Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Best SAS acquires .Best TLD in Strategic Deal

PeopleBrowsr, a San Francisco based technology company, announced today the sale of its BestTLD Pty Ltd subsidiary to The Best SAS, a Paris based company led by President, Cyril Fremont.

BestTLD Pty Ltd owns the .Best top level domain. It has distribution agreements with GoDaddy and over 50 other Domain Registrars.

The sale has been approved by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).

The .Best TLD has been acquired as a core component of a decentralized search optimized social network, where participants will be rewarded with .Best cryptocurrency for reviewing best in class products and services.

Jodee Rich PeopleBrowsr’s CEO said “This is a strategic deal for PeopleBrowsr. It provides us with a good return on our 2014 Best TLD investment and a partner who’s roadmap is aligned with our own. We believe in Cyril and his team. They are using three new technologies - Top Level Domains, Social Networks and Blockchain to create an economy between Buyers and Sellers “

Cyril Fremont said “We are giving the consumer their own domain name, an integrated website where they own the data, and rewards for their contribution to the community. Platforms like ours continue to move negotiating power between reviewers and sellers

French culture is synonymous with best in class consumer products, so, .Best was the obvious choice for the project.

The Best SAS received financial support for the purchase from investors, the French government’s BPIFrance, and Spring Legal Lawyers: Frédéric Boucly said “This venture is a global technology play. Mr Fremont has a proven track record”.

PeopleBrowsr Background
PeopleBrowsr is a San Francisco based technology company founded in 2008. It has earned over $20M in revenue.

Its core technology, SocialOS is a Blockchain integrated platform for the rapid development of social applications.

Institutional clients include the US Department of Defense, a major bank and government entities.

PeopleBrowsr acquired 3 gTLDs in ICANN’s first round, .CEO, .Best and .Kred, and has progressively implemented SocialOS technology across each namespace.

CEO Jodee Rich, is a thought leader in the technology industry. He has spoken at many conferences and believes that the integration of blockchain and social networks will give more power to individuals and small business.

The Best SAS Background
The Best SAS is the first and only French company to own a new Generic Top Level Domain. It was founded by major shareholder PREMLEAD.

PREMLEAD is an online marketing company that fuel online sellers with premium leads using a network of+50.000 websites worldwide and a unique web content technology.

CEO Cyril Fremont, is working as an Internet Entrepreneur since 1996. After starting his career in the Silicon Valley, he co-founded or participate to 3 major successful IPOs : INTERSHOP, ARIBA, SIDETRADE.

It took Five years to Cyril Fremont to complete the .Best acquisition.

The Best will be the first Registry to own its own TLD, CRYPTO and SOCIAL NETWORK.

Download the full Press Release

Just announced: the .PAGE Sunrise Period

The Trademark Clearinghouse just announced the .PAGE Sunrise Period (from Google).

When
  • START: Monday, 27 August, 2018 - 16:00;
  • END: Monday, 1 October, 2018 - 16:00.


What
What the application submitted to the ICANN says:
The proposed gTLD will provide Google with direct association to the term ʺpage.” The mission of this gTLD, .page, is to provide a dedicated domain space in which Google will offer landing pages providing links to specific types of content. For example, the second level domain front.page may provide access to timely news content, sports.page might provide a collection of sports-related information, and business.page would aggregate content related to business and finance. Charleston Road Registry expects the gTLD to be a hub for content categorization and discovery that will assist in Google’s mission of organizing the world’s information. The proposed gTLD will improve the Internet for consumers by providing a namespace in which they can explore content relevant to various themes that they may find interesting. It creates new layers of organization on the Internet and signals the kind of content available in the domain.
More
  1. The registry: www.nic.page (points to Google registry)
  2. The application: https://gtldresult.icann.org/applicationstatus/applicationdetails/511
  3. The official Sunrise Period details: http://www.trademark-clearinghouse.com/content/page

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A new Sunrise Period starts

Donuts Inc, launches the .CHARITY new gTLD's Sunrise Period.

When
  • START: Tuesday, 10 July, 2018 - 16:00;
  • END: Saturday, 8 September, 2018 - 16:00.
What
What the application submitted to the ICANN says:
"The .CHARITY TLD will be of interest to the millions of persons and organizations worldwide involved in philanthropy, humanitarian outreach, and the benevolent care of those in need. This broad and diverse set includes organizations that collect and distribute funds and materials for charities, provide for individuals and groups with medical or other special needs, and raise awareness for issues and conditions that would benefit from additional resources. In addition, the term CHARITY, which connotes kindness toward others, is a means for expression for those devoted to compassion and good will. We would operate the .CHARITY TLD in the best interest of registrants who use the TLD in varied ways, and in a legitimate and secure manner."
More
  1. Application details are available here;
  2. The official announcement from the Trademark Clearinghouse is available here.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The IGF rebrands using a .SPORT

Extracted from an official communication of the International Gymnastics Federation, the FIG just annouced that it relaunched its website with an innovative new domain name: Gymnastics.sport
The International Gymnastics Federation is proud to be the first international sports federation to change its domain name with a switch to the innovative .SPORT extension. From now on, the FIG website, which has been entirely developed in-house, can be accessed via the address www.gymnastics.sport.

The Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), registry of the .SPORT new gTLD, also shows the example changing from its original ".org" domain name to a ".sport" one: www.gaisf.sport

Monday, June 25, 2018

New gTLDs are political and religious assets

We often mention branding when referring to new gTLDs but since these also strongly refer to an identity (when comparing to ".com"), they can have a strong impact on the visibility of a specific community on Internet; no matter if some communities are sometimes not accepted, neither...liked, nor considered by their opponents.

What a new gTLD community really is
Whatever the type of application that was submitted to the ICANN (generic, community or geographic), some new gTLDs represent communities of a specific area or geographical zone but according to the definition one has of a community, such new gTLDs can become efficient communication tools for a community to expand and increase its visibility on Internet:
  • a city like the .PARIS new gTLD which is for the city of Paris (France) and allows the creation of domain names such as www.earthhour.paris.
  • a population like the .CORSICA new gTLD which is for the diaspora of Corsicans around the world. Note that Corsica is a French island which has initiated discussions with the French government to become independent.
  • a religious community like the .CATHOLIC or .MORMON new gTLDs.
  • a community like the .PERSIANGULF or .PARS

The .PERSIANGULF new gTLD
This application submitted to the ICANN is a generic one, neither a geographic nor a community one: it means that anyone may register a domain name ending in ".persiangulf". The application is on "on-hold" status at the ICANN, it means that there is a problem with it. The applications explains that: "The origins of the ethnic Persians can be traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples..." and there is a long explanation of who the Persians are. It also refers to "Ancient Iranian peoples" and the exact geographical zone represented by the Persian Gulf. As you can imagine, this can be a problem when you disagree on who a geographical zone belongs to in the history of the human kind. Of course, I am absolutely not referring to Palestine.

Some governments do not want the company to have applied to the .PERSIANGULF new gTLD to be the one to operate it, and the reason for this is probably politico-religious rather than economical or a trademark problem. The Persian Gulf community seems to be a political and religious problem to some governments and would this new domain name extension see the day, it would legitimate everything that the application says. It would also open the possibility for this community to multiply its visibility on Internet launching websites ending in ".persiangulf". That is where the real problem is for this application.

A problem with "Persians" maybe?
The Chairman and CEO of the CITRA (Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority in The State of Kuwait), who represents a country to have opposed the .PERSIANGULF new gTLD application, recently wrote to the ICANN explaining that, according to him, "this domain name extension is not in the public interest of the internet community". He gives several other reasons such as:
  1. the name reflects a disputed name for the Arabian Gulf;
  2. he was not consulted prior for the application to be submitted;
  3. he believes this extension does not represent the interest of the targeted audience.
I believe that the reasons given in this letter hide the fear that such a community could develop; it confirms that a new gTLD can be a very strong political or religious asset. The letter ends urging the ICANN to terminate this application.

The .PARS new gTLD
This application was delegated and already allows the registration of domain names ending in ".pars" (not ".paris"). Persians can register domain names ending in ".pars" anyway.

Conclusion
New gTLDs are one of the most powerful and efficient tool the Internet has produced in the history: it allows to publish a message right into any search engine, without even having to offer the end user to visit a website. Printed on any document, sends a factual information to a reader too.

Some registries (the one to operate a new gTLD) are restricting the access to their domain names to to allow their community only to register them; but history has shown that restricting "just does not work" since volumes are necessary too. Opening a domain name extension "to everyone" is the best way to install it on Internet since it makes it more simple to register a domain name. Restricting a new domain name extension is a strategic mistake in the case of a community who would want to develop unless in very specific areas such as banking and a few others.

Think I am wrong? Then I wonder why more and more Top-Level Domains, Country Code Top Level Domains included are getting rid of their restrictions ;-)

Just announced: the .קום Sunrise Period

The Trademark Clearinghouse just announced a new Sunrise Period. The new gTLD concerned is a Transliteration of "com" in Hebrew, an IDN.


The mission of this new gTLD
Extracted from the application: "the primary mission of the Hebrew transliteration of .com is to improve the user experience by offering a fully internationalized domain name (IDN) that includes a transliteration of .com. This gTLD is intended to serve users whose primary language is based in Hebrew script."

When
  • START: Monday, 30 July, 2018 - 16:00;
  • END: Tuesday, 4 September, 2018 - 16:00.
More
The application can be downloaded from this page.
The official announcement from the Trademark Clearinghouse is available here.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Coming fast: the .SPORT new gTLD

The .SPORT new gTLD is coming and all businesses related to sport will be offered a chance to register a domain name ending in .sport (instead of ".com").


This is an extract of the latest publication from the Global Association of International Sports Federations:
  • A select group of Ambassador websites will go live during Summer 2018, becoming among the first ever at .sport;
  • A consolidated launch period will run from September 4 to November 6, 2018;
  • General Availability will begin on January 8, 2019.
Premium pricing applies during the consolidated launch period. Standard pricing will apply starting with General Availability.

Read the full announcement at the GAISF.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

When the Backend Registry is too expensive

What we call a "backend registry" is the mandatory technical platform to operate a domain name extension and all registries have one. It is the backend registry that allows accredited registrars to technically sell domain names for each extensions.

The question here is: what happens to a registry, who sells domain names to accredited registrars, when his backend registry solution provider is too expensive?


Creating your backend registry solution
In 2008, I remember going to a .BRAND meeting with Stephane Van Gelder and a technical guy told us: "we don't need a backend registry, we have enough resources to do it ourselves". Well...one can try to do it so for the next round of the ICANN new gTLD program - and there are tools for this - but I would certainly not recommend it for three reasons:
  1. It requires serious skills to develop a backend registry platform;
  2. It requires to pass the ICANN tests;
  3. It's awfully expensive.
How to lower the expenses
There are less than 10 solution providers that I would work with worldwide, and the reason why I would not create my own backend registry solution is simple: the more your new gTLD project costs you, the more you will be tempted to increase the price of your domain names. Accredited Registrars, the ones Registries sell their domain names to, will have to take a margin so they will increase the price too, and here is what happens next:
  1. The final price at the Registrant level (the person who buys the domain name) will be higher than a ".com"; it may be be a bad sign sent to new consumers: "hey, why should I pay more for a domain name?". Remember that the average price known by consumers for a domain name is between $10 and $12;
  2. It will make your registry more difficult to develop in volume of domain names if your target is the general public. For domain names to meet with adoption: "use" is needed but "volume" is needed too to increase its visibility on Internet.
Think twice about creating your own backend registry solution: it will drastically increase the price of your new gTLD project.

Note that 500 registries have less than 10,000 domain names registered but is this what a new registry wants when creating a new domain name extension? I stopped counting at 200 domain names registered (June 2018) to exclude .BRAND new gTLDs from this approximate calculation.

Less than $2 per domain
Backend registry service providers offer different range of services but there is now stronger competition between them and offers should change for the next round of the ICANN new gTLD program. Prices should change too and there are three parameters that I will focus on when selecting a backend registry provider:
  1. One price per domain name "only" should constitute the offer: a registry which wants to gain recognition cannot be blocked from lowering the price of his domain names because the annual financial commitment with his backend registry is too high: let's not forget that the more domain names a registry puts on the market, the more it benefits the backend registry.
  2. No leaving fee: the knowledge to operate a registry relies a lot on the backend registry solution provider but it has now become easier and, for example, one might be tempted to change to a Chinese solution provider to access the profitable Chinese market with a MIIT licence. Once you're blocked with an important leaving fee, it blocks you from spending this money to find a better solution: a Chinese backend registry solution provider will be very efficient combining complementary solutions for you: the backend registry solution + the MIIT licence for example.
  3. A "minimum annual commitment"? I read this fee at a service provider (...) With the number of registries to have launched at the same time in 2012, how can a niche TLD survive when it sells less than 1,000 domains a year (also because its retail price is already too high)? Added to a leaving fee, it makes it almost impossible to develop. For some, it means going "bankrupt". By the way: a backend registry asking for a minimum annual commitment does not care about the success of your project.
Note that such offers already exist: some providers have adapted to the market. It costs less than $1 for certain registries to create a domain name: "the lower the price is at the backend, the lower it will be for your clients".

If the backend registry is too expensive...it will impact the final price of your domain names and it is unlikely that new consumers will want to pay more than $12 to buy them. Registration volumes seem to confirm this: when new gTLD registration volumes are low, it is also because the price of domain names is often too high, the reason is that.

Monday, June 4, 2018

May 2018: new gTLD reports are up-to-date

  1. New gTLDs related to CATERING and FOOD
    (.food - .recipes - .rest - etc...);
  2. New gTLDs related to PHOTOGRAPHY
    (.photos - .movie - .pics - etc...);
  3. New gTLDs related to CITIES
    These are city names only (.koeln - .dubai - etc...);
  4. New gTLDs for COMPANIES
    Extensions companies should register their domain with;
  5. New gTLDs related to the LAW and LEGAL matters
    (.abogado - .law - .partners - etc...);
  6. New gTLDs related to FINANCE
    (.cash - .fund - .financial - etc...);
  7. New gTLDs related to a COLOR
    (.black - .blue - .red - etc...);
  8. New gTLDs related to SPORT
    (.baseball - .tennis - .dance - etc...);
  9. New gTLDs related to ALCOHOL
    (.vin - .wine - .beer - etc...);
  10. New gTLDs related to REAL ESTATE
    (.condos - .maison - .realty - etc...);
  11. Singular VS Plural versions of a new gTLD
    Extensions existing in their singular AND plural version;
  12. FRENCH new gTLD applications
    These are applications submitted by French companies;
  13. New gTLDs related to RELIGION
    (.islam - .halal - .mormon - etc...);
  14. New gTLDs related to CARS
    (.audi - .lamborghini - .cars - etc...);
  15. New gTLDs related to HEALTH
    (.care - .vision - .hospital - etc...);
  16. New gTLDs related to ADULTS
    (extensions related to pornography and more);
  17. NEW - Multiple Registries
    Group of Registries operating five (5) and more domain name extensions;
  18. NEW - New gTLDs related to MUSIC (.music - .guitars - .hiphop - .broadway - etc...)

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Trademark Clearinghouse: latest stats

The Trademark Clearinghouse statistics for May 2018 have been released:
  • 44.155 trademark records submitted;
  • 117 countries covered;
  • 129 jurisdictions covered;
  • 169,265 trademark years;
  • 262,414 claims notifications;
  • 809,867 ongoing notifications;
  • 13,119 trademark records have expired.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

New gTLDs: City vs Family name

When applying for a new gTLD, what happens if two applications for the extension are a city and a family name?

Which one wins?
Let's imagine that a person whose family name is "Marseille" applied for the .MARSEILLE new gTLD in the next round of the ICANN new gTLD program. What if there was a .MARSEILLE new gTLD too but as the name of the French city?

When the Family name is the name of a city
Even if the ICANN new gTLD applicant guidebook did not allow persons to submit an application in the first round, anyone could create a company using his or her family name and submit his application: this was perfectly legal and will probably remain like this in future rounds of the program.
Note that there is an existing case: it is known that one applicant applied for his first name and family name as a new domain name extension in the first round of the ICANN new gTLD program: it is the .RICHARDLI new gTLD.

Now: what happens when your family name is the name of a city?

"Marseille" is a famous French family name
A friend of mine's family name is "Marseille" and I wondered what would happen if he created a company named "Marseille" - or if he trademarked his family name like I did - and decided to submit a new gTLD application in the next round of the ICANN new gTLD program. Such an application could receive an objection from the French city of Marseille or he could object to the city's application too but - precisely - what could happen in such case of a conflicting geo/family application?

Some experts answered the question:
  1. John McCormac from HosterStats.com (the biggest domain and webhosting statistics site):
    "That's a legal question but I would think that the rights of the city could take precedence unless there is a lot of strong IP/TM rights supporting the family name application. The city may be able to object but there may be multiple cities sharing the same name with families. And then it may come down to which city is oldest. Think Paris, France versus Paris, Texas".
  2. Dirk Krischenowski from dotBERLIN GmbH & Co. KG (the .BERLIN registry):
    "If you apply the rules of the 2012 AGB (we don’t know to which extend the 2020 AGB may have changed in this respect) the answer for family names that match capital city names is clear: you need a letter of support or no-objection from the relevant city authority.
    If the applied-for family name is a city name but no one, even not ICANN’s geographic names panel, objects the application may go through smoothly. If you search at www.geonames.org for instance for Monash, Norton, Lancaster and many other .brand applications you will find names of municipalities with the same name. But all the applications were going through, the same of many generic term gTLD.
    And then there is a large grey zone where there had been not many cases (like .spa) where the city objected but was not found by ICANN to fall into the geographic names category.
    I hope I could give you guidance to you question."
  3. Roland LaPlante, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Afilias (multiple registry for 20 new gTLDs):
    "The issue of geo-names such as city names is currently under active discussion in the Government Advisory Committee and other stakeholders in the ICANN community. I expect that, in the event of a conflict between an individual and a city, the city would win. This is because the city will usually have become the official owner of the name in some manner (e.g. in the ISO3166 list), and the official list trumps other claims. Further, if the city does not apply and the individual does, the individual must get permission from the city to proceed with the name."
I will add more answers when they come.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The .ICU Sunrise Period ends

The .ICU new gTLD Sunrise Period ends today:
  • SUNRISE PERIOD END: Thursday, 24 May, 2018 - 14:00;
  • CLAIMS NOTIFICATION PERIOD START: Tuesday, 29 May, 2018;
  • CLAIMS NOTIFICATION PERIOD END: Thursday, 30 August, 2018.

More details are available on the TMCH Calendar.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New gTLDs, New Measures

This is a copy-paste of a recent 3 pages letter sent from the Brand Registry Group to the ICANN. You will find the link to download the original letter down this post. Potential .BRAND new gTLD applicants will certainly love its content.
The letter:

"At ICANN61 it was refreshing to hear from the variety of registry operators that have been working hard to make a success of their new gTLDs. In the Cross-Community session “A Walk in the Shoes of a New gTLD Registry Operator” the measures of success demonstrated by the 1 different registries were noticeably different to those of legacy TLDs, which often focus on a very narrow measure; the volume of domains under management.

Many of the new registries launched from the 2012 application round are not driven primarily, if at all, by the number of domain names they manage. Instead, they have a stronger focus towards registering domains for purposeful and positive needs. Examples covered during the ICANN61 cross-community sessions highlighted the following:
  • Brand TLD (dotBrand) registries do not have a revenue-based motive for operating a registry; it is a cost borne by the business to provide a stronger platform to manage their online presence, communications and business operations. It is a trusted space that is controlled and operated from the registry operator at the root of the Internet all the way through to delivery to Internet users.
  • Highly-restricted TLDs, such as .bank and .pharmacy, apply strict controls from verification of registrants through to higher standards of operation within the Top Level Domain environment, providing assurances to users and confidence that they are dealing with legitimate organisations. These communities self-regulate their registry, applying levels of controls far in excess of the minimal requirements you find in open, commercial TLD registries.
  • Geographic TLDs, particularly capital cities, such as dotBerlin, have developed TLDs with a strong sense of community and purpose, something shared by other generic-termed TLDs, such as .art and .design.
Zero-abuse
Importantly, we also heard how the ability to operate a registry with strict controls over who can register domains and how they can use the domains has a positive effect for Internet users by minimising abuse and confusion. Significantly, no domain name abuse or domain name infringements have occurred within dotBrand and highly-restricted registries, something that should not be overlooked or disregarded as a measure of success for New gTLDs.

This "zero-abuse” is an important factor for the domain industry as it moves into an active GDPR environment in May 2018. Concerns raised by governments, law enforcement, intellectual property protectors and security organisations, in the context of investigating and responding to domain abuse and infringements, become irrelevant where a registry operates without any abuse.

Quality not quantity
Domain names have long been treated as a commodity, providing low-cost and low-risk opportunities for acquiring domain names, absent of any need for a purpose or intention of use. Whilst many domains exist in legacy TLDs and ccTLDs are registered for a valid purpose and intent, they share rent with thousands of other domains that are registered with the desire to mislead, confuse or defraud Internet users. In response to these negative behaviours, volumes of domains have expanded, unsurprisingly, for protective purposes to counter trademark infringements and abuse across gTLD and ccTLD extensions.

Volume, therefore, is not necessarily a reasonable measure of success. Context and the scope of use is also an important factor.

A registry operated as a dotBrand may have a handful of domains registered but these could support a global organisation’s online business, communications and much more, serving millions of Internet users. A highly-restricted registry, such as .bank, may have a few hundred registrations, with verified registrants and stringent security controls associated with using a their .bank domains. Both examples are of registries that have a sense of purpose, a backbone, that ultimately provides safe and trusted environments for online users. They do not need high volumes of domain names to provide these benefits or to sustain their registry.

Long-term aims, not short-term gains
These successes highlighted in the cross-community session should not be a surprise, the intention of the New gTLD Program was to promote choice, competition and innovation. We are now witnessing the positive effect of these new registries that are performing effectively and with a sense of purpose. This is not by accident, but derived from long-term strategies and delivered with enthusiasm and commitment of these registry operators.

Regrettably, we often hear of complaints of the New gTLD program being slow to gain traction. But this ignores the introduction of different models, models that have different ambitions than simply replicating what we have seen before, models that compete in different ways, models that safeguard Internet users (not just registrants) and models that will unlock further innovation in the DNS.

Next opportunity for New gTLDs
Despite the promise of launching “subsequent gTLD application rounds as quickly as possible” after the 2012 round was launched and “within one year of the close of the application submission period”, there is no clear indication from ICANN when the next opportunity to apply will begin, with six years having already passed.

Organisations that did not apply in 2012 in the anticipation that they could apply 12-24 months after, have been misled by ICANN’s intent. Before risking further loss of faith from prospective applicants, ICANN should set a deadline for the next application window to start. ICANN should be more proactive in meeting its commitments and allow new applications to commence within a reasonable published timeframe.

Notwithstanding the incredible efforts of the community to conduct New gTLD reviews and policy improvement programs, six years is already a significant and embarrassing gap between application rounds, a gap that continues to grow. No doubt there are some complex issues involved, derived from the experiences of the 2012 round. However, for the majority of applications there were few or no issues, or those issues were resolved as part of the post-application process and prior to delegation. On this basis, it should be reasonable for ICANN to move forward and prepare for a new application round.

Even if ICANN limited the next round to certain types of applicants this would help ICANN to continue to promote choice, competition and innovation, following the years of delay. The criteria could, for example, be limited to the types of registries considered to be low in risk of domain abuse and infringements, thereby safeguarding users. In other words, these types of registries could be regarded as “in the public interest”.

However ICANN chooses to progress to the next round, the application window needs to be sooner rather than later. The demand exists but may wane if ICANN does not deliver on its commitment.

ICANN Budget & Reserves
Recognising the years of work that have already been consumed in relation to New gTLD reviews and policy development, it was alarming to hear that the ICANN budget drafted for FY19 was absent of any funding to support preliminary implementation work for the next application window, even though the GNSO Subsequent Procedures PDP work should be completed before the financial year concludes.

This oversight may have been caused by the budget constraints in response to runaway costs over the preceding few years that has affected the level of reserves, but it is also short-sighted. With demand for more TLDs, ICANN could drive forward the next application window in a reasonable timeframe, providing new revenue streams to support the organisation longer term. At the very least, this should be signalled by ICANN by way of anticipating implementation work to begin during FY19, along with a suitable budget.

A positive reflection, time to do more
The Brand Registry Group (BRG) hopes that you and your Board colleagues are encouraged by the examples of different New gTLD operators that were presented during the ICANN 61 crosscommunity session, and acknowledge their different perspectives of success. It is important that the Board is aware of these different models and how they can have a positive influence on the domain industry.

We also hope the Board can leverage these use cases and their benefits to be more confident in driving forward with the next application round. The continuing absence of a target date strongly indicates a lack of commitment and confidence from the Board to deliver against the intention of the Applicant Guidebook. To this point, the BRG would encourage the Board to take the initiative and set a target date for the community and potential applicants to work towards.

The BRG is aware of and continues to participate within various policy development activities to help improve the application process in future. We also appreciate that the next round requires planning and implementation work that will, in part, be directed or influenced by the outcome of these community work activities. Nevertheless, this should not prevent ICANN from planning and developing the implementation work based on previous practical experience, input from the community during the GNSO PDP Subsequent Procedures PDP, and, where necessary, predicting the likely outcome of these discussions. This should be supported with appropriate resources and budget and commence at the earliest opportunity.

The time to do more is long overdue."

Read the letter (PDF download)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

New gTLD Innovation with .LIAISON

An exciting news in the world of dotBrand Registries with the .LIAISON new generic Top-Level Domains.

Authentic Web today announced a partnership with Liaison Technologies Inc. to develop the industry's first network security and compliance application, anchored on the trust authority and new control capabilities of Liaison's Brand Registry: .LIAISON

The new trust protocol technology developed by Authentic Web is designed to secure and protect data in motion on enterprise networks.

Over 550 global brands secured their own registry. This announcement describes a compelling use case for all businesses that rely on secure network server-to-server communications. As digital transformation initiatives expand the enterprise network surface area and as new data management regulations come into force, it has never been more urgent to ensure regulatory compliance and prioritize actions to protect your enterprise and customer data. Using a .BRAND Registry with the Authentic Web trust protocol is a step towards meeting these priorities. It's a valuable use-case supporting your company's decision to acquire your Brand Registry - and a reason to apply in the next round if you missed out.

Our joint press release with Liaison Technologies has more information.

Feel free to contact Authentic Web for more specifics.

Monday, May 14, 2018

The .LTD new gTLD enters the TOP 10

The .LTD new gTLD belongs to Donuts, an American company, and just entered the new gTLD TOP 10 in volumes with 468,462 domain names registered. This "explosion" started in May the 7 2018 and 417,815 of these domain names were recently registered at one single accredited registrar based...in China (source nTLDStats.com).


Something is going on
When such an important number of domain names are registered at the same time, it means that there is something going on...or maybe there was a fantastic communication campaign in China and all LTD companies decided to grab their ".ltd" domain name...but I doubt it. It is also possible that an investor decided to focus on this Top-Level Domain.

Just for the note
The "LTD" is the sign for Limited Companies (limited company). There is a .LTDA new gTLD too which was delegated in 2014. The registry says that ".LTDA domains are only available to companies which are recorded as Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada or Sociedade Limitada at the responsible authorities in Brazil and other Latin American countries".

When choosing a domain name, I strongly suggest to check that document first, it is the list of similar domain name extensions.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Why we're adding .APP to our new gTLD report

The "new gTLD reports" are monthly snapshots of new domain name registration volumes according to specific categories of businesses or groups and three of these reports are "special".

3 new gTLD reports are "indicators"
In our list of 17 reports, 3 are slightly different from the 14 others:
  1. The report related to Companies lists the gTLDs in which we believe a company should register its name or trademark with;
  2. The Singular VS Plural reports lists registration volumes but more important, it lists the TLDs that do exist in two versions: singular and plural (ie: ".accountant" and ".accountants";
  3. The Multiple Registries one is an indicator of volumes registered from a group to have acquired several domain name extensions.

Why we're adding .APP to our report for Companies
There are several reasons for this:
  • The cloud application market was valued at $ 52.605 billion in 2017 and is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 14% over the forecast period to reach $115.71 billion by 2023. If numbers remain number, it still means that it is expanding fast. In more simple words, "apps" are adopted and chances are high that more companies either decide to point their website visitors to an application, or even create theirs;
  • Domain names ending in ".app" were massively registered during their General Availability Period and when this happens, the risk increases for a Trademark to have its name squatted; so $20/year to block this from happening is not a prohibitive investment;
  • It is multilingual: you say "app" to qualify an application is many languages worldwide;
  • It's a memorable TLD if you are in the application development business;
  • A SSL certificate is mandatory to use a ".app" domain name and SSL is a sign that security is increased on such a website: demonstration of security increases trust in a company;
  • It's cheap and when domain names are cheap, potential users tend to buy them more and install them;
  • It can be free: we acquired jovenet.app for free (for its first year of registration).
Companies are not concerned by all new extensions but a certain number them. The number one reason why we believe that .APP should be added to our list is that companies are coming to the use of applications and informing about it on a domain name ending in ".app" demonstrates innovation. Of course, application developers are more concerned by this statement.

A hidden reason
There's another hidden reason actually why we think that companies should secure their ".app" domain name...but this one...well, this is what we think: Google operates the .APP new gTLD and it is also a search engine; not "a" search engine actually but "the" search engine most of the world uses. Google decides what can be best indexed on its own platform. When informing about a content related to applications AND using a SSL certified website (recently advertised by Google to give a ranking boost to secure https/ssl websites), we think that using a ".app" domain name will rank better in search engine results.

The latest new gTLD report for Companies is available here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The .APP has 150.000 registrations

The .APP new gTLD has passed the 150,000 domain name registrations just after a few days it entered its "GA" period.

The General Availability period
Known as "GA", this period is when a registry has ended all previous periods such as the Sunrise Period one, Landrush and/or other EAP periods (for Early Access Program).

The GA period is the most important one for a registry dedicated to selling domain names through the network of accredited registrar. It allows to see if the business model chosen to launch the extension was good or not. When registrants buy lots of domain names on the first days of GA, it can mean that the extension will meet adoption.


A little history
In the case of the .APP new gTLD, there is an historic background since the owner of the Registry is "Google" and the application was won in an auction for $25,001,000.00. These are the two first main reasons why the launching of this extension was followed by various parties.

Another reason is that it is short and memorable for application developers who will want to demonstrate precision when introducing their "app" on a website. Amazon offers the same kind of extensions for Bot developers with a .BOT new gTLD.

Also, the number of mobile-only Internet users now exceeds desktop-only in the U.S and what do you need on your mobile: apps.

The .APP Business model
The business model chosen here was to sell these domain names at an average price below $18 (more or less) at retail registrars like Uniregistry or Google Domains, with a renewal price close to $25 each year. It is important to note that a SSL certificate is mandatory to use a ".app" domain name.

With the SSL certificate, understand that the price of the certificate should be added to the price of the domain name and hosting...unless if you decide to use G Suite where the SSL certificate is "offered" when using the latest version of Google Sites.

My opinion
I am no application developer so I don't really need such domain names and I find that the price is a little high compared to other domain name extensions, I like the idea to force users to use a SSL certificate: with the general increase of online fraud, it makes sense to show a secure website introducing an application. Will application developers use a ".app" domain name? I think so because Google has a strong image and an impact on users.
I also just think that it makes sense for a company to introduce its application(s) using a ".app" domain name...because "app" is the word commonly used and understood for "application".

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The April 2018 update: new gTLD reports

Once a month, new gTLD reports are updated: they allow to check which new domain name registration volumes increase or decrease in various categories of businesses. These numbers are a monthly snapshot of registries' performance. They can also be an indicator as if a new domain name extension is successful or not. Note that some of these extensions exist in their singular and plural version, they are indicated with a "(s/p)" sign. Trademarks are indicated with a "®" sign next to them.
  1. New gTLDs related to CATERING and RESTORATION
    (.restaurant - .kitchen - .bar - etc...)
  2. New gTLDs related to PHOTOGRAPHY
    (.photo - .film - .gallery - etc...)
  3. New gTLDs related to CITIES : these are city names only.
    (.paris - .london - .tokyo - etc...)
  4. New gTLDs related to COMPANIES : new domain name extensions that we believe a company should keep its eyes on.
  5. New gTLDs related to the LAW and LEGAL matters.
    (.legal - .attorney - .lawyer - etc...)
  6. New gTLDs related to FINANCE
    (.credit - .capital - .finance - etc...)
  7. New gTLDs related to a COLOR
    (.orange - .pink - .green - etc...)
  8. New gTLDs related to SPORT
    (.hockey - .basketball - .ski - etc...)
  9. New gTLDs related to ALCOHOL
    (.beer - .wine - .vodka - etc...)
  10. New gTLDs related to REAL ESTATE
    (.realestate - .realtor - .villas - etc...)
  11. 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)
  12. FRENCH new gTLD applications : these are applications submitted by French companies only.
  13. New gTLDs related to RELIGION
    (.catholic - .bible - .church - etc...)
  14. New gTLDs related to CARS
    (.taxi - .auto - .car - etc...)
  15. New gTLDs related to HEALTH
    (.health - .doctor - .hospital - etc...)
  16. New gTLDs related to ADULTS (no comment)
  17. Multiple Registries : group of Registries operating five (5) and more domain name extensions.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Coming: the .SPORT new gTLD (update)

The .SPORT new gTLD is a long story...a very long one but the registry agreement was finally signed in November 2017.

The rules
It is a community Top-Level Domain, it means that only members of the "community" will be able to register such domain names. Here is what the official eligibility requirements say:

Two types of conditions must be fulfilled for the right to register a .SPORT name. These are:
  1. community membership and
  2. the additional requirements that the registrant’s role in the Sport community, as well as the registrant’s use of the registered domain name, must be:
    1. generally accepted as legitimate; and
    2. beneficial to the cause and the values of Sport; and
    3. commensurate with the role and importance of the registered domain name; and
    4. in good faith at the time of registration and thereafter.
Furthermore, registrants in .sport must be recognized performers, organizers, promoters or supporters of federated Sport, or belong to categories of registrants recognized by the .sport Policy Advisory Board (PAB).

These conditions must always be fulfilled. The strength of the validation is kept in line with the importance of the underlying domain name based on the assumption that a typical user would reasonably make.

To facilitate validation, registrants are required to state their intended use of the registered domain name. A false statement of intended use is an indication of bad faith and can be the basis for the suspension of the domain name.

Registrants are further required to have an administrative contact in the Performers or organizers of sport. This is verified in part automatically (through the postal code in the administrative contact record and by a human eyes review pre‐validation or post‐validation). The administrative contact may be any person or entity having received and accepted the mandate to act as such for the respective domain. (The registrar may act as administrative contact.) Any communications addressed to the administrative contact are deemed to have been brought to the attention of the domain holder. Validation checks include machine and human verification of address accuracy. The validation may be assisted through pre‐identification of potential registrants using existing community channels, in particular through promotion codes. After the launch phase, the validation mode goes from pre‐validation to post‐validation and later to statistically targeted random validation, backed up by a ongoing enforcement program. The validation and enforcement program are supported by an integrated issue tracking system. This system allows validating agents and personnel to cooperate and interact with the registrant. The system keeps track of decisions made by the agents and stores supplemental documentary evidence that may be supplied by the registrants."

My opinion
Community TLDs are "community TLDs", it means that domain names are blocked from being registered by anyone. It is a good solution when a registry can easily be financed but it is a very bad one to install domain names onto a market, unless of course, if all sports organizations have already decided to use one (which I doubt that it is already the case). My true opinion is that I wonder how long these rules will remain until it is decided that the .SPORT new gTLD opens to all. The story is always the exact same: at some point, someone notices that there are not enough domains on the market (or that the registry is not lucrative enough) and decides to open to all (for whatever other reason).

Now, when it comes to checking who registers a domain name (see in red above), I don't remember any registry checking all registrants prior to registering domain names so I believe that anyone with a connection to sport in general should be able to register a ".sport" domain name...at some point: not in the beginning of course but later...

Of course, all this is just my opinion and I could (probably not) be wrong ;-)

Not very optimistic, isn't it? (update)
Let's imagine that the .SPORT new gTLD is coming with something new: that kind of innovation that all participants were expecting in the first round of the ICANN new gTLD program? Well, I am not writing more but there's something really innovative coming and according to my understanding of this concept, it could be THAT expected method by all to install domain names on a market.

Check the official website here.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Vatican launches 4 new gTLDs

The Trademark Clearinghouse just published the dates for 4 Sunrise Periods. The Vatican is launching four "catholic" new gTLDs, one ASCII and three IDNs:
  1. The .CATHOLIC new gTLD, when:
    1. START: Wednesday, 16 May, 2018 - 16:00;
    2. END: Friday, 15 June, 2018 - 16:00.
  2. The .天主教 (catholic) new gTLD, when:
    1. START: Wednesday, 16 May, 2018 - 16:00;
    2. END: Friday, 15 June, 2018 - 16:00.
  3. The .كاثوليك (catholic) new gTLD, when:
    1. START: Wednesday, 16 May, 2018 - 16:00;
    2. END: Friday, 15 June, 2018 - 16:00.
  4. The .католик (catholic) new gTLD, when:
    1. START: Wednesday, 16 May, 2018 - 16:00;
    2. END: Friday, 15 June, 2018 - 16:00.
What for?
What the .CATHOLIC new gTLD application says: "The mission⁄purpose of the .catholic TLD is to share the teachings, message and values of the Catholic Church with its own members and with the wider global community, by creating a dedicated, authoritative online space for the exclusive use of the Catholic Church and its constituent institutions, including dioceses, religious orders, institutes of consecrated life and organizations affiliated to the Catholic Church, and for the benefit of its adherents globally. The .catholic TLD will serve as an important method of communication for the Church, by establishing a formal and official channel for online communications via the appropriate channels of the Catholic Church. This function of the TLD is consistent with the Church’s core activities, as communication is important in the life of the Church insofar as it facilitates the sharing of information and helps build a sense of community and belonging amongst its adherents. The .catholic TLD will complement the Church’s long established global network of communications activities including print and digital media, television and radio".

Who for?
The applications says that these domain names won't be available for registration (note that this can change): "All domain name registrations in the .catholic TLD will be registered to, and maintained by, the PCCS for the exclusive use of the PCCS and the constituent institutions of the Church. The PCCS will not sell, distribute or transfer control or use of any registration in the TLD to any third party that is not identified within the TLD Catholic Community. As such, individual adherents will not be eligible to register or be granted use of .catholic domain names. Dioceses, religious orders and institutions as found in the “Annuario Pontificio” (the official annual directory of all the institutions related to the Holy See) are recognised as members of the TLD Catholic Community, by virtue of their being formally recognised by the Catholic Church. This recognition is primarily, though not exclusively, evidenced by inclusion in the Annuario Pontificio. The PCCS will maintain a list of institutions formally recognised by the Holy See as falling within the Catholic Church.
Each diocese, official religious order of the Catholic Church and Church-affiliated institution, may be granted use of an associated .catholic domain name to facilitate the establishment of formal and official channels of online communication for the Catholic Church, and promote the overall mission⁄purpose of the .catholic TLD. The use of the domain names by these institutions is subject to internal acceptable use policies".

Religious new gTLDs
Once a month we update new gTLD registration volumes for Religion at Jovenet Consulting, check for "religions" in our list of reports.

Check the Trademark Clearinghouse Calendar for more.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

(UPDATE) Phishing: let's be frank

I just finished a procedure which consisted in declaring a domain name hosting a phishing operation and it took one month "for the procedure to end". The domain name is still active and, according to the ICANN, the Registrar hosting the website "demonstrated that it took reasonable and prompt steps to investigate and respond appropriately to the report of abuse". I won't verify that because I already wasted too much time sending emails and checking answers to follow procedures.

The ICANN "does things"
Something that I have to admit is that the ICANN did something and without the ICANN taking my complaint into account, nothing would have probably happened. The reason why I write this is that the Registrar to which I complained...never answered me in return. It seems that ICANN had to be involved for my complaint to be considered by this Registrar.


This is not enough
There are procedures: they exist and according to the agreement that all accredited Registrars sign with the ICANN, they have to act but in my case...the Registrar incriminated did not. Let's say that he did but long after my complaint was sent and after I complained to the ICANN. I suspect that such situations must happen often. Also, I have been long enough in this industry to know that these procedures exist only to exist: who knows where to write and who writes to an accredited Registrar to complain about a domain name used for phishing?

The problem
Dealing with phishing is a problem and this is not going to change:
  1. We have useless procedures to declare domain names used for phishing operations:
    1. it is unclear: where do you declare? At the ICANN, the Registrar, the Registry or the totally useless Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG)?
    2. procedures are difficult to find.
    3. what happens when a lazy Registrar just does not answer: do you...wait for him to take the lead? (believe me I tried)
  2. The volume of new gTLDs is increasing and - unless I am the only one in the world - I receive more phishing attempts, they are industrialized and more sophisticated: with such procedures, are we solving the problem? No.
In the hands of Registrars
I asked Verisign the question about "what is it that I should do in the case of phishing". The Verisign support was very fast answering me:

My question:
What should I do when I have identified a ".com" domain name hosting a phishing operation?
Their answer:
You can report phishing domain names to the sponsoring Registrar of the domain name.
You may use the WHOIS service on our homepage to identify the Registrar of the domain name:
https://www.verisign.com/en_US/domain-names/whois/index.xhtml
So I had another question:
I did already but it took more than one month (as you can read here:
https://www.guillon.blog/2018/04/update-phishing-few-weeks-after.html) and the only results were issued from the ICANN, the Registrar did nothing. My question is more simple: isn't there a form at the ".com" Registry (Verisign) where I can complain so a domain name can be investigated faster and taken down?
Their kind answer:
No, unfortunately we do not have such service.
In order for Verisign to take down any domains, Verisign will need a valid Court Order in which our Legal needs to review and accept before we can take any further action.
The Registry is the legal entity to allow the creation of domain names and, in the case of ".com" domain names, it has to go through the Registrar. At least, the answer is clear.

UPDATE
I asked the same question to what I call "a Multiple Registry" It is an operator, Donuts Inc. here, which is operating several new domain name extensions.

My question:
Can you take a domain name down if operated by a Donuts registry in the case of phishing?
Their answer:
Donuts takes reports of abuse seriously. If you need to report a domain name that is being used for an abusive or malicious purpose, please fill in the fields below, and submit to us.
My understanding of this is that the registry for ".com" domain names won't act directly and will direct you to the accredited registrar in charge of the domain name; or it will act if there is a court order. On the other hand, this multiple registry I asked the question to would probably act without a court order. The problem dealing with Registrars is that they don't necessarily act and when they do, they can be very slow. I will take the Donuts Answer for granted here and will consider that I might have found another good reason to promote new gTLDs.
End of the update

My "have balls" solution: responsibility and rudeness
Registrants (owners of domain names) are responsible for what they publish, shouldn't the problem be considered differently and the responsibility of a phishing operation transferred to the Registrant?

Changing the status of a domain name can be done faster at the Registry level, not at the Registrar. If the Registry were to receive the complaint and the one to investigate, it could act faster. That means:
  • Identify if a domain name is in use for a phishing operation;
  • Change the status of the domain to one informing users in the Whois;
  • Change the DNS to a parked page that is not hurting consumers:
    • advertise the reason for this change of front page ("ongoing phishing operation" or "domain name used for a phishing operation", ...);
    • advertise the name of the accredited Registrar (so he is faster contacting his client to get rid of this status and front page ;-)
  • Registry to contact the famous "abuse" email at the Registrar (that one they don't particularly pay attention to) to inform him about this change of status. 
  • Change the DNS back to the previous one when the Registrant/Registrar have done some cleaning.
Rude isn't it? The problem with rules is that few follow them on Internet. I am referring here to the agreement that registrars sign with the ICANN: it shouldn't take one month and so many emails shared for a phishing operation to be taken down. Also, many working groups probably work very hard but ... some problems like phishing and spam are not decreasing at all...the opposite is happening. Isn't it time to set up solutions that work?

"Consumers first".

Friday, April 13, 2018

The .CHARITY new gTLD: contract signed

On 11 April 2018, ICANN and Corn Lake, LLC, entered into a Registry Agreement under which Corn Lake, LLC, operates the .CHARITY top-level domain.


2 IDN competitors
There are two other IDN new gTLDs meaning "charity" in Chinese (note that one of the two could be a mistake on the ICANN website:
  1. The ".慈善" (".xn--30rr7y", "charity", /cishan/) new gTLD, delegated in March 2015 and which has 7 domain names created,
  2. The ".公益" (".xn--55qw42g" – Chinese for "charity") new gTLD, delegated in December 2013 and which has 21 domains created.
Details of the latest signed new gTLD agreements can be found here.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Is the .CANON new gTLD finally here?

The .CANON new gTLD was delegated in february 2015 and was one of the first dotBrand extensions to have been announced, long prior to the first round of the ICANN new gTLD program to begin.
In 3 years, its number of registrations stagnated but recently 11 more domain names were created and it appears than more are coming: the .CANON new gTLD has grown from 18 to 29 new ".canon" domains created in March 2018. Some of these registrations are:
  • https://us.medical.canon/
  • http://machinery.canon/en/
  • https://etd.canon/eng/
  • http://compo.canon/en/
  • http://miyazaki.canon/
  • http://global.canon/ja/
  • https://myid.canon/canonid/#/login
  • ...
More numbers
Canon is a major camera manufacturer but other camera trademarks have acquired their personalized domain name extension:
  • The .NIKON new gTLD had 1 domain name registered in March 2018;
  • The .PANASONIC had 2;
  • The .YODOBASHI has 1;
  • The .PANASONIC had 2;
  • The .SONY had 9;
  • The .OLYMPUS application was withdrawn.
The new gTLD report related to photography is updated at the end of April, let's see if Canon registers more domains.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Verified Twitter accounts for Registries

A domain name extension is operated by what we call a "Registry", a monopolistic situation since there is one registry - worldwide - for a domain name extension. Let's give an example here, the registry for ".club" domain names is .Club Domains, LLC : a company based in Florida. For the ".eco" Top-Level Domain (example shown below), it is...this company.

Making sense
As an intense follower of the worldwide new gTLD activity, I noticed that some registries' Twitter account start to "be verified". In more simple words, it means that they are legitimate. In even more simple words, it means that they really are who they say they are: the legal monopolistic organization to have been granted authorization to deploy a new domain name extension by the ICANN.

The information can be confusing on Twitter when following the news about a TLD: many applicants started to promote their extension before learning that there could be more than one applicant (...) In other words, there are several accounts on Twitter looking like they could be an official registry account (but they are not). The ".eco" is an official one.

In terms of wording, it can be confusing too since those to buy domain names, or those with an interest to follow news about a certain TLD, are not necessarily familiar with the vocabulary used in the domain name space: when finding the unverified Twitter account of a registry, a user can fall onto a crap domainer twitter account trying re-sell domain names from that registry. Most of the domaining activity is absolutely not connected to the registries, registries often have their own premium domains program.

I strongly believe that it makes sense for a registry to ask to have its Twitter account "verified":

  1. As a person involved in domain name things, it is of interest to me and it probably is the same for many IP and IT departments involved in domain name operations;
  2. It should be an easy task since a registry is a monopoly so it matches with the Twitter definition of a verified account: "An account may be verified if it is determined to be an account of public interest. Typically this includes accounts maintained by users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas". Isn't a legal monopolistic position a key interest area?
How to
First, it would be a good thing for registries (but .BRANDS maybe) to have a twitter account. Then it would make sense to use it because most believe that it is the job of accredited registrar to promote their TLD when domain name registration volumes have clearly demonstrated that it is not.
Second, Registries should have a strategy because adopting a Twitter account will generate interest and an account which does not publish anything sends a bad messages to potential registrars and registrants.

Then, registries should read that page and learn more about verified Twitter accounts but...don't expect to be verified soon because:
  1. Being verified takes time;
  2. Twitter has temporarily stopped verifying accounts so you will have to wait.
To registries: once verified, send me your Twitter account, I'll be happy to shout out loud.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Better than nothing for .BRAND new gTLDs

When going to Google and entering this in the search field: "site:.TLD" (without quotations and where "TLD" stands for a new domain name extension), you will notice that many of them have redirections indexed in Google. I really don't understand Google's logic behind this but...redirections are indexed.

Not all Trademarks use their .BRAND
In the recent updated new gTLD reports, it is noticeable that more Trademarks to have acquired their .BRAND domain name extension, do register more of their domain names. On the other hand, it is also noticeable that some .BRANDs are still "pending activation": I mean by this that they are delegated and fully functional but their owners have only registered one single domain name (the nic.TLD most of the time which presents the TLD's rules).

What are .BRANDs waiting for then?
If no use is found of a .BRAND domain name extension then I don't understand why those trademarks with various local presences worldwide, or present in various cities, don't use redirections using city names just to be better indexed in Google.

I had a look at the famous .CLUBMED new gTLD and it has 6 ".clubmed" domain names registered (see the March 2018 update). The French Club Mediteranée is a famous French travel agency and has a presence in several cities in most of the countries in the world. Wouldn't a redirection like https://trancoso.clubmed to https://www.clubmed.fr/r/Trancoso/y be a idea to industrialize for all destinations?

If redirections can be risky to use, I wonder if it is better to be charged for a .BRAND new gTLD and not do anything with it. I believe it can be worth it to have a redirection strategy put in place instead of throwing money at the wall.

DotBrand new gTLD applicant are not doing this so is it the cost of each domain names which is the issue? I doubt it is because it already cost each applicants $25,000 a year just in ICANN fees. So what is it then?

For questions, contact Jovenet Consulting.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

So you're a .GROUP of companies?

The word "group" is an English word and it has many significations but the first one that I think of is a group of companies (and not a music group). Wikipedia defines it like "a collection of parent and subsidiary corporations that function as a single economic entity through a common source of control". Good.


You are a .GROUP
I just tried a few French group names extracted from a list I found on Internet and I added ".group" behind each name to see if a domain name was in use. On the list below, I was surprised to see that many have registered their ".group" domain name.


On the results found:
  • some show the Registrar's parking page (instead of redirecting the domain name to their website);
  • some seem to have their name registered by a third party with an ugly parking page;
  • Groupe Dassault, Lagardère, Pernod Ricard and PSA are using a redirection to their main website;
  • Casino, Seb and LVMH seem squatted and parked on a "for sale "page;
  • Louis Dreyfus shows a page written in Chinese which says "This page appears because your site is closed. Please contact customer service" but when looking at the Whois database, it looks like the name was not registered by Louis Dreyfus...at all;
  • all other names were either not registered or show no content;
  • for one of them, the Whois shows: "The registration of this domain is restricted, as it is currently protected by a DPML Block."
  • None of this groups uses a ".group" domain name to point to a website.
Be careful, you're not alone
I also tried a few other English and American group names and I noticed that many ".group" domain names were registered but...by other groups which have the same name and most of the time, in other countries. On the examples that I tried, most were short group names of three to four letters.

What's the idea here?
Companies like to secure their assets and it has now become a common practice to to secure domain names in advance:
  1. The first idea is to say that modern groups should register their ".group" domain name because examples above can cost a lot in legal procedures when they have been squatted and probably much more when no prior right can be demonstrated (and that concerns short names).
  2. The second idea is to say that "things can change" and some companies become group of companies later in their history: registering today is a way to secure the name for tomorrow when things have changed.
  3. Another idea is not to say that ".group" domains should be registered by all companies: for example, Jovenet Consulting is a small company and there is no plan to become a group so there is no reason to register such a domain name but the ".company" one maybe.
Internationalisation and English
Many companies have a website, and most of the time, the idea is to give the company an "international rayonnance" thank to Internet. Much of the content found online is not written in Portuguese nor it is written French: it is written in English (an in Chinese a little bit too). The word "group" is an English word so registering a ".group" domain name today is to me a good strategy for already existing groups but also...for coming group of companies.
By the way, did you know that the ".group" domain name also exists in Chinese? It is the .集团 IDN new gTLD and is stands for "Corporate Group".

Added to the monthly new gTLD report
Once a month, we edit a new gTLD report entitled "Companies", this reports lists new domain name registration volumes from extensions that we believe companies should secure their domain name with. We added the .GROUP new gTLD to the Companies new gTLD report at Jovenet Consulting. There are 62,000 ".group" domain name registered already. The March 2018 update is coming.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Good news for .BRAND new gTLD applicants

Google Registrar is now in France and a few other countries. If this can be a good news for registrants (the one to buy domain names) then, what does it have to do with French .BRAND new gTLD applicants?

Good question
In fact, the good news relates to Nomulus, the backend registry solution also offered by Google. This information is important because Nomulus actually is the technical solution on which all Google new gTLDs are operated.

OK, so what?
.BRAND new gTLD applicants need a backend registry provider but also, a registrar solution to be able to create and setup their personalized domain names. Until very recently, French domain name registrants had no access to Google as a Registrar: a postal address located in the USA was requested prior to registering a domain name using a credit/debit card. This made it impossible to register a name using this registrar. Now, French residents...can register domain names at Google, which also means that .BRAND applicants could also use both solutions to operate their TLD and manage domain names: Nomulus and Google Domains.

And then?
Nomulus offers a direct access to Google Domains: in simple words, it means that there already is a footbridge allowing domains created in Nomulus to be managed using Google Domains: such solution using another backend registry wouldn't automatically allow a .BRAND applicant to manage his personalised domains using Google as his Registrar, this would need to be implemented.

Other backend registries would probably answer that they're already connected to all other major registrars but...this is absolutely not required for a .BRAND new gTLD for which the most limited number of service providers is required to lower the price and go straight to point: register personalized domain names. It is what I would want as a .BRAND new gTLD applicant.

Come on, it can't be so simple
As you can imagine, things can't be so simple because using the Nomulus solution is not (yet?) a service offered by Google and also, it requires a strong technical knowledge to operate the tool so unless Google decides to create an offer, which is a question that we already asked "Ben" last year (Ben is the person in charge of the Nomulus backend registry solution at Google), I see a limited number of .BRAND applicants with the capacity to operate their own backend registry solution using #Nomulus. Note that neither Amazon nor Microsoft have developed a backend registry solution to operate Top-Level Domains and none of the two offer a registrar solution to their clients: both use an external backend registry provider to operate their .BRANDs.

Conclusion
Google is creative and has capacity to offer clients the right solutions and since there is a strong demand for more .BRAND new gTLDs, I am confident that someone has already considered thinking about creating a complete .BRAND offer connected to Google Registrar: we are two years away (and possibly less for .BRAND applications) from the next round so there is still time...and actually, last time we asked Google the question was a year ago.

Also, Google is the only Registrar to offer his free Backend registry solution, hosted on its own Google Cloud solution: as myself being a fully satisfied French G Suite client (another Google solution recently adopted by the 130,000 employees of Airbus SAS), I only see good to be able to control personalised .BRAND domain names from a single point of entry, as well as all of my other domain names. Note that this would require to transfer domain names to Google Registrar.

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