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Millions of new gTLD domains to be released as collision blocks end

Kevin Murphy, November 17, 2014, Domain Registries

Millions of new gTLD domain names are set to start being released, as ICANN-mandated name collision blocks start getting lifted.

Starting yesterday, domains that have been blocked from registration due to name collisions can now be released by the registries.

About 95,000 names in gTLDs such as .nyc, .tattoo, .webcam and .wang have already ended their mandatory “controlled interruption” period and hundreds of thousands more are expected to be unblocked on a weekly basis over the coming months (and years).

Want to register sex.nyc, poker.bid or garage.capetown? That may soon be possible. Those names, along with hundreds of other non-gibberish domains, are no longer subject to mandatory blocks.

Roughly 45 new gTLDs have ended their CI periods over the last two days. Here are the Latin-script ones:

.bid, .buzz, .cancerresearch, .capetown, .caravan, .cologne, .cymru, .durban, .gent, .jetzt, .joburg, .koeln, .krd, .kred, .lacaixa, .nrw, .nyc, .praxi, .qpon, .quebec, .ren, .ruhr, .saarland, .wang, .webcam, .whoswho, .wtc, .citic, .juegos, .luxury, .menu, .monash, .physio, .reise, .tattoo, .tirol, .versicherung, .vlaanderen and .voting

Another half dozen or so non-Latin script gTLDs have also finished with CI.

There are over 17,500 newly unblocked names in .nyc alone. Over the whole new gTLD program, over 9.8 million name collisions are to be temporarily blocked.

Name collisions are domains in new gTLDs that were already receiving DNS root traffic well before the gTLD was delegated, suggesting that they may be in use on internal networks.

To avoid possible harm from collisions, ICANN forced registries to make these names unavailable for registration and to resolve to the deliberately non-functional and odd-looking IP address 127.0.53.53.

Each affected name had to be treated in this way for 90 days. The first TLDs started implementing CI on August 18, so the first batch of registries ended their programs yesterday.

So, will every domain that was on a registry’s collision list be available to buy right away?

No.

ICANN hasn’t told registries that they must release names as soon as their CI period is over, so it appears to be at the registries’ discretion when the names are released. I gather some intend to do so as soon as today.

Also, any name that was blocked due to a collision and also appears in the Trademark Clearinghouse will have to remain blocked until it has been subject to a Sunrise period.

Some registries, such as Donuts, have already made their collision names available (but not activated in the DNS) under their original Sunrise periods so will be able to release unclaimed names at the same time as all the rest.

Other registries will have to talk to ICANN about a secondary sunrise period, to give trademark holders their first chance to grab the previously blocked names.

Furthermore, domains that the registry planned to reserved as “premiums” will continue to be reserved as premiums.

“Second most marketable athlete in the world” to use a .club domain

Kevin Murphy, November 17, 2014, Domain Registries

Virat Kohli, a famous Indian cricketer, is .CLUB Domains’ latest star anchor tenant.

He’s launching his first ever official web site, at viratkohli.club, today.

No, I’ve never heard of him either, but he’s been called the “second most marketable athlete in the world” after Lewis Hamilton by SportsPro, a UK sports marketing business-to-business magazine.

The 26-year-old has captained the Indian national side and holds various records in the world of cricket.

Just yesterday, he became “the first batsman to score 1000 ODI runs in a calendar year for four years in a row”, which is probably very impressive if you know what it means.

He has almost 4.5 million Twitter followers and over 18 million Facebook “likes”, which means his links to his new site, should he choose to post any, will reach a wide audience in nations where cricket is popular.

His adoption of .club, which seems to be a result of a deal with .CLUB, follows the launch of 50 Cent’s 50inda.club. Singer Demi Lovato also has a .club for her official site, apparently purchased of her own volition.

$10 million to move to a dot-brand? Quebec says “non”

Kevin Murphy, November 17, 2014, Domain Registries

One of the biggest hypothetical barriers to the adoption of dot-brand gTLDs has always been the likely cost of migration, but until now nobody’s really thrown around any figures.

The Government of Quebec has decided against rebranding to the forthcoming .quebec gTLD, saying the migration would cost it CAD 12 million ($10.6 million), according to local reports.

The Canadian Press press reported over the weekend that Quebec will still to its existing gouv.qc.ca addresses and therefore save itself a bundle of cash at a time when austerity measures are in place.

The timing of the revelation is unfortunate for PointQuebec, the .quebec registry, which is due to go to general availability tomorrow.

The application for .quebec, a protected geographic string under ICANN rules, was made with the support of the Canadian province.

The decision by the government is not a death sentence for the gTLD, but it is the loss of a significant anchor tenant at the worst possible moment.

It also highlights what we all already knew — for a large organization, changing your domain name is complicated and expensive.

Not only do myriad IT systems need to be migrated to the new domain, you also need to think about things as trivial as letter heads and signage.

The cost of such a switch is a key reason we’re unlikely to see many dot-brand owners making a full-scale switch to their new gTLD in the short term.

Is this the longest and stupidest new gTLD name yet?

Kevin Murphy, November 13, 2014, Gossip

Thank goodness for the new gTLD program.

Without it, there wouldn’t be the opportunity for chaps like Guo Xiufeng to express themselves with names like ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo-oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.ooo.

Note, I was forced to add a hyphen to fit the domain into this column. It’s just a string of 63 Os, — the maximum length of a second-level domain permitted by the DNS — followed by the inexplicable .ooo gTLD.

The domain resolves to a site posing the question “Is Showfom sexy?”.

When I asked Google that question, I found this February 2014 tweet from Uniregistry CEO Frank Schilling.

Bizarrely, the registrant of showfom.sexy appears to be somebody else entirely.

If you want the answer, you’ll have to click the link.

The long .ooo domain is currently the 1,303rd most-trafficked new gTLD domain and the 919,853rd most-popular domain on the internet, according to our Alexa-derived popularity stats.

Noss hints at winning .online auction bid

Kevin Murphy, November 13, 2014, Domain Registries

A triumvirate of domain name companies led by Radix paid well over $7 million for the .online new gTLD, judging by comments made by Tucows CEO in an analysts call yesterday.

As the company reported its third-quarter financial numbers, Noss said of .online, which was recently auctioned:

While we are bound by confidentiality with respect to the value of the transaction, we can point to amounts paid in other gTLDs’ auctions in the public domain — like $6.8 million for .tech, $5.6 million for .realty, or the $4.6 million that Amazon paid for .buy — and let you decide what you think .online should be valued, relative to those more narrowly targeted extensions.

Radix won the private auction with financial backing from Tucows and NameCheap.

The three companies intend to set up a new joint venture to manage the .online registry, as we reported yesterday, with each company contributing between $4 million and $5 million.

Assuming at least one company is contributing $4 million and at least one is contributing $5 million, that works out to a total of $13 million to $14 million, earmarked for the auction and seed funding for the new venture.

Based on that knowledge, an assumption that the new company will want a couple of million to launch, and Noss’s comments yesterday, I’d peg the .online sale price in the $10-12 million range.

Radix business head Sandeep Ramchamdani told us yesterday that the company plans to market .online with some “hi-decibel advertising” and participation in events such as Disrupt and South by Southwest.