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Peter Dengate Thrush’s reaction to today’s top level domain reveals

June 13, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, peter dengate-thrush, top level domain holdings, UncategorizedComments Off on Peter Dengate Thrush’s reaction to today’s top level domain reveals

Former ICANN chairman notes some surprises today, but says he’s still digesting all of the data.

Peter Dengate Thrush was chairman of ICANN’s board when it finally approved the new top level domain plan. Now he’s with Top Level Domain Holdings (TLDH), which is one of the biggest applicants for new top level domains. It is applying for 68 on its own accord and 92 in total.

I just got off the phone with Dengate Thrush and asked him what the biggest surprises were in today’s reveal.

“We’re still digesting it ourselves,” he told me. “But there were quite some surprises.”

Among those:

* There’s only one applicant for .orange and .apple
* That there weren’t more internationalized domain names (IDNs), although he’s pleased there are over 100
* Only three applicants requested community support

He is happy with the breadth of brands participating in the process. But what about the noticeably absent brands such as Facebook, Twitter, and eBay?

“I think they got some bad advice,” he said.

During a panel discussion at today’s ICANN even, Dengate Thrush inquired about digital archery. His company has come out opposed to the system for batching applications. He reminded me that he was at the helm of ICANN’s board when the system was devised. “But we now have a huge amount of data that we didn’t have when we put it [the plan] together,” he said.

For example, there’s no need to spend resources for 92 technical reviews of its applications as they are basically all the same.

As for TLDH’s applications, he said its preliminary count shows 10 of its applications are uncontested and another 10 are only challenged by one party. Now the negotiating can begin, and he says he’s already received an email from another applicant saying “let’s talk”.

“Many of these [competitors] are reasonable commercial people,” he said. He’s confident they can work out a solution and that auctions are a last resort — although TLDH is prepared to go to auction when necessary.


© DomainNameWire.com 2011.

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How big is the new TLD opportunity? TLDH valued at $60 million

May 22, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, top level domain holdings, UncategorizedComments Off on How big is the new TLD opportunity? TLDH valued at $60 million

Publicly traded new TLD company has a solid market value.

Top Level Domain Holdings, a pure play company focused on new top level domains, has a market cap of around £ 39 million. That’s over $60 million USD.

We’re talking about a company that basically has no revenue. So far it has just been spending on the new TLD process.

As of last February the company had about £ 15 million in cash. A lot of that has surely been spent since then. But to be conservative, let’s assume the market cap net of cash is around £ 24 million. That’s still about $38 million.

This $38 million value is based solely on the potential of its new top level domain business. That includes applying for its own TLDs, helping clients get their TLDs up and running, and partnerships for new TLDs.

That’s a hefty valuation, if you ask me. What it shows is that a lot of people are big believers in the profit opportunity of new TLDs.

Fortunately for TLDH, it doesn’t need all of its bets to pay off. It should have a large enough portfolio to weather a few duds.

What do you think…is Top Level Domain Holdings worth its $60 million market cap?


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Former ICANN Chairman Joins Minds + Machines

July 18, 2011Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, minds and machines, new tlds, peter dengate-thrush, Policy & Law, top level domain holdingsComments Off on Former ICANN Chairman Joins Minds + Machines

Peter Dengate Thrush joins publicly traded company poised to profit from new top level domain names.

That was quick.

Less than a month after pushing through a vote approving the new top level domain name program at his last meeting as ICANN Chairman, Peter Dengate Thrush has joined a company applying for new top level domain names.

Dengate Thrush will join Top Level Domain Holdings (parent company of Minds + Machines) as Executive Chairman.

His compensation package will include options on 15 million shares at 8p per share.

This is certainly a big coup for Top Level Domain Holdings. But it also begs the question about why Dengate Thrush pushed through the vote in his last meeting as Chair. It’s highly likely that it was so it would be part of his legacy, but joining a new TLD applicant so quickly after the vote will certainly raise eyebrows.

It makes you wonder if ICANN staffers that remain with the non-profit during the new TLD gold rush are fools for doing so. Certainly there’s more money on the outside, at least during the application process.


© DomainNameWire.com 2011.

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Top Level Domain Holdings Reports Annual Financial Results

April 15, 2010Domaining, Domainnamewire, mind and machines, top level domain holdings, UncategorizedComments Off on Top Level Domain Holdings Reports Annual Financial Results

New top level domain company reports financial results.

Top Level Domain Holdings Limited (AIM:TLDH) today reported financial results for the year ending October 31, 2009. TLDH is parent company of new TLD consulting company Minds + Machines.

For the year, TLDH lost about £1.4M on revenue of £0.315M. Much of its revenue was from a portfolio of domain names and two web sites including an iPhone app review site. In November it sold its entire portfolio of mainly German and other European parked domain names for $250,000, writing off £154,000.

Last year the company acquired a 15% interest in dotNYC LLC for $180,000, valuing the company at $1.2M post money. It acquired 25% of dotEco LLC for $400,000, giving the company a $1.6M post money valuation. When you think about it, these are rather high valuations for companies that are merely planning to apply for their respective new TLDs.

The company had about £$4.2M cash at the end of the fiscal year, meaning it should have enough to ride out the period between now and when new TLDs actually launch.


© DomainNameWire.com 2009.

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New Top Level Domain Trademark Frontrunning Battle Heats Up

April 12, 2010Domaining, Domainnamewire, fred kreuger, new tlds, Policy & Law, top level domain holdingsComments Off on New Top Level Domain Trademark Frontrunning Battle Heats Up

.Eco trademark fight heats up, but pot is calling the kettle black.

In June I wrote about how companies wanting to apply for new top level domain names were attempting to file trademarks on non-existent top level domain names.

One of the examples I gave was .eco. At the time, Colored Planet Connextion appeared close to getting a trademark approved. Canadian company Big Room also filed an application for the .eco mark.

While both of these groups want to launch a .eco top level domain name, neither of the applicants was Dot Eco, LLC, the group endorsed by Al Gore. Colored Planet’s trademark was later approved, and it decided to play hardball with Dot Eco, LLC. According to documents filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Colored Planet sent a cease and desist letter to Fred Kreuger, a member of Dot Eco LLC.

To fight back, an attorney for Dot Eco, LLC filed a petition to cancel Colored Planet’s mark (pdf). The petition noted:

“…it is not possible to register a top level domain name as a trademark for domain name registry services…”

This is true. Under current USPTO policy, you can’t register a trademark for a top level domain name.

But the irony here is striking. Kreuger is CEO of Top Level Domain Holdings, which owns new top level domain consulting firm Minds + Machines. Top Level Domain Holdings has applied for a number of TLDs as trademarks, including .movie, .kids, .books, .buy, .baby, .poker, .golf, and .casino. The company is still working to get the trademarks approved. In January it changed and added classes of goods on the trademark applications.

If Top Level Domain Holdings is awarded any of these trademarks, then the company will achieve exactly what it says Colored Planet is trying to do:

“…a cloud will be placed on Petitioners’ right to use the term “.eco or dot eco” as the identifier for proposed gTLD registry services, and to galvanize support for this project.”


© DomainNameWire.com 2009.

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