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Uniregistry activates thousands of reserved domains per TLD

Company held back thousands of domains and has now activated and parked them.

If you take a look at Uniregistry’s zone files for its TLD launches so far, you might think yesterday was a huge day.

After all, its previously launched .sexy domain jumped from 6,849 to 12,318 registrations. That’s an 80% increase.

.Tattoo jumped from just 1,432 to 5,932, a jump of over 300%.

And .link, which launched yesterday, now has a staggering 20,000+ domains in the zone.

It’s all a mirage.

Yesterday Uniregistry activated its reserved domain names in top level domains that have launched so far, massively increasing the size of its zones. It accounts for basically all of the growth in .sexy and .tatto.

Judging by some quick checks, it appears that the majority of domains in .link, which just launched with 20,000+ domains in the zone file, are actually domains reserved by the registry.

That includes almost all three digit domains that correspond to area codes. I ran whois checks on 434 names in .link starting with aac.link and only 10 (yes, 10) of them were registered by someone other than North Sound Names. Two of those were by a DomainNameSales employee! This explains why I had so much trouble finding worthwhile domains to register yesterday.

North Sound Names, a Grand Cayman company, is running premium sales for Uniregistry.

All of the domains are parked on Frank Schilling’s DomainNameSales.com with for sale links. They’re also all registered at the company’s Uniregistry registrar, meaning the registrar is technically growing like a weed.

To be fair, Uniregistry hasn’t asked anyone to judge the size of its domain base based on the zone.

Uniregistry founder Frank Schilling told The Domains that .Link, .Pics, and .Photo had all surpassed 10,000 “arms length registrations” yesterday. I guess that’s the total non-North Sound domains across all three domains.

I’ll be curious for the reaction to the level of reserved domains. Schilling has said the company was only holding back a small number of domains per TLD. I suspect his definition of small will be different than that of many domain investors.

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  1. Kevin Murphy

    Seems like apart from .link, the reserved names were about the 5k mark in each other TLD. That’s comparable to .co and .mobi, but you’re right in saying it’s not “small”.

  2. EM @KING.NET

    What do you mean “small”. I thought they reserved all good names and nothing left for us except junkies. I ended not able to register any .link domains. I think that’s a good thing.

  3. Trent

    NorthSoundNames.com was registered April 9, 2014, at uniregistry which would make it more of a subsidiary for the purpose of selling unregistey reserved names?

    Yes, since most initial reservations are not activated, the zone never jumps, looking at it from the outside you would think wow 20k registrations day 1, but the real number I think is about 4000 or so, as it was slim pickings, and over creative imaginations. With GTLD’s I really think you need to be point on with terms you use, ie) beers.link which was mentioned in another blog, I do not feel this is a good term with the plural, more of a stretch at best. Beer.link is the reserved term, and now under the direction of NorthSoundNames, which will most likely have a 4 figure asking price, but it is the term that makes sense. If gtlds are truly about branding then it is important to be spot on with your brand.

  4. Susie D

    I was in an amusing mood so looked up the definition of Shilling to see if I could come up with a joke for you.

    As I am devoid of a sense of humor, I was unable, so offer you the first result the site gave me to see if you can do any better.

    noun
    1.
    a person who poses as a customer in order to decoy others into participating, as at a gambling house, auction, confidence game, etc.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/shill

  5. Trent

    The collission list on link was extremely large as well, which would probably add to a domainers frustration of finding meaningful terms on this gtld, but the price was definitely in line at some registars being one of the lowest ever offered for a gtld. Essentially it ended up being a tease as price, and extension were right, but anything to the left of the dot was not there to be had.

  6. no name

    Did the Registry really give all these domains directly to a connected Registrar and then in addition park them to make money?

    There must be some upset Registrars out there! The rules must prohibit this right?

  7. leadlinker

    This “sandbagging” of domains is just ridiculous! Wasn’t the new gTLD programme supposed to bring liquidity to the market, a plethora of great new names not available in dot com for extremely low prices and therefore make domains available to the masses once again? All it will do, is keep enhancing dot com’s appeal as the safe harbour – and validate the values of premium dot coms!

    On a sperate note, where do the registries publish their list of 100 names that they can hold back officially for themselves? Is this a myth or does it genuinely exist as a concept and they are publicly available? Somewhere on ICANN?

  8. Trent

    Yes, It was, I tried to think a bit outside the box with more recent trending terms as well, but unregisty research team is very good at finding those terms as well.

    With link you have more options as opposed to .bike, or .plumbing, but at what domain grade level do you say well this investment is not worth $10, as I am buying a tier C domain, unproven commodity in being gtld, and no aftermarket.

    To be perfectly honest, this essentially seemed like a closed gtld extension, as with the left of the dot keywords you are limited to a X amount of reasonable meanings, unlike .com which is infinite. So how much growth can most of these gtlds have going forward once they surpass an X amount of registrations. Anything outside of that just ends up being unbrandable, or incoherent terms.

    That is just my take on it, I just call it on my own experience, maybe others can chime in.

  9. George Kirikos

    “Mirage” was a nice choice of words. The philosophy of “fake it ’til you make it” doesn’t doesn’t just apply to new gTLD *registrants*, it also appears to be the approach taken by the registries. 🙂

      • George Kirikos

        Andrew: They could have taken the path of transparency, but instead took the path of obfuscation.

        As for “North Sound Names”, check the MX (mail) records for northsoundnames.com:

        ;; ANSWER SECTION:
        northsoundnames.com. 3600 IN MX 10 mx1.hostingnet.com.

        Of course, the owner of hostingnet.com should not be a surprise to anyone. Check the MX records for uniregistry.com:

        ;; ANSWER SECTION:
        uniregistry.com. 3600 IN MX 10 mx1.hostingnet.com.

        What a surprise, they are the same….

  10. Trent

    Well now I realize why this extension was $10, because Tier A domains were reserved. Nobody would pay $25 for draft pick 20,001 and on…

    So a way to create a closed registry is to create an offshore 3rd party company, and sell them a chunk of the best names, that way you get the appeal of a open registry with $10 registrations?

  11. Anticareer.com

    Frank sure knows how to pad his pockets while squeezing all domainers and the like while at the same time telling everyone it is for the good of everyone. Come on Frank, if you want to line your pockets fine, but don’t pretend you are doing a favor for everyone else.

  12. RK

    I love this investigative journalism. Finally a piece that made me visit this site regularly many years ago. Great Job Andrew!

  13. Robbie

    Maybe you guys need to check out his Twitter page of jets, and sports cars, while you guys sit there scratching your ass to why there are no good .link domains for registration. Transfer of wealth, start with the cream off the top…

    When are you going to wake up, and smell the real coffee, not the .coffee

  14. U Lala

    I expect Frank is looking back in horror at his decision to be less than transparent with what he thought were his fawning domainer fans. Dont get me started on that vomit meme on Berkens blog.

  15. Mary Shaver

    I noticed quickly that all the even half-descent .link names had been registered in mass by someone. Thanks, now I know the someone.

    I am starting to feel that these new TLD are a complete waste of my time. Seems like they were fair for the first couple of launches, then they became emboldened and started to raid the cookie jar.

    It just shows you the whole premise of the new TLD’s was bull. The average joe will never get a great or even good name to register in all these TLD, contrary to what we were told .

    That was supposed to be the reason we needed all these new TLD, LOL.

  16. Jim

    Waiting for Berryhill or Acro to respond and say it’s all legal and it’s all for the benefit of the community.

    • Acro

      The world does not revolve around domainers, Jimbo. Frank’s decisions are his own, and he does not need anyone’s support. Yes, many good .link domains are reserved but those that cry “shock horror” would never open their pockets anyway. Onto the next gTLD launch.

  17. George Kirikos

    Oh what a tangled web we weave……

    From an interview at DotWhatever:

    http://dotwhatever.com/dotwhatever-interview-frank-schilling/

    “Q: Is Frank.sexy reserved?

    Frank Schilling: It’s not on ICANN’s reserved list above so frank.sexy will go out to another “Frank” at registration price or to an investor like you to sell to him for $15 or less at your favorite registrar or at Uniregistry.com on February 23rd.”

    And who owns Frank.sexy? Why yes, it’s North Sound Names!

    https://whois.domaintools.com/frank.sexy

    And who owned it on March 1st, when Frank Schilling stated “it’s not on ICANN’s reserved list”…..our friends at DomainTools.com have the answer, via the WHOIS history:

    https://www.domaintools.com/research/whois-history/search/?q=frank.sexy&date=2014-03-01&origin=permalink

    Domain Name: frank.sexy

    >>> This name is not available for registration:
    >>> This name is registry reserved by Uniregistry.

  18. Jim

    It’s kind of funny that if you use Frank’s whois privacy, the address is:

    Registrant Street: PO BOX 30485
    Registrant City: SEVEN MILE BEACH

    And the WHOIS on North Sound Names:

    Registrant Street: 30485 SEVEN MILE BEACH

    Using the old hiding behind WHOIS privacy, but didn’t even get the address correct.

    The Cayman Islands, doesn’t have a street address like 30485 SEVEN MILE BEACH.

  19. Bart

    Frank should have registered 120 million .link
    What a great start on day 1, they would have more domains in the zone file than .com has !

    Objects in the zone file are much smaller than they appear.
    Why only adding 18,272 *artificial* .link domains, why not 100,000 and claiming you had the most successful TLD launch, surpassing .guru and .berlin ?

    What’s the next step Frank, what about wildcarding everything ?

    Everyone respected you, with that move you’ve lost all credibility with domainers.
    Pitiful.

  20. George Kirikos

    Deconstructing the name “Uniregistry” might provide insights. Most people have been treating “uni” as coming from the Latin “unus” (one).

    But, it *could” also be broken down into *3* parts, namely:

    u = “you”
    n = “and”
    i = “I” = Frank

    There are the names that “u” get (the leftovers) to regiser, ‘n’ there are the names that “i” obtains (the good ones). 🙂

  21. brand

    This is great to read all the blogs out there on the new extensions.
    I have not registered a one, but by reading all your great comments here today, i’m glad people are starting to see the light on all of this.
    This is starting to be a big joke and with more to come.
    It’s all going to hellinahand.basket

  22. Robbie

    You have to give RIch Schwartz credit he called this kind of behavior from day 1, now judgement day has come, and everything he said is coming true.

    I am seeing so many trademarks being violated in the new gtld landscape, many of these speculators are clueless to what they are stepping into.

  23. John McCormac

    The numbers are quite terrifying for newly launched gTLDs. Taking the number of domains on internettraffic.com in each of those new gTLDs (gift, link, photo, sexy, tattoo) produces the following:
    gTLD – Hoster – Total Domains – Net
    gift – 3962 – 4720 – 758
    link – 18272 – 20,050 – 1778
    photo – 4145 – 5347 – 1202
    sexy – 5877 – 12,318 – 6,441
    tattoo – 4608 – 5,932 – 1,324

    And those are without the registry reserved domains on the Uniregistry nameservers.

  24. John Poole

    Frank’s strategy–Registry, Registrar, Domain Name Investor, Parking Platform-Broker-Reseller–will likely be THE model for success by future gTLD applicants. Of course it does require large amounts of capital and a large inventory to be successful — both of which Frank has through his various entities. New gTLDs do not have the same Registry restrictions as do, for example, .com and .net. Everyone should have been aware of this as this is exactly what ICANN intended and allowed. If you don’t like it, don’t blame Frank, blame ICANN. There are hundreds more gTLDs coming soon and ICANN has been busy collecting millions of dollars from gTLD applicants.

  25. Kassey

    Yes, new gTLDs provide more choices — but not many meaningful choices. The high prices for good names mean it’s even more difficult for new businesses to try to brand using the new gTLDs. The one issue with new gTLDs that really scares me is that they have no price cap on renewal. Registries can change the renewal prices as they like.

    • Robbie

      The registries are capped at what percentage they can raise the prices by per year, and they must give a certain amount of notice before doing so that you have a chance to renew at current rates, much like .com.

      You are correct though that there is not the same level of internal controls as .com currently has, and that is why this thread is over 40 comments deep.

      • George Kirikos

        Robbie: That’s actually *not* correct for the new gTLDs. While .net/org/biz/info have 10% annual price increase limits, all the newest gTLDs have no price controls (I fought for that issue at ICANN, but of course was ignored; all the ICANN insiders won).

        All that exists as a “protection” is the notice period before a price increase takes effect (which would allow one to renew in advance). If you later (after the notice period concluded) sold the domain name, and that new owner wanted to do anything that would require a renewal (e.g. a transfer to a different registrar triggers a renewal), they’d have to pay the higher rate. Of course, if the new owner knows that higher renewal costs exists, that would dampen the value of the domain (just like higher property tax rates on a house would depress home values).

        See section 2.10 of .sexy, for example:

        http://www.icann.org/sites/default/files/tlds/sexy/sexy-agmt-html-11sep13-en.htm

        (you’ll notice the lack of protections, compared to similar sections in .com/net/org/biz/info)

        • George Kirikos

          Just to be more precise, there *is* a “control” (if one can call it that) that there be “uniform pricing” for renewals, however I wouldn’t call it a full price control (like say a hard cap that exists in .com/net/org/biz/info), because the new gTLD registries can easily get around that uniform renewal pricing by having the registrant “agree” to that different renewal pricing at the time the domain name is registered (like many of the Donuts premium names are doing).

          Caveat emptor, read your registration agreements carefully, and the agreement that registry operator has with ICANN.

          • Robbie

            Thank you, for that update, appreciate it. Given the ethics we have seen to date, my guess based on the numbers on the ground in terms of registrations on certain gtld’s, we will be seeing some price gauging renewals coming going forward. Scanning thru .marketing today, I saw very little end user activity.

            If anyone wants Gift.Holiday it is available for $500 annual renewal, Holiday.Gift was taken by Erik Ludwick during sunrise, I guess his pen company has exclusive rights for Holiday gift pens.

  26. Kassey

    Then, what’s the percentage they can raise the prices per year? Is it the same percentage across all new gTLDs? Thanks.

    • George Kirikos

      There is no maximum percentage limit for the new gTLDs, just a notice period requirement (see section 2.10 of the link above for .sexy’s registry agreement).

      Given many people ignore reminders from their registrars, the potential exists for massive gouging of those who have “auto renew” enabled on their domain names (esp. “suckers”, e.g. corporate registrants who got the domains for brand protection). It wouldn’t surprise me if a registry boosted renewal pricing from $10/yr to $10,000/yr. If only 5% of people renewed (perhaps because they had auto-renew enabled, setting it and forgetting it), they would make a LOT more money.

      One of the registry operators, .wed plans to charge $30,000/yr for renewals after the first 2 years, see:

      http://domainincite.com/16144-weirdest-new-gtld-launch-yet-wed-launches-with-a-single-registrar

      I’d be careful with “auto renew” on that one (although I suspect for most people, a $30K charge on their credit card would be rejected).

        • bul

          Comon now. They do that and everybody drops their gTLD and what happens? You’re ignoring the laws of economics. In 2 years, there will so much supply than demand that prices for all domain names will fall. It’d be the time to cut prices not to raise.

        • bul

          I think Frank has been beaten to death here. Cut him some slack. Keep in mind that he is a businessman and business strategy is what businesses do. I reservation system might be a failed business strategy or might work.

          I bet you, uniregistry doesn’t want its affiliates to end up with all the domains as it would not make economic sense. The market always speaks, as customers and consumers of domains rightfully or not, you’ve had your word and Frank has put in his word as well. One thing for certainty, you will all get to know wether the reservation experiment is bad faith or is good for the end user; the kind of guy you and Frank are counting on.

  27. eh

    the man changed his terms of service, that’s all
    he kept the names he thought he should keep after getting a preview from the roll out of the other extensions, its a smart move, even though he said otherwise
    it would have been something else, if he had sold you the domains, charged for them, put them in your account, and then take them back, like the other guys did
    that was wrong
    unless you bought into the hype, i don’t understand the animosity, especially now having so much choices of dot dis and dot dat

  28. Frank Schilling

    A full day of travel for me today and this is more or less the train of comments I expected. 🙂

    This entire thread reminds me of two old women in a restaurant. The first says “The food here is horrible” and her dining partner chimes in “Yes, and they should give us much bigger potions.”

    In fact seeing so many of my domainer competitors, so lathered up (whether they be trying to protect their .com turf (talk down every development with the new stuff) or trying to get the premium names we control, shows me we are doing exactly the right things.

    10,000 or 20,000 domain names do not make the name space they live in. These are incredibly small numbers against the backdrop of 100 million.com’s . dot Guru has 40,000+ names registered and it’s still virtually untouched. LINK is one hell of a lot better than GURU .. I think .LINK is second to only .WEB as a generic alternative. We could wind up with 10 million registrations in a few short years! If I lower prices it could get there in 18 months and we may yet do that.

    As a registry, we are a real estate developer, building new name spaces, and we are shepherding some of the valuable real estate in our spaces as a registry assets. Nothing has changed there. We have said that same thing all along. Many of the names we control will be given out for free – but not today and certainly not to domainers hoping to flip them for for a quick buck.

    In fact if the comments here show me anything it’s that nobody cares about the health and longevity of the registries but “the registry” itself. No matter what we do, we displease those who want what we have, or those who’s businesses our competition is disrupting.

    Adam correctly pointed out that mirage.link, mirage.pics and mirage.sexy are still available. While I know his comment was meant sarcastically, the first two are worth significantly more than reg price and they are just sitting there. We see *hundreds of thousands* of more valuable names just sitting in our spaces unregistered right now, (certainly more valuable than those three). All those names are just waiting to be mined and discovered. Some people are discovering them as you all grumble on. : -) We had a record day selling some of them today. While you spent your energy slinging the best barb you could under your fake name in this forum, others made money under your nose. Their hard work will pay off and they will get their own jets one day — then you can grumble at them. While there are hundreds of thousands of unregistered premium .link names just sitting there now, they will not be there this time next year.

    I am coming to learn that we probably didn’t build our namespaces for many of the commentators on this forum. But that said, if you have your eye on a registration price name, the time to be creative is now, before they really are all gone. Names will get taken.

    I said it at the outset of this process, “In the domain name business there are those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happened.” If anything was a surprise today it’s learning how many of the latter two live here – What a shame. Don’t let fear and “knowing better” waylay you. Get something good… there is sooooo much available. These names will get registered.. if not by you then by somebody.

    🙂

    Good luck out there.

    PS.. all .link names will be renewed at registration price or less over the next 10 years.. unless there is hyperinflation. That makes .LINK the most viable extension that makes sense at the lowest prices out there.

    • Jim

      I don’t think at least for some of us it was about protecting our .com portfolios. Actually I attempted to register 25 .link domains on the first day with 24 of them being registered by your North South Names company.

      I have probably purchased about 1500 of the new gtlds since launch, I think most of them will fail, but I don’t completely want to miss out either, just in case one or two of them do succeed.

      Nobody cares about the registry! Why should they? We all care about ourselves. We are trying to make money just like you are trying to make money. Unfortunately, you have taken such a large number of the premium domains for yourself that .link is crap.link. (Now owned by North Sound Names).

      I thought you had built your “namespace” for people like me, but it seems you built your “namespace” for yourself.

      Good luck out there.

      PS… .link ranks right next to .cat and .pro, not .web.

      • Frank Schilling

        Jim, I’m sorry we couldn’t transfer that wealth to you for free. I see .LINK akin to .SHOP or .WEB .. it will not be as strong as those two but it will be up there because it will be much cheaper. Through that optic, our reserved list is quite small and the singular is often available if the plural is gone. You just need to open your eyes and look.

        JZ – You are right that I view .link as a space similar to com with a potential of millions of registrations as the Web grows in the next decade. At $9.88 or less we think .LINK (which is the only string I see us talking about here) will have millions of registrations at some point. In .PICS .GUITARS (which i agree are more niche in nature) we reserved a tiny clutch of what we had to, and those spaces went out nearly naked! We will do that same thing again. “It depends on the string.” is what I said from the outset.

        Hardeep – have you read this comment thread? If I give away the best names to you for free I’m a hero and if I don’t then I’ve lost my integrity. That is not a healthy relationship. At least some of the commentators here are more demon customer or competitor than they are our classical customer. Show me a frank looking to develop a website at frank.sexy and we will give them frank.sexy for free. Show me a domainer looking for a quick flip on this-one and this name is unavailable. In the mean time franks.sexy is worth more than reg-price and available unregistered.

        Domenclature – The registry will do what is in the best interest of the space it is building. By owning premiums we can give them away, place them, sell them strategically etc. You are correct that we used our historical “domainer” instincts to identify good names, but our long term motivations are far different than those of a classical domainer. I’d liken our motivations in the registry/registrar space closer to what we are doing on the parking and sales side at DNS than as domainer.

        In the end, I do not know another registry that has structured itself in a way to do the things Uniregistry has for it’s customers. We have the lowest prices by far, hands-off governance of it’s registrants. We’ve included security data compliance requirements to protect registrants from name theft, (which are the elements that kept the Godaddy’s and Netsol’s away). In the absence of that distribution we have built our own fully featured registrar with an affiliate program, to let people make money with domain names, and we released many great names at reg price. Hundreds of thousands of which are still sitting there this morning.

        I keep checking a list of dictionary and multi-word salable items at Uniregistry.com and they are available at registration price. These names will get discovered by some miner later this year.

        Lastly @Tim James and others who think like that – being a jealous hater is not going to make you successful, it’s gonna give you cancer. The glass is half full not half empty, if you care to look.

        • Domenclature.com

          @Frank,

          In the eyes of many domainers, there is a limited amount of good quality names per string, at least at this stage (I don’t think any of them i any good personally), so if you registered for yourself all those names that domainers indicate are the gravy, you CANNOT keep reciting the fallacy that there are still millions unregistered in the string. It will be silly for you not to understand that those left-overs are no good, or at least, are not considered investment grade.

          Secondly, you do not have the cheapest price if a bulk of your names are PREMIUMS at high costs/renewals and your chaff is at a penny. The average will determine the price in this case. If your good names sell for $500 and your chaff sell at one cent, then your true price is $250 per name. That’s realism.

          Thirdly, you can’t be a Registry and view your Registrants as “Competition”. That is a glaring conflict of interest. You must guard yourself against such crude remarks, no matter what domainers say. I believe the problem is with ICANN, for letting domainers operate registries. And this should be looked at by the US government.

          Frank Schilling, I’ve come to realize that you have no clue as to how much domainers respected, trusted, and believed in you. To many domainers, you were almost a god, and they feel disappointed by your “competition” against them. I am not one of those, first of all, I have never used any of your services, not the parking, not the DNS, or your Registries so I cannot say if your products are good or bad, I don’t worship idol, so you are not a god to me, but I liked your blogs at Seven mile, and so on…

          I have nothing against the entrepreneurship of all new gTLD operators, but fair is fair. I believe the new gTLD is a chaotic unnecessary disturbance of the internet.

          Finally, you keep projecting a window of 20 to 30 years, a generation, for the fruits of the new Gs to be realized, tell me, how do you rule out a “dot-less” internet that could happen any time before that period? It may not, but it could.
          If ICANN could, they would; they wouldn’t not only if they could not.

          If dot-less internet happens, pop goes the weasel.

    • jZ

      frank, it seems you view new gtlds like you view .com. it works with whatever you put in front of it but that is not how the majority of people see it. people are lookin for phrases or word combos with these new tlds. not just sticking anything in front of it like. com which limits the number of domains that work with it. all of the good .gurus are gone (well if there ever were any, i think guru is a poor ‘fad’ term). you can’t just put anything in front of it and it will make sense. like your previous examples for .sexy. lustyladies.sexy beaches.sexy…none of those make sense. ones that make sense are domains like ami.sexy or gregis.sexy, etc…phrases! the idea that any of these domains will get 10 million registrations is dreaming. if it happens i will take back everything i say but i just don’t see it. i tried searching for over 100 .links….not a single one available for registration. mostly reserved by your company north sound. i can only imagine the number of people who search and search to only give up and assume the only system is being gamed against them. how many non-domainer customers have done the same?

      and really, how many people are going to make money off these extensions? there will be at least a 30% loss rate come renewal time for most new gtlds..those people certainly won’t of made any money. there will certainly be more people losing money than making it at least for the first 5 years.

    • jZ

      the thing i really want to know though is, what happened to the frank who said nothing would be held back? did that frank ever exist?

  29. Hardeep K

    “In fact seeing so many of my domainer competitors, so lathered up…”

    If you replace the words “domainer competitors” with the word “customers” you will see why all of that response it so frustrating for some of us. To dismiss warranted criticism outright in that way…well…the cats out the bag now, I guess.

    The ownership of frank.sexy is like a punch line to this whole bad joke.

    Forgive me, Frank, if I’m happier to spend my time queuing for a budget flight and handing my passport to security than to be whisked through to “my own private jet” while leaving my integrity at home.

    Good for you.

  30. CW>

    So, new gTLD Registries are domaining and cyber-sqatting themselves!
    I thought that part of the argument for new gTLDs was to increase consumer choice. Evidently not.

  31. George Kirikos

    I note Frank Schilling posted “Nothing has changed there. We have said that same thing all along”, but ignored the specific Frank.sexy counter-example, and documented prior quote. It’s one thing to flip-flip, but yet another to suggest one has not changed one’s position, when the evidence is staring one in the face. How stupid do you think observers are?

    Here’s a way for Frank to test whether his own employees/staff/contractors believe in new gTLDs. Offer them a chance to trade 20% of their salary/compensation for .link or .sexy or .whatever domain name registration credits, rather than cash.

    Frank has opined that this is the “golden age of naming” — let the staff have the chance to “eat their own dog food” and get real unbiased feedback as to what those domains are worth. 🙂 Either the employees will believe that it’s a 20% pay cut (because the new gTLD domains are worthless), or the employees will believe they’ve struck gold and will be owning their own private jets soon. I suspect it will be the former, rather than the latter. Make it entirely optional, with no repercussions if staff choose to keep cash, and you’ll see how your employees/staff/contractors really feel, vs. the “anonymous” (oops, I’m using my real name, so I guess that excludes me!) “haters” on the blog comments.

    This would also be a way to cut down on operating costs (besides being a “loyalty test”) — given the abysmal performance of new gTLDs to date, I suspect this will be a necessity for most registries.

    Tip for employees: take the cash, not the domains. How many .sexy or .link domains would *I* as a rational investor require, in exchange for any of my elite domains, such as School.com? Ask the same for Anything.com or Digimedia, what the “exchange rate” would be to trade a good .com vs anything in a new gTLD.

    If new gTLDs are the new wave, Uniregistry can offer an open “trade in” program, to trade any .com/net/org, etc. domains for .link credits, and see what happens. Call it the “AM Radio” to “Satellite radio” trade up program. 🙂

    Or, offer the ability of those who got suckered into new gTLD registrations the ability to trade their .whatever domains for names in the NameAdmin .com/net/org portfolio. That would be “innovative thinking” if those new gTLDs had any value above zero, since there’d be an exchange rate somewhat below “infinity.”

    Ask any of the bloggers whether they’ll accept .link registration credits, instead of cash, for their paid advertising, and see what creative excuses those bloggers come up with to require cash. 🙂

  32. Tim James

    I’m not a ‘jealous hater’ Frank, Im someone who was queuing up at your door on day one only to find that you didn’t stick to your word regards name availability. I lost a lot of time and effort preparing to hand over plenty of my hard earned to you only to find you moved the goal posts.

    Im not alone it seems.

    Not because people wanted domains for free or for discount like you try to suggest, they merely expected you to stick to your word that keywords would be let out the door on day one at retail price. Your commitment. Stop trying to suggest that people have expected to hold you to doing more than what you said you would do.

    I suspect that your suggestion that I may get cancer is actually provoked by me identifying North Sound Names to Drew and Konstantinos as being a subject of interest rather than calling you out. For what its worth, whilst I don’t spend all of my time taking selfies in front of sports cars, I am happy with my level of success thanks. I will always welcome the opportunity to listen to or dismiss your unsolicited sage advice though.

    If I may return the favour I would suggest always being mindful that when you say something that you expect to be reported, your future customers might expect to hold you to it. They’re a demanding bunch, customers.

  33. Frank Schilling

    Tim thanks for the clarification – I will bear that in mind – I’m never too big to learn .. I did stick to my word though – Replay every comment I’ve made on our premiums and we never contemplated releasing 100% of everything in every space .. As I said .pics went nearly 100% open (guitars too.. Photo had just a clutch reserved ) also You didn’t “find” our development co (north sound) .. It’s “hiding” in plain view. We’ve been very open about it. I’m happy to have it disclosed.

    George you’re not a hater bro, just a bit of a grave-dancer, giddy to jump on the negative biased posts related to new G’s and “turn the knife” inside anything that could marginalise the value of the .com slds you’ve cobbled together. You’re protecting what you see as your turf and I think if I’m successfull it will eat you on some level. I look forward to offering .school at low registration prices but expect there will be some premiums. I’m sorry about frank.sexy .. As I said the name is available at no cost to any frank who will develop it. We have literally sooo much on the go at the moment that there are no mercantilist designs around any one SLD. we’re just outgunned, doing so much that that one got reserved.

    These are assets of the registry for the benefit of the registry – we have the luxury of releasing authcodes at our discretion to build excitement and see the corners of the spaces developed. They will get built over time .. 2 years / 2 million registrations

    In the mix .link pics photo and gift are 3 days old. Let’s see what the river brings.
    One thing in all this is certain, uniregistry plans to bootstrap every dollar we make back into marketing our strings so whether it’s no cost .link names to linkedin users or tv ads during sporting events – the future marketing we do will be seen – the public at large will hear about the spaces we are curating and the registrants in our spaces will be the beneficiaries. None of us are going to decide success or failure on day 3 . I’m ready for the marathon : )

  34. George Kirikos

    According to DomainIncite’s reporting:

    http://domainincite.com/9325-schilling-applies-for-scores-of-new-gtlds

    “The company doesn’t plan on keeping whole swathes of premium real estate for itself or for auction, Schilling said.”

    Ahem. *cough*

    ““We’ve seen good TLDs fail with bad business plans,” he said, pointing to premium-priced .tv as an example. “You need to allow other people to profit, to evangelize your space.”

    It looks like those enemy “domainers” aren’t feeling evangelical about your space (see their comments above). Perhaps they’re not being allowed to….*cough*..profit?

    “Uniregistry only plans to hold back a “handful” of premium names, Schilling said. The rest will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.”

    I suppose some folks’ hands are bigger than others…..

    “To avoid creating wastelands of parked domains, the company plans to deploy technical countermeasures to prevent too many domains falling into too few hands.”

    I wonder what’s happening to all those domain names….oh right, thanks to John McCormac of HosterStats who ran the zones (see comment above)
    “The numbers are quite terrifying for newly launched gTLDs” with most of the names parked (with Frank’s parking company!) Aren’t those the “wastelands of parked domains” that were written about??

    “What we want to avoid is someone going in and getting 100,000 of the best ones on day one. It’s not fair, and it’s unhealthy for the space.”

    I think most would agree that it would be bad for the domain name industry and the public interest if registries were to operate like “boiler rooms” that were/are infamous in the financial industry (although they make for entertaining movies, like Wolf of Wall Street or Boiler Room!). Look at the characteristics of “boiler rooms” and notice that there are some similarities (and obviously some differences):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiler_room_(business)

    “Once the insider investors are in place, a boiler room promotes (via telephone calls to brokerage clients or spam email) these thinly traded stocks where there is no actual market. The brokers of the boiler room actually “create” a market by attracting buyers, whose demand for the stock drives up the price; this gives the owners of the company enough volume to sell their shares at a profit, a form of pump and dump operation where the original investors profit at the expense of the investors taken in by the boiler room operation.”

    “Some traits of a boiler room include presenting only good news about the stock to be sold and discouraging outside research by customers or brokers working there.”

    I think that last part is crucial. If new gTLD operators want to only promote the “good news”, and want to *discourage outside research” by others, then that really is against the public interest. I’m not a “grave dancer” by any means — folks like myself who’ve been critical of new gTLDs counter-balance the “only good news” statements coming from proponents of new gTLDs, thereby providing a valuable service to consumers and provide balance.

    Furthermore, as new gTLDs fail left and right, their operators will put pressure on their buddies at ICANN to change policies in the registry operators’ favour even more, possibly affecting .com/net/org registrants.

    Where’s the Frank Schilling who fought against VeriSign via the CFIT anti-trust case, only to capitulate claiming the legal expenses where too high? Claiming the legal expenses were too high, while boasting about private jets, etc., and then investing tens of millions of dollars to become a registry operator (i.e. “if you can’t beat them, join them…..”) is inconsistent. The interests of registry operators and registrars are *not* aligned with the interests of registrants. I’m not conflicted in any way — I stand with the registrants. As a prospective registry operator, was Frank Schilling arguing for hard price caps for new gTLDs??? Nope! It would be against his interests, and would limit his ability to profit from “premium” domains reserved by the registry. Were new gTLD registry operators in favour of having regular public tenders, so that operation of a given string would go to the operator willing to have the lowest price cap? (i.e. just like any other procurement contract) Nope! It would be against the interests of registry operators, if they were forced to compete for the lowest prices. They want the benefits to pass to themselves, not to the consumers/registrants.

  35. Frank Schilling

    George – I concede it’s good to point out all sides to an argument – I concede that one sided cheerleading is bad. Your boiler room example actually reminds me more of the birth of modern .com trading than of new g’s at the moment, although that is a future risk likely to repeat. It will not be me doing that though. I also concede my parking co is the dominant one (due to the sales platform) and that you will continue to see it outperform others as we lower the cost of doing business there. I don’t recall seeing george kirikos donations during the cfit era. Rather I recall you being the one to egg-on the fight but unwilling to get his knuckles bloody. We also don’t agree on the solution to the circumstances that brought on that era .. We believe icann moving the dot and adding thousands of extensions was the best move to counterbalance one dominant registry in the future. Lastly, in regard to those large swaths, we have them now, but will not have them in future. I believe that if anyone is going to curate thousands of the best names it’s best for it to be the registry managing the space. About the only thing we agree on is that my definition of a handful is different than yours when taken in context of millions of potential registrations. You fail to acknowledge that we have released 4 namespaces at registration price with between zero and hardly-any premiums. No other registry has done this. We have structured our spaces so all but the laziest and most particular can profit in them. But that will not save the laziest and most particular, from the outcome they are destined for.

    • George Kirikos

      Re: CFIT, I think you’re revising history, given:

      (1) the backers of CFIT kept themselves secret for a long, long time. Indeed, VeriSign had to move (near the end of the whole thing) via the courts that the backers actually disclose themselves!

      (2) I was *never* asked to get involved in CFIT, or for a “donation”. It was funny, because someone doing research was Googling my name (with terms related to ‘CFIT’), thinking I might be involved! Writing a cheque as a donation is often less valuable than spending countless hours analyzing ICANN policy to see what affects domain name registrants (e.g. tiered pricing, WLS, ETRP for being able to reverse domain name transfers without due process, SiteFinder and countless other bad ideas coming out of ICANN). I even sent a few ideas/thoughts to Bret (unsolicited) during the CFIT case back in 2008/2009.

      (3) In order to actually bring a lawsuit, one needs *standing*. As a non-registrar, what standing did I have? None.

      Lastly, I’ve had my knuckles “bloodied” defending domain owner’s rights, e.g. when defending my company’s Pupa.com domain nave via Ontario court (covered on both this blog and TheDomains), handing the Italian company a loss (and helping to reinforce legal precedents in Canada with regards to domain name law, just like Tucows and others have done). My legal fees were significant, but I never settled or backed down, or whined about it (or asked for handouts/donations). There, I had actually had “standing.” Or in ICANN working groups, etc. (the debates in those working groups were a lot more heated than these 60+ comment blogs; there, the discussions went on far, far longer).

      At the end of the day, the market will determine the winners and losers, and the market is brutally honest. Suggestions of being “lazy” or “most particular” don’t affect rational investors. Those who are consistently wrong will lose money (and leave the industry), and those who are consistently right will make money. There are only so many registrants who are able to sustain losses on their new gTLD registrations, and they’ll be spread across 500+ gTLDs. Dot-mobi has an insignificant secondary market, despite over a million registrations (the only “winner” is the registry). Same for .co.

      Folks should think carefully what their “exit” strategy is, as it’s a far different story for registries to “exit” than it is for *registrants* to exit. The interests of registries and registrants are simply not in alignment.

  36. Domainer Extraordinaire

    I’ve said all along that the .anythings will fail because there is not enough domainer cash to go around. Domainers have been key to all new tld successes.
    They’ve also been responsible for many temporary successes that ended up failures.
    Frank pissing off domainers will only accelerate the failures.

  37. Owen Frager

    so if I hear you correctly the real problem here is jealousy over Frank’s private Jet or his audacity to take a twitter photo next to a private jet he doesn’t own and never even boarded to imply be bought one with your parking money even though you don’t park with him?

  38. Frank

    In the interest of closing the loop and to your #3 I had no more standing than you George.. I was a reluctant registrant trying to do what I thought was right and I volunteered.. and then as I said to Bret, “Obi Wan turned off the light Saber”, the suit folded and we repurposed our efforts up a level. There is no better way to keep domain prices in established spaces in check than by giving away .Web for free .. or .Link as the case may be.

    Competition keeps prices low.

    Perhaps the biggest difference between you and I is that you see absolutely no value in new extensions – That boggles my mind when you supported the spirit of what CFIT was trying to accomplish. Having a good alternative to established spaces makes it harder for those spaces to jack up prices. But pricing valve aside, I actually see value in these new extensions. Real value — and not just in mine, but also Donuts strings, United TLD, Famous Four and TLDH.

    If you can buy a generic masthead term in an extension that makes sense, at predictable low-prices (say $9.88) and you can get 35% off the purchase and its renewal via our Uniregistry.com affiliate program making a name $6.40, and I am telling you, there is traffic (actually traffic in low volumes) in many of these strings. Potentially enough to sustain the $6.40 renewal (in the available ones excluding the premiums) — why on God’s green Earth wouldn’t you take a poke at mining and trying something? It makes no sense to me. Or at least blow $1000 for 150 names to experiment?

    Believe me I am not doing this to get rich off your purchases. I make far more in my premium .com’s and my legacy traffic business than I will make selling you 150 .LINK names. Do the math – I’d have to sell 1mm of them just to make it interesting.

    I’m doing this to create something bigger and to unlock the value of names. Why you talk down even opportunities that make sense, completely and outrightly dismissing opportunities that make good business sense, is beyond me. Anyway. I’ll stop now.

  39. George Kirikos

    There is a better way to keep domain registration costs in .com/net/org in check, namely regular competitive tender, awarding the contracts to the registry that will do the job at the lowest cost to the public. Neustar faces that kind of competitive tender for its management of phone numbers, for example:

    http://news.investors.com/technology/013014-688202-neustar-shares-plunge-telecom-contract-renewal-in-jeopardy.htm

    Garbage delivery is the same way in many cities. Nearly all procurement contracts are the same.

    .TK domain names are free. Knock yourself out. 🙂

    The only way I’m registering new gTLDs, is if the price is *below* zero (i.e. negative price, i.e. the registry pays people to register them), as others have suggested. Even then, it’d need to be enough below zero to be worth the time, and I’d not use them. 🙂

    Try that experiment of offering registration credits for .link domains to your staff/employees/contractors, in lieu of 20% of their salary, and they’ll give you the honesty and clarity you seek. Give them your best pitch, and have them explain to you, when they politely decline, why they made their decision.

  40. Frank Schilling

    George .. Those who failed to get the best extensions and who realise their error quickly try to correct their oversight by pushing to regulate what they missed (as you suggest). I’m glad we had this exchange though so it can live as a “theater of the absurd” and cautionary reflection-point for the benefit of future registrants. .tk is free because it’s a country code tld and as such it gets to live under different rules that are less costly to execute for the registry operator. But what the Hell is a tk? “Let’s go to the tk to get a tk for our tk!!” Yeah, that doesn’t work. It works in “web” it works in “shop” and it works in “link” and a handful of others. True generics that work for everything and that just “feel right” are scarce. Yet we all know them when we feel them or when they’re presented to us. The very fact that you would ask millions for school.com yet completely write off school.link unless it were free (or you were paid to take it) puts a fine punctuation mark on the absurdity of our time.. What the hell is a “com” aside from a learned human behaviour? A behaviour that will be unwound with the certainty of sand draining an hour glass with the passage of time and subsequent gtld rounds. The boy with his finger in the dyke looks like a freaking genius until the dyke has more leaks than he has fingers. At the end of the day it’s far better to diversify, particularly when the strings worthy of diversification are so few and far between.

  41. tm

    A short time ago, had you asked the majority of the the .anything naysayers, which (if any) of these new gtld’s would have the best chance of succeeding, most would have reserved a little optimism and pointed to your .Link extention among very few others. Some even putting it up there with .Web. Why has this viewpoint changed so quickly? Do you feel it’s because we all deceived ourselves into believing we would get something for nothing?
    Who here actually caught any 2 word names, let alone 1 word names worth their own annuals?

    “You didn’t “find” our development co (north sound) .. It’s “hiding” in plain view.” – Frank Shilling.

    Tim James @TimJamesDomains @Frank_Schilling @domainnamewire “North Sound Names”, Uniregistry address, reselling domains that never made it to market. Who are they?

    Frank Schilling @Frank_Schilling @TimJamesDomains @DomainNameWire .. they are the company that has done a deal for our premium names 7:38 PM – 15 Apr 2014

    Hmm.. Seems Frank has deleted that last tweet. Wonder why..

  42. corak

    “To avoid creating wastelands of parked domains.. we want to avoid.. someone.. getting 100,000 of the best ones.. It’s not fair, and it’s unhealthy for the space.”

    Sounds like what someone has done at .com. Of course, when one owns a registry and benefits from each developed site, it’s rather easier to sell them cheaply and seem like a generous guy.

  43. Domainer Extraordinaire

    I predict the vast majority of these .anythings will fail and ICANN will become like the FDIC is for failed banks.
    They will be constantly taking over these registries and doling them out to stronger registries.
    Donuts will likely be the biggest beneficiary. Frank should be getting ready for this eventuality by streamlining his system for taking on failed registries.
    Maybe he could survive on Donut leftovers.

  44. Lost Man

    Frank, I have always respected you for what you have done, achieved, and for your gentleman-ship.

    I am a little disappointed by what happened here and also by you trying to justify your mass registrations. It is true that you have always preached good things and these mass registrations are not aligned with your previous views/preaching.

    I think it will make you even more trustworthy if you just admit that mass registrations should have been avoided and perhaps develop a more modest policy for your uniregistry owned registrations and then stick to that.

    On the other hand I think, I think your really need to focus on DNS parking performance, every month is hitting a new low. DNS parking is really really bad now, and I think you should do something about it. I am not suggesting it is because of DNS, perhaps you need to talk to google about what is going on.

    I have never seen this low performance anywhere and some other folks are also feeling the same. Please have your team seriously look in to it.

    Thank you.

    • Frank schilling

      Lost man: I’m going to stop commenting on this thread because it’s bad form to keep blathering and everything has been said here. Suffice it to say I know what we are paying out on DNS ~ it’s nearly everything. Nobody can pay more and if you are not happy there I’d honestly encourage you to try a competitor. I could fold the parking biz tomorrow and make more elsewhere – that’s why we are still growing. Naked parking without sales is “that bad” and has no margin. All the fancy things in my life come from my owned and operated names, which is why I will never apologise or explain or make excuses for taking premium names in the registries I am charged with protecting. Uniregistry has given its registrants a great runway if they chose to use it. Hundreds if thousands of future $10,000+ re sales remain unregistered (at registeation price) right now if you care to look. I can lead a horse to water but i can’t make it drink. Obe Wan is turning off the light sabre ~ again 😉

      • Lost Man

        Frank, thanks for your response. I think big G is shafting us all in parking.
        I know DNS is paying almost everything it get from G.

  45. Domainer Extraordinaire

    Frank “and I am telling you, there is traffic (actually traffic in low volumes) in many of these strings.”

    That low volume is 99% domainer traffic and we don’t click on ads. Domainers could play around with you by getting together (or making a script with proxy ips) and typing in something available in .com and .link and then watch you activate in .link and reg it in .com. I’m sure you’re gathering the error traffic. If not, you’re welcome. 🙂

    • Andrew Allemann

      Basically all traffic would be NXD traffic, primarily from systems or people who forget to VPN…the same type that ensnared many domains on the name collisions list. I can’t imagine another reason for these domains to get traffic at this point. It’s not like people are typing them in to search for something.

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