Friday, April 12, 2019

The .MUSIC new gTLD is a go!

Domain names ending in ".music" (instead of ".com") are coming. The news is fresh and from the 8 applicants from 2012, one remains: Constantinos Roussos, from Music.us, is the final winner of this 7 years fight between multiple applicants.


Announced yesterday in a Tweet, Constantinos pointed mad new gTLD evangelists (like me) to a link proving the change:
  • Application Status: Evaluation Complete
  • Contention Resolution Status: Resolved

A "community" application
The application states that .MUSIC is a community application. It means that these domain names will be restricted to being registered by members of the music community. Let's hope that restrictions to future registrants (those who will register such domain names) won't block them from registering one. It is what happened to the applications of multiple registry Dominion Registry (and a few others), who finally decided to remove restrictions from some of their extensions.

Note that this TLD is already available in the monthly new gTLD reports from Jovenet Consulting.

What the application says
Question 18A from the application "Describe the mission/purpose of your proposed gTLD" is a rather long one so I extracted what I believe is of my personal and selfish interest. I'd suggest to read the full application for those who want full details:

The .MUSIC Mission / Purpose is:
  • Creating a trusted, safe online haven for music consumption & licensing
  • Establishing a safe home on the Internet for Music Community (ʺCommunityʺ) members regardless of locale or size
  • Protecting intellectual property & fighting piracy
  • Supporting Musiciansʹ welfare, rights & fair compensation
  • Promoting music and the arts, cultural diversity & music education
  • Following a multi-stakeholder approach of fair representation of all types of global music constituents, including a rotating regional Advisory Committee Board working in the Community’s best interest
.MUSIC will effectively differentiate itself by addressing the key online usage issues of safety, trust, consistency, brand recognition as well as communicate site subject-matter: music-related content. The TLD will be exclusive to the Community and will incorporate enhanced safeguards and Use policies to protect creators, intellectual property and rights holders.

DotMusic will also provide non-registry services and activities which have been established through ongoing outreach efforts. Community members need to be able to distinguish themselves from illegal or unlicensed sites. Ensuring monies flow to rightful owners and the Music Community is critical to the .MUSIC Mission. Purpose-driven services and activities are:
  1. Development of Music Community Social Network Premium Domain Channels (Channels) sorted by category types, e.g. genres. It will leverage Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices to improve .MUSIC website search result rankings. The objective is for .MUSIC domains to signal a badge of trust that enables search engines to provide music consumers more relevant and safer search results while reducing infringing and unlicensed rogue sites. Premium Channel development will also include a global Song Registry;
  2. Promoting arts and music through sponsorships, events and Music Community activities; Enriching society with artistic and cultural diversity;
  3. Advancing music education and the study of music in school curriculum by donating proceeds of domain registrations to relevant causes;
  4. Re-inventing music discovery and search innovation by leading the way to establish the Industry standard for official music sites to benefit the at-large global Music Community and the Internet;
  5. Enabling legal music licensing via a global Song Registry akin to the International Music Registry (IMR - www.wipo.int⁄imr) & Global Repertoire Database (GRD - www.globalrepertoiredatabase.com ⁄ International Copyright Enterprise) initiatives. 
DotMusic serves the Community without conflicts of interest and is accountable to the Community by establishing an Advisory Committee & Policy Board with representation from each constituency in the Community. The Committee will advise and provide perspective on .MUSIC issues such as broad policy matters and introductions of new services to meet Community needs.

The Premium Channels will maximize the competitive landscape and innovation in both the music and domain space.

A Global Protected Marks Lists (GPML) will reserve all major music brands and established artists, such as RIAA-certified platinum-selling bands.

Phased launches provides rights holders a first-come in the .MUSIC Sunrise, auction of multiple initial landrush domain inquiries, and eventually allows all stakeholders of the Community to register. All registrants must adhere to restricted Use, Name and Anti-Abuse policies that will be monitored to prevent bad practices harming the Music Community.

The full application can be downloaded here.

Note that what the applications says is now "dated" so anything can happen. Oh, and by the way, I can't wait for Madonna.music

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The .BNL new gTLD was terminated

The termination of the .BNL new gTLD was requested by the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (from group BNP PARIBAS).


This is what ICANN answered to the applicant's request:
On 20 February 2019, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro notified ICANN org of its intent to terminate the .BNL Registry Agreement entered into on 24 July 2014. Pursuant to Section 4.4(b) of the Registry Agreement, Registry Operator may terminate the Registry Agreement for any reason upon one hundred eighty (180) calendar day advance notice. 
Pursuant to the terms of Section 4.5 of the Registry Agreement, ICANN org consulted with Banca Nazionale del Lavoro to assess whether to transition operation of the .BNL top-level domain (TLD) to a successor Registry Operator. 
Subject to an ongoing evaluation, ICANN org has made a preliminary determination that operation of the .BNL TLD need not be transitioned to a successor Registry Operator. ICANN org’s review and determinations regarding transition to a successor registry are subject to Section 4.5 of the Registry Agreement. 
ICANN org's preliminary determination to not transition the TLD to a successor Registry Operator is based on ICANN org's assessment that transitioning the TLD is not necessary to protect the public interest. Banca Nazionale del Lavoro attested to and ICANN org confirmed the following: 
  • All domain name registrations in the TLD are registered to, and maintained by, Registry Operator or its Affiliates for their exclusive use, and
  • Registry Operator does not sell, distribute or transfer control or use of any registrations in the TLD to any third party that is not an Affiliate of Registry Operator.
Check the ICANN termination letter (PDF download)

Monday, April 8, 2019

So: which new gTLDs are becoming mainstream?

I went through the exciting exercise of checking all March 2019 new gTLD reports to extract which domain name extension shows an interesting learning curve (or something strange happening). This is what I noticed for the 20 categories of TLDs:
  1. In the list of new gTLDs for Politics, the first new gTLD to have been delegated from the ICANN new gTLD program - .GURU (63,000) - lost 2,000 registrations since January 2018 (not 2019). I was very excited to grab one when it launched, but I dropped it then. Globally speaking,these extensions, some being negative, don't attract consumers so much.
  2. In Luxury, the .VIP (840,000) and .BEST (12,000) Top-Level Domains keep growing but surprisingly, many .BRAND new gTLDs like .GUCCI - .CHANEL or .CARTIER seem to have found no use of their extension yet.
  3. In Music, the .LIVE new gTLD goes up with 332,000 registrations and increasing but .PARTY seems to die little by little. The .BAND and .DANCE new gTLD have an interesting progression curve: they've kept growing in volume since January 2018.
  4. Multiple Registries operate more than 5 new gTLDs: Donuts, Radix and Google are growing in volume significantly.
  5. Singular or Plural? Some of these extensions are clearly failures... Is it so because they exist in two versions and no one would invest in such a risk? That's my opinion but I also know that most registrant, when registering one of these domains, don't necessary know about the existence of a second version of the extension. I call these a trap. I think that the .HOTEL, when it launches, will make sense for a hotel and I would definitely buy my name as a hotel.
  6. The Catering report shows that the .FOOD new gTLD has now 6 registrations instead of one in January and February: will it launch soon?
  7. In Photography, the .ART new gTLD stands out of the crowd with a very interesting learning curve: it has more than 50,000 registrations today.
  8. City name new gTLDs are a little disappointing but Japanese cities like .TOKYO (first city to have more than 100,000 domain names registered), .NAGOYA and .OKINAWA grew in March 2019.
  9. The listing dedicated to companies keeps showing that I was not wrong about on the new gTLDs that companies should register their domain name with. Some of them I would not buy but basically, all are growing in volume. 
  10. In "Law and Justice", not many TLDs and not much is happening.
  11. The Finance report is an interesting one for .BRAND new gTLDs, it is the opposite of the Luxury report: many brands are using their TLD and registering dozens of domain names.
  12. Colors: there are 6 of them and one is a Trademark: .BLUE - .PINK and .GREEN are growing slowly below 10,000 registrations.
  13. In Sports, the .YOGA - .RUN and .FITNESS have kept growing since January 2019. Owner of the .NIKE new gTLD published a job offer, let's hope that part of the role will be to develop the TLD.
  14. Alcohol: guess what: .WINE - .BEER and .VODKA grow in volume: slowly but they grow.
  15. The Real Estate report is a long one and 3 new gTLDs are of interest in March: the .REALESTATE - .CASA (house in Spanish) and .HOMES
  16. In French new gTLD applications, .BRAND extensions are truly used and many domains are being registered.
  17. None of the religious TLDs are of interest in March and .WED (for "wedding") remains silent.
  18. None of the TLDs dedicated to the automotive industry has more than 10,000 registrations. Surprisingly, some .BRANDs have more registrations than some generic TLDs dedicated to selling domain names to the general public through the network of accredited registrars! The .AUDI new gTLD registered more than 1,330 domains already.
  19. The .HEALTH and .DOCTOR are growing in volume below the 10,000 registrations and .BRANDs are still searching a use for their TLD.
All new gTLD reports are available here.

Note that I often use "new gTLDs", "Top-Level-Domains", "TLDs" or "domain name extensions" not to make these publications too boring. Also, some TLDs listed and losing traction month after month belong to the same multiple registries.


Monday, April 1, 2019

The .MADRID Sunrise Period was announced

The Trademark Clearinghouse just announced the .MADRID Sunrise Period.

WHEN
  • Start: Tuesday, 16 July, 2019 - 16:00;
  • End: Thursday, 3 October, 2019 - 16:00.
WHAT
Extracted from the application submitted to the ICANN, this is what the application said:
The Comunidad de Madrid (the Government of the Region of Madrid) is applying for the .madrid TLD to serve the Madrid’s community, defined as the community of individuals and legal entities with a bona fide presence, direct or indirect, in the Region of Madrid, including Madrid as the capital of Spain.

The goals of .madrid are:
  • Facilitating digital communications from, to and within the Region of Madrid.
  • Providing a platform for the urban development in the digital space of the Region of Madrid.
  • Strengthening the image of Madrid in the online world. 
This is to be achieved by:
  • Actively designing and developing the .madrid TLD name space with a focus on the needs of the Region of Madrid, involving cultural, civil society, business and public-sector stakeholders.
  • Allowing registrations of second-level domains in the .madrid TLD by individuals and organizations with a bona fide nexus with the Madrid area.
  • Operating the .madrid TLD under the stewardship of the Region of Madrid in consultation with the local public authorities of the area and the private-sector stakeholders. 
The .madrid TLD will be the new trusted domain-name space that offers a secure and global option for local institutions, companies, brands and citizens. It will allow them all to be present online by creating a multicultural space that integrates and facilitates new opportunities; a space that enables the materialization of public and private initiatives in order to promote and strengthen the brand image online driven by the solid image that Madrid already enjoys globally.

As .madrid Registry, the Region of Madrid (Comunidad de Madrid) is well aware of and fully acknowledges, the responsibility that arises from the management of the domain name ad commits to manage it in full respect of the interest of both the .madrid and the larger Internet communities.

The constant and sustained effort made during the last years, makes that the implementation of the Information Society in the Madrid area is a consolidated fact and in this sense, the Region of Madrid is the most suitable public institution to execute the management and running of the .madrid TLD.

Learn more on the TMCH calendar.

Friday, March 29, 2019

The .EPOST new gTLD was terminated

The .EPOST new gTLD registry agreement was terminated: on 27 March 2019, ICANN provided Deutsche Post AG with a Notice of Registry Agreement Termination.


What the application said:

According to the Applicant, Deutsche Post AG (ʺDeutsche Postʺ), the mission and purpose of the .EPOST TLD are manifold, as will be further explained below.

Broadly speaking, the mission and purpose can be divided into brand-, convenience-, and security-related issues. The security-related issues refer to the idea underlying the product E-POSTBRIEF which - generally speaking - aims at taking the classic letter into the Internet, thereby supporting confidential, binding and reliable communication (i.e. secure electronic communication, as well as trusted transactions).

At this, the product E-POSTBRIEF is the pioneering product of the E-POST-platform which, in the future, will combine various services and products all dealing with trusted transactions and secure electronic communications - such as payment and⁄or identification services. It is envisioned that .EPOST will serve as the umbrella domain for all of these services and products.

The benefits of .EPOST are envisioned to be as follows:
  1. SECURITY FOR THE BRAND: First and foremost, securing and protecting the distinctive component of one of Applicantʹs key brands (ʺE-POSTBRIEFʺ and ʺE-POSTʺ respectively) and popular URL ʺEPOST.deʺ as a gTLD;
  2. SUPPORT FOR INTERNATIONALIZATION: Provide for a global platform in order to effectuate Deutsche Postʹs plans to roll out ⁄ to internationalize the innovative services offered by Deutsche Post under these brands;
  3. SUPPORT FOR NAVIGATION ⁄ ORIENTATION: Since both the Applicantʹs product in general as well as the key brands ʹE-POSTBRIEFʹ, respectively ʹE-POSTʹ in particular have many different (sub-)categories, features and⁄or functions, the gTLD .EPOST enables an unambiguous and distinctive navigation or mapping for the users.
  4. gTLD AS A SEAL OF QUALITY: 
    1. the gTLD as an ʹextensionʹ of the brand and its values: As not only the Applicantʹs but also the key brandsʹ (ʹE-POSTBRIEFʹ and ʹE-POSTʹ) main value is ʹtrustʹ, the gTLD should provide stakeholders of the Applicant with a recognizable and trusted identifier on the Internet. Such stakeholders include, but are not limited to:
      1. its subsidiaries in various countries;
      2. affiliate partners; 
      3. sponsorships;
      4. prospective and current customers; and
      5. directors and officers of Deutsche Post and its subsidiaries, including its employees.
    2. the gTLD as an ʹextensionʹ of the brandʹs promise ⁄ unique selling proposition: Since the Applicantʹs product ʹE-POSTʹ and other upcoming products enables customers to safely and securely communicate online, it seems logical to provide such stakeholders with a trusted, secure and safe Internet environment under the control of the Applicant, in which they are able to obtain information from and communicate with the Applicant and where they are able to obtain genuine information provided by Deutsche Post and its approved stakeholders.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The .INC Sunrise Period begins

Announced by the Trademark Clearinghouse, the Sunrise Period for domain names ending in .INC is starting.

WHEN
  • START: Wednesday, 27 March, 2019 - 16:00
  • END: Tuesday, 30 April, 2019 - 16:00
WHAT the applications says
.inc intends to be an open gTLD for those who believe that a name itself can make a difference.

The .inc Registry believes in the economic and social value of a broadly generic namespace whose meaning will be defined by the users and registrants of the domains rather than predetermined by the Registry. The vision of the Registry is that the availability of .inc TLD as a distinct, attractive new frontier for the Internet challenges the prevailing mindset within and beyond the industry, which in turn serves to foster innovations with prospects of redefining how namespaces can be imagined.

The mission and purposes of the .inc Registry are:
  1. To operate the .inc TLD as an open namespace that is globally recognized as a frontier and platform for Inter-connectivity, Internet activity and development;
  2. To promote a socially responsible approach for the development of the .inc namespace that balances the respect for the rights of others with fostering innovation;
  3. To encourage the creative use of domain names and to enhance consumer choice with the acceptance that names can represent value in and of themselves; and,
  4. To preserve and advance the security and stability of the Internet and the DNS in the operation of a economically viable and socio-technically sustainable registry.
Many feel that “value” is created only with the content and services served under a domain, while the domain name itself is purely an address providing means for navigating, or occasionally “categorizing”, the Internet. The .inc Registry challenges that mindset with a proposition that domain names can be substance itself, echoing Marshall McLuhan’s celebrated observation that “the medium is the message”.

The Registry intends to offer “.inc” domain names for open registrations. Nevertheless, the Registry understands and acknowledges that the string “inc” is used as a short form of “incorporated” and a form of registered legal entity in the United States, Canada, Australia and the Philippines. What is important to note is that the collective represents a minority in the global context based on their collective population, Internet users as well as size of the economies as compared to the world at large.

Even though this represents a minority community, the Registry is committed to take strong measures to curb abusive registrations that exploit this. These include, in addition to standard Rights Protection Mechanisms, comprehensive extra reservation and Sunrise processes, prolonged priority periods, special claims and notification procedures that aim to ensure a stable and orderly launch of the .inc TLD into the technical and social fabric of the Internet.

In addition, to its mission and vision, as a new gTLD, the Registry believes in its responsibility as a responsible industry participant to advance competition, enhance consumer trust and promote consumer choice with the development of the TLD:
  1. Advance Constructive Competition: a critical feature of the DNS, with a single authoritative root, is in its maintenance of global uniqueness of names. As a broad generic TLD, “.inc” presents itself as an attractive alternative to existing generic TLDs. While the Registry believes that .inc would likely attract serious business users, we further believe in allowing the users of “.inc” to ultimately define what it means to them. The meaning of words and phrases changes over time. And in the context of a broad generic TLD, we believe that not pre-determining what it fully stands for may in fact be better.
    As a good example, “.com” which was intended to mean “commerce” is perceived by many internet users as possibly meaning “company”, “communications”, “computer” and others. The .inc Registry aspires to let end users and registrants define what “.inc” means to them. Through which, the Registry aims to advance constructive competition by providing a fully open and broadly generic namespace, which in turn challenges the prevailing mindset about top-level domain names, which often believes either in a category-based notion or a TLD agnostic view.
    The .inc Registry imagines a new possibility where a TLD represents a meaningful part of a domain name expressing a deliberate choice for an identity. For example, “Monsters Inc” was the name of a feature film from Disney, and “monsters.inc” would be a good domain for the movie even when “Monsters Inc” is not actually a registered incorporation. The Registry believes in opening up further opportunities for creative development of .inc names.
  2. Enhance Consumer Trust: the .inc Registry is dedicated to ensuring a secure and stable TLD platform (technology infrastructure) as well as an orderly introduction of the TLD (policies) to enhance consumer trust for the Internet and the DNS. The Registry will put in place Rights Protection Mechanisms and Abuse Prevention & Mitigation policies above and beyond the standard ICANN requirements described in Specification 7 of the New gTLD Registry Agreement. Furthermore, the Registry believes in maintaining an open TLD with broad appeal without predetermining.
    Strong and comprehensive RPM and APM policies serves to curb abusive registrations and enhance consumer trust. At the same time, overly restrictive or protective policies would mean a bias in favour of corporations and vested interests, which goes against consumer trust. Therefore, the Registry believes in a balanced 3-prong approach:
    1. Thorough set of startup processes, along with robust and effective procedures, will be put in place to ensure that prior rights of others are protected through priority registrations by eligible registrants (including duly registered “inc.” designated companies);
    2. Open registrations with equitable allocation processes (non-chaotic contention resolution processes during startup, and first-come-first-served approach upon GoLive) that do not compromise the integrity of the registry (including special considerations for reserving names of duly registered “inc.” designated companies);
    3. Ongoing abuse prevention mechanisms including the use of standard RPM dispute resolution processes, as well as additional claims and notification processes (especially for duly registered “inc.” designated companies).
      Together, protective startup mechanisms, open and equitable allocation processes as well as ongoing measures to mitigate against abuse, provides the foundation that enhances consumer trust.
  3. Promote Consumer Choice: as an open gTLD, the .inc Registry believes in promoting consumer choice by offering a broadly generic name for registration. Furthermore, the Registry believes that the registrants and end users of “.inc” domains will eventually define what “.inc” means. This promotes consumer choice of how a gTLD can be used and what it represents.
Check the date on the Sunrise Calendar from the Trademark Clearinghouse.

Register your Trademark using an agent.