Some new TLDs will run “Early Access Programs” for the Landrush phase
The TLD launch phase typically known as Landrush might look very different with new top level domain names.
Top level domain name launches over the past decade have followed a fairly similar path.
First, there’s a sunrise period in which trademark owners can get first claim on domains.
Then the domain proceeds to a landrush phase. In landrush, prices are generally higher and there are auctions if more than one person is interested in the same domain.
Finally, the domain enters general availability and the domains are available to register normally at the domain registrar.
Some new TLD applicants are taking a different approach to landrush, forgoing it for a potentially shorter period (which may actually be part of general availability) with a sort of reverse auction format. Here’s how 101Domain explains it:
Many registries are releasing new gTLDs using a fee structure similar to how you buy pre-sale concert tickets. The gist of this structure is that during Landrush, registrants will be able to reserve their names on a priority basis for varying fees. A common fee structure that will be in use is the Early Access Program (EAP).
EAP will last 7 days. On day 1, a registrant may register their domain name for a one-time fee of $10,990 plus registration fee. On day 2, the fee is $2,750, on day 3, the fee is $1,049, etc. This is essentially a first-come, first-serve auction system. For some registrants it will make sense to pay the extra fee to lock in their registrations, and for other registrants it will make sense to wait until general availability to register at a much lower price point, if the name is still available.
One important thing to note for any phase is that if someone orders in an earlier phase, the earlier phase will always take priority, so make sure you plan your strategy accordingly!
This is 101Domain’s actual pricing, including markup. Which means the early access pricing is very, very expensive. I imagine some companies that didn’t qualify for sunrise but want to protect their brand will participate. But how many domains can a company register at such high prices?
Donuts, the largest new TLD registry, plans to follow an Early Access Program model. Donuts Vice President of Communications and Industry Relations Mason Cole released the following statement to Domain Name Wire in response to the 101Domain explanation:
The concept of EAP is accurate but Donuts won’t have details about specifics until the next few weeks. Other registries may have similar programs but obviously we don’t speak for them. We have not made registry pricing public.
Some registries might not run a formal period in between sunrise and landrush. They will go straight to general availability, but pricing will be variable during the initial week or two of launch.