.gay domain names became available on a first-come, first-served basis Wednesday with the official launch day and first day of General Availability.
[news release] .gay announced Friday that they have partnered with Atari and the Qutie App to help facilitate connection and celebrate LGBTQ communities across the globe! The .gay domain is currently in an extended sunrise phase, available only to trademark holders and brands.
.gay is currently open to trademark holders and brands, but will become available to the general public in the northern hemisphere’s autumn of 2020. Through .gay‘s business model of giving to LGBTQ causes, they have already raised $17,200 for GLAAD and $17,200 for CenterLink during their first .gay Sunrise Phase, which kicked off in February and just ended last week.
In addition to creating a completely new medium for LGBTQ visibility, .gay has made this industry-first commitment of donating 20% of all new registration revenue to its LGBTQ nonprofit partners, which will help address key issues facing these communities. All registrars are also encouraged to match the .gay donation at the retail level or make their own pledges in support for LGBTQ people. This first $34,400 donation is the first of many more to come as the .gay brand launches and grows.
Beyond increasing visibility for LGBTQ communities and directly supporting organisations through charitable giving, the brand is centred around rejecting the status quo and creating a safer internet for LGBTQ people through its “.gay Rights Protections” policy, which ensures that registrars and domains will represent LGBTQ people appropriately and respond to reported instances of hate or harassment on all .gay sites. The registry is committed to setting a higher industry standard by taking steps to ensure that all .gay domain names remain free of harassment, hate speech, and anti-LGBTQ content, as well as providing specific remedies for domains that do not uphold these standards.
.gay is also directly supporting broader LGBTQ communities between April and August of this year by providing early access to a limited number of .gay names free of charge. Any LGBTQ organisation, community group, individual, or small business looking to foster digital pride and connection in advance of the official .gay launch this fall can fill out this form to begin the process of securing their .gay name at no cost to them: https://www.ohhey.gay/gay-giveaway
Public Interest Registry, the not-for-profit operator of the .org, .ngo and .ong domains, announced they are putting out to tender the back-end registry services for its top level domains.
According to research by Domain Incite, the contract has been worth over $30 million a year to the current registry operator Afilias. Afilias received $33.2 million in 2014 and $31 million in 2013.
Rightside, the registry operator for 40 new gTLDs, the largest being .rocks, .news and .ninja, with 448,000 domains under management, announced its financial results for the fourth quarter of and full year 2015.
“In Q4, and for the full year of 2015, Rightside achieved strong financial results as we continued to execute on our mission of advancing the way businesses and consumers define and present themselves online.Â We achieved record revenue in the fourth quarter closing the full year 2015 with 11% total revenue growth and Adjusted EBITDA of $4.8 million,” said Chief Executive Officer Taryn Naidu.
“Looking ahead to 2016, we are excited about our portfolio of 39 new gTLDs and the future growth opportunities as we continue to invest in market development initiatives that drive heightened awareness and growing usage for new gTLDs by consumers and businesses. We are focused on improving profitability by driving margin expansion and growth in our Registry and retail business lines and implementing cost efficiencies throughout the business,” Naidu continued.
EURid has published its latest progress report for the .eu registry. During Q4 2015, the number of .eu registrations increased by 7,937 domain names, a net increase of 0.2%, to 3.87 million.
During the last quarter of 2015, the total number of .eu registrations increased in 25 of the 31 EU member states and eligible EEA countries. The last quarter was also characterised by the announcement of the completion of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track for the .eu in Cyrillic, the second successful edition of the .eu Web Awards and the launch of the IDN World Report in partnership with UNESCO.
The full report is available for download on EURidâs Quarterly progress reports page.
Following on the failure for the community applicant for .gay to attain community status, the community application for .music has also failed to attain community status [pdf]. According to the evaluation, the application received 10 out of 16 points in its evaluation but requires 14 to pass. The application failed on the âcommunity establishmentâ criteria, receiving zero out of four points. This criteria requires âa clear, straightforward membership definition and there must be awareness and recognition of a community among its members.â And there must have been âpre-existenceâ of the community prior to September 2007.
It does appear that the application requirements have not taken into account how community groups operate and one would think this is a massive failure on behalf of ICANN when devising the new gTLD programme.
ICANN has rejected the community application for .gay by dotgay LLC again because it wasn’t deemed to be community enough. The application has been through the Community Priority Evaluation (CPE) and reconsideration processes twice.The decision is bound to be controversial and means that now the applicants will have to negotiate with the other three applicants if they wish to proceed. And if they cannot come resolve the contention, then the four applications for .gay will be scheduled to participate in an ICANN-facilitated “method of last resort” auction to resolve the contention. And this is something this community group is highly unlikely to win since it will come down to who is prepared to stump up the most money.The other three applicants are Top Level Design, United TLD Holdco and Top Level Domain Holdings.Writing on the ICANN blog, Chris Disspain, Chair of ICANN’s Board Governance Committee (BGC) says that:
Of the four entities applying for the .GAY TLD, dotgay LLC’s application was the only community application, and therefore the only application eligible to seek community priority through CPE. If an application achieves community priority, it is then able to move forward towards contracting, and the other applications will no longer proceed. dotgay LLC’s .GAY application did not achieve community priority so it continues to compete with the other three applications.It should be noted that dotgay LLC has been through both the CPE and Reconsideration processes twice. After completion of the first CPE in October 2014, through the Reconsideration process, a procedural error in the CPE was identified and the BGC determined that the application should be re-evaluated. However, the same outcome and score were achieved both times.The BGC, which is responsible for evaluating such requests, is limited by the Bylaws in evaluating this Request for Reconsideration. Specifically, the BGC is only authorized to determine if any policies or processes were violated during CPE. The BGC has no authority to evaluate whether the CPE results are correct.I want to make clear that the denial of the Request for Reconsideration is not a statement about the validity of dotgay LLC’s application or dotgay LLC’s supporters. The decision means that the BGC did not find that the CPE process for dotgay, LLC’s .GAY application violated any ICANN policies or procedures.Commenting on the BGC’s decision, Constantine Roussos who is behind one of the eight applicants for .music, is highly critical of the decision writing that “it seems mistakes have been made.” Roussos writes “there’s no policy requiring an organization to represent a community in its entirety. CPE rules permit an ‘entity mainly dedicated to the community.’ ‘Mainly’ does not mean entirety. ‘Mainly could imply that the entity administering the community may have additional roles/functions.'” Roussos goes on to cite several inconsistencies with ICANN’s decision and is concerned about what ICANN will decide on his .music application where there are seven other applicants. He writes “the music community is biting its nails waiting for the .MUSIC CPE decision (which clearly exceeds CPE criteria. … CPE is the most frustrating, unpredictable process in ICANN’s history. Community applicants have worked diligently for years to meet the criteria and gather support. No doubt ICANN staff is working hard on the subject matter but decisions seem to be a coin toss. This lack of transparency, accountability and predictability is frustrating for community applicants relying on ICANN rules.”
The application for the .gay gTLD by community group Dot Gay LLC has once again been rejected because… they arenât gay enough. But it appears that commercial groups wanting to operate the gTLD will be OK. The bid by Dot Gay was rejected because âits application did not cover a sufficient number of gay peopleâ, an appeal was won and itâs been rejected again a year later.
The result was the same and the reason, Kieren McCarthy writes, was âthe evaluation team decided the application did not sufficiently cover a community. But this time the reason was the complete opposite â that it was trying to cover too many gay people.â
Itâs a bizarre and tortuous journey for Dot Gay and points to the application system being loaded against community groups and in favour of those with the money and resourced.
The Australian government has got involved in the new gTLD application for .food, being âamong those asking ICANN deny a request to make .food a âclosed genericâ gTLD,â according to Domain Incite.
âEight people have filed comments opposing Lifestyle Domainâs application for Specification 13 status for its .food registry contract, which would allow the company to keep all .food domains for itself,â the report says.
The ICANN meeting has come and gone, and there have been a few roundups of what happened in recent days.
Don Hollander wrote an article on Universal Acceptance discussions at the 54th meeting held in Dublin for Centr. Universal Acceptance, Hollander writes, is âthe idea that all domain names will work equally well in all applicationsâ and he notes it âmade material progress during the ICANN54 meeting in Dublin.â
FairWinds Partners, a consultancy and lobby group, published their ICANN 54 Review while APNICâs Paul Wilson wrote his Reflections on ICANN 54.
RIPE published their review of the meeting, ICANN 54: Addressing the Accountability Question, and Milton Mueller wrote âTransition is a noun, not a verb: Thoughts on the Dublin ICANN meetingâ where he noted âthe Dublin meeting was not a train wreck. That much we can say. My assessment of ICANN 54 is not, to put it mildly, as chirpy as that of the Internet Society CEO, but it is more objective and nuanced. Insofar as progress on the transition is concerned, the deliberations among the CCWG, the GAC and the ICANN board averted a rupture that would have jeopardized the transition. But it did so primarily by caving in to the board-promulgated fears of creating a membership, and by side-stepping contentious issues. There are still a lot of loose ends.â
The IE Domain Registry (IEDR) has published some research noting that âover a third (37%) of Irish SMEs still do not have a website or any online presence whatsoever.â The research also found â91% of Irish SMEs cannot process sales online and 54% do not have websites optimised for mobile browsing, were outlined this morning at the launch of Irelandâs first ever âInternet Dayâ at the CHQ Building.â
With competition hotting up between new generic Top Level Domain applicants, and a three month application period to open on 12 January 2012 following ICANN’s approval of their Applicant Guidebook in Singapore last week, it is likely there will be a number of competing applications for the same gTLD.Likely gTLDs to receive more than one application include .AFRICA, .GAY and now .SCOT. For .GAY, Domain Name Wire reports a “Washington man has filed an intent-to-use trademark application for ‘.gay’ with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.”.AFRICA has seen competing applications from two groups, with the African Union Commission has stated categorically it is not supporting any application for the generic Top Level Domain .AFRICA despite claims from a potential applicant it has their support.”And now a gTLD for Scotland with .SCOT and .SCO being proposed by competing groups. The .SCO proposal website has not been updated since February 2009, but it appears there are also two .SCOT proposals.In an article in The Scotsman today, Joan McAlpine, an SNP MSP for the south of Scotland, writes “it is important that everyone in Scotland gets behind this officially approved bid which can be found at www.dotscot.net. This is the group that has government and cross-party backing, because it is run as a not for profit organisation.”A for profit body is behind a second .SCOT proposal. The organisation is called Scotnom. However writes McAlpine a “.SCOT TLD should be a community-based public resource rather than a private asset.””It is important that there is no confusion of the two organisations – remember dotscot.net and dotscot.org is the place to sign up if you want the bid to benefit the wider community.”To read the article by Joan McAlpine in The Scotsman in full, see: