Tag Archives: Top Level Domain Holdings

ICANN Announces Introduction of Two-Character Domains for .LUXURY, .WANG and 32 other gTLDs associated with Top Level Domain Holdings

ICANN logoPurpose (Brief): Seven (7) Registry Services Evaluation Process (RSEP) requests were submitted by the registry operators listed below to allow the introduction of two-character domain names for the below TLDs. In total, the requests concern 34 New gTLDs.

Proposal TLD Registry Name Documents
2014039 Multiple TLDs* Top Level Domain Holdings Limited Top Level Domain Holdings Limited Request 21 July 2014 [PDF, 15 KB]
2014037 xn--55qx5d
Computer Network Information Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences Computer Network Information Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences (China Internet Network Information Center) Request 17 July 2014 [PDF, 16 KB]
2014035 pizza
Binky Lake LLC Binky Lake, LLC Request 11 July 2014 [PDF, 16 KB]
2014034 ren Beijing Qianxiang Wangjing Technology Development Co., Ltd. Beijing Qianxiang Wangjing Technology Development Co., Ltd. Request 11 July 2014 [PDF, 15 KB]
2014031 build Plan Bee, LLC Plan Bee, LLC Request 10 July 2014 [PDF, 18 KB]
2014029 wang
Zodiac Registry Limited Zodiac Registry Limited Request 30 June 2014 [PDF, 15 KB]
2014028 luxury Luxury Partners, LLC Luxury Partners, LLC Request 27 June 2014 [PDF, 18 KB]

*Note:  Top Level Domain Holdings Limited has submitted one RSEP request for 20 gTLDs.

As part of these requests, each registry operator described which two-character domain names for which it would offer these registrations. These RSEP requests were posted for public information on the Registry Service Evaluation Process webpage, available at https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/rsep-2014-02-19-en.

As required by the Registry Services Evaluation Policy, ICANN has undertaken a preliminary determination on whether the proposals might raise significant competition, security or stability issues. ICANN‘s preliminary review (based on the information provided) did not identify any such issues for these requests.

Implementation of the proposal would require amendments to the Exhibit A, Approved Services of the respective Registry Agreements, which are being posted for public comment.

Public Comment Box Link: https://www.icann.org/public-comments/two-char-new-gtld-2014-07-23-en

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:

TLDH Secures .WEDDING, Sells .GREEN, In Auction With $2.23m Gain

TLDH logoTop Level Domain Holdings has announced following private auctions last week they secured the uncontested application rights for .wedding but lost out on .green.

The net cost to TLDH for securing the sole application status for .wedding was approximately $2.23 million (circa £1.39 million), once the proceeds of the .green private auction are taken into account. The above figure includes the rebate that TLDH will receive from ICANN for withdrawing its application for .green and commissions payable to the auctioneer.

“The latest private auction rounds have once again delivered an excellent result allowing us to add a key string to our portfolio without unduly impacting our cash reserves,” said Fred Krueger, Chairman of TLDH. “We likewise are pleased with the progress being made in transitioning the Group into an operating business trading under the brand of our registry and registrar services, Minds + Machines.”

TLDH now has a portfolio of 26 uncontested applications in which it has a commercial interest.

Separately, further to the announcement of 31 January 2014, TLDH reported that the documentation associated to the change of name and change of status from an investment company to an operating company is at an advanced stage of preparation and the Board anticipates the Circular and Notice of General Meeting in relation to the above will be posted to Shareholders in early March.

TLDH Announces Raising $34m, Board Changes And gTLD Update

TLDH logoTop Level Domain Holdings, the applicant for the fourth largest number of gTLDs (92) for both itself and clients, has announced it has conditionally raised £21 million (approximately US$33.6 million) from institutional and other investors to develop its services and contest gTLD auctions. In addition it announced Tucows’ Elliot Noss has joined the board, replacing Guy Elliott, and given an update on the status of all of its applications.

In the gTLD update, TLDH currently has interests in 24 uncontested gTLD applications, which it is progressing to operational launch through its wholly-owned registry services business, Minds + Machines Limited. It is also developing its global network of registrars through which names in the new domains can be sold to the public.

For more information on the above and other issues, see the TLDH announcement below:

Placing to raise £21 million; Board Changes


  • £21 million (approximately US$33.6 million) conditionally raised from institutional and other investors
  • Cash balances on completion in excess of approximately US$48 million with an additional US$15 million available to compete in a single private auction
  • Elliot Noss, President and CEO of Tucows, Inc (NASDAQ:TCX) to join Board as a non-executive director
  • Company to be re-named Minds + Machines Limited to reflect transition to a full operating business


The Board of Top Level Domain Holdings Limited, is delighted to announce that the Company has today conditionally placed 175,000,000 new ordinary shares (the “Ordinary Shares”) through N+1 Singer as broker to the Company at a placing price of 12p per Ordinary Share (the “Placing Price”) with institutional and other investors to raise £21 million before expenses (equivalent to approximately US$33.6 million at current exchange rates) subject to admission (the “Placing”).

The Company intends to use the Placing proceeds to continue developing its registry and registrar operations, Minds + Machines LLC and Minds + Machines Registrar Limited, as well as to provide additional funding for participation in the relevant private auction rounds for the 43 contested generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) applications in which TLDH has an interest. The Company believes private auctions provide a significant opportunity for the Company both to increase the number of high-value gTLDs within its portfolio and to generate cash from those gTLDs which it chooses to relinquish. Under the private auction process, the winning bid is divided equally and paid to the losing applicants net of the auctioneer’s fees.

The new Ordinary Shares being issued pursuant to the Placing will, on issue, rank pari passu with the existing Ordinary Shares in issue and application will be made for the new Ordinary Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM. Trading in the new Ordinary Shares on AIM is expected to commence on or around 5 February 2014.

Status of Operations and Available Cash

TLDH was the fourth largest new gTLD programme applicant after Donuts, Inc., Google, Inc., and Amazon, Inc. having submitted 92 new gTLD applications on behalf of itself and its clients in 2012. TLDH has subsequently established itself as one of the major participants in the Internet governing body’s new gTLD programme and currently has interests in 24 uncontested gTLD applications, which it is progressing to operational launch through its wholly-owned registry services business, Minds + Machines Limited. TLDH is also developing its global network of registrars through which names in the new domains can be sold to the public. The Company is further extending its sales channel reach through the recent launch of its wholly-owned registrar business, Minds + Machines Registrar Limited, and priority reservation service, OPENdb. Launched in November 2013, the industry and consumer interest in priority reservations continues to be strong.

TLDH also has a further 43 wholly-owned new gTLD applications which are in contention with one or more applicants for the following strings:
.app     .art     .baby     .beauty
.blog     .book     .cloud     .coupon
.cpa     .cricket     .data     .dds
.deals     .design     .dog     .eco
.fashion     .flowers     .garden     .gay
.green     .home     .hotel     .immo
.inc     .latino     .law     .llc
.love     .pizza     .property     .realestate
.restaurant     .school     .site     .soccer
.store     .style     .tech     .video
.vip     .wedding     .yoga

As indicated above, the Company intends to use the Placing proceeds to provide additional funding for participation in the relevant private auction rounds for the contested generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) applications in which TLDH has an interest.

On completion of the Placing, the Company’s cash balances will increase to in excess of US$48 million (approximately £30 million). In addition, as previously announced, the Company also has a funding facility in place for up to US$15 million (equivalent to approximately £9.4 million) to support its participation in a single prospective auction for one contested gTLD. The Directors therefore believe the Company is now very well positioned to participate fully in the auctions and maximise the value of the contested gTLD applications in which the Company is interested.

In addition, the Company has an interest in a further 10 contested applications listed below, seven of which are third party client applications and three of which are joint venture applications with the Federation Internationale de Basketball (.basketball), the International Rugby Board (.yogarugby) and Tucows, Inc. (.yogagroup).
.basketball     .broadway     .casino
.group     .music     .poker
.radio     .rugby     .tickets

Board Changes

As part of the Company’s impending transition from an investment company to a full operating business, the Board is also delighted to announce that, subject to the satisfactory completion of standard regulatory checks in compliance with the AIM Rules, Mr Elliot Noss has agreed to join the Board of TLDH as a non-executive director. Mr Noss is President and CEO of Tucows, Inc, one of the largest domain registrars.

Mr Guy Elliott will at the same time step down from the Board. Mr Elliott was a founding director of the Company and has played a key role in the development of the Company’s portfolio of gTLD investments.

Fred Krueger, Chairman of TLDH, commented:
On behalf of the Board I would like to personally thank Guy for his wise counsel and support over the years and we wish him well on his other projects. We are likewise delighted that Elliot Noss has accepted our invitation to join the Board as a non-executive director at this key time in our development. Elliot is a highly regarded and respected individual within the domain industry and we welcome the additional commercial and operational perspectives he can bring as we continue to build our registry and registrar operations and commence the commercial launch our gTLDs. We are also exceptionally pleased by the level of interest from institutions to the placing which has exceeded our expectations.

Proposed Change of Name, Transition to an Operating Business and Re-Admission

The Company is now fully focused on commercialising its gTLD assets through its registry, registrar and registry service provider operations. As a result, the Board intends to implement fully a number of changes to the way in which TLDH is managed which will have the effect of changing the status of the Company from an investing company under the AIM Rules to an operating company with a material trading activity. As part of this transition, the Directors intend to change the name of the Company to Minds + Machines Limited, the same name as the Company’s 100 per cent. owned subsidiaries, operating in Ireland and the United Kingdom. The Directors believe the change of name will benefit stakeholder communications and branding significantly.

The change to an operating company with a material trading activity would be classified as reverse takeover of the Company under the AIM Rules and therefore would be conditional, inter alia, upon the approval of Shareholders at the Meeting of Shareholders. The Company is at an advanced stage of preparation of a circular to shareholders and a further announcement is expected to be made during February.
Total Voting Rights

Following the issue of the new Ordinary Shares, the Company’s issued share capital will consist of 825,558,522 Ordinary Shares, with voting rights. This figure may be used by shareholders in the Company as the denominator for the calculation by which they will determine if they are required to notify their interest in, or a change to their interest in, the share capital of the Company under the Financial Conduct Authority’s Disclosure and Transparency Rules.

The above TLDH announcement was sourced from:

TLDH Signs 6 New gTLD Contracts With ICANN

TLDH logoThe Directors of Top Level Domain Holdings are pleased to announce that the Company has signed contracts with ICANN for five new gTLDs wholly-owned by the Company: .horse, .cooking, .casa, .fishing, and .budapest.

In addition, Minds + Machines GmbH, the Company’s 80% owned subsidiary, has signed the contract with ICANN for .nrw, which will serve Germany’s largest state, North-Rhine Westphalia. All six applications will now progress to pre-delegation testing, the final step before delegation into the Internet’s root zone.

Antony Van Couvering, CEO of TLDH, said:

ICANN’s contracting and delegation process is moving smoothly and predictably. We look forward to the timely delegation of these newly-contracted gTLDs and to signing additional contracts as they become available.

The Company currently has interests in 25 non-contested applications, of which contracts have now been signed with ICANN on eight. The Company continues to progress those contested applications in which it has an interest.

This TLDH news release was sourced from:

GTLD Applicants Combine To Voice Criticisms Of Community Objection Process

ICANN new generic Top Level Domains logoA number of applicants for new gTLDs have written to ICANN expressing their “grave concerns relating to the Community Objection process”, saying they believe the Expert Panels “do not have any prior experience with the new gTLD programme or a deep understanding of the Applicant Guidebook (AGB).”

The letter from Shweta Sahjwani (Radix Registry), Reg Levy (Top Level Domain Holdings / Minds & Machines) and Jay Westerdal (Fegistry, LLC) says that as applicants they very carefully considered the definition of “community” in the AGB before applying under “community” or “standard” applications and that they did not try to “game the system”.

They go on to say they did this in the belief that “ICANN and its contracted parties would be responsible for upholding the AGB definitions at every stage of the programme.”

However they are concerned by how the Expert Panel that in evaluating the .architect and .fly applications “do not even mention the definition of the term ‘community’ as defined by the AGB, let alone whether the alleged community in question in each Objection is really a community.”

The letter concludes noting “several other instances in the Expert Determinations … confirm our assertion that the Expert Panels simply have not adhered to the AGB while making their decisions.”

The letter also asks for ICANN to temporarily suspend decision making until it can “conduct a basic level of training for the actual Expert Panels on the AGB guidelines and their interpretations.”

TLDH Announces Participation In First Private TLD Auction

Top Level Domain Holdings have announced their participation in four private TLD auctions starting Tuesday, 13 August for the contested strings .guide, .casa, .网址(“web address” in Chinese) and .fishing. In each instance the Company will be bidding against single competitors, there being just two companies participating in each of the four auctions.

Under the private auction format, if TLDH makes the winning bid it will secure the sole ICANN application rights to the name. If the single competitor makes the winning bid, TLDH will receive the cash bid less the auctioneer’s fees.

Each private auction is expected to last for up to five days, with the results of the four auctions expected to be announced by the Company in the week commencing 19 August. Each auction is being managed by Innovative Auctions.

“We are delighted to be participating in our first round of private auctions,” Antony Van Couvering, Chief Executive Officer of TLDH said in a statement. “ICANN has encouraged contending applicants to come to private arrangements, and private auctions are one method for doing so. Our participation will enable us either to increase the number of our uncontested applications or receive a cash payment for those applications which receive bids that exceed the valuation we believe is appropriate. For rival applicants unable to reach agreement through private discussions, we view the private auction route as the method of choice given the benefits that can be delivered to all by participating.”

Where competing applicants cannot reach agreement either through private negotiations or private auctions, ICANN-sponsored auctions will take place with ICANN receiving the monies paid by the winning bidder.

TLDH Portfolio Of Uncontested gTLD Applications Rises To 23

Top Level Domain Holdings has announced they have resolved contention for three of their gTLD applications. This means TLDH now has interests in 23 uncontested applications, including 15 wholly/majority owned applications, six where it is acting as the registry service provider for client applications and one each where it has equal joint venture and a minority revenue share.

There are also 63 remaining applications which TLDH either wholly-owns, is a joint-venture partner, or is acting as the registry service provider, seven are in contention with a single other applicant, 17 with two other applicants and 39 are in contention with three or more applicants.

The three gTLD applications for which TLDH has resolved contention are .fit, .science, and .review. The resolution follows an agreement with gTLD investor Domain Venture Partners PCC Limited and its associates Platinum Registry Limited, dot Science Limited, dot Review Limited and Famous Four Media Limited. Each of TLDH’s applications for the three gTLD strings in question were in contention with single competing applications by entities managed by Famous Four Media Limited.

As a result of the agreement, Platinum Registry Limited has withdrawn its application for .fit, leaving TLDH as the only applicant, and TLDH has withdrawn its applications for .science and .review in exchange for a revenue share in the .review registry to be operated by dot Review Limited.

“We are highly encouraged by the progress being made in resolving those applications where there are one or more rival applications to our bid,” said Fred Krueger, chairman of TLDH. “We are well positioned for any private auction process that may arise for those strings that cannot be resolved through private discussion with competing applicants.”

Top Level Domain Holdings Receives Up To $15m To Acquire gTLDs Through Auction

Top Level Domain Holdings has announced the company has agreed that a funding facility up to $15 million be set up to allow for the acquisition of gTLDs at auction.

The additional funding is conditional and will be provided solely in exchange for a perpetual share in the gross revenue generated by any gTLD string acquired through auction.

Top Level Domain Holdings announced that under the funding agreement, they have the right to call up to $10m, to be used exclusively to acquire from ICANN the right for the Company to own and operate the Auction gTLD. The funding provider has the right to increase its funding by up to a further $5m. The funding provider’s participation will be limited to a share of the gross revenues from the future operation of the Auction gTLD. The funding is not repayable other than through the gross revenue share. TLDH will retain sole management rights and responsibilities in the running of the Auction gTLD.

“We believe that this funding model provides an attractive way to secure the resources to participate in an auction of those contended strings that we believe have significant revenue potential, while at the same time avoiding dilution to our shareholders,” said Fred Krueger, executive chairman of Top Level Domain Holdings.

TLDH Appoints Former ICANN Staffer Salazar To Its Executive

He may have taken the fall for glitches in ICANN’s TLD Application System failure in June this year, but Michael Salazar has fallen on his feet, having been appointed chief financial officer for Top Level Domain Holdings, an applicant for several generic Top Level Domains.

The announcement, along with the appointment of Caspar von Veltheim, who has been responsible for TLDH’s continental European applications in respect of .NRW and .BAYERN, as an executive director of TLDH with responsibility for Europe, comes in the lead-up to ICANN’s prioritisation draw for processing applications and initial evaluations for new gTLDs on 17 December.

The announcements are part of TLDH’s registry business, Minds + Machines, plans to expand its operational team. Subject to the satisfactory completion of standard regulatory checks in compliance with the AIM Rules, Salazar will also join the Board of TLDH as an executive director.

“TLDH is a leading applicant for new gTLDs and we are delighted that Michael is joining the executive team,” said Antony Van Couvering, CEO of Minds + Machines. “Michael has a deep understanding of the new gTLD programme from his three years at ICANN and he will make an immediate and valuable contribution as we develop Minds + Machines in 2013.”

As part of the changes David Weill, who has been a director of the Company since it was first admitted to trading on AIM and has been chief financial officer, has stepped down from the Board.

The Company has also published the notice of annual general meeting to be held on 21 December 2012 at which, inter alia, annual shareholder approval will be sought for the Company’s investing policy and to appoint Mazars as the Company’s auditors.

Dengate Thrush Steps Down As Top Level Domains Chair

Peter Dengate Thrush, the former ICANN chair and controversial appointment as the executive chairman as Top Level Domains Holdings is to step down as a director at the end of January 2013.

The appointment of Dengate Thrush as chair of TLDH was controversial due to the appointment a few weeks after he stepped down as ICANN chair in mid-2011 with concerns from many in the domain name community of a conflict of interest.

In a statement, TLDH said
Under Peter’s leadership, the Company has successfully developed a portfolio of 92 gTLD applications on behalf of itself, its clients and co-venturers, raised substantial capital from both its existing capital base and from new investors and Peter was instrumental in guiding and negotiating the contract with dot London, one of the most anticipated and valuable new gTLDs in the current gTLD round.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with TLDH and its Board through an historic phase in the growth of the domain name industry,” said Dengate Thrush in the same statement. “The company is now in a strong position to move forward to the next phase of its programme as gTLDs are implemented.”

Fred Krueger, a current director and former Chairman, will resume the role of Chairman following Peter’s departure.