Google giving away 5,000 free new gTLD domains

Kevin Murphy, March 10, 2014, Domain Registries

Google is giving away free .みんな domains.

According to a company spokesperson, the first 5,000 people to submit a .みんな web site idea via a campaign web site will receive a coupon for a free one-year registration in the new namespace.

The offer expires April 5.

The regular retail price at registrars appears to be about $13 a year.

.みんな means “everyone” in Japanese and is apparently pronounced “.minna”. It’s the second IDN gTLD to go to general availability so far, and currently has roughly 2,500 registered names.

The web site appears to show examples of domains that are being registered under the program, as well as commentary from something called Google+, which appears to be some kind of social network.

Twitter starts supporting (some) new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, March 7, 2014, Domain Tech

Twitter has started recognizing new gTLDs on its web page and on Tweetdeck.

As of some point in the last 48 hours, you can type something like “nic.berlin” or “fire.plumbing” in a tweet and Twitter will automatically turn it into a clickable link.

The switcheroo seems to have happened in the last two days, as this conversation may illustrate.

But there seems to be some delay — about a month, by my reckoning — in the support.

Domains such as nic.sexy, which is in a TLD delegated November 14, become clickable, but domains in more recent delegations such as .okinawa, which hit the root on Wednesday, are not.

Going back through the DI PRO Calendar, it seems that any TLD delegated on February 5 or earlier gets clickable links in Twitter and those delegated over the last four weeks do not.

I’m not sure why TLDs delegated in the last month are not supported, but I imagine it could be an annoyance during registries’ pre-launch marketing.

It’s difficult to overestimate how important application support is for the new gTLD program.

If new gTLDs don’t look like web addresses, there’s going to be a big barrier to adoption. A .link domain that isn’t clickable isn’t much use and nobody wants to have to copy-paste URLs.

Support for new gTLDs for Twitter’s 232 million active users is a big step along the road to universal acceptance of all TLDs, which ICANN has identified as a problem.

Go Daddy risking Oscars wrath with .buzz premium domains?

The new gTLD registry Dot Strategy included many famous brands on its list of premium .buzz names, including two that could get its partner, Go Daddy-owned Afternic, in hot water.

Until a couple of hours ago, nic.buzz carried what appeared to be thousands of premium listings, organized by category and carrying prices of $1,000 and up, some of which seemed to target brands.

The names of several sports teams, such as 49ers.buzz and blackhawks.buzz, were listed for sale in the sports category (hat tip: Valideus‘ Brian Beckham).

I also spotted listings for domains such as photoshop.buzz (an Adobe software brand) in the technology category and hobbit.buzz (believe it or not, “Hobbit” is a trademark) in an entertainment category.

But the ones that really caught my attention were academyaward.buzz and academyawards.buzz, which carried prices of $1,900 each.

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That’s surprising because if you try to buy these domains you’ll be instructed to contact Afternic, which is handling the premium process. And as of September, Go Daddy owns Afternic.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the Oscars and owns “Academy Award” and “Academy Awards” trademarks, has been locked in litigation with Go Daddy for the last four years.

The Academy claims that Go Daddy is cybersquatting due to its practice of making money parking its customers’ domains, including domains containing Academy trademarks such as academyawardz.com.

Most recently, Go Daddy tried to get the appointed judge in the case kicked out, alleging that she’s in the Academy’s pocket.

While the lawsuit is certainly controversial, attempting to sell $3,800 worth of domain names matching the Academy’s marks probably wouldn’t help Go Daddy look less cybersquatty to its opponent.

It could be argued that many of the premium names that match brands are also generic — Black Hawks could be helicopters and I’m sure there are plenty of academies in the world that hand out awards.

A legitimate registrant could buy many of these trademark-matching listed names and fight off a UDRP, I reckon.

But when somebody lists the name for sale in a category appropriate to the class of trademark, I’d say that makes the name look a lot less generic.

Bieber is a surname presumably shared by many people, but when you list bieber.buzz for sale in a category related to entertainment it can only really refer to one person.

Somebody yanked the premium listings section from the nic.buzz web site after I requested comments from Dot Strategy and Go Daddy a few hours ago. This post will be updated should I receive said comments.

.buzz is currently in its sunrise period and is due to go to general availability in mid-April. As I’ve said before, it’s one of my favorite new gTLD strings and I wouldn’t be surprised if sells quite well.

UPDATE: Go Daddy said: “Afternic is working with dotStrategy, Co. (the .BUZZ registry) to review the list and revise as appropriate.”

Google’s first new gTLD racks up 2,300 domains

Google’s Charleston Road Registry reached 2,300 .みんな domain names on the new gTLD’s first day of general availability, immediately making it the biggest IDN gTLD by volume so far.

The string is Japanese for “everyone”. As you might expect, it’s an unrestricted space.

About 230 names — 10% of the TLD — are non-IDNs. I believe the number also includes some sunrise registrations.

It actually went into GA on Tuesday, but data was not available yesterday.

While it’s not in the same ballpark as the likes of .guru, it nevertheless overtook the only other IDN gTLD to launch so far, dotShabaka’s شبكة. (Arabic for “web”), which has 1,643 names.

Google sold the names via 17 accredited registrars, only one of which appears to be Japanese. The list excludes most of the biggest registrars.

.みんな is unusual in that Google intends to run its Trademark Claims service forever, rather than turning it off after the 90 days required by its Registry Agreement with ICANN.

New gTLDs pass 200,000 registrations

The number of domain names in new gTLDs passed 200,000 last night, according to zone files.

The exact number, according to the DI PRO database, is 201,184.

It’s based on incremental organic growth over the last week since the last batch of new gTLDs went into general availability, rather than any big launch events or surges.

Here are the top 10 zones, all of which belong to Donuts.

guru41,161
photography25,308
today12,157
tips11,444
technology9,066
clothing8,270
bike8,232
directory8,194
land7,569
gallery7,383

What the 200,000 count does not reflect is the first day of general availability for Google’s first-to-launch gTLD, .みんな (Japanese for “everyone”), which I’m expecting to start showing numbers tomorrow.

In related news, the DI PRO new gTLD zone file league table service (here) was upgraded today to make it a bit more useful during periods of patchy data availability.

The service will now show all delegated new gTLDs that have started publishing zone files, along with the most-recent domain counts, on days when the file was for whatever reason not available.