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!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

New gTLD Investor speaking at the Asheville Investor’s MeetUp

Legendary domain name investor Michael Berkens talks about new gTLDs at the 1st Annual Asheville Domainer Investors MeetUp. Some of the information he shares in this talk has never been discussed before.


Morgan Linton is the co-founder at Bold Metrics, a SaaS solution that is changing the way the world's most innovative brands make clothes. Learn more on LinkedIn.

Monday, August 5, 2019

New gTLD reports are Up-To-Date

All 20 new gTLD reports for July the 31 were updated. Reminder: these reports are monthly domain name registration volumes according to categories of domain name extensions:
  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. Multiple Registries : group of Registries operating five (5) and more domain name extensions;
  5. 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);
  6. New gTLDs related to CATERING and CULINARY (.restaurant - .kitchen - .bar - etc...);
  7. New gTLDs related to PHOTOGRAPHY (.photo - .film - .gallery - etc...);
  8. New gTLDs related to CITIES : these are city names only (.paris - .london - .tokyo - etc...);
  9. New gTLDs related to COMPANIES : new domain name extensions that we believe a company should keep its eyes on;
  10. New gTLDs related to the LAW and LEGAL matters (.legal - .attorney - .lawyer - etc...);
  11. New gTLDs related to FINANCE (.credit - .capital - .finance - etc...);
  12. New gTLDs related to a COLOR (.orange - .pink - .green - etc...);
  13. New gTLDs related to SPORTS (.hockey - .basketball - .ski - etc...);
  14. New gTLDs related to ALCOHOL (.beer - .wine - .vodka - etc...);
  15. New gTLDs related to REAL ESTATE (.realestate - .realtor - .villas - etc...);
  16. FRENCH new gTLD applications : these are applications submitted by French companies only;
  17. New gTLDs related to RELIGION (.catholic - .bible - .church - etc...);
  18. New gTLDs related to CARS (.taxi - .auto - .car - etc...);
  19. New gTLDs related to HEALTH (.health - .doctor - .hospital - etc...);
  20. New gTLDs related to ADULTS (no comment).

Friday, July 26, 2019

The .RIHANNA new gTLD

I investigated a little bit and I found that no super star operates his or her own Name or Trademark as a new domain name extension. As a fan, I believe that the Rihanna string is a good case figure to take a look at...in terms of online innovation.

The first thing that I did was to enter Rihanna on a search engine: not only I made a mistake in writing the name (mixing the “i” and the “h”) but I also forgot an “n”. I found plenty of content on the first page about my superstar. In the order: some “top stories” from various sources of information, then the Wikipedia page, the link to her twitter account, a rihannanow.com website with an old kind of title, her Instagram account, then a YouTube channel, etc…

There is a “.com”
I notice the RihannaNow.com domain name is listed but I didn’t see the Rihanna.com, even if it does exist. It seems that someone chose to communicate on the RihannaNow.com rather than the Rihanna.com domain name. I sincerely hope that this same person noticed that there is a “.now” domain name extension coming anytime soon: something like Rihanna.now could be an idea but hey...this is not the subject here.
All superstars tend to do the same

Beyoncé displays the exact same content in Google, in the exact same order. Madonna does almost the same too. I quite like Sting too and guess what: they all have their name ending in “.com” and the exact same communication channels (Yes Wikipedia is a channel, Twitter, Facebook, a website… but none uses his or her name as a new domain name extension: there is are no domain names ending in “.rihanna”, “.beyoncé” (with an accent), “.madonna” or “.sting”.

Rihanna is not just a singer
Rihann is a singer but she also “is” lingerie with Savagex and “cosmetics” like perfume trademarks and names, etc: dozens of generic strings like “perfume”, “fashion”, “bio”, “shop”, or “fragrance” that any communication specialist would want to use on the Internet to increase visibility for the super star’s products: doesn’t something like www.perfume.rihanna looks descriptive? What about www.fragrance.rihanna : not nicer than www.rihannanow.com/fragrance/?

What about www.charity.rihanna : wouldn’t it be instantly recognizable when searching for her involvement into the Clara Lionel Foundation?

Music.rihanna makes sense too and there are many more to suggest when digging on her main website.

Branding but not only
There are many other advantages when focusing on one single branding for Internet (security, brand protection, positioning, U-N-I-C-I-T-Y, etc…) instead of several different domains names but if many, like Jovenet Consulting, have already discussed this, there is one thing for sure: there are no superstars to have considered taking advantage of the new gTLD tool as a Brand...yet.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The .MADRID Sunrise Perdiod

The Sunrise Period for the .MADRID new gTLD starts today.

The purpose of .MADRID
This content was extracted from the application submitted to the ICANN:

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.

Dates:
  • START: Tuesday, 16 July, 2019 - 16:00
  • END: Thursday, 3 October, 2019 - 16:00
To learn more, check the TMCH website.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

A .PROVENCE new gTLD coming?

Dixit Wikipedia, "Provence is a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France, which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône to the west to the Italian border to the east, and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the south".

Domains ending in .PROVENCE
That is what the website says and it is located here. There is a twitter account too. Checking again, the account was opened in 2015 which means that the project is not so new and actually, I remember travelling to Provence for an old meeting about that project before 2012.

My opinion on such project:
  1. There is no doubt that a .PROVENCE makes a strong sense for the identity of the French Provence: for Tourism and Culture, I am definitely buying. Actually, I am more buying for the Cultural aspect because that is an excellent opportunity to distribute knowledge about this location's culture, in the long term.
  2. For SEO, I am definitely buying too because any company connected to the subject of Provence takes the lead developing another version of its website in another language, using this domain name: 2 websites connecting one to the other is good for their positioning on search engines. Also it often happens that French tourism websites also have an English translation: drop the long URL and use a second domain name. If you have two languages already, maintaining two websites instead of one will not require so much extra work but a few changes.
  3. Sales is where I have a doubt. There are many similar projects and we've learnt that it takes time for end users to come to buy such highly identical domain names. Financing such projects often comes from taxpayers and if I agree to pay taxes to finance such TLDs, I disagree completely when operators/owners of the projects keep using ".com" or ".fr" domain names when they should show the way: shouldn't official websites massively promote such domain names and start with "using them"? What about front pages and newsletters of these official websites: shouldn't they "always" refer to the existence of such domain names and point to their registration? "Don't do what I do, just do what I say".
Tip: did you investigate your Wikipedia pages and add your TLD to them? This is about culture and history too ;-)

Friday, July 12, 2019

Now more simple to find a new gTLD

Register your Trademark using an agent.