Attention domainers. The .travel registry wants your business.
Tralliance has become the latest of the sponsored top-level domain registries to decide it needs to loosen the shackles of sponsorship and target a more general user base.
Its sponsor, The Travel Partnership Corporation, has quietly changed the policies governing .travel in order to substantially liberalize the namespace.
The new policy document contains only two small changes, but they have big implications.
The first is to add a new category of approved registrant to the existing list, which includes hotels, airlines and so on. The new category is:
Creators and providers of travel and tourism products, services and content.
This seems to be general enough to exclude nobody, especially when one puts it in the context of the second big change that TTPC is proposing, which seems to allow domain parking.
Currently, the registry policies state that all .travel domains need to resolve to active travel-related web sites or email addresses. That restriction is to be dumped entirely.
In fact, the word “restriction” has been replaced with “incentive”. This is from the redlined policy doc:
The Registry has the discretion to develop
restrictionsincentives for onuse of any domain name, such restrictionsincentives to apply to any name registration that occurs after such restrictions come into effect. Restrictions may include, but are not limited to, a requirement to develop a website that uses the registered name, to ensure that each registered name resolves to a working website
No such incentives are included, but I’d guess that they may end up looking a little like the recent moves by .jobs and .co to engage in joint marketing deals with companies willing to promote the TLD.
The upshot of all this is that it appears that .travel domains will soon be close to unrestricted. Registrants will still have to undergo a one-time authentication process, but that’s looking increasingly like a formality.
The policy changes take effect September 20. It doesn’t look like they would disenfranchise anybody, except perhaps those who considered .travel an exclusive club, so I doubt there’ll be the same kind of outcry that .jobs recently saw.
The .travel domain launched in October 2005. As of April 2010, it had 47,338 active registrations.
Employ Media, the company behind the sponsored TLD .jobs, looks like it’s making a play to become a significantly more open gTLD.
The company has proposed a substantial relaxation of its registration policies, based on what may be a loophole in its ICANN registry contract.
Currently, the .jobs namespace is one of the most restrictive TLDs. Only company names can be registered, and registrants have to be approved HR professionals at those companies.
As you might imagine, it’s been phenomenally unsuccessful from a business point of view, with only about 15,000 domains registered since it went live five years ago.
Employ Media now wants to be able to register “non-companyname” domains, and is to apply to its sponsorship body, the Society for Human Resource Management, for permission.
Indeed, as ERE.net points out, the “proposed amendment” to its charter reads more like a claim that no amendment is required.
The company appears to be pursuing a business model whereby it could auction off (continue reading)