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Donuts adds another TLD to its stable as Richemont finally bows out of new gTLD program

Kevin Murphy, March 17, 2021, Domain Registries

Luxury goods maker Richemont, an early and strong proponent of the new gTLD concept, has got rid of the final string of the 14 it originally applied for.

According to ICANN records, the registry agreement for .watches was officially transferred to Afilias at the end of December, one day before it was in turn acquired by Donuts.

The domain nic.watches current resolves to a placeholder bearing the Afilias branding.

Richemont, the company behind luxury brands such as Cartier and Piaget, now has no TLDs left.

It had applied for nine dot-brands, along with five generic dictionary terms that it at first intended to maintain as single-registrant spaces, before that use case was banned by ICANN.

At the start of the decade, the company was an enthusiastic endorser of new gTLDs, even sending speakers to conferences to promote the concept.

Richemont was also the first registrant of second-level domains in third-party new gTLDs, when it registered Arabic versions of some of its famous brands in December 2013.

But its enthusiasm waned gradually over the last eight years.

Its dot-brands were discarded in tranches, either during the application process or after contracting. Donuts beat it to .jewelry at auction, and it terminated its contracts for Chinese versions of .jewelry and .watches last year.

There’s not much money in internationalized domain names, so now it seems likely these Chinese IDNs were shopped around but failed to find a buyer.

.watches, however, is right in Donuts’ wheelhouse, a niche generic English string related to a specific product or service.

Last month, I reported that Donuts had acquired .markets, .forex, .broker and .trading from Boston Ivy as it exited the new gTLD game, while letting the less-attractive .spreadbetting die on the vine.

Bling-maker kills off fifth dot-brand gTLD

Kevin Murphy, April 16, 2018, Domain Registries

Richemont, the company behind brands such as Cartier jewelry and Mont Blanc pens, has terminated its fifth dot-brand gTLD.
It filed with ICANN to terminate its registry contract for .iwc earlier this month.
IWC is a Swiss brand of expensive watches, but its dot-brand has never been used to any notable extent.
The company had registered the domain watches.iwc, which it apparently planned to use for URL redirection via Rebrandly.
It’s the third gTLD Richemont has voluntarily terminated, after .montblanc and .chloe last year.
The company also withdrew its unopposed applications for .netaporter and .mrporter back in 2014, before it actually signed contracts with ICANN.
Richemont was one of the more prolific dot-brand applicants, applying for 14 gTLDs in total back in 2012.
It also applied for (defensively?) and won the generic .watches and some translations.
While the .watches gTLD has been live in the DNS for two and a half years, Richemont has not yet set a launch date and has not yet said who will even be eligible to buy domains there.

Richemont kills off two more dot-brands

Luxury goods maker Richemont has decided to ditch two more of its dot-brand gTLDs.
The company has asked ICANN to terminate its registry contracts for .chloe and .montblanc, according to documents published by ICANN late last week.
Chloe is a fashion brand; Mont Blanc sells pens, jewelery and such.
No reason was given for either termination. Registries are allowed to self-terminate their Registry Agreements for any reason, given 180 days notice.
In both cases, ICANN has already agreed not to transfer the gTLD to a new operator. That’s a special privilege dot-brands get in their RAs.
Neither gTLD ever progressed beyond a single nic.brand placeholder page
Four additional Richemont dot-brands — .piaget, .iwc, .cartier, .panerai — have also been live for two years or more but are in identical states of disuse.
Richemont also runs .watches, .手表 and .珠宝 (Chinese for “watches” and “jewelry” respectively) which have been in the DNS for over 18 months but do not yet have any published launch plans.
The company was a somewhat enthusiastic early adopter of the new gTLD concept, providing speakers to industry events well before the application window opened back in 2012.
It applied for 14 strings in total, 10 of which eventually went live. It dumped two of its dot-brands before contract-signing and lost two auctions for generic strings.
Both .chloe and .montblanc are expected to be removed from the DNS in October.
There are now 22 new gTLDs that have voluntarily terminated their RAs.