If you’ve spent over $40 million on a gTLD, you need to make your money back somehow, right?
It’s emerged that GMO Registry, which paid ICANN a record $41.5 million for .shop back in January, plans to charge $1,000 renewal fees, wholesale, on domains registered during its upcoming sunrise period.
Trademark owners will seemingly have to pay over the odds for domains matching their trademarks, while regular registrants will have a much more manageable annual fee of $24.
The prices were disclosed in a blog post from the registrar OpenProvider last week, in which the company urged GMO to lower its prices.
Sunrise is due to start June 30, running for 60 days, so there’s still a chance prices could change before then.
It’s not the first registry to charge more for sunrise renewals than regular renewals.
Any company that bought a .sucks domain during sunrise was lumbered with a recurring $2,499 registry fee.
.green also had a $50 annual sunrise renewal premium before Afilias took over the gTLD in April.
Others have charged higher non-recurring sunrise fees. With .cars, the sunrise fee was $3,000, which was $1,000 more than the regular GA price.
There was a small turn-out for the premium launch of .cars, .car and .auto gTLDs, but the registry says it cleared over $1 million in revenue.
The three gTLDs are run by Cars Registry, a venture between Uniregistry and XYZ.com.
They all finished their pricey Early Access Periods yesterday and are due to enter general availability today.
The EAP started January 12 with prices of $45,000 per domain. In GA, they won’t cost you less than $2,000.
While zone files show almost no new domains appearing between January 12 and today — three or four per domain at most — Uniregistry CEO Frank Schilling said EAP was a “success”.
“More than 100 dealers and brands took advantage of sunrise and EAP,” he said.
It appears there are a few dozen domains not appearing in zone files yet.
The three gTLDs combined have brought in over $1 million during EAP, Schilling said.
Aruba, the .cloud gTLD registry, said it received 500 applications during its sunrise phase, which closed this afternoon.
While low by pre-2012 standards, it’s a relatively respectable performance for a new gTLD, where sunrises periods consistently result in double-digit registrations.
It’s almost certainly in the top 10 for 2012-round gTLDs.
exactly one hour left to submit Trademark Priority Registration Orders in the .cloud sunrise… 500 received so far 🙂 #dotCloudFTW
— Get .Cloud (@getdotcloud) January 15, 2016
I gather there was only one duplicate application during the period, which ran from November 16.
Before sunrise began, Aruba already had about 30 “pioneer” registrants in the web hosting space, including Ubuntu and Weebly.
Landrush is set to kick off January 25, with general availability following February 16. Retail pricing will be around the $25 a year mark.
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.