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1&1 prices first four Donuts gTLDs at $50-$80 a year

Kevin Murphy, November 14, 2013, Domain Registrars

The registrar 1&1 Internet has started selling pre-registrations in the first four Donuts new gTLDs for between $50 and $80 a year.
Three gTLDs — .singles, .bike and .clothing — carry a $49.99 price tag at the company’s US site. In the UK, they’re priced at £29.99. A fourth gTLD, .holdings, costs $79.99/£49.99.
Customers are only billed if 1&1 manages to grab the domain when the relevant gTLD launches.
The annual renewal fees appear to be the same as the pre-registration fees, but it’s not yet clear whether they’re the same as the standard reg fee when these gTLDs go to general availability next year.
As we’ve seen already via Go Daddy, some new gTLD registries are choosing to charge higher fees for pre-registered names, due to the more relaxed pricing regulations imposed by ICANN.
1&1 has been widely advertising new gTLDs on TV in the US and Europe for weeks — rumor has it the campaign’s budget is around $80 million — and has amassed four million non-binding pre-registrations to date.
Meanwhile, ICANN today warned internet users about the risks of pre-registering domains.

Go Daddy joins the new gTLD pre-reg game, kinda

Go Daddy has become the latest domain name registrar to start accepting expressions of interest from prospective new gTLD registrants.
A “watch list” service launched yesterday allows customers to indicate gTLDs that they are interested in using in future and receive alerts when they launch.
Unlike other registrars, Go Daddy does not appear to be offering users the ability to name the second-level string they’re interested in.
The goal seems to be to help the company select which of the 700 new gTLDs available on the watch list will ultimately be carried in its market-leading store, making it very interesting to applicants.
In a blog post, the company said:

Keep in mind, we might not sell all of the gTLDs listed on the landing page. The “watch” feature gives us a sense of what you’re interested in and what we should sell. We’re taking your needs and market appeal into consideration before we make any final decisions.

There’s no cost for the service, but you do need to be logged in as a Go Daddy customer in order to create a watch list, which should help prevent new gTLD applicants gaming the system.

Afilias opens pre-regs on 30 new gTLDs

Afilias has started accepting expressions of interest on the 30 new gTLDs it has applied for.
A basic site launched today invites potential registrants to indicate which names they’d like to register in future and submit their email address for updates.
As usual, it’s free, no obligation, and provides more value to the registry than the registrant.
The strings covered are:


Many of these gTLDs are still contested and some haven’t yet passed Initial Evaluation, so the list may dwindle as time goes by.

If you pre-register a domain, you are the product

Kevin Murphy, September 8, 2011, Domain Registries

“If you’re not paying for it, you are the product.”
That’s a maxim that has been doing the rounds on the internet for the last few years to describe services such as Facebook, which gets users in for free and then monetizes them to third parties.
It struck me today that this saying also applies to services that allow you to pre-register domain names in non-existent top-level domains.
If you’ve recently registered your interest in a domain in a new gTLD – example.web, say – you’ve gained nothing and potentially lost a lot.
Pre-registering creates two main benefits as I see it, and neither accrues to the registrant.
First, you’re now on the company’s mailing list. When your selected new gTLD(s) go live, the company you pre-registered with is going to try to convert you into a paying customer.
Second, you’ve just freely contributed information to an extremely valuable database, possibly to your own detriment.
When new gTLDs launch, many registries are going to reserve thousands of premium domains to either sell or auction at a later date, to periodically drum up interest in their extensions.
How will these companies decide which domains to add to their premium lists? A database of hundreds of thousands of pre-registrations would be a great place to start looking.
If you pre-register, what you may be doing is voting for your desired domain to be reserved by the registry, for possibly years, and then sold at a large premium.
Something to think about.