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Applicants spank IO in .health objections

Kevin Murphy, December 19, 2013, Domain Policy

Donuts and Dot Health LLC have beaten back objections filed by ICANN’s Independent Objector over the .health gTLD.

In simultaneous separate rulings by the same three-person International Chamber of Commerce panel, it was decided that the string “health” is not intrinsically offensive.

The IO, in his Limited Public Interest Objections, had argued that health is a human right protected by international law, and that .health should be managed with certain safeguards to protect the public.

But the ICC panels sided with the applicants, finding that in order for an objector to prevail in a LPI objection he must show that the string itself contravenes international law.

The panels used a strict reading of the Applicant Guidebook and supporting documentation to come to their conclusions. In the Donuts case, the panel ruled:

The Panel has no hesitation in finding that the string “health” is not objectionable in and of itself. It is obvious to the Panel that the word “health” does not conflict with any generally accepted legal norms relating to morality and public order of the same nature as the first three grounds ICANN listed in AGB Section 3.5.3.

The LPI objection was created in order to prevent gTLDs from being delegated where the string itself endorses ideas such as racism, slavery or child abuse.

ICANN has said that applications for such strings “may well be rare or non-existent”.

The panels sharply dismissed claims that IO, Alain Pellet, and a staff member were conflicted due to their previous work for the World Health Organization.

The Donuts ruling is here and the Dot Health ruling is here.

1&1′s new gTLD ads banned for “misleading” viewers

Kevin Murphy, December 19, 2013, Domain Registrars

TV ads promoting 1&1′s new gTLD pre-registration services have been banned from the UK’s airwaves after being ruled “likely to mislead” by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ads were part of probably the biggest new gTLD marketing outreach to date, a worldwide campaign I’ve heard is costing 1&1 up to $80 million. The UK ad stated:

Do you own a company? Or an online shop? Are you an estate agent? Or a car dealer? Are you from London? Or maybe Scotland? Are you looking for a great new web or e-mail address? Then choose from over 700 new domains. Pre-order yours for free, before someone else does, and link it to your website.

The ASA ruled that the ads would have led consumers to believe that they would definitely get the name they pre-registered as soon as it became available.

In fact, of course, allocation is dependent largely on registry policy, Sunrise registrations, name collisions blocking, and whatever other barriers ICANN can think up in the meantime.

The ASA said in its decision:

Whilst we considered consumers would understand the reference to ‘pre-order’ to mean that the domain names were not currently available, we considered they would understand the ad to mean that they could place an order with 1&1 Internet that would secure their chosen domain name when it became available. However, we understood that that was not the case and that upon receipt of a pre-order, 1&1 Internet would pass on the customer’s request to the relevant domain name registry, who would apply their own allocation process when the requested domain name became available. We therefore considered the presentation of the ad was likely to mislead.

The ad therefore “must not appear again in its current form”, the ASA ruled.

Donuts officially richer than God after winning three new gTLD auctions

Kevin Murphy, December 19, 2013, Domain Registries

Donuts has a clear path to being awarded the .church, .life and .loans new gTLDs, following a private auction managed by Innovative Auctions this week.

Life Covenant Church and CompassRose.life have already withdrawn their applications for .church and .life respectively, and others are expected to follow soon.

Life Covenant Church, which does business at LifeChurch.tv, was described as the largest multi-site church in the US last year, with 46,000 regular attendees across 15 locations.

A lucrative business, no doubt. But apparently not lucrative enough to beat Donuts.

In the three-way contention set for .life, Donuts beat CompassRose.life, which seems to be affiliated with a Canadian housing developer and Xiamen 35.com Technology.

In .loans, which still faces Governmental Advisory Committee advice, Donuts beat fellow portfolio applicant Radix.

The losing applicants will all receive pay-offs from Donuts as a result of losing the auctions.

Innovative has now helped resolve 21 contention sets.

.buzz and .support go live

Kevin Murphy, December 19, 2013, Domain Registries

DotStrategy has become the newest registry with a gTLD live in the DNS root.

Its .buzz, which is aimed at “groups related to blogging, communications, journalism, advertising, and marketing and development” was delegated last night.

The first second-level name, nic.buzz, is currently resolving to a parking page — seemingly managed by one of the usual parking companies — which, let’s face it, looks a bit crap even as a temporary measure.

That said, I really like .buzz as a concept, if for no other reason than it’s a rare example of a gTLD string that seems to have been selected by a human rather than an algorithm.

Speaking of which, Donuts also had its 42nd gTLD, .support, delegated last night.

There are now 54 new gTLDs live in the DNS root.

Seven registrars sign up to M+M pre-reg platform

Kevin Murphy, December 18, 2013, Domain Registries

Top Level Domain Holdings has signed up 12 registrars to sell its forthcoming gTLDs, seven of which are to also use its recently announced OPEN pre-registration platform.

While TLDH is operating vertically integrated registrar/registrar business, Minds + Machines it’s also built a pre-registration service that it wants other, higher-profile registrars to access.

OPEN, for Online Priority Enhanced Names, allows pre-registrations to be purchased on a more-or-less buy-it-now basis. Names blocked or claimed in Sunrise will be refunded.

The company also said in a market update today that 12 registrars have signed Registry-Registrar Agreements, and that it expects it first new gTLDs to launch in the first quarter 2014.