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12|18|2012 06:48 pm EDT

Report from the ICANN Prioritization Draw for New gTLDs

by Joe Alagna in Categories: new gTLDs

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The following is a guest post by Joe Alagna, GM North American Markets at CentralNic. He attended yesterday’s prioritization draw at the LAX Hilton in Los Angeles. His summary outlines the results of the lottery draw along with some important information regarding the timeline of the new gTLD process.

Yesterday, ICANN held the prioritization draw and assigned priority to each new gTLD application . The first thing I noticed as I started my day is Uniregistry’s Santa Claus milling around the hotel and wishing applicants a Merry (dot).Christmas. I think he really added to the event; it was appropriate for the season.

The event was well attended. All the largest applicants were present and interested in the drawing. We saw Donuts, Google, Uniregistry, TLDH, and others; about 300 – 400 people. The mood in the drawing room was all about “focus”. You could see that applicants were taking this seriously and that they wanted to know where they’ll stand over the next year.

The drawing began with a “glitch”. The auctioneer’s microphone stopped working and, apparently, the electricity to their systems was halted for a while. Everyone waited patiently and eventually things got started.

All applications were assigned priority numbers but the applications where drawing tickets were not purchased, were drawn last. There were 108 IDNs with tickets and 1,658 Non-IDNs with tickets to draw. So the drawing didn’t end until about 10:30 PM. The drawing proceeded in four stages:

  • IDNs with tickets
  • Non-IDNs with tickets
  • IDNs without tickets
  • Non-IDNs without tickets

The first ticket drawn was an IDN for Catholic Church in Chinese. The IDN drawing went quick. The last ticket drawn out of those that actually purchased tickets was a Donuts string, .finance. Some applicants, including Google, did not purchase tickets [for all of their applications] as part of a strategy, seemingly because they did not want priority for certain strings.

After a quiet start, where everyone listened and focused intently on what strings were being drawn, ICANN’s new gTLD Director, Christine Willett, announced that it would be OK to cheer if your string was picked. That gave the room some permission to have fun and cheering occurred but it didn’t stop the fact that there were a lot of strings to pick. The die hards hung it out, but most people went to dinner and got the results online later.

People who had uncontested strings were especially happy to get low numbers because they could get their strings in the root much earlier. I was really happy with how this turned out. Most participants felt that the drawing was done thoughtfully and fairly.

If you are an applicant, here are my estimates of the best and worst case scenarios moving forward.

The applicant’s likely situation now:

  • ICANN has stated that no contracts will occur before the April 2013 ICANN meeting.
  • You have passed the Administrative Checks
  • You have passed the DNS Stability test (all apps have passed)
  • Hopefully, you have received no Early Warnings from ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee (GAC)
  • Hopefully, you have no obvious String Similarity Issues, subject to ICANN’s evaluation which should be released very soon (a recent progress report said November 2012 ?)
  • Hopefully you have no obvious Geographic Name Similarities, subject to ICANN’s evaluation which should be released very soon (a recent progress report said November 2012)

Best case scenarios moving forward

  • In Feb. or so, you pass Background Screening.
  • In Feb. or so, you pass Registry Services Screening.
  • You receive no Public Objections related to String Confusion, Legal Rights, Limited, Public Interest, or Community.
  • Between March and August, you pass Financial Evaluation.
  • Between March and August, you pass Technical & Operational Evaluation.
  • Between March and August, you execute a contract with ICANN.
  • No lawsuits are filed that extend the process.
  • Between March and August, your gTLD is delegated to the root of the Internet and goes live.

Possible worst case scenarios

Worst case scenarios include the opposites of what you see above, which can either stop the application or add 12 to 18 months to the process of getting your new gTLD working. If you were able to get a low number, you could see something much closer to the Best Case Scenario and get your gTLD(s) working by the middle or end of 2013.

We have one more step in the process behind us. I wish you all the best moving forward!

 

08|01|2011 01:16 am EDT

Centralnic’s Gb.com In Dispute – gb.com now wildcarded

by Michele Neylon in Categories: Legal Issues

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This article was syndicated with kind permission by Michele Neylon over at Internetnews.me. where it was first published.

Centralnic’s gb.com is no longer pointing to their nameservers and any domains in the zone are now being wildcarded to the main gb.com website which carries the following notice:

You may be here because you have been sold a domain or email service using the gb.com domain that has ceased to work.

You can restore that service swiftly by registering with GB.COM Ltd.

GB.COM Ltd will not provide a service that you have paid others for, unless they have an arrangement with GB.COM Ltd.

If you have already paid for future service and it has ceased then you should contact your supplier.

If you have any queries please send us an email and we will endeavour to answer your questions.

GB.COM Ltd.

Centralnic have issued a statement from their side as well, which isn’t exactly comforting:

Unfortunately, the service CentralNic has been providing for domains ending .gb.com has been interrupted. We are currently taking legal advice about this and will be taking urgent steps to restore the service, but we cannot achieve that instantly.

Therefore, if your service had been interrupted and you have an urgent need for resumption of the service it may be in your interests in order to avoid or mitigate loss for you to sign up to the service offered by “GB.Com Limited,” promoted on some interrupted sites, for a temporary period.

In so writing we do not acknowledge that GB.Com Limited has any entitlement to provide the service they are offering and nor do we take any responsibility for the service you may receive from them, but we are writing to you on a pragmatic basis and putting your interests as our customers ahead of our own.

At no time has this incident affected any other domain suffixes operated by CentralNic.

If you have any questions relating to this matter, please email info@centralnic.com.

Doing a bit of poking around in whois records it appears that the nameservers for gb.com were switched away from centralnic over to Bytemark earlier on July 30th, 2011.

All the other whois records seem to be unchanged and going back through historical records I can’t see anything that would raise a “red flag”, so it would appear that there is some kind of dispute between the registrant of gb.com and Centralnic.

Whether Centralnic manage to resolve this issue or not (and when .. ) remains to be seen, but it’s a very embarassing situation for the company to be in.

UPDATE: It looks like at least one registrar has been able to get their clients’ gb.com domains back working via the “new” “operators” of gb.com

UPDATE Sunday 31st July 1125: Centralnic have updated their statement and confirm that the issue is related to a legal dispute and have also added to their main site’s news feed:

This interruption relates to a longstanding legal dispute regarding the domain name gb.com, dating back to when the current shareholders acquired the business in 2004

They’re also trying to do damage control:

We can confirm, with absolute certainty, that no other CentralNic domain extensions are subject to any such disputes

UPDATE July 31st 1400 – One of the affected gb.com registrants has setup a LinkedIn group. At time of writing it’s only got 5 members including me and Kevin Murphy from DomainIncite. Kevin has also posted on the subject and has dug up some interesting information.

UPDATE July 31st 1748 – Centralnic sent an email to registrars stating that they were going to sign up the registrars’ clients to gb.com in order to mitigate any damage. Not surprisingly they’ve also suspended registrations of gb.com domains

UPDATE August 1st 0011 – One of Centralnic’s staff has posted to LinkedIn stating:

We have started creating accounts with Gb.com Ltd for our registrars, and registering their domains into them. Although we don’t believe that Gb.com Ltd has any right to do what they’ve done, we feel that this is the best course of action to get our registrant’s domains working, until we can resolve the legal issue and bring gb.com back onto our registry infrastructure.

We are working in descending size order, so the largest registrar portfolios are being cleared first. As we are having to use a screen-scraping script to submit the information, it’s a slow process, taking 4-5 seconds per domain.

We have already registered those domains that are directly registered with us, with no registrar.

[Update Aug 2nd]: Apparently the dispute has been resolved and the domain is back under Centralnic’s control.

03|02|2009 10:45 pm EDT

Two New Registry Companies Launched to Help new TLDs

by Chad Kettner in Categories: News

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Two new registry consulting & services companies – Minds + Machines and Central Registry Solutions – were launched at ICANN Mexico City to help anybody interested in starting a new TLD work through the process from beginning to end – saving time, money, and confusion along the way. (more…)