Top Level Spectrum, the new .feedback registry, has painted a second gigantic target on itself by registering to itself a .feedback domain matching one of the world’s largest media brands.
The company has registered fox.feedback and put up a web site soliciting comment on Fox Broadcasting Company.
This has happened whilst .feedback is still in its sunrise period.
The intellectual property community is, I gather, not particularly happy about the move.
The domain fox.feedback points to a web site that uses TLS’ standard feedback platform, enabling visitors to rate and comment on Fox.
The site has a footnote: “Disclaimer: This site is provided to facilitate free speech regarding fox. No direct endorsement or association should be conferred.”
Fox had no involvement with the registration, which Whois records show is registered to Top Level Spectrum itself.
Registry CEO Jay Westerdal said that the domain is one of the 100 “promotional” domains that new gTLD registries are allowed to set aside for their own use under the terms of their ICANN contracts.
Registries usually register names like “buy.example” or “go.example”, along with the names of early adopter anchor tenant registrants, using this mechanism.
I’m not aware of any case where a registry has consciously registered a famous brand, without permission, as part of its promotional allotment.
“The website is hosted automatically by the Feedback platform,” Westerdal said. “Fox Television Network has raised no concerns and has not applied for the domain during sunrise. We are testing out promotion of the TLD with the domain as per our ICANN contract.”
Fox may still be able to buy the domain during sunrise, he said.
“This is a Registry Operation name. During sunrise, If we receive an application from a sunrise-eligible rights holders during sunrise for a Registry Operations name we may release the name for registration,” he said.
Fox’s usual registrar is MarkMonitor. Matt Serlin, VP there, said in an email that the TLS move could be raised with ICANN Compliance:
I find it curious that this branded domain name would have been registered to the registry prior to the sunrise period which is restricted to the 100 registry promotional names. The fact that the domain is actually resolving to a live site soliciting feedback for The Fox Broadcasting Company is even more troubling. MarkMonitor may look to raise this to ICANN Compliance once the registry is able to confirm how this domain was registered seemingly outside of the required process.
The IP community originally fought the introduction of the 100-domain pre-sunrise exception, saying unscrupulous registries would use it to stop trademark owners registering their brands.
While there have been some grumblings about registries reserving dictionary terms that match trademarks, this may be the first case of a registry unambiguously targeting a brand.
Top Level Spectrum courted controversy with the trademark community last week when it told DI that it plans to sell 5,000-brand match domains to a third party company after .feedback goes into general availability in January.
Westerdal told us this is not “cybersquatting”, as the sites contain disclaimers and are there to facilitate free speech.
What do you think about this use of brands as “promotional” domains?
It’s indisputably pushing the envelope of what is acceptable, but is it fair? Should registries be allowed to do this?
Cars Registry has set pricing for .car, .cars and .auto domains at crazy-high levels.
If you want to buy a domain in any of the three gTLDs on day one, it will cost you a whopping $45,000.
If you buy one during regular general availability, it’s likely to set you back $2,500.
The registry, a partnership of Uniregistry and XYZ.com, has set its registry fee at $2,000, according to an email sent to registrars this week.
That’s a buck higher than .sucks, one of the most expensive new gTLDs to launch to date.
The sunrise fee will be $3,000 — made up of the regular $2,000 fee plus an added $1,000. Again, that’s higher than .sucks.
The Early Access Period — which, as reported yesterday, has replaced the more usual landrush — will run for nine days with prices ranging from $45,000 to $5,000.
Compared to the usual models of XYZ.com and Uniregistry, which tend towards the mass-market, these prices are colossal.
I wonder how much the pricing was influenced by the fact that the registry has the car-related gTLD market almost entirely sewn up.
Its only potential competitor is .autos, which has been delegated for almost 18 months but has yet to even reveal its launch plans and probably isn’t going to be available to the mass market anyway.
Sunrise for all three gTLDS is due to start December 9, ending January 12. EAP will begin that day, and GA will start January 20.
New gTLD registries can expect just 125 sunrise registrations on average, according to statistics just released by ICANN.
The new data, current as of May 2015, also shows that there have been just 44,077 sunrise registrations in total, over 417 new gTLDs.
That’s less than 1% of the total number of new gTLD domain registrations to that date.
The numbers were published in a revised version of ICANN’s Revised Report on Rights Protections Mechanisms, a discussion paper on mechanisms such as sunrise, Trademark Claims and URS.
It also contains the first authoritative breakdown of sunrise regs by TLD, though it’s limited to the 20 largest.
Many of these numbers match closely what DI has previously reported, but .porn and .adult are substantially lower because ICM Registry only revealed consolidated numbers that took account of its unique non-TMCH sunrise periods.
None of the ICANN figures include .sucks, which hit sunrise after the numbers were compiled in May.
If we’ve learned one thing about new gTLD sunrise periods, it’s that adult-oriented TLDs sell quite well.
ICM Registry started its third such period yesterday, as .sex went into its “TMCH Sunrise” phase.
Until October 1, any company with a trademark in the Trademark Clearinghouse will be able to buy a matching .sex domain on a first-come, first-served basis.
From October 5 to October 30, anyone with a .xxx domain name or current .xxx “Sunrise B” block will be able to buy the matching .sex during the Domain Matching phase.
Anyone who buys a .xxx before October 1 will be able to participate in this second sunrise.
ICM reported in May that .porn received 3,995 sunrise registrations while .adult sold 3,902 — both via a combination of TMCH Sunrise sales and blocks.
At ICM’s prices, that’s enough to comfortably cover its ICANN application fees.
Every other new gTLD with the exception of .sucks has sold fewer than 1,000 sunrise names.
General availability for .sex starts November 4.
Radix Registry reckons .online will move at least 15,000 domains in its first day of general availability, but it’s aiming higher.
“We are confident .online will be amongst the biggest new gTLDs that have launched,” Radix business head Sandeep Ramchandani said in a press release today.
“The same sentiment across several Registrar Partners has reinforced our beliefs. We expect to start off with at least 15,000 registrations at launch and would love to break .club’s launch record,” he said.
When .CLUB Domains launched .club in 2014, its zone file showed over 25,000 domains after the first 10 hours.
Radix is basing its projections not only on its registrar conversations, but also on .online’s sunrise period, which ended yesterday with 775 sales.
That number is of course low by pre-2012 standards, but it’s in the top tier of sunrise periods for non-controversial new gTLDs.
The only strings to top 1,000 names to date have been ICM Registry’s .porn and .adult and Vox Populi’s .sucks.
.CLUB’s sunrise weighed in at 454 domains.
Radix had better hope .online is successful — the gTLD sold for seven or eight figures at private auction.
The gTLD will go to its Early Access Period tomorrow before settling down to regular pricing August 26.