Tag Archives: Domain Incite

MMX and Radix Get Chinese Approval for 4 More TLDs Each as .BOSTON Launches

mmxco-logoMinds + Machines has just had 4 more of its 27 new gTLDs approved for use in China, adding to the prior approval for .vip. This now makes 5 of its extensions approved by the Chinese government regulator, MIIT – .vip, .law, .work, .beer and .购物(shopping) – with a further four currently still going through the MIIT approval process.

The Company will announce the release schedule on the newly approved top level domains for the Chinese market in due course.

Commenting on the approval, MMX’s Chief Executive, Toby Hall, speaking on the domain industry at Alibaba event ‘The Computing Conference’ in Hangzhou, regularly attended by over 40,000 delegates, said:
“We are greatly honoured to be the first western registry to receive a second round of approvals from MIIT.  China accounts for over half of global registrations in new gTLDs and from a revenue perspective it is important for the Company to have a dominant position in this market.”

MMX’s 27 new gTLDs have almost 1.095 million domains under management, the largest being .vip with 762,000 followed by .work with 116,000 and .london with 75,000 according to nTLDstats.

Another new gTLD registry, Radix, also had 4 of their new gTLDs approved for use in China according to a Domain Incite report. Their new gTLDs to get the nod were .fun, .online, .store and .tech.

Additionally, this week saw the General Availability launch of .boston. The new generic top level domain launched on 10 October and saw over 2,000 registrations being made in the first six hours and approximately $100,000 of billings already booked. According to nTLDstats, registrations are now over 2,150.

Uniregistry Hikes New gTLD Prices Up To 3,000% And GoDaddy Drops The Lot

The recent announcement that Uniregistry would be upping the prices on 16 of its underperforming new gTLDs by up to 3,115% from 21 August has had one, so far, really unfortunate consequence. GoDaddy, the world’s largest registrar, announced it was dropping Uniregistry’s entire portfolio of gTLDs from its offerings.

“We need more revenue from these strings, especially the low volume ones, without question,” Uniregistry CEO Frank Schilling told Domain Incite, who broke the story, at the time. “We can’t push on a string and stoke demand overnight. So in order for that string to survive as a standalone it has to be profitable.”

While an increase in the registry fee need not impact on registrations, the case of .berlin increasing their registry fee by 50% is a case in point, it’s hard to see how increases closer to 3,000% will add to either revenue or registrations. In the case of .berlin, the registry fee increased from €20 to €30.

But GoDaddy’s decision isn’t final according to Domain Name Wire.

“We have stopped registering or transferring Uniregistry domain names into our system,” GoDaddy. GM of Domains Mike McLaughlin told Domain Name Wire. “The dramatic price hike Uniregistry announced left us no choice. Until we can assess the impact on our current and potential customers, we have stopped new registrations.”

Uniregistry thinks the decision won’t last. Schilling told Domain Incite he was “surprised” by the decision.

“We are extremely surprised by GoDaddy’s reaction but are pleased that our extensions are available at many other registrars who support our approach. We remain ready to support GoDaddy when they decide on a path which works for their customers. We expect them to return.”

Uniregistry is the eighth largest new gTLD registry by domains under management with over 851,000 registrations across 24 new generic top level domains, the largest of which is .link (372,700 DUM) and .click (158,400). It’s not just the gTLDs with the lowest registration figures as previously speculated that are impacted, both .link and .click are too.

See below for the list of impacted gTLDs and the increases, as compiled by Blacknight.

Domain Extension Current Retail Price Wholesale % Increase New Retail Price
.juegos €11.99 3115% €349.00
.hosting €24.99 1400% €349.00
.audio €11.99 972% €119.00
.diet €16.99 650% €119.00
.hiphop €16.99 650% €119.00
.flowers €21.99 466% €119.00
.guitars €24.99 400% €119.00
.property €24.99 400% €119.00
.blackfriday €32.99 275% €119.00
.sexy €16.99 200% €49.99
.christmas €24.99 150% €59.99
.click €6.99 50% €8.99
.help €16.99 50% €24.99
.pics €16.99 50% €24.99
.tattoo €24.99 50% €39.99
.link €8.99 5% €8.99

The above table was sourced from the Blacknight blog here.

Fee Increases For New gTLDs Need Not Have Detrimental Impacts, Although Plenty Face Uncertain Future

The recent news broke by Domain Incite that Uniregistry will “massively increase the price of some of its under-performing new gTLDs in an effort to keep them afloat” is surely an overreaction.

According to the report, Uniregistry will increase the fees on 16 of its underperforming new generic Top Level Domains by up to 3,000% from 8 September. Currently Uniregistry operates 27 new gTLDs with 871,000 domains under management, although nTLDstats.com lists only 26 new gTLDs. All of the new gTLDs have less than 10,000 registrations.

“We need more revenue from these strings, especially the low volume ones, without question,” Uniregistry CEO Frank Schilling told Domain Incite. “We can’t push on a string and stoke demand overnight. So in order for that string to survive as a standalone it has to be profitable.”

Increasing the registration fee does not necessarily impact on registrations. One new gTLD registry operator Domain Pulse spoke to pointed to .berlin’s recent experience where they increased their registry fee by 50% without any detrimental impact on registrations.

“Increasing the registry fee from €20 to €30 had no detrimental impact on registrations. OK, that´s not 3000% but it’s a huge step.”

“It is also very clear, that a TLD, or better a registry, could not survive with less than 5,000 domains, if the price is in the range between $10 to $50,” the registry operator went on to say.

It’s also something that DotBerlin’s Katrin Ohlmer explained at the Domain Pulse conference in Vienna in February. Speaking on a panel on the future of TLDs, not just new gTLDs, Ohlmer who was speaking with her Dotzon CEO hat on said “for .berlin, they have had their own experiences. In a bid to stimulate registration growth in the early days, they gave away or sold cheaply around 90,000 domains, but they didn’t gain anything long term as many of these didn’t renew.”

“Three years on from the launch of General Availability, registrations have now stabilised and are gradually increasing, now sitting at 59,000. These days the registry has even increased their registration fee with no detrimental impact on registrations.”

And while paid registrations are important to pay the bills, Ohlmer explained it’s “not just about the number of registrations but the usage and addressing the right target group. One of the main tasks for registries is to get message across is that a domain name is useful for a number of reasons, not just web and email.”

Probably a more important issue though is the future of some of the new gTLDs. There are currently at least 200 new gTLDs that have less than 5,000 registrations. Some of these have less than a hundred registrations and have been in General Availability for over 2 years. So their future is grim. And there are thousands of registrants in these underperforming new gTLDs that face an uncertain future after investing not so much in buying the domain, but developing a brand and face online with that domain.

Registrants in underperforming new gTLDs face some problems. “They’ve registered domain names in TLD´s that are special, for example .tatoo and .diet. and these registrants can´t just move to any other TLD,” our registry operator told Domain Pulse. “I guess for a few thousand people around the world asking over $300 per year is really not a problem. Of course for domainers or SEO folks, it is a problem and this pricing very unattractive.”

So what is the future? Research presented at the 2015 Domain Pulse conference by Godefroy Jordan from new gTLD operator StartingDot, now owned by Afilias, found that most new gTLDs sold for between €5 and €50. They also found there was a very poor correlation between volume and price and when the registrar fee for the domains gets above €50, it “really starts to have impact on registration volumes.”

“Many of the new gTLD will disappear from the market in the next 5 years,” said our registry operator. “For example Donuts with a few hundred gTLD´s may have problems sustaining all of them and they have huge scaling effects because the high number.”

But some specialised new gTLDs can sustain high prices, such as those for the financial and insurance industries where the fee is really not an object.

Certainly there is an uncertain future for some new gTLDs. But there are 28.5 million domains under management across the 1,216 new gTLDs and there are 173 with more than 10,000 registrations, 278 with more than 5,000 and many more that are still getting going. Add in the hundreds of brand .gTLDs and it would be safe to say that well over half, probably three-quarters, are safe.

And back to Uniregistry and Frank Schilling. According to our registry operator “he’s very clever and very good at marketing. It could be his view to give these underperforming new gTLDs a last chance, to try and increase the fee and if the revenue in the next 3 to 5 years is not enough to survive he may look at selling or closing down the gTLD after the initial 10 year contract with ICANN ends.”


Daily Wrap: .COM/.NET Keywords in June, Cyrillic Domains in Bulgaria and Two-Character Country Codes May Become Available In gTLDs

Verisign logoThe recent referendum in the United Kingdom that saw the people vote to leave the European Union has seen “Brexit” join the list of top ten keywords for .com, according to a blog post on the Verisign website.

The list of top ten keywords in .com domain names registered in June were worlds, casino, visit, plastic, Brexit, listings, popup, physical, hearing and degree. For .net the list was completely different. The top ten keywords in .net domain names were pass, luxury, wall, hearing, rehab, Vietnam, aids, snap, tool and York.

The first domain name using the .бг top level domain, in Cyrillic characters, has gone live, according to a Novinite report. The TLD was somewhat controversial because of its similarity to Brazil’s ccTLD .br. The first domain to go live was Имена.бг (“names”).

The Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications will be setting up a list of state institutions and municipalities, like софия.бг (the name of the capital Sofia in Cyrillic) or президент.бг. (“president.bg”) to avoid any registrations that could potentially tarnish these institutions’ reputation the report notes. Following this process registrations for .бг will commence with priority given to trademarks and company names and other applicants whose name request is “well-founded”.

ICANN is proposing to introduce process for gTLD registry operators to release what would often be valuable two-character domains. If adopted it would see “all gTLD Registry Operators who implement these measures would be authorised to release all reserved two-letter second-level domains.”

If the proposal goes ahead, before they can be publicly released registry operators would have to allow a 30 day period where any country codes “will be made exclusively available to the applicable country-code manager or government.”

“The new proposal, introduced in an attempt to settle a long-running debate about the most appropriate way to enable the release of two-character strings, appears to add a ‘buy it or lose it’ component to existing policy,” according to Domain Incite.

“Under the base New gTLD Registry Agreement, all two-character domains were initially reserved.

“Then, in late 2014, ICANN said registries could release all letter-number, number-letter and number-number combinations.”

New gTLD Registrations Soar Past 22 Million As .STORE Takes Off, While Other gTLDs Shrink

Registrations for the 1,032 delegated new generic Top Level Domains have soared past the 22 million mark to 22.52 million, with .xyz accounting for 6.226 million of these. Plus there was an impressive start this week for .store with 16,000 registrations on day one of General Availability.The .store gTLD has now reached 22,700 registrations two days after CentralNic launched its General Availability putting it well within the top 100 gTLDs according to nTLDstats.com.But .xyz still dominates accounting for 28.12 percent of all new gTLD registrations, jumping to 6.053 million on 3 June from 2.921 million on 31 May on the back of a heavily discounted promotion to celebrate its second birthday. .TOP remains the second largest gTLD with 2.628 million registrations followed by .wang with 1.070 million, the only three with over one million registrations.But some of these new gTLDs are actually losing registration numbers. Research by Domain Incite has found that a significant number are losing registrations.Domain Incite found that almost a third (31.1% or 104) of gTLDs available for public registrations, and for which General Availability commenced before 14 March 2015, lost registrations in the three months to 1 June 2016. In the year to 1 June, 76 (22.7%) lost registrations and 96 (28.7%) lost registrations in the preceding 30 days. The full list is published here.

Daily Wrap: .COM/.NET Trending Keywords; Istanbul gTLDs Go Live And Judge Gets It Wrong In .AFRICA

Dot Istanbul logoGlobal news items certainly impact on the trending keywords for .com and .net domains. For April Prince, Panama and Czechia both features in the .com list of trending keywords according to a post on the Verisign blog. But not so for .net.

The top trending keywords for .com in April were bot, guru, gram, prince, vibe, listings, rewards, panama, czechia and items. For .net they were loans, valley, prof, howto, guru, come, hotels, mobile, tshirt and fine.

The .ist and .istanbul gTLDs General Availability went live on 10 May and are available to anyone anywhere.

Available domains will be allocated on a “first-come, first-served” basis subject to the Registry Policies, ICANN requirements and the law and regulations of Turkey.

And according to a report in Domain Incite, the “ZA Central Registry has told the judge in DotConnectAfrica’s lawsuit against ICANN that the preliminary injunction he granted DCA recently was based on a misunderstanding.”

According to the report, ZACR claim the judge’s ruling was “predicated upon a key factual error”, and it is what Domain Incite has previously written about.

“The judge thinks DCA originally passed the Geographic Names Review of its Initial Evaluation for .africa, and that ICANN later failed it anyway.

“In fact, DCA never passed the GNR, and the document the judge cites in his ruling is actually ZACR’s Initial Evaluation report.”

Daily Wrap: ICANN Stops 9 New gTLDs, All In Africa and Donuts Get The .DOCTOR

ICANN new generic Top Level Domains logoThere were 17 new gTLD applications from Africa out of over 1,900 and ICANN has just culled nine of them as they had failed to go live within 12 months as specified in their contracts, according to a report in The Register.

The gTLDs in question, all brand gTLDs, were .naspers, .supersport, .mzansimagic, .mnet, .kyknet, .africamagic, .multichoice, .dstv and .gotv. The only company in Africa, the South African ZACR, was successful in applying for the .capetown, .durban and .joburg gTLDs. The .payu string, applied for by a Dutch company, is also in the same boat.

Another African applicant, .ummah from Ummah Digital of Gambia, was withdrawn in 2013, reported Domain Incite, while “the League of Arab States’ .arab and عرب. are both currently in pre-delegation testing, having signed ICANN contracts in November.”

And of course, .africa is an ongoing issue with one of the applicants, DotConnectAfrica, taking ICANN to court over the application process for the gTLD.

Meanwhile Donuts has emerged as the successful applicant for the .doctor gTLD. According to Domain Incite, “competing applicants Radix and The Medical Registry both withdrew their applications last week.”

Daily Wrap: Kinderis Wants Domain Industry to Cut Bullshit While IANA Transition Set For September

Adrian Kinderis imageAdrian Kinderis, who co-founded AusRegistry and ARI Registry Services and now a Vice President at Neustar has called on the domain name industry to “grow up” according to a report on Domain Incite.

Speaking in front of an audience that included registries, registrars and investors at this week’s NamesCon, Kinderis called for “the industry to kick out the handful of bad actors that ruin its reputation, and to quit the ‘bullshit bickering’ about which TLDs are best.”

“For far too long this industry has turned a blind eye to the less than scrupulous activities,” he said, “and these activities have plagued this industry. Bad actors have tarnished the perception of this industry.”

“This may have been acceptable when it was a few insiders first grasping at a fledgling product in the early nineties but… we are now front and center of the internet,” he said.

“These practices of a few bad actors have led to the frustration of consumers. We have not served the best interests of our consumers at all times,” he said. “This has to change.”

The IANA transition, from US government oversight to a multistakeholder oversight, is likely to take place on 30 September according to an AFP report.

ICANN CEO and President Fadi Chehadé told AFP the transition plan being prepared since early 2014 will be delivered to the US government in February, and that it could take place on September 30 — a year later than originally planned.

If the US government approves the plan, “then the contract between ICANN and the US government which is set to naturally expire on September 30 will just expire,” Chehade said in an interview Wednesday in Washington.

Chehade said the private non-profit ICANN is effectively a “traffic cop” that ensures the Internet address system functions, and that the US government’s role has been merely to ensure that it follows correct procedures.

“In all the years we’ve done that (the US government) has never said we did not follow the process,” he said.

“People have aggrandized the role of the US government in what we do. But the change is actually minimal. It’s important symbolically because the US was really a steward for the Internet, but for day-to-day accountability, it is minimal.”

Daily Wrap: New gTLDs, PICS, Registrar Rights And Responsibilities And Use More Arabic Domains

“ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee may delay the approval of new gTLDs if applicants don’t submit Public Interest Commitments” by 5 March, Domain Incite reports.

PICs “are binding, enforceable commitments that new gTLD applicants are able to voluntarily add to their registry contracts with ICANN” and are meant to satisfy the GAC’s request for ICANN to tighten its grip on new gTLD registries and to give applicants a way to avoid GAC Advice and formal objections against their bids.”

Also on 5 March, ICANN will be publishing “for public comment a version of the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement that accredited registrars have not yet agreed to.”

“CEO Fadi Chehade told a conference call of registries and new gTLD applicants as much this afternoon [4 march], causing the Registrars Stakeholder Group to immediately state that talks have not finished yet,” reports Domain Incite.

And Domain Incite has heard that “ICANN is set to publish and start promoting a new Registrant Rights & Responsibilities charter at some point over the next couple of days.” There is also what is believed to be a close-to-final draft copy of the responsibilities published in the report.

ICANN has told the first Arab Internet Governance Forum that more domain names need to be registered using local domain names in Arabic, says a report in the United Arab Emirates’ The Nation.

Icann regards Arabic domain names as an important step to helping the region fully profit from the internet, promote a better online economy, build a strong, networked community, and add to the overall knowledge base of a country.

“You can create spaces on the internet that have unique cultural rules,” said Fadi Chehade, the president and chief executive of Icann.

“That can be very attractive to countries in this part of the world.”

Domain Incite Gets Kicking From “Nutty” DotConnectAfrica

DotConnectAfrica logoAfter publishing a an article describing DotConnectAfrica’s campaign for the .africa gTLD as “unhinged” and “nutty”, the gTLD applicant fired back, shooting themselves in both feet with a lengthy riposte that Domain Incite republished in full with comments.

The original article on 22 February noted that “DotConnectAfrica’s increasingly unhinged campaign for the .africa gTLD has seen it take the unusual step of complaining to the US Congress about ‘wholesale illegality’ in the contest.”

“The company also appears to be running an astroturf campaign on Twitter and bogus blogs to advance its case.

“In a rambling nine-page letter to the chairs of the House and Senate telecommunications committees this week, DCA chief Sophia Bekele outlines a series of ‘corruption’ claims against rival .africa applicant UniForum.”

The article goes on to outline the bizarre antics of DotConnectAfrica in their seemingly futile application for .africa, largely because the African Union “wanted an experienced, Africa-based registry operator to run the TLD, and UniForum, which runs South Africa’s .za ccTLD, was the only qualified candidate.”

So in an email to media outlets on 2 March, DotConnectAfrica sent out an open letter to try and set the record straight.

Domain Incite republished the rambling letter as requested by DotConnectAfrica, adding its own comments, saying “The nutty .africa applicant took issue with a recent post describing the company as ‘nutty’ and trying to make sense of a rambling conspiracy-laden letter it had sent to the US Congress.”

DCA complained about Domain Incite’s description of them as “nutty”, however in the reply, Domain Incite said:

  • “‘Nutty’ is a generous, whimsical way to describe the company’s recent antics, which have included:
  • nuttily wasting >$185,000 on a gTLD application that has no chance of being approved,
  • nuttily applying for the wrong gTLD (.dotafrica),
  • using fake online identities to make it appear that DCA has grass-roots support for its nutty ideas,
  • throwing around nutty allegations of ‘wholesale illegality’ without a) specifying what laws have been broken b) by whom and c) presenting any credible evidence to back up the allegations,
  • overabundant use of bold text, underlined text, colored text and font changes to distract from the fact that its nutty missives lack substance — a tactic favored by online conspiracy theorists since the dawn of the ‘net.

“In short, if you think ‘nutty’ is bad, trust me when I say it was the least antagonistic adjective I could come up with.”

Domain Incite even wonders if “DCA read the [Applicant] Guidebook” since “ICANN makes it abundantly clear throughout that it will defer to governments on geographic gTLDs [and IC ANN] won’t approve any geographic gTLDs that don’t have the support of the relevant government.” Which clearly DCA doesn’t have.

The full Domain Incite reply is available here.