Wednesday, May 27, 2015

More .PHOTO than .PHOTOS domains?

Remember Singular vs Plural TLDs?

I  check volumes of new domains once a week and just noticed that there are now more .PHOTO domain names registered (with no 's") than .PHOTOS (with an "s"). It had been the opposite until this week.

New .PHOTOS domain names were launched long before .PHOTO but registrations seem to tend that end-users are registering the singular version of the domain name extension rather than the plural one.

Another reason could be that .PHOTOS is reaching its first year of renewals and Registrants (end-users)could be tempted to drop their domain. Since it was launched first, its Registrants drop their domains before .PHOTO.

Figures:
  • .PHOTO: 18,435 registrations;
  • .PHOTOS: 17,481.
Let's see what happens next week.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Richard Li is coming with his own new gTLD

There will be no ".jeanguillon"...

Why have no stars applied in Round one of the ICANN new gTLD program? We would have expected a ".kanyewest" or a ".kardashian", a ".taylorswift" or the IDN ".beyoncé" but no star submitted an application to become the first, worldwide, to massively propagate his/her popularity offering fans the chance to create websites using their name.

And what about other uses such as a www.rap.kanyewest - www.kim.kardashian - www.music.taylorswift or www.singleladies.beyoncé or just some fan.rihanna, jackie.chan, james.bond (wrong example) or again dance.britney ? I already read the announcements on flyers and billboards!

...but there will be a ".richardli" new gTLD
One applicant "only" considered submitting an application for his name followed by his family name and I must admit that the person to have provided new gTLD consultancy services was good here because Richard Li is writing history.

Richard Li is no pop star; Richard Li is a Hong Kong Business Super Star. The Front Page of his websites says: "Now is the time to go out, rather than meandering and relying on existing old models... If there is a vision, you should just go out and do it". Aren't new generic Top-Level Domains an answer to that statement?

A vision
Richard Li did not consider applying for his name only. He and partner companies applied for several TLDs: IDNs and Latin ones:
  1. Since a company has to apply for a new gTLD, ".richardli" was submitted by a company named Pacific Century Asset Management (HK) Limited;
  2. ".pccw" was submitted by PCCW Enterprises Limited;
  3. ".hkt" was submittted by PCCW-HKT DataCom Services Limited;
  4. " .香港電訊" was submitted by PCCW-HKT DataCom Services Limited and then withdrawned;
  5. ".電訊盈科" was submitted by PCCW Enterprises Limited.
Some of Richard Li new gTLD applications were signed this week and should be live very soon. It is the case for the ".RICHARDLI" and ".PCCW". Let' s see how these domain names enter the history...of Internet.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Changing of use (listen to new gTLDs)

You read articles about new gTLDs, you see new gTLDs adds on Television and Banners on Internet, but do you listen to new gTLDs?

Available on Startup.club
Uses are changing
I do not read long articles entirely, unless when they say something new about new gTLDs but I noticed that the way I collect and read the info changes with time. If I would never have turned the radio on in the past unless when in my car, I recently found myself using a new website to listen about new gTLDs information.

What I like to hear about
I like subjects related to new gTLDs and infringements: how to deal with these, solutions using tools from the Trademark Clearinghouse, Registrars and lawyers' advice, etc. I also like news on new Registries and Back-end Registries. I am not so much interested in Domaining but I admit that there is a lot happening in this branch of the new gTLD industry. I also  find interesting reasons why an application is withdrawn, who is going to submit an application in round 2 of the ICANN new gTLD program, which TLD is is going to be, who's who, who's taken a client to who, what are the reasons why an applicant is changing his back-end Registry, who's won a new gTLD auction, who's the genius who had the idea to send his truck with "inta.sucks" banner at INTA 2015, will .WINE and .VIN new gTLDs ever see the day, which TLD is profitable and which will be, etc...

Why I also listen to DomainSherpa
I receive notices of interviews and actually, listening to the one while working is acceptable: it works fine in the background and I frankly admit that I stopped working several times thinking: "I don't believe he said that".
It is time consuming to stop working and watch a show on Internet but listening to it while working does not stop you from working...unless when you hear such thing like: "ןpuɐɥ ʇnoqɐ ǝʞɐɔ ɟo ǝɔǝıd sıɥʇ buıʇıɹʍ ɯɐ ı ʎɐʍ ou sı ǝɹǝɥʇ".

Yes...in an interview, you can't come back on your text and re-write it: what is said is said. There are very good interviews of majors of the new gTLD industry and it is pretty interesting to hear about new names, new service providers or old ones trying to grab a peace of the cake. If you want to be interviewed, try a click on top-left of the website.

If DomainSherpa.com is not about new gTLDs "only", it is a good source for info related to domain names in general. In the latest interview there are two subjects of interest to me:
  1. "Which new gTLDs the Sherpas WON’T be renewing in the upcoming year";
  2. "How today’s new gTLD launch of .Video compares to the established ccTLD .TV".
Listening to the video interviews is possible and works fine in your background but downloading the mp3 audio stream is also made possible. I also suggest to click on the "News" link in the top menu to either view news, or submit yours.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Buying the TLD is Just the Start... (by Colin Campbell)

...Making it Successful Takes Lots More Money & Perseverance

People frequently ask me how we got the rights to a top-level domain name (TLD), and I’ve often responded that it just takes a lot of money and perseverance. Now I’m wondering which one is more important and certainly realizing that launching a new domain extension has been a lot more challenging than I had originally thought.

As one of the losing bidders for .tv in the 90’s, my partners and I recognized that it took more than just winning the name. We just didn’t realize nor have the necessary resources to win the name and promote it.

This time we did things very differently. When the idea first came to me to apply for an extension, I assumed we would likely win the name uncontested with about $500,000 investment (including the application, legal fees, and a real business plan). However, it was soon obvious that multiple companies also wanted the same domain, and failure to win the name uncontested left us in a bind…and in need of more money to win it. We raised $8.2 million to buy the name at auction and launch it globally. But after eight months of buying a lot of rocket fuel to get our name off the ground, we quickly realized we were still short on funding and had to raise an additional $3.6 million.

What We Learned…

.CLUB by many standards has been the best performing new domain extension on the market, wining almost every survey and award and having usage that far exceeds almost every other new domain extension. In less than a year after launch, there have been more than 225 000 names paid registrations so far and more than $800,000 in premium names sold, including Vegas.club, Coffee.club, Wine.club and many more. But our success came only after a lot of hard work and a lot of investment. We have run several advertising campaigns and partnered with registrars to get the word out. In addition, we continue to attend dozens of trade shows per year and have worked closely with celebrities and brands to get them to use the names for fan clubs, loyalty programs and more. While we’re excited and proud of our success, we still have a long way to go.

Several companies have recently paid well over $10 million for their domain extension. Gaining the rights to the name is only the beginning, and each of these companies must consider what is required to establish itself as a national and even global brand. While the environment today for marketing a new TLD is far more challenging with hundreds of new extensions competing for dollars and mindshare, the good news is that as other TLDs begin to spend the money required to spread global awareness, most of the TLDs that have meaning will also benefit. To garner similar recognition as .co, .tv, or .info, it requires millions of dollars in investment, a relevant name with clear meaning, and a focused team executing on innovative campaigns with relentless resolve. We believe we have those things in .CLUB, including a word that is recognized and used globally in every language and culture throughout the world.

While it’s easy to say it just takes money and perseverance to launch a new domain extension, we’ve learned it also takes a winning team, a well-developed strategy and execution, and the work of the industry as a whole to make it successful.

Colin Campbell.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Successful .CLUB Registry Marks One-Year Launch Anniversary

Nearly a quarter million registrations strong and $1 Million in Premium Sales, .CLUB proves to be most successful new domain launched to date.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – May 7, 2015 -- While much media attention has been focused on the defensive strategies that celebrities and brands are taking against the new .sucks and .porn domain names, there have been several new domain extensions enjoying widespread success, being registered and used by hundreds of thousands of individuals and businesses. One of those successes is .CLUB, the most popular new domain extension, celebrating its one-year launch anniversary today, maintaining its position as the best-selling new gTLD (generic top-level domain) on the Internet today.

Exactly one year after its 2014 launch, .CLUB has shown that there is demand for domain names that are short, easy to remember and that add meaning to whatever is on the left side of the “dot” in a web address.

After just one year, .CLUB has accumulated impressive results· More than 220,000 .CLUB web addresses registered worldwide:
  • Nearly 40,000 live, active websites using a .CLUB name (not parked pages);
  • More than 73,000 unique registrants;
  • Over $1 Million in premium name sales;
  • Active in 128 countries worldwide.
Thousands of existing golf clubs, country clubs, tennis clubs, fitness clubs, social clubs, nightclubs, Rotary, Kiwanis and other clubs and communities have adopted the use of a .CLUB domain name for their online address. In addition, many high profile celebrities have also joined the .CLUB, including legendary rapper, actor and entrepreneur 50 Cent (50InDa.Club); singer Demi Lovato (Lovato.club); Indian cricket star Virat Kohli (ViratKohli.club); Miami Heat player Tyler Johnson (RealTJohnson.club) and others, all good examples of the value of a .CLUB domain name for any type of community or fan club. Entrepreneurs and startups have also been active with .CLUB names, including music site TheDrop.club, which was launched by serial entrepreneur Justin Kan (Justin.tv, Twitch.tv); subscription and membership business such as Coffee.club, Shaving.club, Soap.club and many more.

Premium .CLUB domains have out-sold all other new domains as well. Wine.club sold at auction for $140,000, Coffee.Club sold for $100,000, Vegas.club sold for $100,000 along with others, totaling more than $1 million to date in premium name sales.

“While a lot of the attention in this space has been directed toward the defensive positions brands are taking against .sucks and some others, it’s important to remember that there are a lot of really great new domain extensions now that are helping companies better market themselves, more effectively use their brands and own a category online in ways that haven’t been possible since the early days of the Internet,” said Colin Campbell, founder and CEO of .CLUB Domains. “As we celebrate our first birthday, we’re proud to say that .CLUB has launched more entrepreneurial sites that any other new domain, including subscription-based services, fan clubs, and more.”

.CLUB’s success has not been limited to the United States. Nearly 70% of its total registrations are outside the United States. .CLUB is among the top five new domains in more than 28 countries, including Japan, Hong Kong, Russia, Taiwan, France, Spain, and more; and is the #1 selling new domain in Canada, Brazil, Singapore, Italy, Malaysia and many others.

“A big part of .CLUB’s success is that the word `club’ is spelled the same and means the same thing all over the world,” added Campbell. “So no matter the language, the alphabet or the culture, .CLUB has logical context and recognition all over the globe.”

A typical .CLUB domain name registration costs approximately $10-$15 per year. .CLUB domains names are available at 112 registrars worldwide including GoDaddy, 1and1, Name.com, Web.com, 101Domain and others.



About .Club Domains, LLC
Led by Internet entrepreneur Colin Campbell, whose prior successes include Tucows Interactive and Hostopia.com, .Club Domains, LLC was formed for the purpose of becoming the .CLUB gTLD registry. The company recently launched Startup.club to support entrepreneurs building businesses around a .CLUB domain name. With more than 220,000 domain names sold to date .CLUB leads the pack of new domain extensions in sales and usage. More information and links to register .CLUB domains are available now at http://www.nic.club.

Monday, May 4, 2015

What new gTLD applicants want for Round 2

After talking to a few new gTLD applicants who participated in "Round One" of the ICANN new gTLD program, here is a list of complaints and questions I received, and probably a few things potential candidates should pay attention to prior to submitting an application:

Applying is too expensive, I want my TLD for $200,000!
Applying for a new gTLD is expensive but ICANN is the organization to allow an applicant and it has costs too: technical ones, legal and administrative ones and since the process is long, it has to pay a lot of employees to ensure that new TLDs are inserted into its root for end-users to be able to read new domain names.
Now, many lessons were learnt from "Round one" and if there are few doubts that the ICANN fee will be lowered (the $185,000), it is possible that service providers will lower their fee too.

Preparing a new gTLD application involves time to fill-in the ICANN form (the famous 50 questions) and a few meetings are necessary with clients. Financial questions should be considered seriously but many templates exist for other questions.

Back-End Registries, Corporate Registrars taking applications and other law firms are pretty much informed on how to submit an application and simplify filling-in the ICANN form(s). It should cost less to apply in Round 2 and a good thing to know is that is now easy to limit the number of parties involved in an application...to reduce costs.

Applying for $200,000 could be possible but not to forget a few things:
  • a back-end Registry will charge an applicant per domain name registered each year;
  • there can be other fees such as Dispute Resolution filing and evaluation fees;
  • ICANN charges a Registry $6,250 per calendar quarter so expect a $25,000 more to ICANN each year;
  • Added to this is a $0,25 to ICANN per domain name registered (above 50.000 domains);
  • You will have to pay your escrow agent (mandatory) and probably...to monitor abuses;
  • Paying a team during the registration process is not necessary but it is up to you.
Why is now my lawyer in the opposite camp?
Be selective when choosing your lawyer and ensure that he remains with you until the end of your new gTLD procedure (and the end of procedure means: "when you have launched your Registry and started selling domains", not "when you have submitted your application to ICANN"). Round one was impressive in demonstrating that there is just no ethic when it comes to wining a market.
Not to forget a TLD is unique and there can be only one winner.
The same applies with great ideas and nice considerations when it comes to "protecting identities" (ie: sports TLDs or artistic TLDs) or "specific communities" (ie: wine geographical indications or community TLDs): having a NDA signed can be far from enough and when your lawyer leaves you to your competitor - or to fight against your TLD - it can mean that...you loose your application.

There were too many applicants for my TLD (domain name extension)!
Well, if you told all potential partners about your great string, it is important to know that - AGAIN - NDAs don't block anybody from saying that X is about to apply for ".WHATEVER". The new gTLD world is very small and there are few back-end Registries. In simple words, it is very difficult to know when the time is right to tell about your string but the latest, the better.
Note about Back-end Registries: if some are able to take your application entirely and this means from A to Z, they can have the idea to submit the same application as you...for themselves. Be very cautious with who you talk to...

How do I get away from my Back-end Registry without having to pay a hefty termination fee?
I have had that question twice already and note that some Back-End Registries can be very expensive compared to what is really necessary for an application. A Back-End Registry is a provider like another and any provider wants to keep his clients with him and blocking him with a termination fee is not unfair, here is why:
  • Leaving a Back-End Registry requires work from him;
  • Some "Back-Ends" did more than expected (and this means answering many phone calls to adding paper work when a client - for instance - had to deal with ICANN for a procedure;
  • You never "buy" your new gTLD with no knowledge: you always need assistance, unless you work at ICANN ;-) 
Some back-ends do not have a termination free but it is possible that they all do in Round 2! Now, if you want to move away from your back-end, I know lawyers with absolutely no ethic who could be willing to help.

.SUCKS does not help improve our society
I agree with this bur whether this new gTLD helps the society or not does not really matter because consumers are the one to decide about if it should be tolerated or not. At least, it is the answer you will probably receive if  you ask the ICANN. In the case of domain names ending in .sucks, consumers have decided that it should exist...whatever the complaints ICANN received (try with "sucks" searching by string).

There are many groups at ICANN to work on these questions and then to address its Board. Surprisingly, the largest group now complaining about this "mistake" in the ICANN new gTLD program is the one of the Intellectual Property; but one should not forget something: if no law firm contested or tried to make their best to block this TLD from existing, it is because...it is this same group who will invoice you when you are infringed.

Let's face it: would you invest your own money trying to block such TLD when it can bring business to you and generate cash? If you are a law firm, take advantage of this, and if you are a consumer, a Registrant, ask the NCUC about this. I'd love to read what they have to say.

So yes...new gTLD ".sucks" does not improve our society but you will pay for it anyway. Now, why ICANN tolerates such a domain name extension to exist? Well, ask them: newgtld@icann.org (and come share your answer here...if you ever receive one).

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