Saturday, June 27, 2020

Want to learn more about "the next Round"?

I keep having that question: "when is the next round?" and "what's your estimation?". Well, I like to give my opinion but ICANN history has clearly demonstrated that no date should ever be given unless it was published by the ICANN itself on its website somewhere. So no, I don't think it will be in 2022.

The next Applicant Guidebook

The applicant guidebook (also called the "AGB") is your next Bible and believe me, reading it is a total nightmare when you have no knowledge of the new gTLD application procedure: don't let this 338 pages PDF block you from submitting your application. By the way, the document I am referring to is dated 2012: it is the official documentation from the previous round of new gTLDs, the existing one is still being discussed and written.

I want to learn more

So you want to learn more? There is a way. Again, don't think that you will understand all of it but the positive thing about this is that there is documentation at the moment, a lot of it. The next official guidebook is being drafted and you can even contribute. Note that you will need to select the right group(s) to follow and learn to work in the distance doing meetings in the middle of the night and receive documentation that only the person who wrote it understands it. That is how it works but if you succeed in following the work group (which is a very big deal for me), you will start to understand what's coming upfront for the next round of new gTLDs. You will also understand how tortured are the participants ;-)

Where do I go?

I am only interested about "new gTLDs" so the path that I would suggest to follow is this one:
  1. Visit the "New gTLD Subsequent Procedures PDP Home" (see here);
  2. In the left column, there is blabla but point 2 tells you when the next meetings are (you will have to scroll down the list for the latest meetings). Note that these pages are then updated with the content of the meeting and an agenda is proposed prior to each meeting. It is this content you want to follow-up with to have an idea of what the actual discussions are for the next round of new gTLDs, and this is what you will probably read in the next Applicant Guidebook.
  3. To receive plenty of email with updates about ICANN new gTLDs, you can subscribe here: all reminders and publications related to active projects are emailed there (if you would like to join an active working group, you will need to email your request).
  4. Point 3 is king of disorganized and some subjects are outdated, I stick to point 2 personally.

My opinion on this process

I think it is a long one but I am the only one to think that, or am I? Also, you have to perfectly read English...but everyone speaks English right? I would love to be able to contribute more but the ICANN vocabulary is dictated by those exact same service providers you will have to talk to, to submit your new gTLD application so it is hardly understandable for new comers. For this exact same reason some will select the wrong service provider and pay an haw-full price for the submission of their application and its maintenance.

When it is time

At some point, the ICANN will give us a date. At that moment, you will have decided to apply because your project will also have been prepared upfront: this is important, don't get there with your first questions. A few things to consider:
  1. Talk to more than one service provider AND DON'T LISTEN TO THE ONE THAT TELLS YOU ABOUT HIS FANTASTIC EXPERIENCE BECAUSE EXISTING FIGURES CLEARLY SHOW THAT MANY PROJECTS HAVE FAILED ;-) Remember that there has been one ICANN new gTLD round only in the history of Internet. 
  2. Don't tell about your string but at the last moment and be very careful about NDAs: meeting with more than one service provider in competition in the same room is the number one mistake.
  3. Don't sign a stupid contract with an exit fee or a minimum number of domains to create: try to get a price per domain created below the $1.
  4. Don't forget about the annual 10,000 ICANN tax: if your plan is to create a .BRAND new gTLD, it WILL cost you a lot to use you personalized domain names.
  5. Consider innovation and not just selling domain names.

Monday, June 15, 2020

The .ZUERICH new gTLD is here

The ICANN just made a modification to the official TLD Startup Information page related to the .ZUERICH new gTLD which was delegated in...December 2014.

Sunrise Period

  • 01 December 2020 to 04 February 2021

Trademark Claims Period

  • 24 February 2021 to 26 May 2021

Additional Periods

  1. Limited Registration Period (LRP #1): 1 Apr 2020 to 31 Aug 2020
  2. Qualified Launch Program (QLP): 21 Nov 2017 to 23 Sep 2019
  3. Limited Registration Period (LRP #2): 4 Jan 2021 to 4 Feb 2021

Mission/purpose of the .ZUERICH new gTLD:

The content below was extracted from the official application submitted to the ICANN (and I got rid of the boring part):
The Canton of Zurich is one of the largest of Switzerland’s 26 Cantons, or national districts, and is home to the city of Zurich, which is the largest city in the country. The city has throughout its long history played an important role in the cultural and historical development of the Swiss Confederation and the country’s national identity.

The TLD “.ZUERICH” will be an expression of self-understanding and autonomy for the local state of Zurich and is anticipated to promote local industry, scientific interests, tourism and marketing, and to highlight the high standard of living in the Zurich region in a globally-visible and easily recognized format.

Long term, effective marketing of the “.ZUERICH” TLD is an important part of this plan, which will be effectuated through the careful and well-orchestrated cooperation of the city of Zurich, the Zurich Tourism office and the Canton itself. The key elements of the ISDM strategy include: i) unique and permanent positioning of the new “.ZUERICH” TLD, ii) preserving and enhancing the reputation of the space, iii) maintaining the well-regarded reputation of the Zurich brand, and iv) development of a common entry site for the name space (see Attachment 1 to our response to Question 48).

The applied-for TLD string, “ZUERICH,” represents the phonetic pronunciation of the German-speaking Canton. In German, the spelling of the Canton is “Zürich”. The Umlaut over the “u” in the word produces a “ue” sound, leading to the pronunciation of “Zuerich”, corresponding to the proposed TLD text. Thus, it has become standard amongst Swiss Internet users, when typing, to replace “ü” with “ue.” The logical TLD for the Canton is therefore “.ZUERICH.”

The Mission and Purpose of the “.ZUERICH” space

The new gTLD “.ZUERICH,” is intended to support the new branding project of Zürich on the Internet.

The “.ZUERICH” TLD shall provide a comprehensive vehicle through which the Canton may communicate not only with citizens, companies, and organization within its region, but even with individuals and companies worldwide who, in one way or another, interact with the Canton of Zurich.

Initially, the Canton will reserve all domain names under “.ZUERICH” to itself, and may later elect to license domain name registrations under “.ZUERICH” to its affiliates such as, but not limited to i.e., Cantonal and city governmental departments and municipalities, cultural and artistic organizations, or transportation authorities. The Canton may further decide to license the use of second level domain names to other affiliates.

The Canton of Zurich will oversee all registrations for the space, and will be the only authorized registrant of domains. This provision will be made clear in, and enforced via, the applicable Registry-Registrar agreement. All registrars offering “.ZUERICH” domain names for registration will be aware of this requirement, and will be provided with sufficient information to enable them to verify whether a potential applicant for a domain name is in fact the properly authorized entity. The single-registrant nature of the space will provide the Canton with necessary monitoring opportunities, to ensure that the TLD is used only for appropriate purposes and to display relevant content.

The Canton anticipates benefiting from this new space by providing a single comprehensive and helpful location where interested parties can learn more about the opportunities available in Zurich. Visitors and long-time residents alike will come to view gTLD “.ZUERICH” as the natural “go-to” for information about the area. Used in this way, the Canton expects the gTLD “.ZUERICH” to play an important role in its new branding project for Zürich.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Backend Registries don't speak French

One might be surprised by such title but as a person involved in creating and promoting dotBrands and other generic new gTLDs, there are a few things that I see...and one that is now obvious is that Backend Registries don't speak French (but a very few).

This is Paris, France

Creating a new domain name extension requires to think upfront about a strategy but also...about service providers. The Backend Registry is a mandatory service provider when creating a new Top-Level Domain but unfortunately, the offer is limited in France because of our language: Backend Registries don't offer French as a language.

No French? You don't exist

There is a demand in France and interested parties in creating their domain name extension usually proceed through their accredited Registrar, sometimes their Law Firm and sometimes...directly through the Backend Registry provider. I usually talk to the Backend Registry first and fortunately for me, I speak, write and read English.

I like to go straight to the point and just like everyone in business, I like to limit the number of subcontractors. In more simple word, if I had the project to create a new gTLD, I would talk directly to the appropriate service provider and to me, that provider is the Backend Registry: the better when he  has a presence in your country or speaks your language.

I will speak french for you

There are coming Backend Registries (preparing their offer for the next round) and existing Backends; but from my Top10 list, one website offers French only and I believe that this is potential lost business for the others because addressing to one in his language breaks the first barrier to business. 

As a new gTLD Consultant based in Paris, I will offer that service to introduce your Backend Registry offer to French, contact me and will explain how.

.BRAND new gTLD Reports are updated once a month: CLICK HERE !