Tag Archives: Minds + Machines

IBM Interested in New gTLD

IBM, the global IT and IT services company, is likely to apply for their own gTLD when they become available according to a reading by Antony Van Couvering of their submission to ICANN’s comment forum on the fourth version of the Draft Applicant Guidebook.

Van Couvering notes a few prescient points in the IBM submission including that:

  • IBM is pleased that there will be no requirement for a sunrise period, which wouldn’t make any sense if the top-level domain were used for internal company purposes, and not sold to the public
  • IBM notes that as yet there is no requirement that .brand top-level domains must use registrars.

The only company to date that has openly expressed their interest in applying for a new gTLD is Canon, notably another IT company.

To read the full posting by Antony Van Couvering from Minds + Machines, see:

What the ICANN Brussels Meeting Means for New gTLDs: Minds + Machines

The recent ICANN meeting held in Brussels was judged a success by Minds + Machines’ Antony Van Couvering, whose company is likely to be behind applications for several new generic Top Level Domains when ICANN eventually begins taking applications.

Van Couvering writes that the recent meeting “may become known as the meeting where the dust finally began to settle. Long-standing issues were settled, compromises were reached, no-one complained too much about the latest version of the Applicant Guidebook, and the Board stood by its project plan dates, even scheduling a Board retreat to solve remaining issues. Finally, there were no surprise “gotcha!” delays that gTLD applicants have been used to seeing at ICANN meeting. With one possible exception…”

He writes of the proposed September board retreat, .XXX decision, decisions on intellectual property and the Vertical Integration Policy Development Process as all good news.

The only sticking point from Van Couvering’s point of view was MOPO (aka MAPA or Morality and Public Order). This was quite a strange discussion with the Government Advisory Committee saying ICANN’s approach to declaring which new proposed gTLDs were acceptable “was not acceptable and must be changed.”

Van Couvering concludes that “the final shape of the applicant guidebook is becoming clear. With the possible exception of the MOPO issue, solutions to the remaining problems are visible in outline and in many cases in great detail. There are several efforts underway, including the Board retreat and various hurry-up working groups, to get the new gTLD program to the finish line. There’s always a chance that the timing will slip, but I would say not by much — we’re sticking to our timeline: most indications are that ICANN’s next meeting, in early December 2010 in Cartagena, Colombia, will finally produce a starting date for new gTLDs.”

To read this posting by Antony Van Couvering on the Minds + Machines blog in full, see:

CADNA Launches Another Spurious Survey On Costs to Brand Owners of New gTLDs

The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) has released a report claiming that the introduction of new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) as proposed by ICANN will cost brand owners worldwide over $746 million.However the study is part of the propaganda CADNA regularly releases based on the premise, as they claim, that the cost to individual brand owners will be “about $500,000 each if one conservatively estimates that the average brand owner will defensively register 3 domain names per gTLD, that the average price of domain name registrations in sunrise periods of new gTLD launches will be $500, and that brands will not necessarily participate in each gTLD launch equally.”However one needs to consider whether brand owners will really bother with defensively registering their brand names in small gTLDs. Currently very few brand owners bother with small country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs), so why will it be any different small gTLDs? For a large number of ccTLDs brand owners ignore registering domain names, either defensively and/or to promote their products in the local community, until there is a critical mass of domain names registered.Backing up this view is a survey by Minds + Machines, who have a vested in this process admittedly as they are proposing to apply for several gTLDs when ICANN begins taking applications.In their survey of the domain registration behaviour of Fortune 100 companies, they found that they have not registered many of their trademarks in recently created gTLDs. In a sample of 1,043 brands, they found that they were registered in less than 30 per cent of the eight new open gTLDs created after 2001.The survey theorised that if historical registration data is a guide, brands are unlikely to undertake many defensive domain name registrations in the proposed new gTLDs, and furthermore are unlikely to be the victims of cybersquatting.In an earlier study by Minds + Machines, they found that the cost of enforcement of trademark rights in new gTLDs is likely to be small – on the order of $0.10 per registered trademark, per year.Additionally, ICANN is proposing to create a Trademark Clearinghouse and Uniform Rapid Suspension procedure to protect trademarks in the new gTLD programme.So yes, brand owners will often find they have additional costs in the new gTLDs. But the costs will be miniscule compared to the claims made by CADNA, but still significant.

Minds + Machines Says Well Positioned Ahead of GTLD Process

Top Level Domain Holdings, the parent company for Minds + Machines has expressed its satisfaction with the outcomes of the ICANN meeting held in Nairobi last week.

In a news release, the company says that restrictions on cross-ownership between registrars and registries will hinder the number of prospective applicants but benefit Minds + Machines.

This, Top Level Domain Holdings (TLDH) says, continues a trend of increasing the barriers to application for non-experts as ICANN adds additional requirements and restrictions to the framework for the introduction of gTLDs. TLDH is unaffected by this policy and the Board of TLDH therefore expects that TLDH will benefit from this continuing separation between registrars and registries.

And while the company supported the Expressions of Interest programme for prospective new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) applicants, the programme becomes irrelevant as ICANN nears the point when it says it will be ready to begin accepting applications.

ICANN staff reported during the Nairobi meeting that the fourth draft of Draft Applicant Guidebook is expected to be issued in June and be near its final incarnation, subject only to a final comment period.

Minds + Machines says they welcome ICANN’s focus that the main objective should be to speed up the gTLD process, and the intermediate step of EoIs is unnecessary if ICANN is close to resolving the final details prior to the launch of new gTLDs.

Minds + Machines Survey Shows Brands Do Not Register Defensively in New gTLDs

A survey of the domain registration behaviour of Fortune 100 companies conducted by Minds + Machines reveals that they have not registered many of their trademarks in recently created generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

In the study it was found a sample of 1043 brands were registered in less than 30 per cent of the eight new open gTLDs created after 2001. If historical registration data is a guide, brands are unlikely to undertake many defensive domain name registrations in the proposed new gTLDs, and furthermore are unlikely to be the victims of cybersquatting.

With the help of DomainTools, Minds + Machines surveyed 1043 brands owned by the Fortune 100 companies.

Their purpose was to discover to what extent large companies – which have been the loudest critics of ICANN’s new gTLD program – have actually registered their brands defensively in the already existing new gTLDs.

By counting which domain names had been registered, reserved, or otherwise made unavailable for new registration, they were able to see which gTLDs are either registered in defensively (by brands) or cybersquatted by malefactors. Where many names are registered (e.g., .COM), it can be deduced whether defensive registrations and/or cybersquatting is prevalent.

The data shows that brand names are registered as domain names 87 per cent of the time in .com, .net, and .org; just 67 cent of the time in .INFO and .BIZ; and only 29 per cent in .MOBI, .ASIA, .CAT, .JOBS, .NAME, .PRO, .TEL and .TRAVEL – the newer ICANN-created gTLDs where it is easy to register a domain name, and may be attractive to cybersquatters.

Overall, the claims of brand owners that they will be forced to spend significant amounts of money performing defensive registrations in the proposed new gTLDs is not supported by the historical data the study found, which shows that they largely do not undertake defensive registrations in new gTLDs, nor is there any extensive cybersquatting in new gTLDs.

The study also looked at whether new gTLDs force brand owners to register names defensively?

In a previous study, Minds + Machines found that the cost of enforcement of trademark rights in new gTLDs is likely to be small – on the order of $.10 per registered trademark, per year. The current study looks at the likely cost of defensive registrations to trademark holders.

The study is was in response to a vocal group of brand owners who have repeatedly claimed that the cost of defensive registrations would be “astronomical” and a “major burden on U.S. businesses.”

The Minds + Machines provide, using submissions to ICANN, quotes from trademark holders on their concerns using terms and phrases such as “astronomical registration fees required to protect trademarks across new gTLDs.” (Overstock.com) Other terms used include “staggering”, “a fortune” and “billions.”

Countering the arguments of trademark holders was a recent study by Paul Stahura that, according to Minds + Machines, definitively concluded that the answer was a definite “no”, by examining which trademarks (in general) were registered across COM, ORG, NET, MOBI, BIZ, INFO and US. Stahura concluded:
“The vast majority of trademark holders are not registering their trademark in all the current generic TLDs, let alone all the TLDs.”

Dennis Carlton, an ICANN-appointed economist, noted:
“… claims that the introduction of new gTLDs will necessitate widespread defensive registrations appear to be exaggerated and are inconsistent with the oft-noted observation that there have been a limited number of registrations on gTLDs introduced in recent years.”

As the report notes, these two sets of voices are completely at odds. On the one hand, the adamant insistence by brand holders that defensive registrations in new gTLDs are necessary and costly. On the other, equally insistent dissenting voices saying that brands neither register defensively in new gTLDs, nor do they need to. We attempted to look systematically at the data to try to determine who is correct, or if the truth is somewhere in the middle.

To read more of this study, including methodology and results of the research and analysis, see:
www.mindsandmachines.com/2010/02/survey-shows-brands-dont-register-defensively-in-new-gtlds/ and a PDF version is available from www.mindsandmachines.com/wp-content/uploads/Analysis-of-Trademark-Registration-Data-in-New-gTLDs.pdf