ICM Registry has recovered nine .porn and .adult domain names from their registrants after they were accidentally released into the market.
Domains such as ads.porn, hosting.adult and buy.porn were among those snapped up by registrants, despite the fact that they were supposed to be registry-reserved.
ICM CEO Stuart Lawley told DI that a list of 68 .porn/.adult names (34 strings in each of the two gTLDs) have been brought back into the registry’s portfolio.
Only nine had been registered in the less than 24 hours the names were in the available pool, he said.
Lawley said it was his own personal fault for not sending the reserved list to back-end provider Afilias.
The affected registrants have been offered a domain from ICM’s premium list up to the value of $2,500 for each of the names ICM took back, he said.
Only one registrant has so far declined the offer, Lawley said.
Konstantinos Zournas of OnlineDomain, who broke the news about ads.porn yesterday, identifies this former registrant as “James” and reported that he is taking legal advice.
This is not the first time that a registry has accidentally released reserved names into the pool, where they were subsequently snapped up by domainers.
In January, .CLUB Domains accidentally sold credit.club, a name it had planned to keep on its premium reserved list for $200,000, for $10.99.
In that case, .CLUB honored the purchase after the buyer agreed to develop the site, scoring many brownie points in the domain investor community.
Both .CLUB and ICM have terms in their agreements allowing domains accidentally released to be recovered.
In ICM’s case, the names it accidentally released were not premiums, but rather domains that the registry plans to use as part of its own business — not to be sold at any price.
It used buy.xxx as a cornerstone of its .xxx marketing, for example, and it plans to use buy.porn and buy.adult for the exact same purpose.
The new .sucks gTLD has some interesting pricing for its reserved premium names. Notably aids.sucks, which currently carries a $1.5 million first-year fee at one registrar.
As far as I can tell, 101domain is the only registrar that is currently publishing its prices for .sucks premium names.
I had a bit of a play around with its web site, to see if I could discover which strings the registry has flagged as premium and which appear to be blocked by the registry.
aids.sucks was the most expensive domain I found, by some margin, at $1.5 million.
The presumably puts it within the pocketbook of, say, a pharmaceuticals company, but probably not a support group.
101domain confirmed that the published price was not an error and is based on the registry’s pricing, but said it was considering lowering it.
That price, and all the other prices cited in this article, are retail prices that would include the registrar’s mark-up.
The next-highest price I could find was $450,000 for sex.sucks.
The string “sex” is usually highly priced on registries’ reserved lists. It’s a slightly different story for .sucks, however, because registry policy states that all pornography is banned. The registrant would have to find a different use.
porn.sucks does not appear to carry a premium fee.
I could not find any other physical diseases carrying premium fees, and it seems that cancer.sucks is not available to register.
However, anxiety.sucks is $4,500, depression.sucks is $12,000, and suicide.sucks is available for $16,500.
It’s worth noting at this point that .sucks is not alone in putting premium prices on domains such as these — suicide.club and aids.club both carry $5,500 fees, for example.
Sports domains baseball.sucks, football.sucks, soccer.sucks, basketball.sucks and hockey.sucks all carry $75,000 fees.
On the vices: poker.sucks is also $75,000, gambling.sucks is $42,000, beer.sucks is $27,000 and alcohol.sucks is $4,500. Other strings, such as casino.sucks, do not appear to be premiums.
This patchy premium coverage goes for entertainment too. While television.sucks ($88,500) and music.sucks ($15,000) are premiums, internet.sucks and radio.sucks are not.
In relationships, gay.sucks is listed at $27,000 (lesbian.sucks does not appear to be premium) and dating.sucks is $15,000.
I tried a few common racial slurs and found them to be unavailable. Vox Pop has a policy against cyber-bullying, which may account for that.
racism.sucks costs $52,500, however.
Religious terms blocked?
Some religious terms are considered premium, while others are not available to register.
.sucks is currently in its sunrise period, so unavailable names have presumably been blocked by the registry for some reason.
I found that christianity.sucks carries a premium price tag of $75,000, while church.sucks is $30,000 and christian.sucks is $34,500.
catholic.sucks is not available, nor are jesus.sucks, christ.sucks and moses.sucks.
But catholicism.sucks, protestant.sucks, methodist.sucks baptist.sucks, can be bought for the regular reg fee.
hindu.sucks, hinduism.sucks, buddhist.sucks and buddhism.sucks are all for sale at the usual price.
judaism.sucks and jews.sucks are available at the regular reg fee, but jew.sucks is not available.
islam.sucks, muslim.sucks and muslims.sucks are not currently available. Nor is muhammed.sucks. But mohammed.sucks and muhammad.sucks are available.
I wonder what we can fairly infer from these apparent discrepancies.
As you might expect, the name of the registry is reserved — that happens in pretty much ever gTLD.
It remains to be seen whether Vox Pop will eat its own dog food and allow third-party criticism on its site.
It turns out johnberard.sucks (Vox Populi CEO) is not available. Neither are the names of Rob Hall, CEO of Vox Pop parent Momentous, and Uniregistry CEO Frank Schilling, who is involved in the TLD is some currently undisclosed capacity.
rob.sucks, john.sucks and frank.sucks are all not available to register.
As controls, I checked out other common male first names and the full names of other major registry/registrar CEOs and found them all available.
It will be interesting to see if any of these names are ever developed into criticism web sites by their owners.
Add Donuts to the list of registries planning to use .tv-style variable pricing after their new gTLDs start to go to general availability next year.
COO Richard Tindal told DI last night that each of its upcoming registries could have “two, three, four, five, six — it varies — levels of buy-it-now pricing”.
He was referring to pricing during general availability, not any of Donuts’ special launch phases.
The actual number of registry-reserved names held for auction or future promotional purposes is likely to be quite small — often under 20 names per TLD — Tindal said.
Instead, Donuts wants to get the names it has identified as “premium” to market as quickly as possible, but with a higher annual price than the base registry fee. He said:
Let’s take .clothing, that’s coming out at the moment.
There’ll be a small — very small — number of reserved names for which we may do an auction later
The vast, vast majority of the names are first-come-first-served buy-it-now — but within Donuts TLDs, at more than one price within a TLD.
So in .clothing the standard names will be one price, then there’ll be another group of names that are premium for a higher price, and another group of names that are higher still that are premiums as well, and potentially even another group.
Tindal didn’t want to give specifics, but indicated that most premiums could carry an annual fee of under $1,000.
“Your ball-park standard name is a $10, $20, $30 name, ish, retail,” he said. “And your premium name is in the hundreds of dollars a year, typically. It varies.”
“Generally, ball-park-speaking, the vast majority of our names will be well, well under $1,000 a year,” he said.
He added that the tiers should be obvious when pre-registering names at one of Donuts’ accredited registrars.
I experimented a bit on 101domain, where the base retail price for a .clothing domain is currently $34.99 a year.
I found that used.clothing and winter.clothing, for example, both carry a $400 price tag, hot.clothing and large.clothing are $49.50 each, while vintage.clothing and designer.clothing appear to be reserved.
Those are the retail prices, of course, which include the registrar’s mark-up. While they’re for pre-registered names, I’m not expecting the GA prices to be much different.
“These are very attractively priced names, in our view, even the premium ones we think are attractive to people,” Tindal said. “We want registrars to make some margin, we want registrants to have room for the value of the name to increase as well.”
He didn’t say how many names will be in the higher pricing tiers — it will vary by gTLD.
“We believe premiums will be a small percentage of names under management,” he said.
The tiers will be the same across all of Donuts TLDs, he said, but each given TLD may only use a subset. So if there are six possible tiers, .example may only use three of them.
Donuts does not currently plan to operate a “founders program” for its gTLDs, Tindal said.
“We just want to get these names out and in the hands of users,” he said. Donuts’ market is primarily small and medium sized enterprises.
Donuts is not the first to reveal tiered pricing for new gTLD names.
Top Level Domain Holdings recently laid out a similar pricing strategy. Its Minds + Machines registrar is already taking pre-registrations on names with renewal fees ranging into many thousands of dollars per yer for premium names.
What Box and Plan Bee have also started selling pre-registrations via their registrars that indicate tiered pricing.
Prior to new gTLDs, the only notable TLD with variable pricing was Verisign’s repurposed ccTLD, .tv.
Donuts’ pricey Early Access Program for its new gTLDs could prove quite lucrative for registrars.
Go Daddy today revealed that it’s charging $12,500 and up for first-day “priority” registrations in 14 Donuts gTLDs, a $2,500 profit on Donuts’ EAP registry fee, which I believe is $10,000.
The EAP is Donuts’ alternative to a traditional landrush period.
Rather than charging premium landrush fees and then running an auction for contested domains, every available domain has a standard premium buy-it-now price that is reduced every day for a week until the fee hits the standard reg fee.
It’s Dutch-auction-like, with a first-come-first-served component.
The EAP registry fees start at $10,000, go to $2,500 on day two, $950 on day three, $500 on day four and $100 from days five through day seven. Then they go to the base fee, which depends on gTLD but typically translates to about $40 at the check-out.
Go Daddy’s respective EAP retail prices are $12,539.99, $3,164.99, $1,239.99, $689.99 and $189.99.
Complicating matters, these are currently “priority pre-registration” fees, so the company will still have to successfully grab the pre-registered names from the registry when they become available.
While customers are billed today, they may not get the name they want. If Go Daddy fails to secure the name it will issue a full refund.
Complicating matters further, the company is accepting multiple pre-registrations on any given name and will auction it off to the highest bidder if more than one person pre-registers at the same level and Go Daddy manages to grab the name.
So $12,500 may just be the tip of the iceberg.
Complicating matters further further, Go Daddy’s site is currently not particularly clear — at least to this elderly hack — which components of its fees are refundable and which are not.
This slogan, currently in use on the Go Daddy pre-reg site, appears to me to be absolute nonsense.
The 14 Donuts gTLD currently on offer are: .estate, .photography, .ventures, .guru, .bike, .clothing, .gallery, .singles, .camera, .lighting, .plumbing, .equipment, .graphics and .holdings.
It seems like it’s been an age since we last heard the intellectual property lobby pushing for stronger rights protection mechanisms in new gTLDs, but they’re back just in time for the first launches.
The Intellectual Property Owners Association has written to ICANN this week to warn about loopholes in the standard new gTLD Registry Agreement related to premium name reservations that the IPO said “will adversely affect trademark rights holders”.
The letter (pdf) makes reference to two specific parts of the contract.
Specification 5 enables registries to reserve up to 100 names “necessary for the operation or promotion of the TLD” in section 3.2 and an unlimited number of names in section 3.3.
Section 3.3 is vague enough that I’m aware of new gTLD applicants that still don’t know whether it allows them to reserve an unlimited number of “premium” names or not.
However, most new gTLD registries I’ve talked to appear to be convinced that it does. DotKiwi’s recently announced premium plan seems to be taking advantage of 3.3.
The IPO is worried that massive lists of premium names will wind up containing lots of strings matching trademarks, which will prevent mark holders from defensively registering during Sunrise.
Worse, the IPO said it could lead to registries milking trademark owners for huge fees to register their “premium” marks. It said:
such reservations would invite the abuse of protected marks. For instance, Registry Operators may reserve the marks of protected brands to leverage premium sales. Further, Registry Operators may use this ability to release names to market competitors of the brand owners.
The counter argument, of course, is that owners of spurious trademarks on generic terms could game Sunrise periods to get their hands of potentially valuable domain names (cf. the .eu sunrise)
The IPO wants ICANN to expand the Trademark Clearinghouse to send Trademark Claims notices to new gTLD registries when they reserve a name matching a listed trademark.
It also wants a new dispute procedure that mark owners could use to get names released from reserved status. It would be like UDRP, but modified to allow for registries to reserve dictionary words related to their gTLD strings, the IPO said.
If my sense of the mood of ICANN’s leadership during last month’s Buenos Aires meeting is anything to go by, I can’t see these last-minute requests for changes to RPMs getting much traction, but you never know.