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DOHA and ZIPPO Make Forty Five

John Levine

Forty five what? Forty five abandoned top-level domains. On November 7, ICANN received a notice from the Communication Regulatory Authority of the State of Qatar that they are terminating the registration agreement for .DOHA. Two weeks before that, the Zadco company terminated .ZIPPO.

In addition to the $180,000 application fee, applicants had to hire consultants, make arrangements with back-end operators, go through the certification process to get their TLD online. I'd say $500,000 is a reasonable estimate of the cost for each TLD. That means 45 abandoned TLDs is over $20 million spent to accomplish nothing.

The list of terminated domains keeps growing, if anything at an increasing rate. There were only 9 terminations in all of 2017, but this year there were three in January, one in February, one in May, four in June, one in July, five in September, two in October, and one so far in November. Terminations come from a wide range of organizations ranging from McDonalds' restaurants to Allstate insurance, to Spiegel publishing, to the Qatar communications ministry, the German post office. and even Bond University in Australia. (What were they thinking?)

While I can't feel very sorry for the big presumably sophisticated organizations that wasted their money, it does make me wonder how much other destroyed value is hiding in new TLDs. The zone files for over 500 active new TLDs contain less than 10 names each, even though each is paying the ICANN fixed fee of $25,000/yr. That's $12.5 million of ICANN's budget from zombie TLDs. No doubt a few of those still have plans to do something, but even so, we're looking at a lot of failures.

By John Levine, Author, Consultant & Speaker
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Related topics: Domain Names, ICANN, New TLDs
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1930 applications submitted and just 45 abandoned is a success Jean Guillon  –  Nov 21, 2018 1:00 AM PST

I agree that this is wasted money, in particular when so many applicants, who missed the train, want to acquire a new gTLD today AND BEFORE THE NEXT ROUND STARTS.

I find that the 45 applications you are referring to are a small number compared to the number of 1930 applications submitted. I call this a success of the ICANN new gTLD program

;-)

Ah. So domain salesman have now John Levine  –  Nov 21, 2018 6:41 AM PST

Ah.  So domain salesman have now defined success as "hasn't yet publicly written off the entire investment." We'll be sure to keep that in mind.

Humpty Dumpty had a great .fail Phil Buckingham  –  Nov 21, 2018 5:50 AM PST

Jean. I totally disagree with your assessment that the gTLD programme has been a success in any shape or form & in whatever ways you want to define success. Please try and get to grips with the real numbers & the reality of the actual TLD marketplace. 

John, This is only the tip of the iceberg. In hindsight, knowing what they know now I am sure (and many agree with me) that the vast majority of applicants wouldn't have applied back in 2012 or indeed wouldn't recommend applying in the event of a 2nd round. The ICANN "community" is very very much divided on whether "we" need, whether there is the demand and whether "we" can justify the huge cost, where the monies are coming from for a second Round ( if that what it is going to be called !) and how long it is going to take to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

There is demand... Jean Guillon  –  Nov 21, 2018 6:13 AM PST

...in France at least, and I wouldn't be surprise that France is not the only country in the world where Trademarks have understood the benefit to own their personalized domain name extension. My little finger tells me that there is demand in the US and Australia too. I was at the IGF and I also listened to some professionals telling ICANN the same following: "some trademarks are dropping their TLD because they've found no use" but everybody, in our industry, knows how some providers are absolutely against another round and are doing their best for it to never see the day. Reading what participants write in certain ICANN working groups tells a lot on who wants another round and who does't.

Yes it is expensive and yes some applied and still have not found how to use their TLD but looking carefully at .BRAND new gTLDs (I listed them with the "R" sign in this report: https://www.jovenet.consulting/new-gtld-reports/new-gtlds-finance), almost ALL domain name registration volumes from "specification 13" applications (Trademarks) increase.

I leave that here.

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