Latest news of the domain name industry

Recent Posts

ICANN has 100 new gTLD applicants

Kevin Murphy, February 13, 2012, Domain Policy

One hundred companies have registered to apply for generic top-level domains, according to ICANN senior vice president Kurt Pritz.
ICANN has decided not to provide a running commentary about how many applications have been received, but it did say that 25 companies registered in the first week the program was open.
“That number is now up to 100,” Pritz said today at the The Top Level conference in London.
He was referring to companies paying their $5,000 to sign up for ICANN’s TLD Application System, which is likely to be much smaller than the actual number of gTLD applications. Each TAS account can store up to 50 applications, Pritz said.
There are only 45 days left on the clock to register for a TAS account. After March 29, you’re in for a wait of at least three years (my estimate) before the opportunity comes around again.
Pritz’s revelation was one of the more interesting things to emerge during today’s half-day gathering at the offices of the PR firm Burson-Marsteller, which attracted about 40 attendees.
The other big surprise was that Scandinavian Airlines System Group, the dot-brand applicant that was due to give a presentation on its plans for .sas, was a no-show.
I gather that somebody more senior at SAS found out about the conference and decided that revealing all was not such a great business strategy after all.
Most dot-brand applicants are playing their hands close to their chest, even if they’re not heading into a contested gTLD scenario (which SAS may well be if the software firm SAS Institute also applies for .sas).
I also found it notable that there’s still substantial confusion about the program among some potential dot-brand applicants, several of which did show up as general attendees.
I talked to one poor soul who had read the latest revision of the 349-page Applicant Guidebook back-to-back after it was published January 11, trying to figure out what had changed.
He was apparently unaware that ICANN had simultaneously published a summary of the changes, which were very minimal anyway, in a separate document.
These are the types of applicant – people unfamiliar not only with ICANN’s processes but also even with its web site – that are being asked to hack the Guidebook to make the rules compatible with a dot-brand business model, remember.
One potential applicant used a Q&A session during the conference to bemoan the fact that ICANN seems intent to continue to move the goal-posts, even as it solicits applications (and fees).
Pritz and Olof Nordling, manager of ICANN’s Brussels office, reiterated briefly during their presentation today that the current public comment period on “defensive” applications could lead to changes to the program’s trademark protection mechanisms.
But this comment period ends March 20, just nine days before the TAS registration deadline. That’s simply not enough time for ICANN to do anything concrete to deter defensive applications.
If any big changes are coming down the pipe, ICANN is going to need to extend the application window. Material changes made after the applications are already in are going to cause a world of hurt.

New gTLD applications briefly vanish after glitch

Kevin Murphy, February 2, 2012, Domain Tech

A software glitch in ICANN’s TLD Application System was apparently to blame for a number of “disappearing” new generic top-level domain applications today.
At about 4pm UTC today, two Neustar executives tweeted that some applications, among them the company’s own .neustar dot-brand application, had vanished from their TAS accounts.
TAS is the web-based application, presented as a series of questions, which applicants must use to file and pay for their new gTLD applications.
Several other applicants were also believed to be affected.
It took about two hours for ICANN to sort the problem out.
A spokesperson later said: “A display issue occurred in TAS, it has been corrected. All data is now visible & no information was lost.”
It’s the second technical problem to be reported in TAS this week.
On Tuesday, consultant Fairwinds Partners reported that some applicants had problems filling out their TAS profiles, preventing them from completing their applications.
Frankly, I’d be more surprised if this kind of thing didn’t happen.
TAS is brand new custom-built software, and as anyone who’s ever written software will tell you, no amount of testing can substitute for production use when it comes to finding bugs.

25 companies register for new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, January 19, 2012, Domain Registries

ICANN has just announced that 25 companies have registered with its TLD Application System, one week after it opened the application window for its new generic top-level domains program.
This does not necessarily mean that only 25 gTLDs have been applied for. Each TAS account can handle up to 50 applications, according to ICANN.
We already know that one of the signed-up TAS users is Minds + Machines, and it has applied for 20 gTLDs already.
“I can state firmly that one week into the process, the application system for the new domain names is functioning just as it should,” ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom said in a press release.
The application window opened January 12 and will close April 12. The deadline for registering with TAS is March 29.
Most registry service providers and other industry observers have predicted 1,000 to 1,500 applications in total, possibly a little more depending how crazy the dot-brand applicants get.
But ICANN isn’t commenting. It stated: “Until [May 1], ICANN will not comment publicly about any specific application, the total number of applications received, or who has submitted applications.”

ICANN opens new gTLD program

Kevin Murphy, January 12, 2012, Domain Policy

It’s scarcely believable given the delays and threats, but ICANN opened its new generic top-level domains program to applications this morning at a minute after midnight UTC.
The TLD Application System, ICANN’s custom web tool for submitting applications, is now live.
If you have $5,000 burning a hole in your pocket, you can sign up for TAS to check it out at any time between now and March 29 at 2359 UTC.
A new English version of the Applicant Guidebook – the ninth – has also been published, mostly merely correcting and clarifying parts of the text.
Applications, with the remaining $180,000 part of the fee, are due by April 12 at 2359 UTC.