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August 27, 2012

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Big Reveal Still 2 Weeks Away But New gTLD Applicants Already Spilling the Beans

Now that ICANN finally closed its bug-riddled TLD Application System (TAS) Wednesday night (May 30, about six week later than originally planned) the domain name system's oversight body has set Wednesday, June 13 as the date for its Big Reveal. That's the day the names of people seeking to run over 2,000 new domain extensions, as well the TLDs they applied for, will officially be released. Some of the bigger companies that plan to operate dozens of new TLDs just couldn't wait though and they have already come forward and released the extensions they are going after.

While many of those companies have been very public about their new TLD plans all along, one that has been operating in stealth mode popped up to reveal 31 extensions they have applied 

to run. That is Radix Registry, a new division of internet giant Directi who is one of the world's top ten domain registrars. Bhavin Turakhia, the  founder and CEO of Directi Group, said the company has already committed $30 million to their effort to get the TLDs they 

are targeting. Others will be going after some of the same strings, which will likely result in auctions that will drive the final costs to levels people can only guess at now. 

Some applicants like Radix hope to avoid that scenario by partnering with competitors who are eying the same TLDs. By forming a single joint entity to operate an extension that would short circuit the potentially ruinous cost run up that could result from going head to head in an auction. It would also give each partner a piece of the pie, which for most would be preferable to going home empty handed.

Directi Founder & CEO Bhavin Turkakhia

The extensions Radix applied for include: .web, .shop, .bank, .law, .music, .news, .blog, .movie, .baby, .store, .doctor, .hotel, .play, .home .site, .website, .click, .online, .one, .ping, .space, .world, .press, .chat, .city, .deals, .insurance .loans, .app, .host, and .hosting (a brief description of their plans and policies for these new extensions can be found on their website.

Explaining his company's interest in the new TLD space, Turakhia said "Today's internet addresses are uncategorized and say nothing about the website. In addition, it is near impossible to find available names that are short and memorable. Our research shows that over 65% of users are unable to find a name of their choice. We welcome the opportunity to usher in an era where internet addresses distinguish a plumber from a lawyer and domain names with hyphens are a thing of the past." 

Another major player who announced their plans shortly after the TAS closed was Top Level Domain Holdings Limited (TLDH), a public company that submitted a total of 92 applications including those filed on behalf of clients as well as 68 they want for their own account. In addition to geographical names, the company’s applications target extensions devoted to sports, lifestyles, ecology, entertainment, culture and ethnicity and professions. You can see their TLD wish list here. TLDH Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush said, “We are very pleased with the momentum of the new gTLD program.  We have applied for a substantial and diverse portfolio of new gTLDs and are excited about the prospects for the Group.”

The new TLD program is also opening up a lot of opportunities for back end service providers like ARI Registry Services. On Thursday (May 31) they announced that they have signed contracts to provide back-end domain name 

Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush
Top Level Domain Holdings Limited

registry services for operators of 161 new Top-Level Domains, including 85 generic extensions, 70 representing brand names and 6 that are geographic TLDs.

Adrian Kinderis, the CEO of ARI Registry Services, said “When applications opened in January, our target was to secure around 100 TLDs, so to reach 161 has far exceeded our expectations. Our numbers are pleasing, but 

they will become even more significant when the global brands and high profile entrepreneurs we are supporting are made public in a couple of weeks.” 

Indeed, even though some of the horses have already been let out of the barn, there are approximately 2,000 more specific new TLDs and applicants still to be named on June 13.  If you don't already have a scorecard it would be a good time to get one - you'll need a big one to keep track of that many players.

(Posted June 1, 2012)  

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