Four new gTLD applications have been withdrawn so far this week, including the first to come from .info operator Afilias.
Afilias has pulled its bid for .mail — the second applicant to do so — due to the number of competitors for the string.
A spokesperson said in an email:
The company felt there were simply too many groups in contention for this domain and we’d rather focus our energy supporting and helping to grow the .POST domain, for which we are the [technical services provider].
There are now five applicants competing for the string, including Google, Amazon and Donuts, but they’re all facing objections from the United States Postal Service and the Universal Postal Union, which runs .post.
Elsewhere this week, Directi has ended its bid for .movie, a contention set with seven other bidders.
The company declined to comment on the reasons for the withdrawal, so we probably can’t entirely rule out some kind of partnership with one or more other applicants.
Today we’ve also seen the withdrawal of applications for .ltd and .inc, both belonging to a Dutch company called C.V. TLDcare. I don’t know much about these guys, other than it used OpenRegistry as its technical partner and that .inc and .ltd were its only two applications.
Interesting fact: not a single “corporate identifier” application (.llp, .corp, .ltd, .inc, .llc) has passed Initial Evaluation yet, but seven applications have been withdrawn.
It’s a controversial category, with many US state attorneys general very unhappy about any of these strings being delegated without safeguards.
The latest four withdrawals bring the total to 63.
Google this week reportedly updated its Webmaster Tools service to treat more ccTLDs as non-geography-specific, but it still seems to be overlooking two gTLDs altogether.
According to its refreshed FAQ, only 19 gTLDs are treated as “gTLDs that can be geotargeted in Webmaster Tools”.
The list does not include .post, which has been in the DNS since August 2012 and available to buy since October, or .xxx, which was delegated and went to general availability in 2011.
While the .arpa gTLD also does not appear (for perfectly sane reasons), the list does include tightly controlled and restricted gTLDs such as .int and .mil, however.
Google treats .asia the same as the ccTLD .eu: a “regional top-level domain” that can be geo-targeted in the same way as a regular gTLD.
The rules appear to apply to the geo-targeting function in Webmaster Tools, which allows webmasters to specify whether their site is designed for only a certain nation or region.
One would assume, with Google being an applicant for almost 100 new gTLDs, that before long its gTLD team will be able to affect change elsewhere in the company in a more timely fashion.
The world’s most-popular web browsers are still failing to recognize new top-level domains, many months after they go live on the internet.
The version of the Safari browser that ships with the Mountain Lion iteration of Apple’s OS X appears to have even gone backwards, removing support for at least one TLD.
The most recent versions of Google’s Chrome and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer also both fail to recognize at least two of the internet’s most recently added TLDs.
According to informal tests on multiple computers this week, Safari 6 on Mountain Lion and the Windows 7 versions of Internet Explorer 9 and Chrome v24 all don’t understand .post and .cw addresses.
Remarkably, it appears that Safari 6 also no longer supports .sx domains, despite the fact that version 5 does.
Typing affected domain names into the address bars of these browsers will result in surfers being taken to a search page (usually Google) instead of their intended destination.
If you want to test your own browser, registry.sx, una.cw and ems.post are all valid, resolving domain names you can try.
The ccTLDs .sx and .cw are for Sint Maarten (Dutch part) and Curacao respectively, two of three countries formed by the breakup of the Netherlands Antilles in 2010.
Safari v5 on Windows and OS X recognizes .sx as a TLD, but v6 on Mountain Lion does not.
The problems faced by .post and .cw on Chrome appear to be mostly due to the fact that neither TLD is included on the Public Suffix List, which Google uses to figure out what a TLD looks like.
A few days after we reported last May that .sx didn’t work on Chrome, SX Registry submitted its details to the PSL, which appears to have solved its problems with that browser.
It’s not at all clear to me why .sx is borked on newer versions of Safari but not the older ones.
If the problem sounds trivial, believe me: it’s not.
The blurring of the lines between search and direct navigation is one of the biggest threats to the long-term relevance of domain names, so it’s vital to the industry’s interests that the problem of universal acceptance is sorted out sooner rather than later.
After entering the DNS root in August, the .post gTLD has started accepting its first registrations.
The Italian postal service is one of the first web sites with a .post address to go live, according to the Universal Postal Union, the registry manager.
Its site at posteitaliane.post appears to be more than just a mirror of its main .it site.
The postal services from Malaysia and Brazil have also signed up, according to the UPU.
The UPU has grand plans for the gTLD, promising a “global track and trace application” that will “enable customers to track the items they have ordered until final delivery.”
Just as people are starting to get seriously stressed about the imminent introduction of new gTLDs, a timely reminder that this is actually the third time ICANN has run a new gTLD program.
The gTLD, which was applied for by the Universal Postal Union as part of the 2003/2004 round, has been in limbo since it was approved in December 2009, while the UPU figured out what to do with it.
It’s going to be tightly restricted to members of the international postal community, so it doesn’t carry any of the baggage of the last new gTLD launch, .xxx.
The registry has switched back-end providers since it first applied. It had planned to go with CORE, but following a competitive bidding process last year it’s moved to Afilias instead.
The news of .post’s addition to the DNS root was tweeted by ICANN chief security officer Jeff Moss this evening.