Friday, December 15, 2017

New gTLDs for the law: blue or red?

Have new domain name extensions dedicated to the law received many domain name registrations in 2017? This table tracked registration volumes from January to December.

The list
There are not so many TLDs related to the law: .LAWYER - .LEGAL - .LAW - .商标 (".trademark") - .ATTORNEY - .PARTNERS - (.BAR) - .ASSOCIATES - .ABOGADO - .FAIRWINDS (a Trademark) and .ESQ

We found no other generic extensions dedicated to selling domain names but we found other trademarks with a connection to the law. We did not list them because they do not deal with legal things only but also accounting and plenty of other subjects. We are happy to add those we could not have noticed.


Blue or red?
The .LAW new gTLD gained more domain name registrations than all other extensions: 3,500 of them in one year and 2,000 for .LEGAL while .LAWYER gained...none.

The .PARTNERS and .ASSOCIATES kept receiving domain name registrations each month and sticked to the blue from January to December ("blue" meaning that they received registrations and "red" that they lost some).

Check the full report here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

New domains for companies: were we right?

In 2016 we started to select a certain number of domain name extensions in which we believed that companies should secure their (second level) domain names with: because they'd want to use it, or..."just in case". In 2017, from January to December, we tracked the variations of these registration volumes to see if they attracted consumers (Registrants) or not, and we're happy to see that we were not so wrong.


Note that if the number of domain names registered in a certain extension is not the only criteria for a successful new gTLD, it remains an important one.

Our selection
Here is the list of TLDs that that we believe companies should secure their domain name with:
  1. New gTLDs: .VIP - .SITE - .WEBSITE - .BLOG - .WORLD - .SOLUTIONS - .EMAIL - .COMPANY - .公司 (company) - .GLOBAL - .INTERNATIONAL - .EXPERT - .SUPPORT - .TEAM - .BUZZ - .商标 (".trademark" in Chinese) - .世界 (world) - .集团 (corporate group) - .CEO - .FEEDBACK - .WHOSWHO - .CONTACT - .WEB (coming).
  2. Legacy TLDs: .COM - .PRO - .TEL
What about 2017: blue or red?
With such an important list of more than 750 new domain name extensions, we did not want to select too many: just the one that we think are generic and international enough to be registered by a Trademark.

A certain number of TLDs have been very successful in 2017: the .VIP new gTLD gained 200,000 more registrations between January and December. This is mainly due to the chinese market.

The .BLOG - a must have - received almost 100,000 more registrations in one year and 50,000 more for the .WORLD new gTLD. The .SOLUTIONS received 20,000 more and 15,000 more for .EMAIL (let's hope that .MAIL does not see the day). 10,000 more registrations for the .COMPANY and .GLOBAL new gTLDs. With .TEAM, all of these extensions just kept receiving registrations from a month to the other (understand that they sticked to the blue). The .WHOSWHO TLD which received 15 registrations in one year ;-)

The .SITE lost 48,000 registrations: this is a surprise since the .WEBSITE belongs to the same Registry and gained 40,000 more domains during the same period. The .世界 (.world) new gTLD lost...28,400 domain name registrations between January and December. Few TLDs from this report have lost registrations and when they did, except for .SITE and .世界 (.world), they lost very few, they stagnated during one year.

Did Jean Guillon secure his trademarks in these extensions?
Let's admit it: securing a Trademark in "just" all of these extensions is an investment and as a very small company, I admit that I used my budget a different way. I use a .CONSULTING domain name for my company but I secured in .BLOG - .EMAIL - .COMPANY - .COM and .TEL. I also own other domain names in the .INTERNATIONAL and .BUZZ new gTLDs from this list.

What about 2018?
We will probably remove the .TEL from our list and it is yet unclear if .SITE and .WEBSITE are absolutely necessary for a Trademark to secure: unfortunately, they are not the only generic TLDs and when their number is too important (there is a .ONLINE too), we think that it drops their value. Not to forget that .WEB - a possible game changer - will come at some point too. By the way, I will combine two reports in a single one in 2018: "Company" and "Generics" will come as one.

Check the full report here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Isn't it better is .WED dies?

I wanted to name this post "Can .WED revive .WEDDING?" but actually, the .WEDDING new gTLD does not need to be revived since it is doing fine: its progression curve in terms of domain names created is positive until beginning of december 2017.

Can WEB revive .WED?
I previously wrote an article entitled "Can WEB revive .WED?", wondering if the future activation of the .WEB new gTLD (which seems far from being activated apparently) would fear enough owners of a domain name ending in ".web" to register the same in ".wed".


It seems that nothing of this will happen since the .WED new gTLD was just placed in the Emergency Back-End Registry Operator (EBERO) Program by the ICANN. This program allows existing Registrants to keep their ".wed" domain name activated until...something happens.

Twins are a problem
If many already wrote about the .WED new gTLD and its 35 registered domain names, my tortured mind think that it might be a positive thing if this TLD just stopped. The reason for this is that it is on the list of similar new gTLDs (also called "confusing TLDs").

Do users need .WED and .WEDDING domain names? I don't think that they do since it becomes very confusing with all these similar domain name extensions. It is also risky and increases the risk of squatting: would a young couple to have published its wedding photos on a ".wed" website want a squatter to publish crap on the similar (second level) domain ending in ".wedding"?

Similar domain name extensions like .EMAIL and .MAIL (to be activated?) are a problem to the future and let's remind that there's no mechanism - yet- from blocking this to happen in the next round of the ICANN new gTLD program...or is there one planned?

Monday, December 11, 2017

City new gTLDs: blue or red?

Which have been the number of domain name registered for city names as a new domain name extension in 2017?

From January 2017 to December 2017, we took a monthly snapshot of each city domain name registration volume. There are 42 of them to which we added 2 domain name extension related to cities:  the .CITY and the .TOWN new gTLD. Tours is a famous city in France so we added it too.


Blue or Red?
As usual, blue is for the city names which gained domain name registrations from a month to the other and red is for those who lost some.

In general, we can see that there's not so much red in the table but for a few TLDs. This is not the case for other groups of TLDs. As you will notice below the problem with city TLDs is that...they stagnate.

Some cities are successful: the .TOKYO Top-Level Domain gained 25,000 registrations in one year and 16,000 for .LONDON while the .NYC gained almost...no registration on a 12 months period of time.

There is an interesting project out there which explains the success of the .CITY new gTLD: one registrant own 22,000 of them: let's hope that this project is a success! The .TOWN knew a constant progression curve until beginning of december 2017. These two generic TLDs do progress.

If .TOKYO is a success, the .VEGAS is another one, it gained 6,000 registrations in one year and never went backward from a month to the other. Other city TLDs which have sticked to the blue:
  • The .BOSTON new gTLD which launched in September 2017;
  • The .YOKOHAMA Japanese TLD;
  • The .TOURS (not a city TLD but I don't mind, it is a city too in France);
  • The .BRUSSELS extension;
  • The .OKINAWA extension from Japan;
  • The .KYOTO extension from Japan.
Some city TLDs are still in "we have no idea what to do with our TLD" mode and have registered very few domains: .DUBAI - .MADRID - .ABUDHABI and .STOCKHOLM (when a TLD registers a very limited number of domain names, it can mean that it is doing tests and there nothing more coming).

January was better than December
Some cities had more domain names registered in the beginning of the year, in January 2017 than in December 2017. It is the case for .NYC - .BERLIN - .KOELN - .HAMBURG - .PARIS - .MOSCOW and its IDN, the .МОСКВА new gTLD - .WIEN - .ISTANBUL - .MIAMI - .IST -.QUEBEC - .BARCELONA - .COLOGNE - .DURBAN and the .RIO new gTLD. Some of these registration volumes stagnate, let's hope 2018 will be better year.

Check the full report here.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Photography and new gTLDs: blue or red?

This is the "recap" of the 2017 new gTLD report related to photography and a few other digital things. You might have noticed that the title of the report has been changed to "Photo / Digital new gTLDs". The reason for this is that the report informs about more than photography and I was requested to add the .DESIGN new gTLD. This new TLD will be added to the report in 2018.


Blue or Red?
Blue and red are the two colors that I used to qualify the extensions that gained registrations (in blue) and those who lost some (in red) from a month to the other.

One can easily notice that the .MEDIA - .STUDIO - .DIGITAL - .ART and .CAM new gTLDs have sticked together and known a successful year in terms of registrations. The .ART launched late and is a pretty interesting example since its Premium domain name strategy was criticized, blocking hundreds (thousands?) of domains from being registered through the network of accredited Registrars.

The .FILM and .MOVIE Top-Level Domains are interesting too since they are niche TLDs. Their progression curve is slow but constant. The film (and movie) industry seems to be attracted by these two highly descriptive extensions.

I bet on the .PHOTO (with no "s") new gTLD when I launched these reports and wrote that the singular version of a TLD would beat the plural version in terms of interest. If registration volumes demonstrate "interest", I guess I was wrong since the .PHOTO domain name registration volume is seriously dropping down and lost 7,000 registrations in one year when the .PHOTOS gained 800. But hey...it is still too early to say since the figures that I see...don't match.

In regards to .PICS, the behaviour is strange since it is a short TLD, kind of descriptive too: every english speaking person knows what a "pic" is. I don't understand why it has lost almost 20,000 registrations since January 2017. In fact, I would be tempted to think that "pics" do not magnify the word "photography" so one interested in such extension would rather buy a ".photo", a ".photos" or a ".photography" instead of a ".pics". Or is it because there's a .PICTURES too?

The two .BRAND new gTLDs for Canon and Nikon have not been very active and seem to have been in tests during the year but the .NIKON extension recently increased its registrations to 30 ".nikon" domain names recently. 16 only for the .CANON TLD. Are the two competitors entering the arena with a project?

Check the full report here.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

New gTLDs and Catering: blue or red?

The year is finished and volumes of domain names registered in the Catering category are now available: it is now possible to check which domain name extension has been successful and which has not in terms of domain names registered.


Four extensions: .CAFE - .COFFEE - .PIZZA and .食品 (food) have received increasing domain name registrations month after month and sticked to the blue.

TLDs such as .KITCHEN - .MENU - .RECIPES and .COOKING have less domain names registered in December 2017 than they had in January 2017. I don't call these successful TLDs.

The .PUB domain name extension lost more than 10,000 registrations from January to December 2017.

Some Trademarks withdrew their application and Mcdonald's was one of them.

Check the full report here.


Monday, December 4, 2017

VOLVO is not testing the electric car...

...is is testing its .VOLVO new gTLD :-)

It is quite usual that Trademarks to have acquired their expensive .BRAND new gTLD don't do anything about it. When you look at the list of Automotive .BRANDs, you wonder why these companies applied for their extension: most of them have sticked to one domain name registration for the entire year.


Then, it happens
Tracking new gTLD domain name registration volumes allows to see when suddenly, something changes, and it is precisely what is happening with Volvo which had registered one ".volvo" domain name since 24 October 2016, the date when the TLD was delegated.

Volvo registered 26 more during the month of November. As a person used to noticing these registrations, it does not mean that the company is going to use them. First registrations are often a test but these also send a sign that the Trademark could start to deploy...its ".volvo" domains.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Using the ".bot" new gTLD

The .BOT new gTLD has not launched yet but, according to Domain Name Wire, it appears that it was presented in Las Vegas recently. This domain name extension was delegated in December 2015 - two years ago - and belongs to Amazon.


This is what the Registry says about it:
  1. Identity: use a .BOT domain name to communicate your bot offering to the world and claim your unique identity to represent yourself in the bot community.
  2. Pioneer: if you are an early adopter and use bots to engage your audience, get your .BOT domain name early. Go ahead, be the pioneer that you are.
  3. Innovate: .BOT will bring the bot developer and user community together with tools and an online space that is all about bots and associated services.
A TLD dedicated to...Bots
Obviously, these domain names were created to offer an identity to those willing to introduce the service of their bot online.

If this makes perfect sense to me since the word "bot" easily allows to identify the universe of bots, I know I shouldn't be writing this but I personally hate it when I receive an answer from a bot. I tried some of the one offered on Skype and I got rid of them since they sounded like stupid answering machine trying to remind me about things that I didn't really care about.

"Automation, automation and automation"
Bots are a developing, this is a reality. Banks want them, call centers are already using them, and whatever one think, it is more affordable to use a bot rather than an employee, it's even faster (and again, I hate to write this).

After introducing its Messenger bot platform in 2016 Facebook went from 33,000 bots to more than 100,000 to talk to its customers. Stock trading bots are already very efficient too. So, are bots part of the future? Possibly. Are .BOT domain names the TLD bots makers will use to introduce their work? That's quite possible too. In a close future? Time and how Amazon will market it will tell.

Amazon Lex
Buy the way, did you check amazon Lex?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Project John Wolley for new gTLDs

The concept of a universal directory does not exist on Internet. There are thousands of directories of all kinds and online Yellow Pages in many countries. All of these websites are different, accessed differently and operated differently: for example, Yellow Pages in France are different from their equivalent in Spain and Italy. There is no standard directory operated behind a same name worldwide.


This is what project John Wolley offers: a universal directory operated behind a single domain name extension.

Read my complete article on CircleID.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

On TV: French .BRAND new gTLDs

It is interesting how French .BRAND new gTLDs start to appear on Television. Here is a list of the first 4 .BRAND new gTLDs (extracted from a list of 49) that I have spotted on Television:

The .CUISINELLA new gTLD:

Link to the TV Video.


The .SCHMIDT new gTLD:

Link to the TV Video.


One of the multiple .LECLERC new gTLD ads:

Link to the TV Video.

BNPPARIBAS also promotes its domain names ending in ".bnpparibas".

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

It is time for .RUGBY

Just noticed today, the .RUGBY Sunrise Period begins.

When
  • Starts: 15 November 2017;
  • Ends: 16 January 2018.
More
Oups

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Future dotBRAND new gTLD applicants

What you should read
This is the Brand Registry Group update on .BRAND trends and use cases:
  • Evolution of dotBrands - Use Cases & Trends;
  • ICANN New gTLD 2012 Application Round;
  • Snapshot from October 2017 - visible use;
  • Volume of Second-Level Domains;
  • Subsequent Procedures - dotBrands:
    • Demand;
    • Improvements;
    • Recommended Changes (examples).
  • And more.
Download the slides (PDF document).

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Publication: a new gTLD for $10,000 ?

A french major Registrar returned from the latest ICANN meeting, also called #ICANN60, and published that the asked price to submit a new gTLD application to the ICANN "could" change to $10,000 or below. There is no indication as if this concerns dotBRAND new gTLDs, community, geographic or other generic new gTLD applications.

My source just made the correction to $100,000. Apparently a "0" was missing.

I fell from my chair and I wondered: would this happen, what consequences could it have?

Reminder
It cost a lot to submit a new gTLD application in the first round of the ICANN new gTLD program: $185,000.00 was the fee. This was just the entry ticket. Other costs applied: writing the application, escrow service provider, backend registry, intellectual property, etc and etc.

In more simple words, it means that the awfully expensive entry ticket could be divided by almost 20.

The ICANN controls if the market of new gTLDs can expand or not and we still don't know when this can happen. Also, it is important to remind that the business of registries offers a fantastic advantage: it is some sort of monopoly since a registry is the sole legal entity to receive authority from the ICANN to operate the domain name extension it applied for. New questions arise then, if it cost $185,000 to acquire a monopolistic financial position: what if that cost was suddenly lowered to $10,000 ?

Possible Changes
Below are the possible changes such a drop of price could cause and I will be adding more content in the future:

Companies
  • Only 489 Trademarks operate their .BRAND new gTLD worldwide but more would be interested and the possible number one reason would be to secure their assets. I already read the number of 50.000 more in the LinkedIn group dedicated to new gTLDs (2,600 subscribers).
  • An interesting reason why a company could want "to apply" is to increase the level of trust for its customers: this is my number one reason and when some single short domain names can cost far more than $10,000 a piece, acquiring an entire domain name extension can seriously make sense in terms of branding.
  • Groups could use their Trademarks and sub-company names as second level domains;
  • The LAGUIOLE case figure is one that most Trademarks fear to face: with a lack of Trademark protection 20 years ago, the famous knives had no authority to operate under the name of the city where they are created until very recently! Who will be first to apply for the ".laguiole" new gTLD and how? As a city name or as a Trademark? With a lowered price for new gTLD applications, this would become a serious option to protect the Trademark for the next 100 years.
Cities
40 cities created their domain name extension worldwide, some even created two extensions for one city but isn't this number nothing compared to the thousands of cities which could then have access to their personal online territory? There could even be a ".bordeaux"!

Registrars
  • They probably would consider building their own infrastructure (a backend registry solution) to host new gTLDs for their clients: some tools exist already and the myth of registering a dotBrand new gTLD the way a domain name is registered might even become a possibility in a close future.
  • They would have to organize and industrialize the process to treat requests. Processing applications required lots of professional knowledge to participate in the first round and if lessons were learnt to prepare what's coming, treating and following dozens of applications will require organization and resources.
  • CSC will still have a problem with the ".csc" new gTLD.
  • Background noise - AND THERE IS A LOT IN FRANCE - tells me that there will be more, much more, dotBrand applications and I am confident that the ICANN registration process will be simplified. What if Registrars receive...hundreds of these application?
  • New offers: a registrar is necessary to operate a .BRAND new gTLD. Doesn't it make sense to operate an existing domain name portfolio at the same service provider for new .BRAND registries?
Backend Registries
A backend registry is the mandatory technical platform to operate a registry and be aware that this is a tough job: don't think that you can do that in your garage...for Top-Level Domains dedicated to selling domain names at least.
  • It is quite possible that backend registries would transform their offers and lower their price, for .BRAND applications at least.
  • Backend registries that I met in the first round did not all offer a complete solution to apply but a technical solution only: I expect this would change...to keep a client and avoid signing too many contracts with too many providers.
  • Backend registries would probably have to compete with registrars and their new small solutions "key in hand" dedicated to .BRANDS (including escrow management, reporting, etc...)
  • Get rid of exit fees and awfully expensive contract renewals. I read contracts that some applicants signed and I wondered: HOW CAN SOMEONE HAVE SIGNED THIS? Some registries' project(s) are already dead just because of this...and there are today far more interesting offers on the market.
.COM domain names
  • The historical domain name extension would still be used of course but new .BRAND applicants would probably start to redirect ".com" to their .BRAND to work more on their new branding and the new options made available to strengthen their Trademark, instead of ".com". 
  • Domain name investors (domainers) would be more pissed : many "hate" new gTLDs since they've flooded the market.
Search engines
  • They would become the best promotion tool for new gTLDs that has ever existed: more ".tlds" and ".brands" indexed means more visibility, strengthening the culture of new domain names for future generations.
  • Google might start to better consider ".rugby" domain names as content related to rugby (this is an example): as of today, new domains are indexed the same way ".com" are.
Validation delays
In the first round of the ICANN new gTLD program, submitting a new gTLD application required to enter a validation process which took long (several months, up to years). If actual ICANN reviews will probably allow to shorten procedures in the next round (ie: some backend registries have already demonstrated that they are "able" technically), the number of applications received could cause a delay problem. 1930 applications were received in the first round: how would 50,000 and more applications be processed by validation agents and how long would it take for an applicant to be granted the use of his extension? This is a real question if cost is lowered.

New gTLD speculation
There is background noise that some applicants would apply to speculate on new gTLDs since applications in competition can go to private auction and it can become far more profitable to lose one rather than launch a new gTLD. If you invest $200,000 ($185,000+) in an application to recover $500,000 to much - much - more in a lost auction, what would that give if the investment price was lowered to $10,000 instead of $185,000? This is an issue to me for generic TLDs but also...for Trademarks.

Could the web support it?
When new gTLD launched, many wrote that the Internet infrastructure could not handle so many more domain name extensions: I am surprised to see that nobody talks about this anymore. I expect to learn more about this when the ICANN technical review is terminated...if it ever mentions this.

Objections
There are procedures to object against an application: when a community is not representative enough, when there could be a trademark infringement, etc... If the fee to object was very high in the first round of the program and the ICANN procedure a complete nightmare, what would this be if - suddenly - hundreds/thousands of Trademarks learnt that someone else applied for their sign as a domain name extension? Again, this is a real issue that the ICANN has to face: as a small company using a Trademark, I just could not face the cost of such a procedure...and protect myself from bad behaviors.

I will be adding content to this publication.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The .USA new gTLD

In 2011, the .USA new gTLD team announced the creation of a .USA new gTLD for the second round of the ICANN new gTLD program.

You can check their website and meet with the team if you are in Abu Dhabi.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Approved Board Resolutions for new gTLDs

This is an extract of the approved board resolutions from a recent regular meeting dated 29 October 2017 of the ICANN board. Content not related to new gTLDs was removed.

On the .GAY and .MUSIC new gTLDs
The Board has adopted the "BAMC Recommendation on Request 17-4".
In simple words: for the moment nothing changes and procedures continue.

On the .AMAZON new gTLD
The Board asks the GAC:
  1. if it has any information to provide to the Board as it relates to the "merits-based public policy reasons," regarding the GAC's advice that the Amazon applications should not proceed; or any other new or additional information to provide to the Board regarding the GAC's advice that the Amazon applications should not proceed.
  2. if it has any new or additional information to provide to the Board, it does so by the conclusion of the ICANN61 meeting scheduled to take place from 10-15 March 2018, in order to assist the Board's appropriate and prompt consideration.
In simple words: for the moment nothing changes until 10-15 March 2018.

To learn more.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Time for .LOM and .VTO new gTLDs?

Lombardy and Veneto are two rich regions and it requires to be rich to operate a new gTLD.

If planning for more autonomy does not happen in one day, it is something that can be prepared, and new domain name extensions clearly offer that, on the Internet at least.

The next Round of the ICANN new gTLD program should be coming in a few years and both Lombardy and Veneto, as regions, will have full authority to submit ICANN an application to become sole operators of their own domain names. Note that Veneto won't be able to apply for a .VEN new gTLD since it is the ISO 3 code for Venezuela and the ICANN does not allow that.

Read my complete article on CircleID.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Advisors blocking emails from new gTLDs?

I read that some advisors block their clients from receiving emails using a specific new domain name extension.

Yes...I read that (...)

In more simple words, it means that a person in charge of offering the service to manage emails for you will decide that (for whatever reason) you won't receive emails from a complete domain name extension. For example, if the .TOP new gTLD is a concerned extension, it means that you won't receive any emails from any email ending in ".top".

TLDs with the worst reputations
There is a list of TLDs with the worst reputations for spam operations. It is maintained by Spamhaus and this is how it explains why a TLD can be bad: "A TLD may be "bad" in two ways. On one side, the ratio of bad to good domains may be higher than average, indicating that the registry could do a better job of enforcing policies and shunning abusers. However, some TLDs with a high fraction of bad domains may be quite small, and their total number of bad domains could be relatively limited with respect to other, bigger TLDs. Their total "badness" to the Internet is limited by their small total size".

OK, this is not a new story: some new domain name extension - because the domains they offer are cheap - are an open door to spammers and malware operators but unless I am wrong, this has always existed: don't you receive spam from emails ending in ".com" too?

Scarry
I understand that Spam is an annoyance but I would certainly not want a third party to take the decision to block me from receiving emails from an entire domain name extensions for the assumption that it is listed in the Spamhaus list or just because some people don't like new gTLDs "because .com is better":

  • What if you miss that email coming from your new accountant who's using a ".accountant" domain name in its emails?
  • What if you miss this email from that startup using a ".agency" because it wants to be identified as an agency online?
  • What if you miss ALL THESE EMAILS because your advisor doesn't like new domain name extensions?
1,227
One thousand two hundred and twenty seven new domain name extensions were introduced to the Internet. In many of these "new gTLDs", domain name registration volumes are increasing, which also means that more people are using these in their email. If you have a doubt, have a look at this report. So: do you seriously want to take that risk?

Corporate Registrars
There are external advisors who "deal with domain names" and Corporate Registrars who it is the job to provide serious recommendations on how to deal with domain names and emails. They are not so many to be serious and I count five that I would recommend. On that list, none of them would ever - never - suggest their client to block a complete Top-Level Domain from sending emails.

And by the way
I have a client who uses a ".top" domain name for his website and decision was taken to use a ".top" because it matches with the name of the company. My client is fully satisfied with this: he even shortened his domain name changing to a ".top" and now redirects the ".com to the ".top", as well as emails.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Acquire a withdrawn new gTLD application?

Most withdrawn new gTLD applications were projects that submitted an application to ICANN but then, for whatever reason (auctions, failed project, lack of funding, too much time wasted waiting...) these applications were withdrawn.

For the increasing number of people who missed the first round of the ICANN new gTLD program, any application - withdrawn or "for sale" - can be understood as a second chance to participate prior to the next round to begin so yes, I received the question below.

Can I acquire a withdrawn application?
I was sent that question, a request to which I had to answer "no". If the answer to such a question can sound obvious, I sent it to ICANN and I received the strange following answer below.

What ICANN answers
Since a withdrawn application enters the validation process, I wanted to have the real answer from ICANN. I removed the name of the person who answered.

My question
--------------- Original Message ---------------
From: Jean [whatever@jovenet.consulting]
Sent: 10/16/2017 3:06 AM
To: globalsupport@icann.org
Subject: Withdrawn new gTLD applications

Dear Sir,

Is it possible to acquire a withdrawn new gTLD application? (re-pay fees,
etc...)

With regards,

The automated answer
--------------- Original Message ---------------
From: ICANN Global Support Center [globalsupport@icann.org.masked]
Sent: 10/16/2017 12:28 PM
To: whatever@jovenet.consulting
Subject: RE: Withdrawn new gTLD applications [ ]

Dear Jean Guillon,

Thank you for contacting the ICANN Global Support Center.

This message is to confirm receipt of your request regarding withdrawals. We have forwarded your case to our internal department and a team member from that department will be in contact with you shortly.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Best Regards,
(Name removed)
Global Support Analyst II
ICANN Global Support Team

ICANN's answer
--------------- Original Message ---------------
ICANN Global Support Center globalsupport@icann.org.masked via whatever 9:44 PM (14 hours ago) to me


Dear Jean Guillon,

Thank you for contacting the ICANN Global Support Center.

I will be happy to provide you with further information. You may not acquire a withdrawn application, but if the TLD is still available, you may apply for a new gTLD.

I hope this information is helpful to you. Please contact us if you have any additional questions or concerns. This case will now be resolved. Thank you for contacting ICANN.

Best Regards,
(Name removed)
Global Support Analyst II
ICANN Global Support Team

WTF
Hey wait: did I miss an announcement?

CentralNic secures contract for 14 new gTLDs

CentralNic has agreed to provide KSregistry GmbH with its market leading Top Level Domain registry services. The deal with KSregistry covers 14 Top-Level Domain (“TLD”) extensions currently managed by OpenRegistry, which KSregistry acquired from Group NCC in 2017.

CentralNic’s registry services division is already the global leader and is the only company to support six out of the top twenty new Top-Level Domains, including .xyz, the domain chosen for new ventures by Google (abc.xyz), Deloitte (exponentials.xyz) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (engine.xyz) among many others. CentralNic is also a leader in TLD services for governments and enterprise, managing multiple country-code and geographic TLDs as well as the TLDs of global 1000 companies such as Saudi Telecom, Etisalat, and Kuwait Finance House.

Under the terms of the deal, CentralNic will increase the number of new Top-Level Domains for which it is the Registry management platform to 65, with TLD clients spread across four continents.

“I am delighted to agree this deal with KSregistry, whose owners are among Europe’s most successful experts in the domain name industry,” said Ben Crawford, CEO at CentralNic. “CentralNic has been providing registry infrastructure services for over 20 years, and our registry platform is known for its performance, scalability and security. We are also the world leader in migrating TLDs onto our platform, having won dozens of new TLD contracts away from other backend providers, whilst never having lost a TLD client.”

“Partnering with CentralNic to deliver registry services makes perfect sense for all parties,” said Alexander Siffrin, CEO at KSregistry. “CentralNic’s registry platform is the most advanced and feature rich in the world. Coupled with KSregistry’s unmatched management and customer service means that we can provide current and future TLD registry clients with very best technology, experience and support at competitive pricing.”

KSregistry contacted its Registry Operator clients prior to signing this collaboration agreement in order to gauge their support for migration to CentralNic’s backend registry. The reaction was overwhelmingly favourable, which is why KSregistry and CentralNic were able to conclude an arrangement quickly, which also gives CentralNic the option of using KSregistry’s SKYWAY data center.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Some new gTLD contacts...are gone

A "new gTLD contact" is a contact that you find in any new gTLD application: there is a primary and secondary contact.

I checked new gTLD applications to investigate about a question that I have: are primary or secondary contacts still in place? This question is important to me because they are the local point of contact to operate the new domain name extension.

Method used
I proceeded as follow:
  1. I checked all new gTLD applications from a specific category from the Jovenet Consulting new gTLD reports;
  2. I searched for either primary or secondary contact (full name and email);
  3. I went to LinkedIn and checked if this contact still worked in the company (or if she is still linked to it).
In some cases, it is the Registrar or service provider in charge of operating the TLD which is used as primary and/or as secondary contact. This is a good choice when a .BRAND new gTLD doesn't want to have to take care of this. Some backend registry service providers also offer this as an option for generic TLDs, as well as other mandatory services to operate a new gTLD.

In other cases, the person's name and surname hadn't changed and had left the company or had changed position with an email still getting through to "someone". This is not so important as long as someone is in charge of reading these emails but I'd suggest to change this to the person in charge within the company.

I also found Gmails addresses used as primary contacts. That: I don't understand it. I am the first person to say that Gmail is a great and very well secured service but I'd certainly not use an email that does not match the domain of the registry's project, nor an email on which I don't have full control of.

I even  found an email using a domain names available for registration. This means that no email are going through and returning with an error. It also means that a third party registering that domain name could set up a "catch all" and receive all emails sent.

What to think about all this?
A new gTLD is a serious responsibility: like a domain name, it is not supposed to end after a website has been launched (unless maybe when your company's name is Whatever Engineering and you'd consider redirecting your ".com" to truly use your ".engineering" domain name).

Operating the emails of primary and secondary contacts have consequences : in the end, they are the same story as operating a domain name when only one person knows about the complete story. Don't forget about what can happen when it's time to pay or talk to ICANN: what if you miss that email? Same when planning to sell your TLD: this is probably where I would send my offer.

Monday, October 16, 2017

GNSO New gTLD Subsequent Procedures (Face-to-Face meeting) : 28 October 2017

This PDP Working Group is tasked with calling upon the community’s collective experiences from the 2012 round of the New gTLD Program to determine what, if any changes may need to be made to the existing oNew gTLD policy recommendations from 8 August 2007. Those who are interested in providing their input into new gTLD policy recommendations for subsequent procedures are encouraged to attend.

More here.

(previously wanted to post this to gtld.events : apologies)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Amazon looks for a gTLD Registry Counsel

Counsel will support the Amazon Registry Services business on a broad range of commercial contracting, licensing, technology, and regulatory matters relating to gTLD registries. Counsel will work directly with business teams, providing day-to-day advice, resolving issues that arise in existing commercial relationships and addressing pre-litigation legal disputes and inquiries. Counsel’s principal duties will include structuring, drafting and negotiating complicated technology, distribution, licensing, marketing, and other commercial agreements, including agreements with third parties in the domain name space. Counsel will also provide ongoing legal counseling in a wide range of areas relating to intellectual property, including contractual relationships, data protection, and regulatory compliance. Limited travel (domestic and international) may be required. The successful candidate must be inquisitive, enthusiastic about technology, have a sense of humor, be business minded and demonstrate sound judgment even in ambiguous situations.

Basic qualifications
  • 5+ years of legal experience (with at least three years at a leading law firm or in house) as a transactional attorney, preferably with focused experience in specialized IT contracts and/or the domain name system
  • Familiarity with trademark and copyright law
  • A J.D. degree and membership in good standing in at least one state bar
  • Limited travel (domestic and international) may be required
Preferred qualifications
  • In house experience at a technology company
  • Familiarity with cross-jurisdictional contracting issues is a plus
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Excellent organizational skills, ability to manage multiple projects at once, follow through and meet deadlines
  • Ability to work independently while being able to contribute successfully to cross-functional teams
  • Common sense, great judgment, and a good sense of humor
Apply here.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

October 2017: new gTLD reports are up-to-date

The second day of each month is a long day at Jovenet Consulting as we update new gTLD reports manually. Last month, we initiated a new report which will be updated on a monthly basis: the Multiple Registries new gTLD report. This report focuses on multiple registries domain name registration volumes and allows to see if domain name registrations increase or decrease.

So: what's interesting here?
  • New gTLDs related to CATERING and RESTORATION (.restaurant - .kitchen - .bar - etc...): the .PUB new gTLD is going down but .COFFEE is doing great. The .MENU new gTLD is diving but surprise: .食品 (.food) has more registrations.
  • New gTLDs related to PHOTOGRAPHY (.photo - .film - .gallery - etc...): the .CANON .BRAND new gTLD creates more domain names and - interesting - the .PHOTOS seems to catch up on its singular version. The .PICS is diving and .ART does well.
  • New gTLDs related to CITIES : these are not geographic TLDs but city names only (.paris - .london - .tokyo - etc...). Users seem to register domains ending in ".tokyo" and surprise, there are now 2 domain names ending in ".stockholm".
  • New gTLDs related to COMPANIES : new domain name extensions that we believe a company should keep its eyes on (available in our Newsletter).
  • New gTLDs related to the LAW and LEGAL matters (.legal - .attorney - .lawyer - etc...): the .LAW new gTLD passes the 10,000 new domain name registrations. Congratulations.
  • New gTLDs related to FINANCE (.finance - .bank - .fund - etc...): the .LOAN has more than 2 million registrations (which is a lot) and one would be surprised to know how this can be possible compared to second best .BID which has 500,000 only ;-) .TRADE is diving into the red and .ACCOUNTANT passes the 100,000 registrations. Congratulations. The .BANK is not as successful as expected but I am confident that it remains the future for Banks still using a risky ".com". The .PICTET (.BRAND) new gTLD registers more names as well as .NADEX and .KFH (note that these could be tests).
  • New gTLDs related to a COLOR (.red - .pink - .green - etc...): the .RED and .BLUE suddenly have more registrations (...) and the .ORANGE (.BRAND) tries new things.
  • New gTLDs related to SPORT (.hockey - .basketball - .ski - etc...): the .CLUB new gTLD does great with 1.1 million registrations and increasing and .RACING goes down. The .GAMES new gTLD does good and congratulations to .COACH which passes the 10,000 registrations. Seems that .XBOX (from Microsoft) is working on something too.
  • New gTLDs related to ALCOHOL (.beer - .wine - .vodka - etc...): don't drink and drive.
  • New gTLDs related to REAL ESTATE (.realestate - .realtor - .villas - etc...): this is not the most interesting report but some TLDs have interesting curves: they've never been in the red since the beginning of the year: .HOUSE - .PLACE - .INSURE - .CREDIT - .BROKER and .HOMES. The .PROPERTY seems to be dying.
  • Singular VS Plural versions of a new gTLD : these are domain name extensions which exist in their singular and plural version (ie: .gift and .gifts). The .GIFT and .REVIEWS are not doing good. Interesting: the .FAN new gTLD now has 5 registrations for the first time: the beginning of a new life? I suggest to dig more with .FAN and .FANS : there's a surprise.
  • FRENCH new gTLD applications : these are applications submitted by French companies only. The .OVH (a Registrar) has less registrations while the .MAIF (a .BRAND) has more.
  • New gTLDs related to RELIGION (.catholic - .bible - .church - etc...): the .WEDDING new gTLD passes the 10,000 registrations. Congratulations.
  • GENERIC new gTLDs : new domain name extensions that we believe they could replace ".com" one day. The .INTERNATIONAL new gTLD has a little more registrations.
  • New gTLDs related to CARS (.taxi - .auto - .car - etc...): there are more .TAXI domain names and, interesting, the .SEAT new gTLD (a .BRAND) seems to have a serious strategy with more than 400 registrations.
  • New gTLDs related to HEALTH (.health - .doctor - .hospital - etc...): the .HEALTH new gTLD, as expected, has a good progression curve and .LUNDBECK (a .BRAND), registers more domains for its trademark.
  • New gTLDs FOR FRENCH : new domain name extensions which have a meaning in French (which also mean something in french). This is the longest report that I have to update and not the most interesting. I will stop updating that one next year. The .LOL new gTLD doesn't find the situation funny on that one.
  • New gTLDs related to ADULTS : domain name extensions dedicated to sex and vulgarity. Such new gTLDs are not a success but...the .SUCKS.
  • NEW - Multiple Registries : group of Registries operating five (5) and more domain name extensions. Famous Four Media is high on top with more than 5 million registrations in total and second best, Donuts, reaches 2.4 million. GMO has an interesting progression curve.
All new gTLD reports are available here.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Why I need a .PAYPAL new gTLD

I use Paypal and I am quite satisfied with how it helps me with my business: it is still a little hard to use and I don't use all functions of the tool, but it is not so expensive, it is fast and efficient and Paypal does not send so many emails. In one word, Paypal rocks.

Fraud
The only problem that I have with Paypal is the number of fake emails that I receive. Of course, I easily identify them as they come in and luckily, G Suite (Gmail) does an excellent job at blocking all spam and phishing.

Today, I received the email below: it is a survey and the link behind "Répondez à l'enquête" points to a domain name which is not the one from Paypal (paypal.com):

(apologies to my English readers)

As a person with a minimum knowledge about domain names, I always use my mouth to check the hyperlink prior to clicking on it and when I read that it is not a paypal.com domain name but a www.paypal-survey.com, I always wonder: "hey: is it an official website from Paypal or is it another trick from a squatter or a frauder?"

Brands and multiple domains
Paypal uses many different domain names; its main one (paypal.com), ccTLDs (paypal.fr) and probably some more like paypal-survey.com. These are domain names that we use to deal with Paypal and the Brand probably has a lot more registered, for the sole purpose of securing its assets.

We are in a typical case here where a Trademark can confuse its clients with too many domain names and that same question comes back again: "is this really from Paypal: how can I be sure about this?"

The .PAYPAL new gTLD
Domain names ending in ".paypal", instead of ".com" offer an incredible advantage in terms of trust: would Paypal apply and use the .PAYPAL new gTLD in the next round of the ICANN new gTLD program, it would answer one problem that I have as a client: anything belonging to Paypal could be identified behind domain names ending in ".paypal".

Old ".com" domain names can be registered by anyone so it is easy - and fast - to create a fraud based on a domain name using the "paypal" sign. Domain names registered in ".paypal" offer the advantage that they would be registered by the Paypal trademark only: no possible fraud using ".paypal" domain names here.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Losing auctions: the next new gTLD business model

Reading that small line, in the link below, reminds me that I never signed any NDA to participate in the Famous Four Media project: what if I had published or distributed their list of strings prior to the first round of the ICANN new gTLD program to close?

You don't understand?
Here is an explanation - and again - it focuses on the number one reason why participants in the next ICANN new gTLD program should pay attention to confidentiality.

What the text says
The link I am referring to, points to this line which says: "An additional $2.4million of cash due as a result of the private auctions for .llc and .inc in which the Company withdrew its applications".

In more simple words, it means that this participants (called a "multiple registry"), earned $2.4 million by withdrawing two of its applications in the ICANN new gTLD program: this in return of participating in an auction for a third party (the winner of the auction) to become sole operator of these two extensions.

As a reminder, it cost $185,000.00 to submit one application (in fact it cost more than this but let's focus on basic figures) and in that case, by withdrawing it because of an auction, it generated $1.2 million.

Thinking fast
Let's assume that a participant to a new gTLD project gets info prior to the next round to begin: developing competing projects for the sole purpose to participate in auctions becomes highly profitable. It is risky but much faster to reach out to profitability and much more profitable than selling domain names.

Another line below in the linked document says: "H1 2016 group losses of $1.9million reduced to $0.5million group loss H1 2017". The first new gTLD launched in 2013.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Le Louvre: time for a change?

Le Louvre is one of the most popular museum in the world, at least in real life, but can we say the same in terms on naming?

Le Louvre is French
Le Louvre is French so it uses a ".fr" domain name. Normal isn't it? The website is available in multiple languages and it occupies most of the results in the front page of Google when I hit "Le Louvre". Good, but let's hope that this does not change since it has no SSL certificate (Google announced recently that SSL certificates help rank better). Yes...the most prestigious museum in the world is not secured on Internet.

I checked a certain number of similar ccTLD domain names to see if other extensions had been secured (and more domain names registered) and it I didn't want to dig more than the .es and it. My conclusion is that...well...not so many apparently, but who worries about this: it is "Le Louvre". I visited lelouvre.fr too and...well...no need.

Interesting, the louvre.museum domain name has been registered but points to an error. I would have redirected it to the official domain name. What about Paris? The louvre.paris domain name was registered and redirects to louvre.fr: good point but since Le Louvre is located in Paris, isn't it time for innovation?

HOT - Coming to Abu Dhabi
Le Louvre opens in Abu Dhabi in November 2017 and it is important to know that the ".abudhabi" new gTLD was launched in April 2016. Since then, one domain name was registered only and this, very recently. The only known existing domain name ending in ".abudhabi" is icann60.abudhabi. Sadly, it is a simple redirection to the next ICANN meeting in but hey...it's a start.
Le Louvre in Abu Dhabi has its own website and it is...http://louvreabudhabi.ae/ (not secured neither).

Hundreds of people are working in in communication and intellectual property for Le Louvre, and I am confident that one, at least, has had the same thought as I have: isn't it the opportunity to consider changing domain names for these two fantastic museums and go for a ".paris" and a ".abudhabi" domain name? It implies changes and I already hear SEO specialists but hey: what's the most important when you are Le Louvre?

This is innovation.

The ".museum" new gTLD
Just for the note, ".museum" domain names are only available to museums and individual members of the museum profession but it appears that this is about to change (how surprising). The .MUSEUM new gTLD will open to all in the future: "Eligibility requirements have been expanded such that registrations will be granted to museums, professional associations of museums, individuals with an interest or a link with museum profession and /or activity, or bona fide museum users." This is a common move at closed Registries to "expand" the number of domain name registrations. In more simple words, "Individuals with an interest" also includes cybersquatters, domainers but also, bona fide Trademark owners who would be interested in securing their domain name in the ".museum" extension.

Monday, September 4, 2017

New gTLDs: an interesting agenda

The .BRAND & Domains conference is coming and I went through the agenda to check "what more" one will find that other conferences are not offering yet. First, it is interesting to note that the conference is not one offered by a single service provider (ie: a Corporate Registrar) demonstrating its long expertise. Second, it appears that some .BRAND applicants, service providers and many insiders from the ICANN new gTLD program will attend.

What's of interest?
I discussed with some of the speakers to learn a little more about what their plan is. One stayed "vague" and some are taking their venue very seriously. For example, I was informed that this conference will be the right to hear the following answer: why did L'Oréal withdrew its application for the .LOREAL new gTLD. Some participants will be coming from "far away": the United States (an old European colony), from Australia and Canada. Even the ICANN is sending its officers. Funny: the people from ".com" will be there too. I went through the agenda and I stopped on some conferences:

On Monday
  • There is a conference with the new gTLD guy from ICANN. It will be explained - with precision and no ICANN acronyms - where we are in terms of reviews and how applying for a .BRAND will be made easier for applicants (Martin Sutton). Look for "Panel: Dot Brand Landscape" in the agenda. In simple words, this panel will help potential applicants to estimate when they can submit their application.
  • "How does a dotBrand provide better customer protection and fights against counterfeit": you want to learn the real benefit of applying to a .BRAND and what an homograph attack is? That's the place to be.
  • There are 9 panels in total on Monday.
On Tuesday
  • Interesting: "Howto: Leveraging Keywords in dotBrands". If "what to do with a .BRAND domain name extension" is a question, this panel should help and Ramon Raudenbrauch will explain in 30 minutes. You don't now who Ramon is? :-)
  • SEO: "How do you migrate to a dotBrand without effecting SEO? How can you improve SEO? Find out as we explore the effect on search": an expert will answer questions adding to the advantage of operating a .BRAND new gTLD.
  • Real Life: "Launching of dot brand". Some Brands will explain how they launched and what they learnt from this.
  • There are 9 panels in total on Tuesday.

Reminder
  1. When: 2 - 3 October 2017;
  2. Where: GRAND HOTEL AMRATH KURHAUS - The Hague, Netherlands;
  3. Onlinehttp://brandsand.domains

Thursday, August 31, 2017

New gTLD Registry Fee Offset Proposal

This is the ICANN answer to Chairman of the Registries Stakeholder Group in regard to a proposal to offset new gTLD Registry Fees.

In simple words:
  1. Registries: "ICANN: it is too expensive for us! With all that money that you have, why don't you lower costs?"
  2. ICANN: "hey, we've been talking about this for years: where the hell were you in 2011? As for now, it is No."
The answer
Thank you for your proposal of 14 March 2017, regarding new gTLD registry fees. Your letter has been published to the ICANN correspondence page. 
We sympathize with the financial challenges that some new gTLD registry operators may be facing in the early periods of these new businesses. New gTLD Operators face a challenging task of building consumer awareness and this can and may take significant time and effort. ICANN remains committed to supporting the evolution of the robust, stable and trusted domain name marketplace, and new gTLDs are part of this evolution. ICANN recognizes the challenge you cited related to universal acceptance of TLDs, in particular IDN TLDs. ICANN has established the Universal Acceptance Steering Group to help address some of these challenges. This effort is being funded from the New gTLD program application fees. By the end of FY18 ICANN will have committed several million dollars to this effort.
We appreciate that the gTLD Registry Stakeholder Group (RySG) has developed a proposal to offset New gTLD Operator fees for ICANN’s consideration. Your proposal requests ICANN to provide a one-time credit to new gTLD registry operators of 75% of the annual fixed registry fee ($25,000 USD) using a portion of what your proposal characterizes as $96 million of projected remaining funds from the New gTLD Program applications fees. In your letter you assert a fiduciary duty on ICANN to refund the excess funds from the New gTLD program to the registry operators, to be clear, ICANN does not agree with this assertion. 
Your letter cites obstacles related to competing in the domain name market place due to the fixed registry fee structure of the New gTLD Registry Agreement. The current registry fee structure, comprising fixed and registration-based fees, was outlined in the Section 6.1 of the Base Registry Agreement and published as part of the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook (AGB). It was subject to several rounds of public comment from the wider ICANN community as part of the AGB development process, and the fee structure and amount have not changed since the ICANN Board approved the AGB in 2011
As you are aware, the 2012 round of the New gTLD Program is still underway, and a portion of the remaining funds are required for the ongoing operation of the program.
As noted in ICANN’s FY18 Operating Plan and Budget, ICANN expects to have spent approximately $214 million on the Program, including “hard-to-predict” costs incurred in FY18 and in the future3 . To date, ICANN has spent Program funds on a range of previously unforeseen expenses including the formation and coordination of the Universal Acceptance Steering Group, Emergency BackEnd Registry Operator Program operations, studies and mitigation plans relating to Name Collision, implementation of the Trademark Clearinghouse, support for the administration of ICANN Accountability Mechanisms, and legal fees and costs relating to the New gTLD Program. The remaining Program funds are intended to cover operating expenses and future unanticipated costs such as those listed above, which continue to occur on an ongoing basis. We do not yet know how much of the New gTLD Program remaining funds will be required to address future unanticipated expenses, and by when. As such, at this time, ICANN is not in a position to commit to the dispensation of any potential remaining funds from the New gTLD Program applications fees. Thank you for your thoughtful proposal and for your understanding.
Download the updated proposal from the gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG) here (PDF document).

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Can .WEB revive .WED ?

The .WED new gTLD (for Wedding) is in danger of...never, ever launching. By "launching", I mean to sell domain names. To "launch", a Registry must sell more - much more - than 100 domain names.


I wrote an article about this subject on DomainNameWire and I believe that it is a good read for any coming new gTLD applicant who wants to throw himself in the next ICANN new gTLD round.

Read my article on DomainNameWire.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

More new gTLD case studies

The ICANN just published three more case studies. The domain name extensions concerned are:
  1. The .KRED new gTLD;
  2. The .CEO new gTLD;
  3. The .手机 (xn--kput3i) IDN new gTLD.
Purpose of each proposed gTLD
This content was extracted from each new gTLD application submitted to the ICANN during the submission process: "18(a). Describe the mission/purpose of your proposed gTLD".


The .手机 new gTLD (.CELL)
Beijing RITT in this application is applying for the Chinese IDN string of .CELL only. This is not an application for .CELL (ASCII). The true IDN string will be referred to throughout this application as .CELL (Chinese IDN) for simplicity of review by ICANN. .CELL (Chinese IDN) is intended to become one of the most common and easily accessible TLDs on the internet, especially targeted to Chinese speakers. It will vastly expand options for creating domains, developing mobile applications, and giving new opportunities to those who have been unable to obtain a desired domain name in Chinese in existing TLDs. Most importantly, it provides the opportunity for the full domain name to be represented in their native language. The .CELL (Chinese IDN) TLD will help facilitate the expansion of those opportunities for Chinese-speaking Internet users. While we expect long-term growth as Internet penetration increases, we expect that awareness and early adoption will ramp up gradually and the first few years will experience a modest adoption rate. Therefore, we anticipate that we will have 30,000 domains under management (DUMs) after three years. 

The .KRED new gTLD
The mission⁄purpose of the .kred TLD is to establish a cohesive, clear, dedicated, immediately identifiable online identity, experience, and sales channel for KredTLD Pty Ltd. Kred, launched by social analytics leader PeopleBrowsr in 2011, measures influence in online communities connected by affinities. Kred values audience quality and engagement over audience size by assessing anyone’s ability to inspire action (Influence) and propensity to engage with others (Outreach). As a market leader in social media engagement and analytic services, Kred is excited to have the opportunity to take a lead in this new, expanded Internet environment as one of the first brand TLDs. The .kred TLD leverages the influential Kred brand, to enable us to offer our cutting edge technology products and services to individuals, brands, and industries in a clearer way than is currently possible. It will bring Kred’s online presence together into one clear channel of communication and experience, thus clearly distinguishing the company and its products from competitors.

The .CEO new gTLD
CEOTLD Pty Ltd. will combine PeopleBrowsr’s Kred’s influence and outreach measurement, real world rankings and other information feeds to provide comprehensive information for, by and about the CEO community and its members. The .ceo TLD enables us to offer our cutting edge technology products to individuals, brands, locations and industries in a clearer way than is currently possible. It will bring CEOTLD Pty Ltd.’s online presence together into one clear channel of communication and experience, thus clearly distinguishing the company and its products from competitors

All case studies can be checked here.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Are new gTLDs profitable?

A Registry to operate its own Registrar (or a Registrar to operate its own Registry) is a good solution to lower down the price to maintain a domain name and the reason for this is simple: tech costs are split and most of the money stays in...
Who's who
It is even better when the Registry owns its own Backend Registry and its Registrar.

In simple words: a Registry makes more money when the money paid to mandatory service providers are the same people.

The example that I like to give here is based on Afilias: a Backend Registry provider, also applicant (Registry) for five of the six existing colors. Afilias is not a Registrar.

What when registration volumes drop?
Since 2016, Jovenet Consulting tracked weekly, then monthly, domain name registration volumes from various groups and industries and this post will focus on new gTLDs that have the name of a color.

There are six of them and one is a Trademark so we won't pay much attention to it since it does not sell domain names to end users:
  1. .RED (€11/year)
  2. .BLUE (€11/year)
  3. .PINK (€11/year)
  4. .BLACK (€31/year)
  5. .GREEN (€54/year)
  6. .ORANGE (a dotBrand new gTLD = no price)
(there's .GOLD too but does it count as a color?)

I went to retail registrar Uniregistry and extracted prices that you can see above. The first three are acceptable prices but I find .BLACK and .GREEN quite expensive and since Uniregistry is a cheap Registrar, you can easily expect that these domain names will probably cost much more at other service providers.

When looking at the new gTLD report entitled "New gTLDs related to COLORS", you will note that almost ALL registration volumes continue to drop starting January 2017 and if you look at May 2017, something strange even happens.

So: profitable?
Does it mean that such extensions are not profitable? I don't think so.

I heard a story which said that "red" was a special color in some countries in Asia and this was the reason why ".red" domain names were so successful...until May 2017 apparently. I won't count .GREEN here because this TLD was acquired lately by Afilias and you will note that registration figures are quite different from the first four TLDs.

The .RED new gTLD is now below the 50,000 registrations so it does not pay ICANN the $0.25 fee per domain anymore. Even if the curve is dramatically going down, it still has 48,000 domains with a probable majority being paid by Registrants. Since Afilias is Registry and Backend Registry for its TLDs, it pays the minimum to maintain its own domain names: below $5 per year? Less than $1 maybe?

Let's imagine that these 48,000 domains are paid by Registrars at the price of less than $10. It still means quite a lot of money for the Registry in the end. A lot less for .PINK and .BLACK.

What about "strategy"?
In 2016, and during a period of 7 months, the .RED Registry had between 308,000 and 318,000 domains on the market. I have no idea how nor why these numbers were so high but I believe that the only question to have today is: "was it worth it?"

If it takes so much domains to end up with so few: it is still 48,000 domain names on the market. Let's assume that these domains are paid, and hopefully renewed, I consider that such strategy is a good one because all Registries want to have 48,000 domains names renewed on the market. Should Afilias have adopted the same strategy for it other "colored TLDs"? The question remains.

Monday, August 7, 2017

How to choose the right "new" domain?

One could think that this post is going to be about why it is better to choose a new domain name instead of a ".com". Actually it is not because we like ".com" domain names at Jovenet Consulting: they are very useful to be used as redirections.

This article is about the factors that one should consider when selecting the right domain name for a new business (because you often need a new domain name for a new business). Of course, thinking about buying a new domain or a ".com" matters; but there are other factors to consider...
Years ago things were different
Years ago, one extension launched, not hundreds at the same time so choosing was easier and made a new extension very attractive (I remember trying hard to register ".asia" an ".eu" domain names). There are now so many domain name extensions that one does not necessary have the time to search for all of them and would be tempted to think: "hey...why bother searching when everybody knows what a ".com" is". This is a problem for new gTLDs: still, people don't necessary know that they exist...but for those who do, there a certain factors to consider prior to buying.

Which other factors to consider?
I sometimes help trademarks to look for the right domain names and also buy some for myself from time to time so there are things that I do prior to registering a new domain name

Singular VS Plural
I am always very careful with singular and plural versions of the same domain name extension: I would not buy one and not the other or just would not use one of these unless it is absolutely necessary. I believe that a good example can be the ".photo" and ".photos" new gTLDs: I would buy the two of them...but not only.

I created a list of these new gTLDs which exist in two versions: Singular and Plural. If I a pay a lot of attention to check that list prior to suggesting a client to buy a domain name, I am also very cautious with similarity. When considering to buy a domain name related to photography, one should know that the ".photography" new gTLD also exists. With new gTLDs, similar domain name extensions can cause to choose the wrong domain name very easily.

Similarity
Similar domain name extensions are to me the worst trap that one can fall into. Some domain names can be very similar due to the extension ("first level domain" for the geeks). For example, if a domain name ending in ".new" will probably not have the same content as the same domain name in ".news" (ie: www.whatever.new and www.whatever.news), confusion could be total for two similar websites: one ending in ".photo" and the other ending in ".photography", same for ".build, ".builders" and ".construction" or ".taxi" and ".cab".

I often update my list of similar new gTLDs because it is to me the number one tool to use to avoid choosing the wrong domain name extension when searching for a name.

There is another factor to consider in similarity: if it is rather unlikely that the plural version of an extension will exist, it is more likely that...the .BRAND extension of a generic TLD will exist. I mean that a Trademark might have applied for a new domain name extension that a third party will not be able to register: it is the case for .AUDI and .AUDIO domain names. The .AUDI new gTLD is a Trademark and available for registration to the AUDI Trademark...only. Another example: ".CITI" and ".CITY"

".com"
The ".com" domain name is also to consider when looking for a domain name because the risk remains high to start a communication when a third party already uses the same ".com" domain. When not available, I'd just suggest to consider changing name and not waste time trying to negotiate with an existing owner who wants to sell a ".com" at a high price. New gTLDs offer more precision today and I consider that ".com" can start to be used as redirections. When creating the name of a project, a trademark or a company, the domain name should be part of that search and not come second.

Actually, confusion now also exists with ".com": did you know that there is a .CAM and a .BOM new gTLD?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Which Registry will succeed in...

...selling domain names in supermarkets?
When it comes to paying in a supermarket, you're often offered to buy that “little thing more”: chewing-gums, sweets, alcohol, but it is now also possible to buy “online things” such as Apple and Google music: why not offer domain names too?


Domains names are no BtoC consumer products
Let’s be serious: can you imagine a Registry pushing a Registrar to “do the job”, trying to offer domain names in supermarkets? This just would not work for several reasons:
  • Approaching a supermarket chain is a tough job that requires time and the job of a Registrar is to sell domain names and offer services dedicated to domain names;
  • What about marketing and packaging: who pays? Certainly not the supermarket chain! Which Registrar has the capacity to pay for all this but one which has a close link to a supermarket chain?
  • What about pricing? Is a Registrar ready to drop its price or accept to earn money in year two, when the domain name is renewed?
  • What about support...
A blog offered with a domain name is BtoC
Many people want to have their blog: to post their holidays’ photos or just to write the story of their life but they won’t necessary search for this on Internet because it is so difficult to understand and there is so much info to provide, it can even become technical!

The truth is that very few people know what a domain name is so you can imagine when it comes to talking about a “Registrar” :-)

Added to more services, a supermarket has the capacity to address end users and evangelize the process of registering a domain name a complete different way, make things more simple and go straight to the point: deliver what is offered on the packaging and nothing more that what the price says. It does not work the same online when you can offer “options”, simply by clicking on a button. The more clicks...

A supermarket also has the capacity to offer “trust” in the purchase: the seller is already an authority, can Registrars says the same: nationwide?

Why not add the email to this package?
Another truth is that very few people know that an email can be different from gMail or Hotmail so offering the option to personalize an email with a domain name seriously adds to the quality of the offer.

Let’s be honest, what looks nicer: jguillon@hotmail.com or jean@guillon.email ? What about this one for "Jovenet Consulting": www.jovenetconsulting.com or www.jovenet.consulting ?

Added to the domain name, a personalized email is typically what Google and many other Registrars are trying to achieve in their offers but a supermarket could demonstrate that it is even a better place to bring consumers to buy such products: it is faster and does not require to read it all.

So what is the solution then?
I studied various possibilities but I strongly believe that the best approach is with a Registry which operates its own Registrar. The reason for this? A better price and reduced costs to take care of all operations with a limited number of subsidiaries. Note that I will not explain about “a better price”.

A Registrar with the capacity to offer a complete solution and a dedicated path for such consumers:
  1. The Blog (without ever mentioning the word “hosting”);
  2. The Domain name;
  3. The Email;
  4. One yearly payment.
A coupon, such as the one offered to buy music, will offer:
  • To pay for year one;
  • A 3 lines explanation of what the consumer buys;
  • A short URL where to:
    • Create the domain name which will activate and point to the Blog;
    • Create the email;
    • Explain and point to the interface to Blog;
    • Renew the domain name (renewing should be explained on the coupon).
The entire process should fit in one single page.

Who can do that?
Come on: don’t you see?
;-)


*BtoC stands for “Business to Consumer”, different from BtoB which stands for “Business to Business”

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