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Who Are the Major New gTLD Applicants and… (Part Five: Rightside Registry)

Jean Guillon

...what is their approach to bringing new domain names to the market?

Rightside is a name you may only have heard of very recently. It is a relative newcomer in the new gTLD industry. It is important to note that there is a difference between "Rightside" and "Rightside Registry". One is the Trademark and also the name of this new group to which eNom (a Registrar), Namejet (a platform to buy/sell domain names and Premium domains) and Name.com (another Registrar) belong. As for "Rightside Registry", it is the new name of the platform to operate new gTLD applications such as .attorney .pub .ninja. .democrat .rehab .social, etc… United TLD Holdco Ltd is the previous name of the company; the name under which it used to apply for 26 applications.

If I were to stop here, industry insiders would say: "Hey Jean, you've forgotten something important there". And they'd be right, because the company behind it is one of the largest ever created in the domain name industry, Demand Media, which owns enom, one of the largest global Registrars, and not forgetting Donuts!

The "Who's who" of Rightside Registry

The problem with Rightside is that it is such a new venture that I have absolutely no clue who their charismatic leader is when it comes to asking questions about their new gTLD applications.

The new gTLD guy – Jeffrey Eckhaus' name appears as the Primary contact for all Rightside Registry's applications, co-incidentally Jeffrey Eckhaus is SVP of Corporate Development at Demand Media. I have not spoken to him personally but I have heard about him since he is Vice Chairman of the Registrar Stakeholder Group @ ICANN. "Hello Jeffrey".

The Internet lawyer – Statton Hammock is a name that usually springs to mind when talking about Demand Media and new gTLDs; errr… I mean Rightside. For the ICANN Webinars and conferences I've attended, he is often the "chairperson' I remember listening to and looking at. Statton is the Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs, Registry Ops at Demand Media.

There is a funny note about how United TLD Holdco Ltd introduced its TLDs: for a long time its website was very ugly with no information on it whatsoever, strange for a company that is so involved with the Internet and a paradox to an information hunter like me because Demand Media is also known to be very wealthy. Let's not forget that Demand Media owns the profitable eNom and Name.com Registrars and recently announced more than 40 major Registrars accredited to its present and future new TLDs.

What are the differences between the Rightside Registry and the other applicants?

It is important to remember that, when talking about Rightside Registry, we are really talking about Demand Media (not forgetting Donuts' influence). Nevertheless, Rightside Registry's choice of TLD suffixes seems to follow a different logic to many of the other portfolio applicants.

The majority of portfolio applicants opted for sports suffixes and generic strings such as .WINE .SPORT and .FOOTBALL when Rightside went for more obscure and controversial choices such as .REHAB .MOTO,. .ARMY,.RIP and my personal weird favourite .NINJA. When you go for an obscure string, the risk of a entering a contention set is lower than when you go for a popular conventional string such as .FOOTBALL, which is an advantage but is a much more risky venture to make money from.

Rightside seems to have done the bare minimum necessary to pass ICANN evaluations (so no Famous Four Media style Governance Council for example) and has followed the ICANN Applicant Guidebook with no particular protection mechanism for its brands… until recently, when surprise surprise they implemented a Domain Protected Marks List (DPML).

The Rightside Registry .project

The elephant in the room with the Rightside Registry project is its intimate relationship with Donuts. Not surprisingly, there are no Rightside applications in contention with any of Donuts. But then insider knowledge is a powerful friend.

Rightside has no "secret weapon" like the FFM APM seals to better protect brands in its TLDs or the charismatic media figurehead of Uniregistry's Frank "Big .Sexy" Schilling.

Rightside Registry recently announced its own DPML but it is very different from FFM's brand protection mechanisms and guess what? It is very, very, almost identically similar to the one from operated by Donuts.

I still wonder who is really going to buy a .NAVY domain name, unless it has an agreement with the US Government. Reading the content of these "military applications" on 101domains.com, all are open ones and anybody can come and register these domain names — so I could get "jean.navy", and I can barely swim! It's fair to say that some of these applications are in conflict with ICANN because they are military in nature. It is strange to see that an applicant has applied for so many military TLDs; there must be a reason for this.

I have to believe that there could possibly be a market in the USA for these suffixes because many American people are very proud of their army, navy and air force and rightly proud of the soldiers who leave their families to fight abroad. Patriotism is more rampant in the US than it is, for example, in France. Not that I am not grateful for our expensive French army but again, it is a question of cultural difference.

Will Rightside Registry .work commercially?

Here is the list of Rightside TLDs:

.ACTOR .AIRFORCE .ARMY .BAR .CAM .DANCE .DEMOCRAT .ENGINEER .FISHING .GAY .GIVES .GREEN .IMMOBILIEN .KAUFEN .MAP .MODA .MOM .MOTO .NAVY .NINJA .REHAB . REPUBLICAN .PUB .RIP .SOCIAL .WOW

I want to emphasise that I am not an American citizen and, even if the English language is one of the most widely spoken language globally — way ahead of the French language — I still do not understand who might be willing to buy a .GIVES domain name… with an "s", although I rather like the idea of being able to offer new gTLDs in multiple languages: German and Spanish were considered here. I like .BAR .DANCE .PUB and ...RIP. I think .DANCE might surprise everybody in the long run and I consider .RIP (Rest in Peace), somewhat macabre but may have some appeal in the USA.

On Internet, not only the .RIP may offer a place to remember a person who passed on but it can also tell you about how they lived. Its worth thinking about.

By Jean Guillon, New generic Top-Level Domains' specialist
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Promoted Post

Buying or Selling IPv4 Addresses?

Watch this video to discover how ACCELR/8, a transformative trading platform developed by industry veterans Marc Lindsey and Janine Goodman, enables organizations to buy or sell IPv4 blocks as small as /20s.