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Tucows, Directi and Namecheap to combine .online gTLD bids

Kevin Murphy, March 27, 2013, 12:26:18 (UTC), Domain Registries

Three applicants for the .online gTLD appear to have settled their differences in what I believe is the first public example of new gTLD contention set consolidation.
Tucows, Directi and Namecheap said today that that they plan to “work together to manage the .online registry.” From the press release:

applicants for the same TLDs have begun to compete, negotiate, and, in some cases, join forces to ultimately produce one winning bid.
The first such alliance was revealed today, when domain industry veterans Directi, Tucows and Namecheap announced that they would work together to manage the .online registry.

The companies are of course three of the most successful domain name registrars out there.
The press release does not specify how the combination will be carried out. Under ICANN rules, two of the applicants would have to drop their applications. It’s not possible to resubmit as a joint venture.
It also does not acknowledge that there are three other applicants for .online — Donuts and smaller portfolio applicants Dot Online LLC and I-REGISTRY Ltd — which are not party to the agreement.

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Comments (5)

  1. Rubens Kuhl says:

    Not possible to resubmit, but it’s possible to file a change request on the joint venture question.
    I wonder though it the background screening for Directi couldn’t jeopardize the JV if the allegations against them are found as damaging.

  2. Brad Mugford says:

    “Portfolio applicant Uniregistry, the company founded by domainer Frank Schilling, said today that the DoJ has told it that: arrangements by which private parties agree to resolve gTLD string contentions solely to avoid a public auction present antitrust issues.”

  3. Brad Mugford says:

    “It was really an exaggeration what Frank said of the DoJ position.”
    As far as I am concerned Uniregistry reported what they were told by the DOJ.
    If companies don’t believe what was said, they are allowed to contact the DOJ on their own.
    Uniregistry has some top lawyers on staff. I would not just blow of their interpretation of what the DOJ said.
    I know many of the companies who are trying to profit by circumventing the auction process just want to ignore this.
    This bottom line is any agreement between parties with the intention to avoid or manipulate the auction process might be seen as antitrust or collusion.
    If the applicants want to take that risk, that is their choice.

    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      Anthony Van Couver from Minds & Machines reported similar discussions with DOJ, but Frank’s interpretation of the DOJ position is what I believe to be exaggerated, and Uniregistry first delivered their interpretation, and after bad reception delivered the full communications.
      If you read thru both exchanges then you can do a reasonable risk assessment. Just avoid reading it chronologically.

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