Back when I started working in this industry in 2001, ICANN was small, the industry was tight, and things moved slowly as interest groups negotiated a balance amongst the impacts of change. Change often meant added overhead and, at the very least, a one-time cost effort to implement on the commercial side. Registries and registrars preferred to be hands-off when it came to how their domains were being used. But e-crime became big business during the 2000s. We all became aware of the dangers posed by malware, phishing, scams, and of the billions of spam e-mails spewed by criminal-controlled botnets. The costs of the criminal use of the DNS began hitting everyone — Internet users, big and small businesses, and governments too. Continue reading
There has been an upsurge in brands withdrawing their applications. The timing undoubtedly is due to the deadline of 70% refund of the $185k application fee. But why are so many of the withdrawals .brand/closed generics?
Having been involved in drafting of financial projections for over 50 applications and having answered a number of financial Clarification Questions, I believe that the major reason why there is an acceleration in .brands, especially closed ones, is that they are receiving a large number of financial Clarifying Questions (CQs) and are deciding to cut their losses. In my opinion there are two main reasons for these types of gTLDs receiving an inordinate proportion of financial CQs.
Company: Architelos, marketing and software consultancy, with headquarters in Leesburg, Va.
Startup philosophy: Keep overhead low, hire the best people and don’t spend more than you earn.
Proof it worked: Grossed more than $1 million its first year and an additional $1 million in the first six months of 2012 with zero debt
Before this, I was the CEO of .ORG [Internet registry for public-interest groups], where I’d nurtured a lot of great contacts. I knew I wanted to build a company with people whom I liked working with and our clients would like working with. Continue reading
So what are the characteristics of a “Brand TLD”?
Please note that by “Brand TLD”, I do not mean gTLDs applied for by brands. I mean TLDs whose registrants tend to use them as their primary site and identity. They have either created themselves as, or have become a brand in the eyes of their registrants. These TLDs tend to be in the minority.
Not only do these TLDs have second level domains that are used as the registrant’s main site, but they also have domains that have been renewed by the same registrant at least three or more times consecutively. More of their domains have associated MX records than Navigational Aid TLDs.
Every TLD has domain name registrants who use their domain name either as their primary site, the basis of their online identity, or as a navigational aid to direct traffic to other sites. The dominant purpose determines the long-term financial wellbeing of the registry.
The choice to use a domain as a simple pointer to another site versus creating a branded identity online does not just happen. It is almost always the direct result of the registry’s own efforts and focus. How does the registry define their customer? What is their value proposition and who is expected to deliver it? How do they treat their channels? How do they allocate resources? All of these determine whether the TLD exhibits more of the characteristics of what I’ll call a Navigational Aid TLD versus a Brand TLD.
If the timeline for turn-around of clarifying questions (CQs) remains two-weeks, the long pole in your CQ tent is likely to be revising your Q50 letter of credit or escrow agreement to meet the ICANN requirements. Based upon ICANN comments, it appears that many applicants are having trouble meeting the specific letter of credit (LOC) or escrow agreement language. To remedy this ICANN should consider publishing what it considers acceptable language for an LOC or escrow agreement. Continue reading
In the first part of this series on ICANN’s impending Clarifying Questions period, I outlined what you can expect in terms of question structure. Here I would like to outline how the points work and provide some advice on how to answer questions for best success.
It’s important to understand that ICANN has stated that applicants will not receive clarifying questions unless the application is in danger of not scoring the necessary points in the technical and financial areas. Continue reading
Several weeks ago ICANN issued clarifying questions to approximately 50 of the 1,930 new gTLD applications submitted last spring. Some of our clients were selected for this pilot effort and we’ve had the opportunity to review seven sets of clarifying questions totaling approximately 30 individual questions. Continue reading
With the effective deregulation of the domain name industry through the imminent launch of up to 1,000 new gTLD’s, the competitive landscape is going to get a whole lot hotter over the next 24 months. We will likely see some financially and commercially successful ventures. It is likely that we will see many unsuccessful ones as well. The gap between success and failure will be slim. Continue reading
As an industry insider and technologist, it’s always tempting when discussing something new, such as the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH), to jump into the gritty details to try solving problems. However, in this case, we would be jumping a step ahead because it’s fair to say most of the general community is not well informed about the current implementation challenges around the TMCH. Given that, I will do my best to simplify and relate the technical challenges directly to the business and policy challenges the TMCH is trying to address. So let’s start with reviewing the problem set that the TMCH was trying to address. Continue reading