A controversial “relaunch” goes awry.
.CM, the country code top level domain name for The Republic of Cameroon, has a storied history amongst domainers. Kevin Ham struck a deal to wildcard the domain name, sending lots of typo traffic of .com domain names his way. Ham, including his deal with Cameroon, was the subject of a cover story in the late Business 2.0 magazine.
This year Cameroon decided to open up .cm and offer it to individual registrants, and opted to auction off the best names, such as Sex.cm. What followed was an unqualified disaster.
First, it took longer than expected to get the registry set up due to a host of technical problems. As the go-live date neared, Council of Country Code Administrators Incorporated (CoCCA), which was to run the registry for .cm, continued to be concerned with .cm’s DNS. The DNS was to be run by Cameroon’s telecom company rather than an established player. Without CoCCA’s blessing to go live, Cameroon decided to run its own copy of the registry software.
Then the auctions occurred on NameJet. It looked like a big success as Sex.cm auctioned for $51,300 and Free.cm for $17,800. But then the bottom fell out. Bidders got cold feet as they lost confidence in .cm typo traffic as well as the registry as a whole. They backed out of their bids. Sex.cm ended up trading hands for
only $21,700 (see comments, it actually sold for less) and Free.cm went for a dismal $310. Ouch.
With the delays and auction behind it, how’s .cm looking? I’m not confident. Your confidence erodes when a registry neglects to backup important billing files.