicant Caravan International.

The Governmental Advisory Committee never flagged up .caravan as a “closed generic” in its Beijing Communique, so ICANN never questioned how it would be used.

However, the application states that the company plans “to reserve all names within the TLD to itself”.

What we seem to have here is a case of a dictionary word in one part of the world being captured by a single-registrant applicant due to a trademark elsewhere.

Another notable new Registry Agreement signatory is Punto 2012, which has obtained a contract for .bar.

The gTLD was originally contested, but Demand Media’s United TLD withdrew following an RFP held by the government of Montenegro, which had an effective veto over the string “Bar” due to a match with the protected name of one of its administrative regions.

I gather Montenegro will be paid in some way from the .bar registry pot.

There are also a few new geographic/cultural registries this week: .eus for the Basque people of Spain, .yokohama for a Japanese city, .saarland for a German state and the Cyrillic IDN .рус for a subset of the Russian people.

The only .brand is .ren, for the Chinese social network Renren.

The remainder are English-language generics.