Tuesday, January 30, 2018

New gTLDs and Health in 2017

This is a sum-up of 2017 focusing on new domain name registration volumes related to Health related new domain name extension. I listed 30 of them:
  • 19 are generic domain name extensions. I included in these applications, the one are restricted and the one that say they are restricted :-)
  • 10 are Trademarks (specification 13 of the applicant guidebook);
  • The .MEDICAL new gTLD was withdrawn.

10 .BRAND new gTLDs
Some Trademarks started to register domain names in the end of the year: .LUNDBECK - .LUPIN - .HISAMITSU and .TEVA created between 9 to 30 personalized domain names. The rest of these applications mostly stick to one single domain name registration but .LILLY which had three in December.

Deep blue
One extension has been highly successful and never lost registrations from one month to the other: the .CARE Top-Level Domains gained 4,000 new registrations in one year to end with more than 17,000 registrations. Same for the .DOCTOR TLD which sticked to the blue during the year. It started from 2,118 registrations and ended to 3,751. The .HEALTH extension has been doing good as well as .HOSPITAL and the restricted .PHARMACY : all kept receiving registrations from January to December.

What about the red?
Health related volumes of domain names are increasing globally and it looks like registants are renewing them but within 3 extensions: .DIET - .SURGERY and .HIV. I believe it will take time for private surgeons to realize that there is an online identity created "just for them" but I think that .DIET should be adopted much faster.

The .RIP new gTLD
I have been asked several times why .RIP ("Rest In Peace" or "Requiescat In Pace") was added to this report and I still have no answer to that question. I wanted to keep an eye on this string because it is the only one that gives websites a perfect identity for a content dedicated to someone who passed away. I wonder when businesses related to the death take advantage of this (online cemeteries, French pompes funèbres...) because these are lucrative and the web is full of messages dedicated to people who passed away. The .RIP new gTLD can give them a strong identity...up to 10 years in packaged offers.

Check the full report here (the report is now available in French too).

Monday, January 29, 2018

Generic new gTLDs (to replace ".com")

From company names to trademarks and online boutiques to pornography, I like to call the ".com" domain name extension a generic one because it used for everything. If new gTLDs offer the advantage to differ from ".com" by bringing precision right in the domain name extension; some, by trying to compete with ".com", are offering another advantage: AVAILABILITY. Remaining generic new gTLDs, they also offer the possibility to remain global.
In simple words: you can buy a new domain name from the latest ICANN new gTLD program with an extension that has the exact same meaning as a".com".

9 generic TLDs
I listed nine generic domain name extensions which, I believe, have the same use as a ".com":
  1. The .GLOBAL new gTLD;
  2. .SITE
  4. .WORLD
  5. .ONLINE
  7. .CONTACT (not "really" launched yet)
  8. .HOME (not launched yet)
  9. .WEB (not launched yet)
Are these TLDs successful?
When comparing with ".com" domain name registration volumes, the .ONLINE new gTLD had 782,790 registrations in December 2017 when .COM had 128.548.420 so we have a 128 million registrations difference between .COM and its closest competitor (...)
Does it mean that generic TLDs are not a success? Certainly not since .ONLINE gained 215,000 new registrations in one year. This is noticeable.

In the blue
On these 9 domain name extensions, two remain to be launched, the .CONTACT new gTLD has sticked to one single registration during the entire year (my feeling is that the applicant...well...who cares if he is about to sell his TLD to Afilias) and one has lost a little less than 50,000 registrations.

The TLDs after gained registration from January to December: .ONLINE - .WEBSITE - .WORLD - .GLOBAL and .INTERNATIONAL. When .CONTACT launches, I am confident that it is a success too.

We don't need more
While I find this positive to be able to register a domain name using a generic extension, I also fear that it could become a risk. The .SITE new gTLD lost a lot of registrations between January and December 2017: could the existence of the similar .WEBSITE extension be a reason for this? Note that the registry's method to install its domains on the market could also be a reason why a TLD loses registrations: the fact that many registries have tried the same methods to give names away (or at very low prices) could start to show signs that the method was not such a good one.

Also, the presence of so many similar generic TLDs on the market could also push to registering domain names in niche extensions which have no close competitor and which offer precision. We clearly don't need more generic extensions.

Check the full report here (the report is now available in French too).

Friday, January 26, 2018

New gTLDs and cars: successful in 2017?

There are a lot of domain name extension related to cars in the automotive industry, even tire manufacturers applied for their .BRAND new gTLD. An interesting fact is that a lot of car manufacturers applied for their personalized domain name extension and almost all car trademarks were represented in the first round of the ICANN new gTLD program. In this list of 64 applications, one IDN was submitted for Volkswagen (China).

In the Red
In the "red" means that a domain name extension lost registrations between January to December 2017 (when the opposite should have happened). Are concerned the .LIMO - .AUTO - .CAR and the .CARS new gTLDs. 7 applications were withdrawn and one remains "On-hold".

"On-hold" is a problem
The .RAM new gTLD (Chrysler Group, LLC) has remained on hold because of a GAC Early Warning dated 2012. Since then...very few know if this is about to change one day. There was a change to the application in 2015 but it seems that things take time. The problem about these applications is that they are supposed to be "fixed" prior the launching of the next round to submit more new gTLD applications. At least, it is what the new gTLD applicant guidebook says.

In the Blue
The highest number of domains registered in this industry is for the .PARTS new gTLD with 5,574 registrations (note that this TLD will be removed in 2017 since "parts" is not exclusive to the automotive industry), then comes .TAXI with 5,573 (December 2017). Surprisingly, the .TIRES extension had 844 names registered in December which is almost 200 more than what it had in the beginning of the year. I am impressed.

A lot of .BRAND new gTLDs
They are represented with a "®" sign and I found 53 of them. 19 trademarks had one single domain name registered but it certainly does not mean that a trademark like the .FERRARI new gTLD is less innovative than .LAMBORGHINI which had 16 domains registered in December 2017 ;-)

Considering the volume of domain name registered, many car manufacturers really seem to have found a use of their .BRAND Top-Level domain:
  • AUDI has 636 ".audi" registrations in December 2017
  • SEAT had 436
  • MINI had 37
  • BMW had 33
  • LAND ROVER and JAGUAR had 29
  • VOLVO had 26
  • BENTLEY had 25
  • SUZUKI had 8
  • ...
Some trademarks like Porsche, Peugeot, Renault are missing and when thinking about the hundreds of car brands, I am confident that this should give ideas to new gTLD service providers...for the next round of the ICANN new gTLD program.

Check the full report here (the report is now available in French too).

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Religious new gTLDs: blue or red?

There are a certain number of domain name extensions related to religions: most are catholic and almost all of them have received more domain name registrations in December 2017 than what they had in January 2017, this is a good point.

20 new gTLDs
On the list of 20 religious new gTLDs:
  • The .FAITH has more than 50,000 registrations;
  • The .WEDDING and .CHURCH new gTLDs have more than 10,000 domain names registered;
  • The .BIBLE and .CHRISTMAS have more than 1,000 domains registered;
  • 3 of them are IDNs with one domain name registered;
  • 2 are .BRAND new gTLDs representing a religious organization: .CBN and .LDS
Only 8 TLDs "launched" with more than 5 domains registered on a total of 20 and 8 of them sticked to one single domain name registration during the entire year (12 months). My brilliant analysis is that these registries still have absolutely no idea of what to do with their costly domain name extension. This is something that I don't understand: can the only reason be that the Vatican fears that a third party would have submitted an application for the .MORMON new gTLD ? Come on...

Blue or red?
Only two of these extensions lost registrations from January to December: the .CHRISTMAS Top-Level Domain lost 940 domain name registrations and .WED ... seems now like an example of a failed TLD: it only had 108 domains registered in January and 37 in December (we already wrote about this).

The .FAITH Top-Level Domain ended the year with 4,000 more domains registered: 51,400 in total and .CHURCH had almost 5,000 more by the end of the year.

Will they ever launch?
The .UMMAH application was withdrawn but two applications remain in "On -hold", which means that no one can tell if they will ever see the day. The two religious TLDs concerned are .HALAL and .ISLAM

I want to keep an eye on the .ISMAILI Top-Level Domain which gained 4 more domains in December 2017. The .CBN gained one more in december too.

Check the full report here (the report is now available in French too).

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

French new gTLDs in 2017

French companies have submitted 49 new gTLD applications to the ICANN:
  • 33 have been delegated and are active;
  • 15 have been withdrawn;
  • 1 has not been processed.
From that list, 34 are Trademarks but some have been withdrawn. Note that the .OVH new gTLD for example is a trademark too but its domain names can be purchased so it is not listed as a trademark.
Four extensions represent French regions: .CORSICA - .ALSACE - .AQUITAINE (the application was then withdrawn since the region changed its name after the ICANN submission process) and .BZH (for Brittany).
The .PARIS new gTLD is the only city extension from a list of 39 city new gTLD applications (note that .BCN and .BARCELONA city TLDs are counted as one city and not two).
There was just one IDN new gTLD submitted, the .欧莱雅 IDN but it was withdrawn (It means .LOREAL in Chinese). Note that the .LOREAL new gTLD was withdraw too and this came as a huge surprise from our industry.

Different meanings
If the volume of domain names registered - AND PAID - is very important for a registry who sells its domain names through the network of accredited registrars, its signification has a different meaning for a .BRAND new gTLD (specification 13 from the ICANN new gTLD program). For .BRANDs, it means that trademarks have inserted the "new gTLD tool" into their branding, and maybe, long term marketing strategy: the .BNPPARIBAS new gTLD is a good example of this.

Blue or red?
Some registries have been successful installing their domain names:
  • In regard to .BRAND domain name extensions, it should be noticed that .MMA had 1,700 of its domain names installed by december 2017: this is "huge" for a Trademark. Then .BNPPARIBAS - .LECLERC and .WEBER had between 100 and 200 names created. Surprisingly, most French .BRAND new gTLDs start to use their domain names: four trademarks only had less than two domain names created.
  • In regard to extensions dedicated to selling domain names through accredited registrars, we can say that they are few but the .OVH new gTLD (a retail registrar itself) had less domains created by December 2017 than in January 2017: this represents more than 50,000 domains still. the .PARIS extension lost 2,000 form January 2017 to December 2017. Interesting: the .BZH and .CORSICA new gTLDs are growing very slow...but they grow.
A lot of interest in the next round
Following my discussions with various trademarks and French law firms, it appears that there could be interest for 200 French applications in the next round of the ICANN new gTLD program. There could be similar figures in other countries. Let's just hope that the ICANN won't limit the number of applications.

Check the full report here (the report is now available in French too).

The .ABUDHABI Sunrise Period

Two sunrise Periods were just launched for the ASCII and IDN versions of the ABU DHABI new generic Top-Level Domain (the city new gTLD).

The strings concerned are:
  1. The .ABUDHABI new gTLD;
  2. The .ابوظبي (abu dhabi) new gTLD.
  • START: Sunday, 21 January, 2018 - 16:45;
  • END: Thursday, 22 March, 2018 - 16:45.
Check the Trademark Clearinghouse calendar to learn more.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A web crawler for new gTLDs

ICANN IT has released a UA (Universal Acceptance) Web Crawler that’s been published on GitHub. The website explains that it is "a tool to find the UAC compliance factor of any website". In more simple words: a tool to help you ensure that your domain names and email addresses can be used by all Internet-enabled applications, devices and systems.

What does the crawler do?
I first thought that ICANN had created its own browser but found out that it had nothing to do with this so since I am not geek enough (sorry Don) to try the tool myself, I pasted this from the official website so you can feel free to give it a try yourself:
The UAC Crawler will enable companies and website owners to find out the complexity involved in making their web assets Universal Acceptance Compliant. The idea behind the UAC Crawler portal is that it will give a complexity score which will help nontechnical user base to get started with the UAC journey. The UAC Crawler will crawl the website and generate a list of all internal links - Each use of a link might need to be checked that it can handle UA. It will then generate a score based on how compliant the website links are. The score will be out of 10 and will be based on the following factors:
  • Domain Unicode URL Compliance - Checks if all links are UA compliant. It checks for the HTML encoding of the page to verify if it is UTF compliant;
  • Unicode Email Address Compliance - Checks if all email addresses are UA Compliant;
  • Inactive URL Compliance - The tool also checks for inactive or dead links.
Check the full presentation here.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Reserved names : ICANN confirms its list

It will have taken four years for the ICANN to finalize the list of reserved names and put a date on it for its implementation at registrars and registries.

What are we talking about?
The list of reserved names consists in blocking certain domain names from being registered by third parties because they could belong to certain identified organizations:
  1. The Red Cross (www.icrc.org);
  2. The International Olympic Committee (www.olympic.org);
  3. International Governmental Organizations (IGOs);
  4. International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs).
First of August 2018
The first of august if the deadline when all this must be organized and implemented at registrars and registries. In more simple words, it means that keywords from that list must not be made available for registration anymore in any existing (and coming) domain name extension. An example: you will not be supposed to register a domain name such as www.redcross.whatever - www.nisseki.whatever or www.idea.whatever. Note that this is already the case for most of these strings nut the list has been updated. I suggest to check the complete list because it is a rather long one and there are many words with 3 and 4 characters.

From my understanding, you will receive (or already have received) an email if you use one of these domain names but the ICANN also have plenty of procedures to deal with this. Note that for INGOs, the ICANN suggests to consult an attorney or legal expert for guidance if you have questions.

What do they think about this and why...is this offered to specific organizations and not all trademarks? Well, this has been a question asked by many and I suggest anybody who wants to have that question answered to join the ICANN working groups to try to change this ;-)

You can check the front page for reserved names here and the complete and up-to-date list of reserved names here: it is this that you want to read. For the "bla-bla" and a much longer explanation, it's here.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Singular or Plural: have registrants chosen?

2017 has been an interesting year with a lot of new gTLDs launched and the opportunity for me to have a look at a complete year in terms of domain name registration volume.

One new gTLD report that I update on a monthly basis has gained a lot of traction, it is the one that concerns Singular VS Plural new gTLDs: which, of the two domain name extensions, receives more domain name registrations?

Sticking to one
Some extensions can't yet be compared as they have not really launched yet and stick to one domain name registered. It is the case for .COUPON - .CRUISE - .DEAL - .FAN (5 registrations) - .WATCHES and .MOTO (which does not count since it is a .BRAND).

What to think about these variations?
It is noticeable that many registrations volumes DON't make any sense between the singular and the plural version of an extension and there are reasons for this.
  1. Marketing/selling method: for .ACCOUNTANT and .ACCOUNTANTS, you can clearly see that there's something wrong strange: how can there be such a difference between the two same extensions when one has 94,000 more domain names sold at the end of the year while the other only has 2,500 domains on the market? Selling at ultra low prices is one method used by multiple registry Famous Four Media For .ACCOUNTANT but could this be the only reason?
  2. There is a price difference for .GAMES and .GAME (this is one example): the first one can be bought for less than $10 when the other will cost $160 for one year. That makes quite a difference when having to choose for the right extension.
  3. Some TLDs are losing traction: it is quite possible that some TLDs have been "boosted" after launch (come on...we all know that) but the problem is that it cost to boost a TLD and when names don't meet adoption, even when "given away", it is clear that boosting an extension has to end, and happens bullet 4 below.
  4. No renewal: a domain name which has not found its registrant for a renewal it is just dropped and that is also why some registration curves form the report go in the opposite direction.
Famous Four Media
The .LOAN - .ACCOUNTANT and .REVIEW new gTLDs belong to the same multiple registry Famous Four Media. All three have (very) surprising high registration volumes compared to other TLDs from the list.
This major new gTLD actor often offers promotions to its accredited registrars. In simple words, and added to the ultra low price of its domain names, it means that you should buy today...and for 10 years if you are concerned by their domain name extensions.

Two TLDs caught my attention: the .PROPERTY and .PROPERTIES new gTLDs. If the plural version has an interesting curve, +3,000 registrations in one year, the singular version lost, from January to December 2017, seven thousand domain name registrations. The opposite is supposed to happen.

Clean TLDs
Good point for .MARKET and .MARKETS new gTLDs: the only two extensions from this list which gained registrations from a month to the other.

New methods
What if it became more interesting for a multiple registry to register a domain name for itself and generate more income from that parked domain instead of selling it? There's a method on the market and it appears that "many" multiple registry are testing it right now.

Can we say that registrants (those to register domain names) have made their choice between using the singular or the plural version of a similar domain name extension? Clearly not because 2017 results make no sense and unfortunately, marketing a domain name does not mean that you sell it. Registries are still testing the market with new methods and approaches. "Gain sharing" is one of them but shush, I did not say anything.

On a personal note, I do not understand how multiple registries can find enough time to market so many different domain name extensions: it takes time to market just one so how do you manage to find the time for...dozens? This might also explain why some extensions can't compete with their singular of plural version.

Check the full report here (the report is now available in French too).

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A limit to 1,000 new gTLD applications?

When the first round of the ICANN new gTLD program, who knew that there would be so many applications submitted?


The funny thing is that - and let's be honest - nobody knew that it was possible to submit a new  gTLD application: nobody knew but the very 1,930 few applicants who submitted theirs (which was considered as "a lot" by ICANN insiders).

1,930 applications
When looking at the official numbers, 1,930 applications were submitted and 1,227 have completed the program (which means that they are active). They are extensions dedicated to selling domain names and .BRANDs dedicated to companies with a prior right to operate their personalized domain names.

First thought
My first thought us that 1,930 applications - worldwide - is nothing compared to what it could be in the next application round now many more people know that it is possible to submit an application.

I came out to reading this recent publication from the ICANN with a strange title: "SAC100: SSAC Response to the New gTLD Subsequent Procedures Policy Development Process Working Group Request Regarding Root Scaling".

When reading this document, there is a strange line which I find very scary, it says: "whether the limitations on delegations per annum (1000 / year) could be revisited". I think that this was already written in the new gTLD Applicant guidebook somewhere and I am not digging more but my understanding of this is that the next new gTLD application window could be limited to 1,000 applications only.

Just for France, there were 49 applications submitted and the French potential for the next round is of 200 applications. I imagine that it's probably going to be the same in other countries so the total number of applications submitted should be of more - MUCH MUCH MORE - than 1,930 applications submitted.

What if this number was limited to 1,000 applications?
Of course, I am confident that this is never not going to happen but would this happen, here is what I think that it means for potential applicants:

  1. Don't "play" and ensure that your new gTLD service provider knows what he does because sits are going to be very limited;
  2. Make sure that your technical backend registry won't first have to go through a technical validation process by the ICANN because this takes time and many already have "passed the test": working with a newcomer won't necessary put you in first 1,000 seats for your application to be validated by the ICANN.
  3. Don't mess up because it could take a year for you to submit your application again if you fail.
  4. Be worried: when you want to buy an special apartment in Hong-Kong, money is not the problem, the waiting list is.
Let's remain optimistic
The ICANN earns a lot of money with new gTLDs and as far as I know, the web works fine so why would this change?


The .BANK and .INSURANCE new gTLDs are NOT removing eligibility verification

A recent letter was sent from the ICANN, by the Registry Services and Engagement Director, to Craig Schwartz in charge of the .BANK and .INSURANCE new gTLDs.

Removal of Eligibility Verification
The letter is entitled "Removal of Eligibility Verification for gTLD: .bank and .insurance for RSEP ID: [#879030]" but it appears that the content is not exactly about this.

A misleading title
It appears that the title of the letter is misleading and in fact, the two registries are not removing eligibility verification. The registries of these two restrictive TLDs, are considering a change in how verification is performed.

Read the letter here.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Real Estate and new gTLDs: blue or red?

Few Real Estate related domain name extensions are reaching out to the 10,000+ domain name registrations in 2017 but eight of them and three have more than 40,000 domains registered:
  1. the .REALTY new gTLD;
  2. the .REALTOR TLD and (there is a "story" about these registration volumes);
  3. the .AGENCY Top-Level Domain (which we will remove from the listing since an agency is not necessarily a Real Estate agency).

Sticking to the blue
Seven new gTLDs kept receiving registrations from January to December: .HOUSE - .PLACE (will be removed in 2018) - .INSURE (removed in 2018) - .CREDIT (removed in 2018) and .HOMES are part of these.

Sticking to the red
Some TLDs are NOT doing good and by writing this, I mean that they lost registrations from January to December, when the opposite should happen. Note that this does not mean that they are "dead TLDs", it means to me that operators of some of these registries just "stopped the crap" and ceased using fake methods to show that their domains are being adopted. Another reason can be that...registrants are just not renewing for other reasons and some of them could be:
  • Why renew a domain name that I will probably not use when I have discovered that its plural version also exists?
  • Worse: why renew when I have discovered that the plural version of my domain is registered by a third party?
  • Why would I confuse visitors of my website with too many domain name extensions which mean the same?
Explanation: by "plural version" of a domain name, I refer to the exact same second level domain name registered in two different domain name extensions, the singular AND the plural version: www.whatever.property AND www.whatever.properties. The explanation for a "same meaning" would be: www.whatever.rent and www.whatever.rentals.


Sticking to the "ultra red"
Some top-Level domains lost more than 50% of their initial registrations from January to December: .CASA - .RENT and .ARCHI

One highly expected domain name extension has been in stand-by for...years. The registry agreement for the .REALESTATE new gTLD was signed in September 2015 but the website of the future operator only says: "it is anticipated that it will launch in the first quarter of 2018". There were four applicants for this extension.

Check the full report here.

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