Uniregistry and Donuts have settled at least five new gTLD contention sets this week, raising the question of whether Uniregistry has reversed its objection to private auctions.
I think it has.
In five of the six head-to-head contention sets between the two companies, Donuts has won the rights to .furniture, .auction and .gratis, and Uniregistry has won .audio and .juegos.
The losing company has already withdrawn their applications in all five cases.
I gather that a deal was made, but Uniregistry won’t say whether it was via a private auction or not and I’ve not yet had a reply to a request for comment from Donuts.
But Uniregistry, which has previously spoken out against the private auction concept — saying it raises antitrust concerns — declined to confirm or deny whether these five contests were resolved by auction.
“We’re grateful to have found a way through the impasse and resolved the contention,” was all Uniregistry CEO Frank Schilling would say.
Applicant Auction’s project director Sheel Mohnot confirmed that a new gTLD auction took place this week but said he could not disclose the participants or the strings.
To the best of my knowledge, that’s a new line — the auctioneer has always kept quiet about sales prices in the past, but has always revealed which companies were involved.
So has Uniregistry changed its mind about the legality of private new gTLD auctions? My guess is: “Yes.”
The only remaining string where the two companies are competing in a two-horse race is .shopping, according to the DI PRO database, but that’s subject to some weird string similarity nonsense and probably not suitable for a private auction yet.
If you’re thinking about trying to bag these names when Uniregistry takes .sexy into general availability next week, you’re out of luck — they’re among almost 100 registry-reserved names.
Under ICANN’s standard Registry Agreement, new gTLD registries are allowed to register up to 100 names to themselves “necessary for the operation or promotion of the TLD”.
To date, not many registries appear to have taken advantage of this contractual allowance, but .sexy is one of them.
Uniregistry has mostly reserved fairly standard operational names such as register.sexy, about.sexy, names.sexy and so on, but there are a few interesting choices that hint at possible future services.
Do auctions.sexy and marketplace.sexy hint at moves into the secondary market? Could areyou.sexy be the destination of a future advertising campaign? What are we going to see at build.sexy and pay.sexy?
Here are the names Uniregisty seems to have reserved:
247.sexy, a.sexy, about.sexy, abuse.sexy, account.sexy, areyou.sexy, auction.sexy, auctions.sexy, build.sexy, buy.sexy, cart.sexy, com.sexy, contact.sexy, corp.sexy, create.sexy, dev.sexy, diy.sexy, dom.sexy, domain.sexy, domains.sexy, email.sexy, finance.sexy, find.sexy, free.sexy, get.sexy, geta.sexy, getmy.sexy, help.sexy, home.sexy, host.sexy, hosting.sexy, http.sexy, iwanta.sexy, join.sexy, lease.sexy, legal.sexy, link.sexy, list.sexy, login.sexy, lookup.sexy, mail.sexy, main.sexy, make.sexy, manage.sexy, market.sexy, marketplace.sexy, mobile.sexy, move.sexy, name.sexy, names.sexy, net.sexy, news.sexy, operations.sexy, ops.sexy, partners.sexy, pay.sexy, payment.sexy, pro.sexy, reg.sexy, register.sexy, registera.sexy, registrar.sexy, registrars.sexy, registry.sexy, renew.sexy, rent.sexy, report.sexy, reports.sexy, reserve.sexy, reserved.sexy, s.sexy, search.sexy, secure.sexy, sell.sexy, seo.sexy, sexy.sexy, shop.sexy, signup.sexy, site.sexy, support.sexy, trade.sexy, transfer.sexy, try.sexy, uni.sexy, unireg.sexy, uniregistry.sexy, use.sexy, web.sexy, webmail.sexy, website.sexy, www.sexy, youare.sexy, your.sexy and youre.sexy.
Of particular note: your.sexy, with which Uniregistry seems to acknowledge the declining standards of grammar among the internet-using public, and www.sexy, which seems to be registered and resolving despite appearing on .sexy’s list of must-block name collisions.
I’m a firm believer that the success of new gTLDs will be measured not just in registration volumes but also in usage, and usage is a lot trickier to measure than domains under management.
One way of measuring usage that’s very familiar to many domainers is Alexa, the Amazon-owned web metrics service that uses toolbars and other data sources to rank web sites by popularity.
This kind of popularity data has been incorporated into TLD Health Check for some time, as one of many means to compare TLDs.
Alexa data isn’t perfect, but it is data, so I thought it might be interesting to see which of the 147 new gTLDs currently in the root are showing up in its daily list of the top one million domains.
There are 10 names, half of which are .guru domains, on yesterday’s list. There are not many functioning web sites yet, but for whatever reason these domains all, according to Alexa, have traffic.
These are the domains, with their popularity rank in parentheses:
The highest-ranking new gTLD domain on our list is actually banned by ICANN due to the purported risk of name collisions.
It’s reserved by Uniregistry and will not resolve or be made available for registration for the foreseeable future.
I think what we’re looking at here is a case of somebody (or more likely lots of people) using www.link in web pages when they really should be using example.com.
Possible cybersquatting? Beatport (I’m old and unhip enough that I had to Google it) is an online electronic music store and the domain is registered via Go Daddy’s Domains By Proxy service.
The domain presumably refers to music “singles” rather than marital status, but it doesn’t seem to resolve from where I’m sitting. Quite why it’s getting traffic is beyond me. A typo in a URL somewhere? IP lawyers?
The first resolving name on our list leads to a work-in-progress Blogger blog. It’s registered to a chap in Gujarat, India, leading me to infer that GTU is Gujarat Technological University. Another squat?
The first domainer on the list, I believe. The guy who registered seo.guru paid roughly $2,500 for it during Donuts’ first Early Access Program. It’s currently parked at Go Daddy.
I’d hazard a guess that it’s on the list because it’s a dream URL for an SEO professional (or charlatan, take your pick) and SEOs checking its availability are much more likely to have the Alexa toolbar installed.
This one resolves to an under construction page.
I’d speculate that the pre-release $8,100 sale of deals.xyz caused a lot of domainers to check out whether the same second-level was available in other new gTLDs, spiking its traffic and causing an Alexa appearance.
The only registry-owned domain on our list — nic.club is the official registry web site of .CLUB Domains, which has its .club gTLD in sunrise until the end of March.
Is its appearance on the list indicative of strong pre-launch marketing or something else?
I’m not making this stuff up. This domain belongs to a British pest control company but resolves to a default Apache page. I can’t begin to guess why it’s getting traffic.
An unregistered name in a sunrise gTLD. Possible name collision?
Hot dang, we have a web site!
The domain shop.camera was only registered 10 days ago, but it already leads to what appears to be a fully-functioning Amazon affiliate site, complete with “Shop.Camera” branding.
An email-gathering affiliate marketing site that I personally wouldn’t touch with yours. Still, it looks quite slick compared to the others on the list and it appears that the owner has made some effort to promote it.
New gTLD portfolio applicant Famous Four Media has selected CentralNic to provide back-end registry services, joining existing providers ARI Registry Services and Neustar.
CentralNic will be “a preferred provider” of Domain Venture Partners, which is the parent company of Famous Four’s 60 new gTLD applicants, according to a joint statement issued by the companies today.
Neither firm wanted to give any firm details about how CentralNic fits into Famous Four’s strategy, such as whether CentralNic might replace existing back-ends as it did with 27 formerly GMO Registry bids.
Famous Four is already partnered with Neustar on 52 new gTLD applications and ARI on five more.
DVP chief operating officer Charles Melvin told DI in a statement:
CentralNic will sit as one of our preferred backend technology partners. We are in the process of agreeing terms with a limited number of select providers to sit on our preferred panel. Until such agreements have been put in place it would be inappropriate for us to comment on them.
The deal is related to DVP II, an investment vehicle through which DVP hopes to raise up to $400 million “to acquire Top-Level Domain registries, some of which are already live.”
We were leaked a copy of a June 2013 investor presentation related to DVP II, in which the company said its back-end partner had “the lowest fees in the industry”.
With its new “preferred panel”, it looks like the company is hedging its bets.
NCC Group, owner of .secure applicant Artemis, has bought the rights to .trust from Deutsche Post, which has an uncontested bid for the new gTLD but decided it doesn’t want it.
The price tag of the deal was not disclosed.
NCC, which is also one of the two major data escrow providers supporting new gTLD applicants, said in a statement:
Deutsche Post originally obtained the gTLD through ICANN’s new gTLD allocation process during 2013 but has now chosen not to utilise it.
NCC Group will use .trust as the primary vehicle for launching its Artemis internet security service, which aims to create global internet safety through a secure and trusted environment for selected customers.
The Group remains in the contention stage with its application to ICANN for the .secure gTLD. It believes that there will be a benefit in having a number of complementary named gTLDs, all of which offer the same high levels of internet security.
While Artemis has applied for .secure, it’s facing competition from the much richer Amazon.
Its initial hope that Amazon’s bid would be rejected due to the controversy over “closed generics” seems to have been dashed after Amazon was allowed to change its application.
NCC may be characterizing .trust as an “additional” security TLD, but it’s quite possible it will be its “only” one.
Deutsche Post, which as owner of DHL is the world’s largest courier service, has passed Initial Evaluation on .trust but has not yet signed its ICANN contract.
ICANN’s web site still shows Deutsche Post as the applicant for .trust and it’s not clear from NCC’s statement how the transfer would be handled.