Thursday, September 12, 2019

Many new gTLDs to request their .BRAND Designation

The world is full of .BRANDs :-)

Four new gTLD applications from ALIBABA just requested their Specification 13 to become .BRANDs : the lucky applicants TO QUALIFY FOR SPECIFICATION 13 TO THE REGISTRY AGREEMENT are:
  1. .ALIBABA
  2. .ALIPAY
  3. .TAOBAO
  4. .TMALL
At the moment I am writing these lignes, it seems that .AMAZON and many other Trademarks are doing the same!

The Request from ALIBABA:
This is what the request for .ALIPAY says (the other requests are the same):

Alibaba Group Holding Limited (“Registry Operator”), in connection with the execution of the Registry Agreement for the .ALIPAY TLD (the “Registry Agreement”), hereby applies for .ALIPAY TLD to be qualified by ICANN as a .Brand TLD.

Registry Operator confirms and represents to ICANN that the TLD meets each of the criteria for the TLD to be qualified as a .Brand TLD, as described in the .Brand TLD Application Process and Specification 13 attached thereto, and that all supplemental material accompanying this application is accurate and not misleading in any respect. Registry Operator also represents that the trademark registration attached hereto as Exhibit A, the registration policies attached hereto as Exhibit B, and the SMD file ID number attached hereto as Exhibit C are complete and accurate copies of the official trademark registration, Registry Operator’s registration policies for the TLD, and the SMD file ID for the TLD for which this application is submitted respectively.

Registry Operator agrees that if Registry Operator makes any changes to its registration policies for the TLD (whether before or after this application has been approved) that may disqualify the TLD as a .Brand TLD, it will promptly provide ICANN with a complete and accurate copy of the revised registration policies. In addition, if Registry Operator fails to maintain the trademark registration underlying its .Brand TLD application, it shall promptly notify ICANN of such failure. Registry Operator also agrees to maintain the criteria required to qualify as a .Brand TLD and to immediately notify ICANN of any changes in circumstances that could alter the statements made, and supporting materials provide with, this application.

Because this application is submitted to ICANN after the delegation of the TLD to names ervers designated by the Registry Operator into the root- zone, Registry Operator represents to ICANN that all domain names that are registered in the TLD are registered to and maintained in compliance with the requirements of the .Brand TLD definition.

Registry Operator acknowledges and agrees that this letter is binding on Registry Operator and, if any of the foregoing representations and agreements becomes untrue or not complied with, it shall be deemed a breach of the Registry Agreement by Registry Operator, and ICANN may assert its rights under the Registry Agreement, including by determining that the TLD no longer qualifies as a .Brand TLD pursuant to the terms of Specification 13.

There are exhibits of trademark registrations and an 18 pages request. To learn more from this and read the full list of applicants, click here.

Monday, September 9, 2019

It's .NEW (Sunrise Period coming)

The .NEW (pronounced "dotnew") Sunrise Period was just announced by the Trademark Clearinghouse. This extension belongs to Google.

When:
  • START: Tuesday, 15 October, 2019 - 16:00;
  • END: Tuesday, 14 January, 2020 - 16:00.
What the application says:
Charleston Road Registry is an American company, wholly owned by Google, which was established to provide registry services to the Internet public. Google is an American multinational public corporation and global technology leader focused on improving the ways its hundreds of millions of users connect with information. Since its formation, Google has been developing technology that can improve upon existing ways of doing business on the Internet. Google provides a variety of services and tools for Internet users and advertisers of all sizes, from simple search features and local ads to enterprise-scale business applications and global advertising solutions. These tools make it easier for people to make use of the world’s information and enable entrepreneurs and publishers around the world to grow their businesses.  
In line with Google’s general mission, Charleston Road Registry’s mission is to help make information universally accessible by extending the utility of the DNS while enhancing the performance, security and stability of the Internet for users worldwide. Charleston Road Registry aspires to create unique web spaces where users can learn about products, services and information in a targeted manner and in ways never before seen on the Internet. Its business objective is to manage Google’s gTLD portfolio and Google’s registry operator business. As discussed further in the responses to questions 23 and 31, Charleston Road Registry intends to outsource all critical registry functions to Google Registry Services.  
The proposed gTLD will provide the marketplace with direct association to the term, ʺnew.ʺ The mission of this gTLD, .new, is to provide a dedicated domain space in which registrants can enact second-level domains that position content as ʺnew.ʺ This mission will enhance consumer choice by providing new availability in the second-level domain space, creating new layers of organization on the Internet, and signaling the kind of content available in the domain. Charleston Road Registry believes that registrants will find value in associating with this gTLD, which could have a vast array of purposes from enterprises, small businesses, groups or individuals seeking to associate with the term ʺnew.ʺ Charleston Road Registry expects these uses may include but are not limited to applications such as media (tv show.new, author name.new) and marketing campaigns (cheerios.new, shampoo.new). 
The proposed gTLD will also provide Charleston Road Registry with the means to meet its business objectives.
Just for the note
There is a .NEWS (for News) that exists too and you will find it in the list of similar Top-Level Domains that I created.

Learn more here.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Another 2 new gTLDs are terminated

The ICANN terminated another two 2 new gTLDs. The new domain name extensions concerned are:
  1. .MOBILY
  2. .xn--mgbb9fbpob or .موبايلي (the Arabic IDN for "mobily").
The 2 extensions are from GreenTech Consultancy W.L.L. and both are .BRAND domain name extensions but neither ".xn--mgbb9fbpob" nor ".mobily" were granted a specification 13 according to the Trademark Clearinghouse.

This is what the application said for .MOBILY
Mobily’s TLD is intended to benefit Internet users by enabling Etihad Etisalat (dba Mobily) and its affiliates (collectively “The Company”) to communicate more easily and effectively with all Internet users, and particularly with The Company’s many customers, employees and affiliates. The TLD will become a supporting branding, technology and services platform for The Company’s mission and its businesses.  
The Mobily Registry will provide an Internet space, under control of The Company, to allow the distribution and exchange of information among The Company and its stakeholders by means of, but not limited to, websites, social networks, email and other technologies that will reside within the Mobily domain name space. In addition, ancillary services may be provided in relation to registration of domains within the TLD, including but not limited to website hosting, SEO, marketing and consulting services. And of course, the TLD will be used to promote and deliver our telecommunications services. 
The Mobily IDN Registry will further provide a fully Arabic language alternative for Mobily. With its roots in the Middle East and vast and varied business operations throughout the region, and the ongoing expansion of the global IDN domain space, the IDN TLD will prove useful to The Company and its affiliates.
The Company intends initially to reserve all names within the TLD to itself, and to later register and use any of those domain names for promotional and navigational purposes relating to The Company’s online presence and⁄or provision of goods and services.
Eventually, The Company may allow third parties to license the use of names within the TLD. The Company intends to control content of websites and other uses of domain names within the TLD via contract with any third-party licensees, if any, and via monitoring and enforcement of those contractual provisions.
I had briefly spoken about the .MOBILY new gTLD with two other consultants...but it appears that no one had enough imagination to come out with a solution for .MOBILY.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

JUST UPDATED: New gTLD Reports

All new gTLD reports were updated for the month of August 2019.
  1. New gTLDs related to POLITICS (.gop - .vote - .republican - .democrat - etc...);
  2. New gTLDs related to LUXURY (.rich - .yachts - .chanel - etc...);
  3. New gTLDs related to the MUSIC community (.music - .band - .hiphop - etc...);
  4. New gTLDs related to CATERING and CULINARY (.restaurant - .kitchen - .bar - etc...);
  5. New gTLDs related to PHOTOGRAPHY (.photo - .film - .gallery - etc...);
  6. New gTLDs related to CITIES : these are city names only (.london - .tokyo - etc...);
  7. New gTLDs related to COMPANIES : companies should keep an eye on these;
  8. New gTLDs related to the LAW and LEGAL matters (.legal - .attorney - .lawyer - etc...);
  9. New gTLDs related to FINANCE (.credit - .capital - .finance - etc...).
  10. New gTLDs related to a COLOR (.orange - .pink - .green - etc...);
  11. New gTLDs related to SPORTS (.hockey - .basketball - .ski - etc...);
  12. New gTLDs related to ALCOHOL (.beer - .wine - .vodka - etc...);
  13. New gTLDs related to REAL ESTATE (.realestate - .realtor - .villas - etc...);
  14. New gTLDs related to RELIGION (.catholic - .bible - .church - etc...);
  15. New gTLDs related to CARS (.taxi - .auto - .car - etc...);
  16. New gTLDs related to HEALTH (.health - .doctor - .hospital - etc...);
  17. New gTLDs related to ADULTS (.porn - .sexy - etc...);
  18. Multiple Registries : group of Registries operating five (5) and more domain name extensions;
  19. 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);
  20. FRENCH new gTLD applications : these are applications submitted by French companies only.

The .BUZZ Explosion

This title might sound crazy but it appears that I must have missed something: the .BUZZ new gTLD added 60,000+ domain names to its records...in one single month.

March 2019
In March 2019, the .BUZZ new gTLD hardly passed the 10,000 domain name registrations: its contract was signed in October 2013 and already passed the 10,000 registrations several times (and went below) but never went above 12,000 regs until August 2019.

August 2019
When a Registry navigates around 10,000 records and adds 5000 from a month to the other, this is to be noticed,but 60,000...is highly noticed. Checking the outdated news from 2018 at the Registry website, nothing explains such an explosion of domain name registrations.

There is something here that I need to understand. Let's ask Bill Doshier.

Answer from Bill just received :

Hi Jean,
Thanks for noticing.

Briefly,  a one month very successful test run in Asia. Very pleased here. Looking for additional opportunities.  More to come.

Bill.

Thank you Bill. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The .EVERBANK new gTLD is terminated

This is no surprise since EVERBANK changed name between the moment its application was validated by the ICANN on May the 15th 2014 (signature of its Registry agreement with the ICANN) and June 12 in 2017, when TIAA, "announced the completion of its acquisition of EverBank Financial Corp and its wholly owned subsidiary EverBank. The transaction was originally announced August 8, 2016. On June 4, 2018 TIAA announced the launch of TIAA Bank, bringing together EverBank and TIAA Direct under a new name and brand" (source Wikipedia).

Notices of Termination and Status of gTLD
  • Date of Termination Notice: 4 June 2019;
  • gTLD (Registry Operator): .everbank (EverBank);
  • Type of Termination: Termination by Registry Operator Section 4.4(b);
  • Comments on Preliminary Determination:
    • Open Date: 13 August 2019;
    • End Date: 12 September 2019.
  • Preliminary Determination by ICANN to Not Transition Operation of the gTLD (13 August 2019).
Purpose of the proposed gTLD was:
Extracted from the application: "Applicant EverBank is the banking subsidiary of EverBank Financial Corp, a diversified financial services company that provides innovative banking, lending and investing products and services to approximately 575,000 customers nationwide through scalable, low-cost distribution channels. We market and distribute our products and services primarily through our integrated online financial portal, which is augmented by our nationwide network of independent financial advisors, 14 high-volume financial centers in targeted Florida markets and other financial intermediaries. These channels are connected by technology-driven centralized platforms, which provide operating leverage throughout our business".

There is a lot more said in the application but I focused on what mattered to the end user.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The .BEST Registry: One Year After

The .BEST new gTLD registry was acquired one year ago exactly. I interviewed his CEO Cyril Fremont for an update about two important aspects of the project: adoption of “.best” domain names by the public, and THE.BEST : a new kind of social network offering its members a “.best” domain name, and to be paid for their reviews.


The Interview:
(This article was first published on LinkedIn)

Jean Guillon: Hello Cyril, we had this interview in November 2018, 3 months after the .BEST Registry was acquired by yourself, and I wanted to follow-up with you on the global project. It will now be one year so, how are things doing today?

Cyril Fremont: Hi Jean, and thanks for the invitation. Well, a lot has happened since and, like it often happens when delivering innovation, we’ve had a lot of good surprises, learnt new things, but the most important is that we have executed the .BEST Registry’s plan for this first year.

Jean Guillon: On innovation and new services, I kept an eye on your development and noticed that many Brand Protection companies are now offering the new Brands.Best protection service for their clients to secure their Trademark(s) on the entire .BEST domain name extension: how strings (second level domains) can be secured on the .BEST database?

Cyril Fremont: Well, since 1st June 2019 and following the INTA 2019 in Boston, we are now offering a comprehensive .BEST protection service for brands and Trademark holders who want to block any .BEST domain name containing their Trademark from a possible registration. It is really important for us to allow and give +6 months to brands, to protect their Trademark before the official launch of THE.BEST social network.

Clearly, THE.BEST social network is an amazing marketing and advertising opportunity for brands but also a serious threat to Trademarks. Cyber squatting is already a nightmare on existing centralized social networks so the question is not “when”, but “how much” cyber squatting can happen for a single brand within THE.BEST social network if they don’t secure their domain name(s); not to mention that our social network will also affect the reputation of all major brands revealing the user’s satisfaction score of any product or service.

Jean Guillon: You recently announced a standard price drop with an offer to renew “.best“ domain names at the best price. I registered for a certain number of domain names and I will certainly benefit from this new renewal pricing but you will find my question very straight forward: how do you earn money?

Cyril Fremont: Well, we have actually 3 different channel revenues : go.best (the registry), brands.best (the brand protection program) and the.best (the social network).

On the registry side (go.best), like all TLDs, we sell domain names the standard way through our network of accredited registrars and we also sell premium names directly to big brands. We registered a huge number of amazing premium sales over the last few months.

The key with our “.best” premium names is that we don’t just sell a domain name: we sell a business plan with a target ROI to our end-users.

“Best” is part of the most typed keyword in google searches. Millions of daily searches are related to the best. This is why we are so successful selling premium domain names ending in “.best”.

The string “Best” is such a strong asset that we don’t sell names: we sell brand equity!

So, on the brand side, we also offer a subscription protection service to block any possible Trademark cyber squatting. This new brand protection service really is a critical mission: it’s not just a business for us as we want to avoid recreating a cyber squatting nightmare at the public launch of our social network the way it happened with the .TK for instance. Our last channel is THE.BEST social network. We already start generating advertising revenues on THE.BEST social media early adopters. We also offer a satisfaction monitoring service and a review sponsoring service to brands which should become our mainstream revenue for the coming years. Facebook has announced that they were doing +120$ per user in the USA on advertising in 2018. We still target an audience of 100M .BEST users on THE.BEST social network.

Globally, (go.best + brands.best + the.best) over the last 12 months, we have reached break-even!

On the registry side, we have executed our .BEST plan to be up to 20K live domains on the 1st year anniversary of the .BEST acquisition, and we are proud about that.

We pay very much attention to what we spend and focus on what matters. But in the next few months and following our price change on 5th August, we will now invest a lot in Marketing.

Right now, the Brands.best protection service is what matters for us but the next big thing FY2020 is THE.BEST social network, please note this.

Jean Guillon: What’s that thing about “Decentralized platforms” that you keep referring to? I understand that it deals with THE.BEST social network to launch anytime soon but it is still a little unclear to me. As a future user of THE.BEST social network, what difference will it make for me?

Cyril Fremont: We are all aware about the problems related to data privacy and the use some social networks have of our personal details. A decentralized platform will allow us to ensure that the respect of your private information will correspond to what the law says in your country of residence. Furthermore, it’s not just about data ownership, it’s also about data responsibility. Coz if you are the owner of your data, then you are also responsible of then, the same way you are for a domain name.

Jean Guillon: Let’s talk about numbers now, shall we?

Cyril Fremont: well Jean, you follow us on Twitter and you probably noticed that we Tweet a lot about our registration figures: we had as an objective to develop “.best” domain names and to meet with adoption. When we acquired the extension, there were - if I remember well - something around 2,500 domain names created. We now deliver an average of 1,000 more domain names per week and we now have more than 23,000 domains registered. This is good but believe me...this is nothing compared to where we are going!

As I like to say, we are not even “day 1”. Scaling the unscalable is THE.BEST game.

Jean Guillon: Ok, so when is Day 1?

Day 1 will be the launch of THE.BEST social network!

Jean Guillon: I noticed your two YouTube channels, there is one for THE.BEST (which has not launched yet) and another for the Registry. This is something that registries don’t usually do and that they often drop once the TLD has launched: I kind of like the story telling but what happens when the TLD has launched?

Cyril Fremont: Yes, service providers tend to launch many communication tools thinking that they will contribute to their visibility. It is usually true at the beginning but then they often just leave it as it is and forget about it, not wondering about the bad effect it can have on their image then.

I am still not happy with what we have done on the video side. We can do more and we will do more.

The subject of domain names is not an exciting one for all social media users, but we are innovators with our Registry and we think that our story is a good one to tell.

Plus on THE.BEST social network, we will start a process of interviewing with all “Best” players of all major industries.

We also want to make history here and become an example to follow the way the .CLUB registry did.

For me the .CLUB is also a good example to follow. I like the string, they have an innovative marketing, start to have a strong user adoption and a great usage of their TLD, not to mention that they have a smart team that helps also for execution.

Jean Guillon: Talking about other TLDs, there was a deal signed with the AFNIC, the .FR Registry: can you tell me more about it? I understood that new registrants of a “.fr” domain name will be offered the same ending in “.best”?

Cyril Fremont: Yes, this is what the deal is about : a “.best” domain name will be registered for free for one year for each new “.fr” registration. The .FR had +600k new registrations last year so the potential for us is important in France and we already had the support of all major French registrars such as OVH, Gandi, NETIM, NameBay, Hosteur, ...

It’s historic and once again, we are the first to have made a such co-marketing partnership between a new gTLD and and a cctld (country code). I would even say that it’s not the last one, because other partnerships are coming and will be announced.

The idea here is also to prepare the launch of THE.BEST social network as every registered “.best” domain (free or not) will be able to be directly linked to THE.BEST social network beginning 2020. Usage = Value, that will be our difference.

Jean Guillon: Well, thank you Cyril for this interview. Can you remind me when THE.BEST Social Network is launching again and are there any other surprises coming?

Cyril Fremont: THE.BEST social network is coming FY2020. The next big surprise is that we have also decided to open the usage of THE.BEST social network to other TLDs, but that’s another story and I give you “rendez-vous” next year for that part. So, stay tuned, THE.BEST is yet to come!

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