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DotKiwi puts $7 million of premium names on sale

Kevin Murphy, December 4, 2013, Domain Registries

DotKiwi has put NZD 8.5 milion ($7 million) of “premium” domain names on the market in advance of the delegation of .kiwi, which it expects to happen this week.

There are 4,668 names on sale right now, ranging in price from NZD 501.50 ($410) to NZD 124,626.71 ($102,000).

The highest price belongs to hotels.kiwi.

The average asking price is NZD 1,832.39 ($1,500).

The registry said:

All premium names have been valued in collaboration with third parties that specialise in valuing domain names around the globe. The value of a .kiwi premium name is determined using historical sales data, search engine popularity and traffic.

There are 32 domains priced at over $10,000. These are the top 10 highest-priced names:

hotels.kiwi124,626.71 NZD
cruises.kiwi83,193.27 NZD
clothes.kiwi47,248.89 NZD
games.kiwi46,212.14 NZD
auto.kiwi41,579.89 NZD
travel.kiwi39,947.41 NZD
dentist.kiwi30,000.00 NZD
love.kiwi28,728.59 NZD
teaching.kiwi26,933.29 NZD
blackjack.kiwi26,932.42 NZD

Unlike other new gTLD registries that have introduced tiered renewal pricing for premium names, DotKiwi plans to charge a standard NZD 40 ($33) annual fee for premiums.

DotKiwi tells us that the names have all been reserved, so they’re ineligible for the mandatory Sunrise period (expected to start later this month).

But the names won’t actually be activated until after Sunrise is over. Then, they’ll still be subject to the Trademark Claims service, which alerts trademark owners when their mark has been registered.

First English new gTLD Sunrise periods start today

Kevin Murphy, November 26, 2013, Domain Registries

Donuts today kicks off the Sunrise periods for its first seven new gTLDs, the first English-language strings to start their priority registration periods for trademark owners.

The big question for mark holders today is whether to participate in Sunrise, or whether Donuts’ proprietary Domain Protected Marks List is the more cost-efficient way to go.

Sunrise starts today and runs until January 24 for .bike, .clothing, .guru, .holdings, .plumbing, .singles and .ventures. Donuts is planning seven more for December 3.

These are “end-date” Sunrises, meaning that no domains are awarded to participants until the full 60-day period is over. It’s not first-come, first-served, in other words.

Where more than one application for any given domain is received, Donuts will hold an auction after Sunrise closes to decide who gets to register the name.

The primary requirement for participating in Sunrise is, per ICANN’s base rules, that the trademark has been submitted to and validated by the Trademark Clearinghouse.

Donuts is not enforcing additional eligibility rules.

The company has not published its wholesale Sunrise application fee, but registrars have revealed some details.

Com Laude said that the Donuts “Sunrise Participation Fee” is $80, which will be the same across all of its gTLDs. Registrars seem to be marking this up by about 50%.

Tucows, for example, is asking its OpenSRS resellers for $120 per name, with an additional first-year reg fee ranging between $20 and $45 depending on gTLD.

Lexsynergy, which yesterday reported on Twitter a spike in TMCH submissions ahead of today’s launch, is charging between £91 ($147) and £99 ($160) for the application and first year combined.

The question for Trademark Owners is whether they should participate in the alternative Domain Protected Marks List or not.

The DPML is likely to be much cheaper for companies that want to protect a lot of marks across a lot of Donuts gTLDs.

A five-year DPML fee can be around $3,000, which works out to $3 per domain per year if Donuts winds up with 200 gTLDs in its portfolio.

Companies will not be able to actually use the domains blocked by the DPML, however, so it only makes sense for a wholly defensive blocking strategy.

In addition, DPML does not prevent a eligible mark owner from registering a DPML domain during Sunrise.

A policy Donuts calls “DPML Override” means that if somebody else owns a matching trademark, in any jurisdiction, they’ll be able to get “your” domain even if you’ve paid for a DPML entry.

I should point out that Donuts is simply following ICANN rules here. There are few ways for new gTLD registries to make names ineligible for Sunrise within their contracts.

Trademark owners are therefore going to have to decide whether it’s worth the risk of sticking to a strictly DPML strategy, or whether it might make more sense to do Sunrise on their most mission-critical marks.

DotShabaka Registry was the first new gTLD operator to go to Sunrise, with شبكة., though the lack of Arabic strings in the TMCH means it’s largely an exercise in contractual compliance.

RightOfTheDot to manage .club’s premium strategy

Kevin Murphy, November 14, 2013, Domain Services

.CLUB Domains has selected RightOfTheDot to manage its premium and founders program domains strategy.

The company named “a.club, 888.club, chess.club, poker.club, insurance.club, golf.club country.club, car.club” as examples of “category killer” names that RightOfTheDot will try to find homes for.

.CLUB signed its Registry Agreement with ICANN late last week and plans to go to Sunrise in January.

It’s among the top 30 most popular new gTLDs being pre-registered at 1&1 right now, and recently said it’s hoping to have five million domains under management within five years, an ambitious target.

RightOfTheDot is the new gTLD consultancy founded by domainers Mike Berkens and Monte Cahn.

Over half the world’s biggest brands will be blocked in new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, November 12, 2013, Domain Registries

More than half of the world’s most-famous brand names already stand to benefit from blocks in new gTLDs, due to the name collisions policy introduced by ICANN recently.

That’s the preliminary conclusion of a quick analysis of the 37 block-lists already published.

Using Interbrand’s list of the top 100 most valuable brands, we find that only 32 do not appear anywhere — either as strings or substrings — on the collisions lists we have today.

Fifty-nine brands are to be blocked as exact matches in at least one new gTLD. Five brands are blocked exactly in 10 or more.

Brand owners blocked in collision lists may not have to fork out for as many defensive registrations, but may also face complications when registries finally start whittling down their lists.

We present the full table of results below, for which the following explanations might be needed:

  • Brand/String — The brands have been normalized to ASCII strings, removing punctuation not compatible with the DNS protocol and converting accented characters to their unaccented equivalents (for example, “Nescafé” becomes “Nescafe”). For DI PRO subscribers, each string links to a search on the database for that string.
  • Exact Matches — The number of gTLDs (currently out of 37) in which this exact-match brand will be blocked.
  • Unique Strings — The number of strings containing this brand that appear on block-lists. In some cases this may provide misleading results due to the usual overkill you get when matching substrings. For example, two-character brands such as 3M and HP get a lot of hits, the vast majority of which do not appear to relate to the brand itself, whereas every hit for Google does in fact refer to the brand.
Brand/StringExact MatchesUnique Strings
3m0409
accenture12
adidas12
adobe01
allianz00
amazon75
americanexpress01
apple1410
audi114
avon21
axa014
bmw23
budweiser00
burberry00
canon311
cartier00
caterpillar00
chevrolet00
cisco18
citi18
coca-cola21
colgate00
corona11
danone00
dell654
discovery34
disney37
duracell00
ebay101
facebook219
ferrari01
ford321
gap125
ge111099
gillette00
goldmansachs00
google2426
gucci05
hm1139
harley-davidson11
heineken00
heinz01
hermes41
honda37
hp8303
hsbc21
hyundai12
ibm815
ikea22
intel15
jpmorgan00
jackdaniels00
johndeere00
johnniewalker00
johnsonjohnson00
kelloggs00
kfc213
kia119
kleenex00
loreal00
louisvuitton00
mastercard00
mcdonalds14
mercedes-benz21
microsoft93
moetchandon00
morganstanley11
mtv215
nescafe00
nestle00
nike112
nintendo21
nissan01
nokia65
oracle44
pampers01
panasonic12
pepsi00
philips22
pizzahut11
porsche00
prada11
ralphlauren00
samsung33
santander11
sap227
shell47
siemens43
smirnoff00
sony68
sprite11
starbucks11
thomsonreuters00
tiffanyco00
toyota22
ups210
visa310
volkswagen00
xerox13
zara13

The numbers will of course grow rapidly as ICANN publishes more collisions lists.

If there’s sufficient interest from DI PRO subscribers in this breakdown being kept up to date on an ongoing basis, I’ll bolt it on to to the existing collisions database.

XYZ says auctions “comfortably within the rules”

Kevin Murphy, November 10, 2013, Domain Registries

New gTLD registry XYZ.com has responded to criticisms of its plan to auction .xyz and .college names with NameJet before they even have signed contracts with ICANN.

CEO Daniel Negari told DI that the plan to auction 40 names between now and the end of February, is “comfortably within the rules”.

The company seems to be operating at the edge of what is permissible under the new gTLD program’s rights protection mechanisms, which state that no domains may be allocated prior to Sunrise.

But Negari said in an email interview that nothing will be “allocated” before its Sunrise periods are done:

the buyers at auction are not buying the domain names as in a normal auction. They are buying an option to force us to allocate them the domain after the Sunrise Period for the auction price assuming various contingencies are met — such as us being able to allocate the name in the future, the name being available after sunrise, the name not being blocked-out because of name collisions and so on.

He went on to say that the 40 names being put to auction are being drawn from the 100 names the recently redrafted Registry Agreement says registries are allowed to allocate to themselves “necessary for the operation or the promotion of the TLD”.

There’s also the potential problem that neither TLD has yet received its list of name collisions, which are likely to contain thousands of strings that the registry must block at launch.

As we’ve seen with the gTLDs that already have their lists, many desirable second-level strings are likely to be blocked, which could clash with names XYZ is planning to auction.

But XYZ seems to have access to the Day In The Life Of The Internet data from which these lists are compiled, and Negari said that the names it is auctioning off do not appear.

“We think these auctions are a great way to both promote our TLD as anticipated by ICANN in the RA and to bring increased innovation to the space in line with ICANN’s stated goals for the new gTLD program,” Negari said.

Donuts puts date to first Sunrise, signs big registrars, says it won’t have a landrush

Kevin Murphy, November 6, 2013, Domain Registries

Donuts has announced the dates of its first Sunrise periods and revealed that it’s not planning to run a landrush period for its first seven new gTLDs.

The company said today that it plans to take .bike, .clothing, .guru, .holdings, .plumbing, .singles and .ventures to Sunrise on November 26.

It’s opted for a 60-day Sunrise period, going to full general availability on January 29 next year. The company said:

Donuts will forego a traditional land-rush and move directly to general availability to all registrants on January 29, 2014. Donuts’ gTLDs are available for registration by anyone without restriction.

Donuts also said it has signed the following registrars to its channel: GoDaddy, 1&1 Internet, Web.com, Tucows, Host Europe Group, Key-Systems, CSC Digital Brand Services, MarkMonitor, NetNames, Gandi, united-domains, Melbourne IT and 101domain.

While the press release issued this afternoon suggests that the seven strings in question have already been delegated, I’m not seeing them in the DNS root zone yet.

dotShabaka Diary — Day 22, Sunrise has gone live!

Kevin Murphy, November 2, 2013, Domain Registries

In this penultimate entry in the dotShabaka Diary series, dotShabaka general manager Yasmin Omer officially announces the launch of the Sunrise period for شبكة., the first new gTLD to enter this phase.

Saturday 2 November 2013

It’s with great pleasure that I can finally say that we are the first new gTLD Registry Operator to commence its Sunrise Period! I’m truly excited about taking this TLD to the Arabic speaking world and revolutionising their Internet experience. So what’s happened since the last entry?

We received, and responded to, the TLD on-boarding Information Request from ICANN. New gTLD Registry Operators (and their Registry Services Providers) should be prepared to promptly provide ICANN with technical information regarding:

  • The Registry Operator’s provision of the zone file access service;
  • Bulk thin registration data access to ICANN;
  • Data Escrow – Registry Reporting Interface;
  • Implementation of the URS system;
  • EPP extensions for the TLD; and
  • EPP SLA Monitoring.

We requested the registration of our IDN Table on the IANA Repository of IDN Practices.

We obtained approval of our TLD Startup Information from ICANN. It’s certainly clear from our interactions with ICANN that the process of, and the requirements for, obtaining IBM’s acceptance of Sunrise dates and ICANN’s approval of TLD Startup Information, is yet to be defined. As a result, there was a delay in obtaining ICANN’s approval of our TLD Startup Information.

If you’re a new gTLD Registry Operator and you want your TLD Startup Information approved quickly, here are some tips:

  • Once you have a fair idea of when your Sunrise will commence (could be before you’re delegated), reach out to IBM independently and request a number of potential dates. The team at IBM has been very responsive by promptly accepting our Sunrise dates.
  • Include your eligibility policy for general registration with your TLD Startup Information. Yes, ICANN has explicitly stated that this is not a requirement they have imposed but it seems that they need it.
  • Remember that ICANN’s review is a legal review. Ensure that your policies very clearly demonstrate your compliance with the relevant requirements. Use diagrams.
  • Be prepared to respond to ICANN or IBM at any time – they’re both on opposite sides of the world to each other. ICANN thankfully ensure that the process is interactive, so be prepared to interact.

Good luck to everyone. We look forward to being joined by many more New gTLD Registry Operators in Sunrise.

Read previous and future diary entries here.

Donuts’ first gTLD sunrise slated for October 29

Kevin Murphy, October 11, 2013, Domain Registries

Donuts has reportedly become the first new gTLD registry to announce its first sunrise periods.

According to BrandShelter, part of the KeyDrive registrar group, nine of Donuts gTLDs will enter sunrise on October 29.

The nine are: .camera, .clothing, .equipment, .guru, .holdings, .lighting, .singles, .ventures and .voyage.

The sunrise periods will last 60 days, BrandShelter said.

I’m seeking confirmation and additional information from Donuts and will provide an update later.

UPDATE: Donuts’ Jon Nevett, in the comments, states that the dates are “estimates”.

First-come, first-served sunrise periods on the cards

Kevin Murphy, October 7, 2013, Domain Registries

New gTLD registries will be able to offer first-come, first-served sunrise periods under a shake-up of the program’s rights protection mechanisms announced a week ago.

The new Trademark Clearinghouse Rights Protection Mechanism Requirements (pdf) contains a number of concessions to registries that may make gTLD launches easier but worry some trademark owners.

But it also contains a concession, I believe unprecedented, to the Intellectual Property Constituency that appears to give it a special veto over launch programs in geographic gTLDs.

Sunrise Periods

Under the old rules, which came about following the controversial “strawman” meetings late last year, new gTLD registries would have to give a 30-day notice period before launching their sunrise periods.

That was to give trademark owners enough time to consider their defensive registration strategies and to register their marks in the Trademark Clearinghouse.

The new rules give registries more flexibility. The 30-day notice requirement is still there, but only for registries that decide to offer a “Start Date” sunrise period as opposed to an “End Date” sunrise.

These are new concepts that require a bit of explanation.

An End Date sunrise is the kind of sunrise we’re already familiar with — the registry collects applications for domains from trademark owners but doesn’t actually allocate them until the end of the period. This may involve an auction when there are multiple applications for the same string.

A Start Date sunrise is a relative rarity — where registrations are actually processed and domains allocated while the sunrise period is still running. First-come, first-served, in other words.

This gives more flexibility to registries in their launch plans. They’ll be able to showcase mark-owning anchor tenants during sunrise, for example.

But it gives less certainty to trademark owners, which in many cases won’t be able to guarantee they’ll get the domain matching their mark no matter how wealthy they are.

Under the new ICANN rules, only registries operating a Start Date Sunrise need to give the 30 days notice. These sunrise periods have to run for a minimum of 30 days.

It seems that registries running End Date Sunrises will be able to give notice the same day they start accepting sunrise applications, but will have to run their sunrise period for at least 60 days.

Launch Programs

There was some criticism of the old RPM rules for potentially limiting registries’ ability to run things such as “Founders Programs”, getting anchor tenants through the door early to help promote their gTLDs.

The old rules said that the registry could allocate up to 100 names to itself, making them essentially exempt from sunrise periods, for promotional purposes.

New gTLD applicants had proposed that this should be expanded to enable these 100 names to go to third parties (ie, “founders”) but ICANN has not yet given this the green light.

In the new rules, the 100 names still must be allocated to the registry itself, but ICANN said it might relax this requirement in future. In the legalese of the Registry Agreement, it said:

Subject to further review and analysis regarding feasibility, implementation and protection of intellectual property rights, if a process for permitting registry operators to Allocate or register some or all of such one hundred (100) domain names (plus their IDN variants, where applicable) (each a “Launch Name”) to third parties prior to or during the Sunrise Period for the purposes of promoting the TLD (a “Qualified Launch Program”) is approved by ICANN, ICANN will prepare an addendum to these TMCH Requirements providing for the implementation of such Qualified Launch Program, which will be automatically incorporated into these TMCH Requirements without any further action of ICANN or any registry operator.

ICANN will also allow registries to request the ability to offer launch programs that diverge from the TMCH RPM rules.

If the launch program requested was detailed in the new gTLD application itself, it would carry a presumption of being approved, unless ICANN “reasonably determines that such requested registration program could contribute to consumer confusion or the infringement of intellectual property rights.”

If the registry had not detailed the program in its application, but ICANN had approved a similar program for another similar registry, there’d be the same presumption of approval.

Together, these provisions seems to give registries a great deal of flexibility in designing launch programs whilst making ICANN the guardian of intellectual property rights.

Geo gTLDs

For officially designated “geographic” gTLDs, it’s a bit more complicated.

Some geographic gTLD applicants had worried about their ability to reserve names for the governments backing their applications before the trademark owners wade in.

How can the .london registry make sure that the Metropolitan Police obtains police.london before the Sting-fronted pop group (or more likely its publisher) snaps up the name at sunrise, for example?

The new rules again punt a firm decision, instead giving the Intellectual Property Constituency, with ICANN oversight, the ability to come up with a list of names or categories of names that geographic registries will be allowed to reserve from their sunrise periods.

It’s very unusual — I can’t think of another example of this happening — for ICANN to hand decision-making power like this to a single constituency of the Generic Names Supporting Organization.

When GNSO Councillors also questioned the move, ICANN VP of DNS industry engagement Cyrus Namazi wrote:

In response to community input, the TMCH Requirements were revised to allow registry operators the ability to submit applications to conduct launch programs. In response to the large number of Geo TLDs who voiced similar concerns, the IPC publicly stated that it would be willing to work with Geo TLDs to develop mutually acceptable language for Geo TLD launch programs. We viewed this proposal as a way for community members to work collectively to propose to ICANN a possible solution for an issue specifically affecting intellectual property rights-holders and Geo TLDs. Any such proposal will be subject to ICANN’s review and ICANN has expressly stated that any such proposal may be subject to public comment in which other interested community members may participate.

While ICANN is calling the RPM rules “final”, it seems that in reality there’s still a lot of work to be done before new gTLD registries, geo or otherwise, will have a clear picture of what they can and cannot offer at launch.

Donuts’ trademark block list goes live, pricing revealed

Kevin Murphy, September 25, 2013, Domain Registries

Donuts’ Domain Protected Marks List, which gives trademark owners the ability to defensively block their marks across the company’s whole portfolio of gTLDs, has gone live.

The service goes above and beyond what new gTLD registries are obliged to offer by ICANN.

As a “block” service, in which names will not resolve, it’s reminiscent of the Sunrise B service offered by ICM Registry at .xxx’s launch, which was praised and cursed in equal measure.

But with DPML, trademark owners also have the ability to block “trademark+keyword” names, for example, so Pepsi could block “drinkpepsi” or “pepsisucks”.

It’s not a wildcard, however. Companies would have to pay for each trademark+keyword string they wanted blocking.

DPML covers all of the gTLDs that Donuts plans to launch, which could be as many as 300. It currently has 28 registry agreements with ICANN and 272 applications remaining in various stages of evaluation.

Trademark owners will only be able to sign up to DPML if their marks are registered with the Trademark Clearinghouse under the “use” standard required to participate in Sunrise periods.

Donuts is also excluding an unspecified number of strings it regards as “premium”, so the owners of marks matching those strings will be out of luck, it seems.

Blocks will be available for a minimum of five years an maximum of 10 years. After expiration, they can be renewed with minimum terms of one year.

The company has not disclose its wholesale pricing, but registrars we’ve found listing the service on their web sites so far (101domain and EnCirca) price it between $2,895 and $2,995 for a five-year registration.

It looks pricey, but it’s likely to be extraordinarily good value compared to the alternative of Sunrise periods.

If Donuts winds up with 200 gTLDs in its portfolio, a $3,000 price tag ($600 per year) works out to a defensive registration cost of $3 per domain per gTLD per year.

If it winds up with all 300, the price would be $2.

That’s in line (if we’re assuming non-budget pricing comparisons and registrars’ DPML markup), with Donuts co-founder Richard Tindal’s statement earlier this year: that DPML would be 5% to 10% the cost of a regular registration.

Tindal also spoke then about a way for rival trademark owners to “unblock” matching names, so Apple the record company could unblock a DPML on apple.music obtained by Apple the computer company, for example.

Donuts is encouraging trademark owners to participate before its first gTLDs goes live, which it expects to happen later this year.