NeuStar asks for prompt approval of plan to release one and two character .biz domain names.
.Biz registry NeuStar has sent a letter to ICANN expressing its disappointment that the ICANN board delayed approving the release of one and two character .biz domain names (pdf).
According to the letter, the ICANN board was supposed to vote on NeuStar’s proposal at its April 23 meeting but time ran out before a vote was held.
NeuStar wants to request proposals from parties interested in registering one and two character domain names to ensure they are used in a way that promotes the .biz brand. The company says any money earned from the release of these domain names will be funneled back into promotion of the .biz domain. Some of this will be used to pay registrars to promote .biz (this is a common promotion practice). The letter spells out some of the difficulties facing registries for “new” top level domain names:
If there is any concern among ICANN Board members about a financial windfall to NeuStar or whether approval of the .BIZ proposal somehow sets a precedent for similar auctions in market-dominant TLDs, we urge you to consider the realities of the marketplace. Under the Registry/Registrar construct designed by ICANN, registries like .BIZ are reliant on marketing by registrars. Given that .BIZ has such a small percentage of the market, registrars are generally reluctant to spend marketing dollars on the promotion of .BIZ relative to .COM. Smaller registries like .BIZ require greater flexibility relative to those with market dominance, particularly when registrars demand greater compensation to promote our brand to registrants. Therefore, any proceeds derived from the .BIZ auction would be used to make up for this shortfall by registrars and to engage in branding efforts at the registry level.