Partnerships are a key way contention sets will be resolved.
Get ready for a number of new TLD partnerships.
Yesterday Tucows, NameCheap, and Directi (see disclosure) announced a partnership for the .online top level domain name.
The three companies were part of a crowded field of six applicants vying for the domain name.
By combining forces, they’ll have more money to get the top level domain (which will likely be awarded in an auction). If they succeed, they’ll have the benefit of three large registrars promoting the domain when it hits the web.
This is the first major announcement of applicants resolving their differences and deciding to work together to obtain a top level domain.
It won’t be the last. ICANN has asked applicants to try to resolve contention sets themselves and will use auctions as a last resort.
That’s part of the reason many portfolio applicants applied for domains under different corporate entities, as it makes it easier to form partnerships for individual top level domains. Applicants need to proceed with caution, however, as they must avoid having to materially change their applications when they form partnerships.
You can expect many of these partnerships to be formed sooner rather than later. By striking a deal and withdrawing an application before the initial evaluation on the application is announced, applicants get 70% of their evaluation fee back.
Stay tuned. This is only the beginning.
(Disclosure: I work with Media.net, an online advertising company that is part of Directi. I do not have any involvement in its new TLD business.)