.website

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Status: Delegated
country: International
Registry: Radix
Registry Backend: CentralNic
Type: Generic
Category: Technology
Priority #: 606 - Radix (DotWebsite Inc.)
1103 - Top Level Domain Holdings
1572 - Donuts (Fern Edge, LLC)
nTLDStats
Registrations: 312,617
Parked Domains: 198,291
Parked Domain %: 63.43 %
Important Dates
Delegation: 30 May 2014
General Availability: 17 September 2014

More Information: NTLDStatsLogo.png

.website is a gTLD that was proposed in ICANN's New gTLD Program. Radix's application succeeded and was delegated to the Root Zone on 30 May 2014, making the company the Registry Operator for .website.[1]

Background

Private Auction

Radix announced in Oct 2013 that it won a private auction against Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd. and Donuts, making it the sole remaining applicant. The auction was managed by Innovative Auctions and the price was not disclosed.[2] TLDH announced that it had received $5mm as a result of losing private auctions for .lawyer and .website against Donuts and Radix, but did not disclose how much of that money came from Radix.[3]

Previous Applicants

  1. Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd., it is one of 68 applications that Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd. has filed for on its own behalf.[4] This applicant submitted a Public Interest Commitment, which can be downloaded here.
  2. Donuts (Fern Edge, LLC), one of 307 applications submitted by the company. This applicant submitted a Public Interest Commitment, which can be downloaded here.

TLDH & $15mm Auction Funding

On February 26 2013, Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd. announced that it had entered into a funding agreement worth $15 million to be used in the case of auction for a specific unnamed TLD. The investor will not receive ownership of the TLD but a share of future revenues. TLDH did not name the TLD that the funds are directed for, and it is in 11 head to head contentions and 12 featuring more than one contender.[5]

GAC Early Warning

The Independent State of Samoa issued a GAC Early Warning to all three applicants, recommending that they withdraw their applications. The warning system is noted as a strong recommendation on behalf of national governments to the ICANN Board that a given TLD application should be denied as it stands. Applicants are encouraged to work with objecting GAC members.[6]

Samoa notes that it is a developing country whose income and economy is not highly diversified and fragile. Its ccTLD, .ws, has been marketed as a shorthand for "website" since 1999. The registry has over a million registrations and the profits from this have become an important revenue source. It fears that the introduction of ".website" would devastate this enterprise. It also believes that .website is confusingly similar to its .ws.[7]

Donuts Responds

Jon Nevett, co-founder and EVP of Donuts, replied to the GAC Early Warning from Samoa. He notes that while Donuts does not believe .website will negatively impact .ws, in the case that it does is not an established grounds for rejection in the Applicant Guidebook. Indeed, he points out that the cause of the new gTLD program is to create consumer choice and competition. Regarding similarity Donuts remains confident that they will not be flagged by ICANN's String Similarity Panel. He notes that the proper way of voicing further concern may be through objection from the actual .ws registry rather than the government.[8]

Radix

Radix received a GAC Early Warning as an entire applicant, where each one of the applicants was flagged by the U.S. Government. This seems to be the only time a portfolio applicant had all of their applications warned. The issue does not deal with the technical capabilities or thematic content of their applications, but rather the inclusion of an email address associated with the US' Federal Bureau of Investigation. It seems that Radix included correspondence with this address as a recommendation with each of their applications.[9]

Contract Signed

On 3 April 2014 Radix received a Registry Agreement signed by ICANN for .website after passing all the required processes needed to become a Registry Operator for the string.[10]

Delegation and Availability

.website was delegated to the Root Zone of the DNS on 30 May, 2014, completing the successful application for the string.[1]

References

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