GMO Registry and Radix have won Chinese government approval for their respective new gTLDs .shop and .site.
It’s the second batch of foreign new gTLDs to get the nod from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, following .vip, .club and .xyz in early December.
They’re also the first two Asian registries from outside China to get the right to flog their domains in China — GMO is Japanese and Radix is UAE-based with Indian roots.
Their new Chinese government licenses mean Chinese registrars will now be able to allow their customers to actually use .shop and .site domains to host web sites.
The registries in turn have had to agree to enforce China’s rather arbitrary and Draconian censorship policies on their Chinese customers.
The approvals were announced by MIIT December 29.
.site currently has about 570,000 domains in its zone file, making it a top-10 new gTLD by volume, while .shop, which launched much more recently, has over 100,000.
The ability for Chinese customers to develop their domains is no doubt good for the long-term health of TLDs, but it’s not necessarily a harbinger of shorter-term growth in a market where domains are often treated little more than meaningless baseball cards to be traded rather than commodities with intrinsic value.
It’s been a busy week for new gTLD application withdrawals, with no fewer than 11 contention sets getting settled over the last few days.
First, as predicted, Radix won .online, after I-Registry withdrew the last remaining competing application, but only with a little help from its friends.
Radix is to form a new joint venture with Tucows and NameCheap to run .online. Each company threw in $4 million to $5 million to cover the cost of the auction and seed funding for the yet-to-be-formed new registry entity.
Another auction saw .site also won by Radix, as a standalone applicant, after withdrawals from Interlink, M+M, Google and Donuts.
.dog went to Donuts after withdrawals from Minds + Machines and Google. Donuts also won .live, after an earlier withdrawal from Microsoft and one this week from Google.
The hotly contested .cloud went to Aruba after withdrawals from M+M, Symantec, Amazon, Google, CloudNames and Donuts.
.boats was won by DERboats after Donuts withdrew.
.book has gone to Amazon, after withdrawals from R.R. Bowker, Famous Four Media, Donuts, DotBook, M+M, Global Domain Registry, Google and NU DOT CO.
Amazon also won .hot, after Donuts and dotHot (affiliated with .jobs) withdrew.
Dish DBS, a Spanish-language US TV company, will operate .latino as a closed dot-brand for its Dish Latino service, after M+M withdrew its competing application.
Japanese domain registrar Interlink won .earth, beating Google.
Motion Picture Domain Registry beat Donuts and Google to .film, meaning the gTLD will “will only be available to film producers and major film studios” under the applicant’s plan to require a Motion Picture Association of America registration number in order to register a name.
Top Level Domain Holdings is involved in a grand total of 92 new generic top-level domain applications, many of them already known to be contested.
Sixty-eight applications are being filed on its own behalf, six have been submitted via joint ventures, and 18 more have been submitted on behalf of Minds + Machines clients.
Here’s the list of its own applications:
.abogado (Spanish for .lawyer), .app, .art, .baby, .beauty, .beer, .blog, .book, .casa (Spanish for .home), .cloud, .cooking, .country, .coupon, .cpa, .cricket, .data, .dds, .deals, .design, .dog, .eco, .fashion, .fishing, .fit, .flowers, .free, .garden, .gay, .green, .guide, .home, .horse, .hotel, .immo, .inc, .latino, .law, .lawyer, .llc, .love, .luxe, .pizza, .property, .realestate, .restaurant, .review, .rodeo, .roma, .sale, .school, .science, .site, .soccer, .spa, .store, .style, .surf, .tech, .video, .vip, .vodka, .website, .wedding, .work, .yoga, .zulu, 网址 (.site in Chinese), 购物 (.shopping in Chinese).
There’s a lot to note in that list.
First, it’s interesting to see that TLDH is hedging its bets on the environmental front, applying for both .eco (which we’ve known about for years) and .green.
This puts it into contention with the longstanding Neustar-backed DotGreen bid, and possibly others we don’t yet know about, which should make for some interesting negotiations.
Also, both of TLDH’s previously announced Indian city gTLDs, .mumbai and .bangaluru, seem to have fallen through, as suspected.
Other contention sets TLDH is now confirmed to be involved in include: .blog, .site, .immo, .hotel, .home, .casa, .love, .law, .cloud, .baby, .art, .gay, .style and .store.
The company said in a statement:
During the next six months, TLDH will focus its efforts on marketing and operations for geographic names such as dot London and dot Bayern where it has the exclusive support of the relevant governing authority, as well as any other gTLDs that TLDH has filed for that are confirmed to be uncontested on the Reveal Date. Discussions with other applicants regarding contested names will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Japanese registry wannabe UrbanBrain will apply for .site under ICANN’s first round of new top-level domain applications.
Of all the registries to so far show their hands for the new TLD round, .site is probably the first that could properly be described as both new and “generic”.
UrbanBrain said the namespace will be targeted at “Internet users, hobbyists, and business owners”. A pretty generic constituency.
Also, the dotSiTE launch page currently contains a bullet-pointed list of three reasons why .site will indeed be as generic as they come.
The dotSiTE internet extension is full of possibilities.
* Optimize your SiTE with great keywords
* Some other text
* Another reason
All the other 100-odd new TLD applications to have been publicly disclosed to date address specific geographical, cultural or niche interest markets.
There are also two (for now) applications for .web, which I’m not counting as “new” gTLD applications because they’ve been on the table for over a decade.
UrbanBrain is affiliated with Japanese ISP Interlink, and registry-in-a-box venture RegistryASP.