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Archive for the ‘new tlds’ Category

Wall Street Journal names new TLD company Donuts to Top 50 Startups

September 27, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, donuts, new tlds, UncategorizedComments Off on Wall Street Journal names new TLD company Donuts to Top 50 Startups

WSJ ranks Donuts #14 on list of top startups.

The Wall Street Journal just released its rankings of the top 50 venture-capital-backed companies, and new top level domain name company Donuts made the cut.

It actually did better than just make the cut, landing at #14 on the list. It’s also the youngest company on the list.

The company has just eight employees but has raised $100 million. It’s the biggest top level domain applicant by far, throwing its hat (and money) in the ring for 307 top level domain names.

The rankings are based on a number of factors, including previous success of the founders and investors on the board, capital raised, and growth in value.


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USPS on Donuts: You’re undercapitalized

September 25, 2012.delivery, Domaining, Domainnamewire, donutes, new tlds, Policy & Law, unites states postal serviceComments Off on USPS on Donuts: You’re undercapitalized

USPS fears Donuts won’t deliver on .delivery.

Well, this is amusing.

The United State Postal Service has just filed a comment on Donuts’ application for the .delivery top level domain name.

What’s the USPS concerned about? That Donuts is undercapitalized to run its domain names.

Here’s what @thereforeicann has to say about that:

The comments were submitted by USPS lawyers Lewis and Roca LLP for the Financial Capability Evaluation Panel. Subject line: “Insufficient Capital for 307 gTLDs”.

It argues that Donuts won’t have enough money to run all 307 domain names if it gets them because it has only raised $100 million to date.

Letters of credit notwithstanding, the community estimates that it will cost approximately $2-3 million to run each gTLD for the ten years to which applicants commit. Thus, if Donuts is granted all 307 gTLDs, there is a question whether its costs, which could be in the range of $600-900 million, may be significantly more than Donuts is able to raise while keeping all 307 gTLDs fully operational.

Economies of scale is something that never entered the USPS’ lexicon.

And trust me, if Donuts manages to get all 307 domain names it will raise plenty more money.


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YouGov research: most UK businesses aware of new top level domains?

September 18, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, new tlds, UncategorizedComments Off on YouGov research: most UK businesses aware of new top level domains?

Really?

.uk registry Nominet recently worked with YouGov to poll businesses in the UK about new top level domain names.

The press release headline read “British businesses largely unprepared for new gTLDs”.

The headline number: 41% of British businesses surveyed are currently unaware of the new domains.

Wait a minute. That means close to 60% of businesses surveyed are aware of new top level domain names coming online.

That’s a staggeringly high number to me. I would think that only a small minority of those surveyed would have heard of this expansion. 60% would make sense if they talked to the intellectual property departments. Or maybe a small business owner at a tech firm. But overall?

The survey involved 530 senior decision makers in small, medium and large enterprises with a website. I’m not sure how the question was asked, but I can’t think that 60% of these people would be really be aware of new TLDs. Maybe they said they’d heard something about it. But you’d have to hit the right guy at the right company to get a number this high.

If 60% of businesses are aware of new TLDs at this point, that should be seen as a huge win for ICANN and new TLD applicants.

Other numbers from the poll:

61% have no plans to buy any new TLD registrations
22% plan to keep their existing domains but buy new ones
2% plan to switch from their current domains to new ones

I think the relative percentages here make sense. 2% switching domains seems a bit high to me, though.

What do you think?


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Two things that new TLDs definitely won’t “solve”

September 11, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, new tlds, UncategorizedComments Off on Two things that new TLDs definitely won’t “solve”

They won’t put a noticeable dent in phishing, nor will they alleviate the scarcity of good (.com) domain names.

There are a lot of benefits that new top level domain supporters say the web will realize when new TLDs are released.

Let me start by saying that I’m not really opposed to new TLDs at this point. They’re coming. It’s time to embrace it and the opportunities they will create.

But I get very frustrated when I see people espousing so-called benefits to new TLDs that simply don’t make sense. Not all new TLD backers make these claims, but I see them repeated often. Here are two that get my blood boiling because they’re flat out wrong.

“New top level domains will eliminate/significantly reduce phishing.”

The theory here is that people will know the web site they’ve landed on is trustworthy because of the top level domain. For example, I’ll know a Citibank web site is legit because it’s at .citi, not something.com (which may not actually be a Citi site).

The problem with this argument is that most people who fall for phishing attacks don’t realize what domain they’re on anyway. Phishing emails typically trick the user in one of two ways. They either create a URL that’s similar to the brand (such as a typo) or they mask the URL in a link.

So now let’s say .citi is available. Will the same people that today fill out a phishing form at somecititypo.com suddenly stop getting duped? Not a chance.

“People will no longer have to register bad web site names like Shpoonkle.com

This is commonly argued as “all the good domain names are taken; new TLDs will alleviate this scarcity”.

And it’s a load of B.S.

There’s no scarcity of available domain name. Let me repeat that: there are plenty of good second level domains available.

Where there’s scarcity is in available .com domain names. And that won’t change with new TLDs.

Shpoonkle.com could have hand registered a better second level domain name in many other extensions, but it believed it needed a .com domain name.

Consider the facts:

There are 100 million registered .com domain names.

As of the end of May there were 8.2 million registered .info domains, 2.3 million .biz domains, and 15.1 million .net domains. .Co has about 1.3 million registered. .Me is under one million.

That means there are over 90 million domain names already registered in .com that people haven’t bothered with in .info. About 100 million .com domains that aren’t registered in .biz, .co, .me, etc.

There’s no scarcity in good second level domain names. There’s only scarcity in second level domains under .com.


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4 new TLD applications withdrawn

September 5, 2012.ksb, Domaining, Domainnamewire, google, new tlds, new top level domains, UncategorizedComments Off on 4 new TLD applications withdrawn

Google and one .brand applicant withdraw applications.

Kudos to Michele Neylon for spotting an option on ICANN’s web site to see which new top level domain name applications have been withdrawn.

Thus far four applications have been withdrawn, including three by Google.

The three by Google should not come as a huge surprise. ICANN Senior VP Kurt Pritz previously announced that three application had been withdrawn, and you can thank Kevin Murphy for that. Murphy earlier reported that three Google applications wouldn’t be accepted, and later surmised that Google accounted for the three applications Pritz referred to. (Something tells me Google won’t send a check to Murphy for his assistance.)

Google withdrew applications for .and, .are, and .est, all of which are protected three-letter country codes.

The fourth withdrawn application is a brand application for .ksb by KSB Aktiengesellschaft. Frankly, I don’t see any reason that the company needs the .ksb top level domain. It already owns KSB.com.

I reached out to KSB’s consultant on its application, which declined to comment.


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Four domain name panels on the ballot for SXSW

August 27, 2012domain names, Domaining, Domainnamewire, new tlds, sxsw, UncategorizedComments Off on Four domain name panels on the ballot for SXSW

Topics range from new TLDs to government interference.

SXSW Interactive 2013SXSW 2013 is more than six months away, but there are just a few days left to vote for which panels you want to see. The SXSW Panel Picker closes August 31.

I discovered four domain name related panels in the panel picker. Here they are, along with a link to their full description.

New Domains Have Landed – Now What!?
Speaker: Jeremiah Johnston, Sedo

Jeremiah Johnston gave a “Future 15″ presentation on new TLDs this year. Now that the applications have been submitted he hopes to return this year with an update.

.JOBS, The SEO Hotshot: Multiple Domain Recruiting
Speaker: Nancy Holland DirectEmployers Association

DirectEmployers Association is trying to pimp the .jobs domain name with its own session at SXSW. It looks more like a sales pitch than an education session, and it isn’t the type of session that usually makes the final cut at SXSW.

Protect Digital Assets Against Government Seizure
Speakers: Charles Mudd Mudd Law Offices, David Snead David S. Snead, Julie Samuels Electronic Frontier Foundation

A discussion about government domain name seizures, who’s at risk of having it happen, and how it occurs.

How You Will Get Hacked Ten Years From Now
Speaker: Alex Stamos, Artemis

Artemis is an applicant for the .secure domain name. It wants to talk about how the release of hundreds of new top level domain names will lead to increased threats of fraud, spam, and malware — making it easier for you to get hacked. This could be good as long as they don’t pitch their .secure bid.


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.Nxt conference is .gone

August 23, 2012.nxt, Domaining, Domainnamewire, dot-nxt, new tlds, UncategorizedComments Off on .Nxt conference is .gone

New top level domain name conference scheduled for next week is cancelled.

A conference can survive one cancellation if there are extenuating circumstances.

That may have been the case with the .Nxt conference previously scheduled for June in London. ICANN had postponed the release of the list of new top level domain name applications, which was a big milestone scheduled for ahead of the conference.

But a conference will not survive a second cancellation, especially the week before the event.

Unfortunately, that’s what just happened with the largest independent conference about new top level domain names, .Nxt.

Conference organizer Kieren McCarthy cites low attendance and sponsorship for the cancellation. He blames this on ongoing uncertainty about the new top level domain process. Fewer than 100 people had registered for the event.

There are a couple other reasons I can think of for this low support. Location (London instead of San Francisco) may have been an issue. I also suspect that there was less value for previous event sponsors. New TLD consultants and registry service providers already have their clients; sponsoring this event wouldn’t be as fruitful.


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6 ways to solve new top level domain “metering” problem

August 18, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, new tld batching, new tlds, Policy & LawComments Off on 6 ways to solve new top level domain “metering” problem

Six examples of ways to meter top level domains, but many of them are basically the same things.

ICANN plans to allow only 1,000 new top level domain names into the root per year, and as evenly as possible over a 12 months time span.

Its initial idea for figuring out which domains go first — so called “digital archery” — was scrapped. Now the non-profit has come up with six new alternatives. It hopes to figure out a solution by December.

Here are six examples of metering techniques ICANN is considering, along with my comments. You’ll note that four of them are basically batching done at different stages.

1. Restricting the number of applications as they enter into the Evaluation phase, resulting in an even flow of applications through the process. While random selection and digital archery have been ruled out, another method might be developed. It is important to note that applications are already being evaluated so a new mechanism would have to be developed quickly.

[Since it seems ICANN is already evaluating all applications in a single batch, reversing course now would cause problems.]

2. Restricting reporting of initial results of the Evaluation phase, rather than reporting them all at once. Put another way, deciding which of the passed applications can be moved into the contract execution stage first. Criteria for deciding which applications would advance first would have to be determined.

[This is basically batching, but done after a single batch evaluation process is complete. That is counter-productive; it will slow down the entire process. If you're going to batch, you may as well batch evaluations as well to decrease the time before the first TLD goes live.]

3. Advancing those applications that agree to the standard contract first. This will cause some smoothing but cannot be relied upon to resolve the problem fully. Applicants are expected to agree to standard terms.

[Makes sense, but most applicants will accept the standard terms and thus it doesn't solve the problem.]

4. Advancing those applications falling into a specific category, such as IDN applications or applications originating in developing countries. This will cause some smoothing but cannot be relied upon to resolve the problem fully.

[I can't wait to see how it's determined which types of domains or applicants get favored status. I don't see this happening. Even if it did, it would only solve the initial couple hundred domains.]

5. Ordering, by some means, the pre-delegation testing of TLDs. One example would be to provide “appointments” for pre-delegation testing, limit the number of appointments, and place any who failed the testing at the end of the queue. As with other solutions, the means of determining processing order must be determined and we rely on applicant and community feedback for that.

[Similar issues as 1 and 2. Basically batching after the fact.]

6. Ordering, by some means, the delegation of TLDs. As with other solutions, the mechanism for this is not determined and we rely on applicant and community feedback to develop this.

[See numbers 1, 2, 5, and 6]


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Demand Media and Donuts respond to lawyer’s accusations about TLD eligibility

August 1, 2012Demand Media, Domaining, Domainnamewire, donuts, new tlds, Policy & LawComments Off on Demand Media and Donuts respond to lawyer’s accusations about TLD eligibility

Companies respond to allegations about their eligibility to run top level domain names.

This morning I (and a handful of other bloggers) received a copy of a letter written by McCarter & English partner Jeffrey Stoler calling into question Demand Media’s and Donut’s eligibility for applying for new top level domains.

The crux of the issue that Stoler brings up (pdf) is ICANN’s three strikes rule. The rule says that if you’ve been on the losing end of three final UDRP, ACPA, or similar rulings with one in the past four years, then you are disqualified from applying for new top level domains.

By the spirit of this rule Demand Media certainly would be ineligible. Its subsidiaries have lost dozens of UDRP cases.

I’m not aware of any other applicant besides Demand Media that would be ensnared by this rule. Go Daddy would have been had the program kicked off as planned, but since the program was delayed I believe the company falls outside the four year window.

Stoler’s letter says there’s strong evidence that Donuts is merely an alter ego of Demand Media.

Demand Media had limited comment on the letter, citing its quiet period. A company spokesperson said:

We’re limited in what we can say given that we’re in a quiet period. However, we do believe our applications meet the requirements set forth in ICANN’s applicant guidebook, including the eligibility requirements. We continue to feel good about the new gTLD program and the opportunity to participate in this exciting new initiative.

Donuts co-founder Jonathon Nevett responded:

The letter — generated by a law firm representing an anonymous client — is rife with factual inaccuracies and meritless allegations. Demand Media is a commercial partner and is neither an investor in nor part of a joint venture with Donuts. We look forward to engaging in the ICANN review process and its thorough background checks, and are confident that we meet all requirements to operate a Top Level Domain registry.

Nevett brings up a burning question: who is behind Stoler’s letter? Attorneys don’t spend hours of their time coming up with this stuff for the fun of it. Given that just about every new TLD applicant has a conflict with Donuts, it could be any number of competitors.

Stoler has not returned my voicemail left this morning.


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One person submits 467 comments on new top level domain applications

August 1, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, new tlds, new top level domains, UncategorizedComments Off on One person submits 467 comments on new top level domain applications

That’s a whole lot of work.

If you visit the new top level domain comments site today, you’re going to be doing quite a big of pagination before you see any unique comments.

That’s because one person — a trademark manager at Sunkist Growers, Inc. — has submitted a whopping 467 comments on individual applications.

They’re all the same comment. But this must have taken some serious time given how cumbersome it apparently is to submit comments.

The comments are about adding rights protections to the proposed top level domain names.

Although 467 identical comments is a lot, I give the submitter credit for not just submitting the same comment on all 2,000 application. They appear to be targeted only to applications that don’t have added rights mechanisms. It even applauds a few registries for their added efforts at protecting trademark holder rights:

“…Such additional mechanisms may include, but are not limited to, the blocking mechanism put in place by ICM Registry for the launch of the .XXX gTLD, the blocking mechanism proposed by Uniregistry, Corp. in its gTLD applications, or the Domain Protected Marks List (DPML) proposed by Donuts, Inc. and DMIH Limited in each organizations’ respective gTLD applications.”

To date there have been 1,806 public comments on top level domain applications, but most of them are form submissions in support of particular applicants or opposed to particular strings.


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