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UR logo v-rgb.jpg
Type: Corporation
Industry: Internet/Registry
Founded: 2014
Founder(s): Frank Schilling
Bret Fausett
Headquarters: Governors Square Unit 3-110
23 Lime Tree Bay Ave.
Grand Cayman 1361GT-KY11108
Country: Cayman Islands
Website: uniregistry.link
Facebook: Uniregistry
Twitter: TwitterIcon.png@uniregistry
Key People
Frank Schilling, Founder & Managing Director

Bret Fausett, Registry President and General Counsel
Vern Jurovich, Chief Operating Officer
Amanda Fessenden, Director of Registry Business Operations

TLDs: 23
Registrations: 327,948

More Info: nTLDStats

Uniregistry is a new registry operator established and managed by a group of Internet and domain name industry experts. The company's technical infrastructure was designed and subsequently purchased from Internet Systems Consortium (ISC), a non-profit organization dedicated to developing and distributing open-source software worldwide, and involved in the development of DNS, DNSSEC, IPv6, and BIND.

On June 11, 2012, the company was officially launched. IT is headed by its Managing Director Frank Schilling, one of the longest-serving participants in the commercial, for-profit arena of naming.[1][2] The original trademark application for Uniregistry, however, was filed in 2010, and the domain name was registered in 2006 by Bret Fausett, who also registered the .net, .org, .info, and .biz versions the following year.[3]

On February 11, 2020, GoDaddy acquired Uniregistry's registrar, marketplace, and portfolio.[4]

On October 1, 2021, Tucows purchased Uniregistry's registry platform service and 10 members of its technical team.[5]


In February 2012, Uniregistry announced the creation of a related company, Uniregistrar, had become an ICANN accredited registrar, signaling that Uniregistry had intentions to sell its New gTLDs in house. Uniregistrar was launch under the licensed Uniregistry brand name in March 2014.[6] Uniregistrar stated clearly on its site that it was affiliated with Frank Schilling and Uniregistry, and that it was applying for 54 gTLDs, including .auction, .sexy, .christmas, and .blackfriday. At the time, Schilling also had an existing accredited registrar called iRegistry, which was used primarily (or exclusively) to manage Name Administration's portfolio of domains; it is only accredited in .com, .net, .org and .xxx.[7]

As of April 2016, and possibly much earlier, Uniregistrar no longer maintained its own separate website and redirected automatically to Uniregistry's website.

New gTLD Applications

At the time of the company's launch, Schilling refused to reveal the exact number and names of the domain name strings the company applied for. According to him, the gTLDs were selected by the company's founders, and he was confident that the gTLDs would be successful. He said, "We strongly believe in the gTLDs we have chosen and are 100% committed to their long-term success. These new names look better, sound better, and represent a big opportunity for brands to market themselves on the Internet in a different way."[8]

Just prior to reveal day, Schilling confirmed that he invested $60 million in his company and is pursuing 54 gTLDs. He publicly announced his bids for .lol and .home, saying that he knew that both strings would be highly desirable and that he thinks they would definitely be auctioned by ICANN. Google had previously announced its application for .lol, and GoDaddy and other companies applied for .home. Schilling said that his company will try to acquire the strings through auction.[9]

Uniregistry is the operator of the following TLDs:


In December 2013, Uniregistry announced a unique Sunrise Period system for the gTLD applications the company had succeeded in winning. There would be two Sunrise Periods, known as Sunrise A and Sunrise B. Sunrise A would be the regular period involving the Trademark Clearinghouse and mandated by ICANN, in which trademark owners could apply for their trademark's corresponding TLD. Sunrise B would allow trademark owners to apply for SLDs that do not exactly match their trademark and may "span the dot", as in ''toms.tattoo" for the trademark "Tom's Tattoo".[10]

As the first two Uniregistry New TLDs, .sexy and .tattoo, became generally available in February 2014, many Domain industry members noticed that some of the leading Registrars were not selling these TLDs. Companies such as GoDaddy and Register.com did not initially sign up to sell these TLDs because Uniregistry's Registry-Registrar Agreement would require Registrars to provide real names and contact info to Uniregistry.[11] By the end of 2014 more than 150 registrars worldwide including all major registrars had signed Uniregistry's agreement and were retailing Uniregistry extensions. Uniregistry's registrar has grown quickly and been lauded as a generational leap forward in the management of domain names.

In a blog post dated October 28, 2015, writer Kevin Murphy revealed that the registry would start an Early Access Launch model for some of the TLDs it provides back-end, technical support for.[12]

Management Team

UniRegistry's team include: [13]

Company Values

Uniregistry's management and operations is guided by the following values: [14]

  • Liberty & Fairness
  • Responsible Stewardship
  • Technical Excellence
  • Ease, Simplicity and Elegance

Uniregistry promised that its management will be "registrant-centered." The company ensures that the reliability and security of its infrastructure is of high technical standard and uncompromised, its policies and processes are transparent and neutral and that they will have stable and predictable service as well as fair pricing.[15]

Uniregistry on Private Auctions: Illegal?

In March 2013, the ICANN community and its new gTLD applicants and their representatives responded to news that Uniregistry had learned from the U.S. Department of Justice that Private gTLD Auctions would be potentially illegal and could be prosecuted as "bid-rigging." The practice in question is illegal in various countries and largely related to government contracts, when bidders for multiple contracts may collude to each submit one high-ball bid for different jobs, thereby guaranteeing that they will each receive the project where they were able to submit the lower bid. The practice inflates the price paid for work obtained via bidding processes. The ICANN process is notably different in the fact that ICANN has expressly noted that it prefers not to receive funds via auction and prefers applicants to reach agreements among themselves. However, it is not up to ICANN whether or not charges are pressed, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) apparently has told Uniregistry that, "no private party, including ICANN, has the authority to grant to any other party exemptions to, or immunity from, the antitrust laws. The decision means that the Department of Justice reserves its right to prosecute and/or seek civil penalties from persons or companies that participate in anti-competitive schemes in violation of applicable antitrust laws."

The announcement from Uniregistry was decried by prominent supporters of private auctions, such as Michael Berkens of the auction services provider Right of the Dot, while other community members, such as Antony Van Couvering of Minds + Machines, corroborated Uniregistry's statements and the stance of the Department of Justice.[16] It has been noted that Uniregistry has never supported private auctions, and it has arguably come to the conclusion that it stands a better chance of winning contention sets against other large portfolio applicants, such as Donuts and Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd., if those applicants are not allowed to receive funds through lost auctions.

Commentators have noted that the DOJ could just as easily prosecute the ICANN Auctions of Last resort, though ICANN would have significant funds obtained via these auctions and the application process to defend itself via legal proceedings.[17]

April 2021 - Combined TLD and Etherium Name Service Token Auctions

Uniregistry announced its intention to auction its new gTLD portfolio in January 2021[18] UNR subsequently announced that it intended to also transfer Ethereum Name Service (ENS) non-fungible tokens (NFTs) associated with each gTLD to the successful bidders for each TLD.[19] The object of creating ENS tokens was to create ENS "domains" for cryptocurrency transactions and human-readable wallet IDs:

The auction winners of these rare internet assets not only collect subscription revenue by selling their domain names through ICANN-accredited registrars, but could also sell domains on ENS directly to Ethereum owners. "UNR is opening the scarce asset class of Top Level Domains to the public, which brings existing cash flow and numerous new monetization models to future owners, including control of the NFTs on the blockchain," said Shayan Rostam, Chief Growth Officer of UNR. "We are on the cutting edge; it's unlikely that these assets will ever take part in an event of this magnitude again."[19]

The auction, scheduled for April 28, resulted in the sale of 22 of the 23 TLDs originally advertised. For unclear reasons, .hiphop was not sold via auction. "Web3" and cryptocurrency adherents saw the auction as "another interesting use case for NFTs that...show just one way that people are continuing to expand their use cases."[20] However, the bundling of the NFTs with the TLDs created concerns at ICANN. In the wake of the auction, as assignment requests were submitted to ICANN by either UNR or the winning bidders, ICANN org submitted questions to UNR regarding the interrelationship between the ENS NFTs and the TLDs. ICANN's investigation of these issues is ongoing as of December 2021.[21] Industry news outlets noted that the bundling of the NFTs may have caused incurable problems for all of the assignment requests.[22]

ENS Reliance on/connection to DNS

The Ethereum Name Service is compatible with the DNS, and if a domain owner wants to utilize their web address as an Ethereum wallet address, they must enable DNSSEC protocols on the domain, add an "_ens" record to the DNS records of the domain through their registrar, and complete additional steps to establish the connection between a specific wallet and the associated human-readable name.[23] It is possible that this technical interoperation is the source of ICANN's concern regarding the bundling of an ENS NFT with a TLD. However, this cross-compatability exists in the status quo now, so it is unclear how bundling the right to act as an "ENS registry" for a specific domain is independently problematic.

Further Proceedings

In response to ICANN's requests for information, Uniregistry at some point notified ICANN that the NFTs related to the TLDs had been destroyed.[24] This did not appear to assuage ICANN's concerns regarding the marketing of the auction.[24] Indeed, ICANN's public response to the community indicated that it was more concerned about the marketing materials that conflated "assignment" of Uniregistry's rights with "ownership" of a particular TLD. Industry observers pointed out that this was both common parlance for registry operators, and in any event was best described as puffery.[25][26]


  1. About Uniregistry
  2. Frank Schilling Unveils His New gTLD Company: Uniregistry.com
  3. Plans for Frank Schilling’s Uniregistry go way back, domainnamewire.com
  4. GoDaddy Aquires Uniregistry, GoDaddy Newsroom
  5. Tucows Adds UNR Registry Platform and Veteran Talent, PR NewsWire
  6. Frank Schillings Uniregistry Gets Accredited as a Registrar, DomainIncite.com
  7. Frank Schilling’s Uniregistry gets accredited as a registrar, DomainIncite.com. Published 2013 February 5. Retrieved 2016 April 14.
  8. Frank Schilling Unveils His New gTLD Company: Uniregistry.com
  9. Here comes the greatest Internet landgrab in history
  10. Uniregistry Plans dot-spanning Sunrise Periods and anti-gaming Protection, DomainIncite Retrieved 30 Dec 2013
  11. Here's Why Registrars Are Boycotting .sexy, DomainIncite Retrieved 25 Feb 2014
  12. Now Uniregistry shifts to Early Access launch model. Retrieved 30 Oct 2015.
  13. The Team
  14. About Uniregistry
  15. What do we mean by registrant-centered?
  16. Breaking DOJ says New gTLD Private Auctions Might be Illegal, DomainIncite.com Published 19 March 2013, Retrieved 29 March 2013
  17. Did Uniregistry Over Sell the Auction Antitrust Risk, DomainIncite.comPublished 20 March 2013, Retrieved 29 march 2013
  18. Goldstein Report - Uniregistry to Offload 23 New gTLDs via Auction on 28 April, January 29, 2021
  19. 19.0 19.1 PR Newswire - NFTs of 25 UNR Top Level Domains Minted on the Ethereum Name Service, March 31, 2021
  20. CoinDesk.com - ENS is Minting NFTs of 23 Top Level Domains - Here's what that Means, April 16, 2021
  21. Exhibit A, ICANN Board Accountability Mechanisms Committee Determination re: Urgent Consideration of Reconsideration Request 21-3, December 16, 2021
  22. Domain Name Wire - NFTs Trip up Uniregistry's Top Level Domain Auctions, December 21, 2021
  23. Medium.com - Step-by-Step Guide to importing a DNS domain name to ENS, August 26, 2021
  24. 24.0 24.1 ICANN.org Blog - Relying on ICANN Community Developed Processes for a Safe and Secure Internet, January 5, 2022
  25. Wikipedia - Puffery
  26. Domain Name Wire - ICANN Explains its Side of the UNR Transfer Holdup, January 13, 2022