What do the winners and losers of new TLD auctions mean for the program?
Google, Amazon, Donuts…lots of big companies are duking it out in auctions to control top level domain names. The results include a lot of surprises. On this week’s show, fellow blogger and new TLD consultant Michael Berkens talks about who’s winning and losing these auctions, and what the implications are for the new top level domain name program overall.
Also: SXSW recap, GoDaddy IPO update, and Donuts launches “Freedom of Choice” ad campaign.
A transcript of this show is now available:
Welcome to the Domain Name Wire Podcast. Where we talk about the business of domain names.
And now from the DNW.com Studio in Austin, Texas, here’s your host, Andrew Allemann.
This show transcript is provided by the domain name and new gTLD lawyers at Traverse Legal, PLC.
Andrew: Welcome to Domain Name Wire Podcast Episode #25. My guest today is Michael Berkens, he is the author of the domain name blog, TheDomains.com, and he is also co-founder of the Domain Name Consultancy, Right of the Dot. I have asked Michael to come onto the show to talk about whose winning and losing auctions for control of new top level domain names and what this means for the new top level domain name program at large. Before we get to that, let’s run through news for the past week. First of all, it was great to see a lot of domain name industry people here in Austin for the South by Southwest Conference that just concluded this past weekend. Roughly, three hundred to four hundred thousand people converge on Austin for the ten day festival, including music, film and Interactive. There is also video game conference. A lot of other conferences that are part of this ten day festival. I think Sedo really hit a home run with their frozen yogurt truck. They talked to thousands of people about top level domain names over the course of four or five days. They gave out frozen yogurt and each topping was the name of a different top level domain name. So if you wanted to order, say M&Ms on top, you had to ask for dot-club on top of your ice cream. Thought it was pretty clever. Just down the street, Radix had a .space grilled cheese booth where they were giving away over a hundred grilled cheese sandwiches every hour. Had fun at the Domain.com and .me party as well. And again, it was great to see people from a lot of top level domain name companies, domain name services, etc. here in Austin.
GoDaddy set its planned price range for its upcoming initial public offering. In an SCC Filing last week, they said that they plan to raise about $400 million with a valuation somewhere between $2.5 and $3 billion depending on if they price near the low end or high end. They are aiming for an IPO share price of $17 to $19 per share and they plan to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol GDDY. This past week, Donuts launched an ad campaign called “Freedom of Choice”. I talked to Donuts CMO, Jeff Davidoff, this past week and he told me that the company feels that as the largest top level domain name operator, it feels like it has a responsibility to remote new TLDs in general. He declined to tell me how much they are spending on the campaign but said it will run at least sixty days and cost well over a million dollars. Now this sort of marketing is clearly becoming necessary. ICANN put forth a draft budget proposal this past week for 2016, which shows how 2015 is trending, and 2015 for ICANN fiscal year ends here at the end of June. It is coming in below expectations. ICANN had originally put forth thirty-three million new top level domain names being registered in this financial year. It later slashed it to fifteen million in its final budget, but I think five million is a more likely number. So they are not going to hit their numbers…their revenue numbers for 2015 when it comes to new top level domain names, and they are certainly rationing down expectations for 2016 as well.
In other new top level domain name news this past week, Rightside released twenty thousand two character domain names across all of its top level domain names. Now these two character domain names do have at least one digit in them, so it’s a form of…say a letter-number, number-letter or number-number. They two character domain names are still kind of in limbo with ICANN. You can get those at most domain name registrars. They do have a premium price and with the numbers in them, it obviously limits the usefulness depending on what you are trying to do. But I think there might be some opportunities there.
You can read about all this news on Domain Name Wire. You can see a video of me ordering the frozen yogurt at the Sedo Frozen Yogurt truck at the South by Southwest Conference. You can read more about Godaddy’s IPO and actually see one of the commercials from Donuts’ Freedom of Choice Campaign at Domainnamewire.com. Just go into the search box up there, type in what you are looking for and you will get right to it.
Now let’s chat with Michael Berkens.
It’s time for the Domain Name Wire Interview. Where we interview leading people in the domain name business.
Andrew: My guest today needs a little introduction for most domain name wire podcast listeners. Michael Berkens writes the blog, TheDomains.com, and is also a partner in the Domain Name Consultancy, Right of the Dot. Michael, welcome to the program.
Michael: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Andrew: So Michael, I have asked you to come on the program today to talk about which companies are winning these auctions, both the private and public auctions to run new top level domain names, and what this means for the program overall. I know you have done a great job of chronicling who’s winning and losing these auctions, really over the course of the program. So, for those listeners that aren’t familiar, can you explain kind of what happens when more than one person applied for the same top level domain name?
Michael: Right. So, more than one company applies for the same top level domain name then basically they go into a contention set. They either have to resolve their contention privately, which usually takes the place of a private auction but not necessarily, where one party is basically buying out the other parties, the other parties withdraw their applications and they get paid by the winning party. If everybody in the contention set does not want to do that, then at some point in time, there is an ICANN Last Resort Auction and ICANN named it the Last Resort Auction because they really wanted it to be the last resort for parties and they did really want parties to resolve these things amongst themselves. For very surging reasons, ICANN didn’t want to wind up holding two hundred twenty some odd contention auctions and that’s what there was … originally over two hundred and twenty extensions in contention at the beginning of this …
Andrew: Semester … are you back in school? (laughs)
Michael: Yes (laughter).
Andrew: Or did you say this mess? (laughs)
Michael: (Laughs) Yes, this mess.
Andrew: Okay (Laughs). Okay, so in other words, if you and I both applied for .DomainBlog and then we had to … we’d basically be in a contention set, and if we did a private auction, you know, whoever let’s say, you out bid me, you won the auction and I would get the proceeds from that. If said, “No, I don’t want to do this private auction”, then we would do this ICANN kind of auction of last resort and you won, then you would get the domain, you would pay ICANN and I wouldn’t get anything basically. Just a little bit of money back for my application?
Michael: Correct. That is absolutely correct. Now a question on the two person contention set. There has been information given out that some of these have been settled in other ways other than a traditional auction or even an ICANN Auction.
Andrew: Sure. I remember Tucows did that with Donuts on one or two domains. I remember seeing something about that.
Michael: Like a buy/sell number. Any way that you can solve, solve it. So, including making the other party your partner. That was also perfectly acceptable and there were some partnerships, I think, warmed and others broken up during this process.
Andrew: So some of these numbers are very public and that ICANN publishes them on their website. Others are private auction, the numbers sometimes get out. People talk about them. But you know on the public side, the top one by far was .App, which Google paid for $25 million for, Radix got .Tech for about $7 million, Fegistry paid $5.6 million for .realty, and I know you are aware of other sales and such, but what do you think about these prices that are being paid for a new top level domain names?
Michael: You know, I think they are sort of expected. I mean it’s … a long time ago when this program was still being chattered about and how it would work, I attended several different smaller conferences centralized on gTLDs. These are numbers that were chatted about as being what people, you know, $25 million for an extension like .App, what seem to be in the range of what I, you know, expected and I think a lot of people would have expected. I think .web is obviously granddaddy of them all. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that pop $50 million. So, I think to that extent, it is interesting. I expected those numbers to be paid. Now, if they will be good investments that is a whole different situation.
Andrew: Yeah, and that is a good question. Because I guess there was before any of these TLDs launched, you might have kind of a number in mind but then you saw them launch and maybe some of them didn’t meet the expectations of their owners, I kind of thought for a minute, “Well maybe that will damper the prices on these auctions”.
Michael: Yeah, correct. And we don’t know again the private auctions. There are definitely ones that I have heard whispers about, so actually don’t know what the amounts are. You know, the ones that have settled within in the last say two weeks, I really haven’t heard anything about those. So the prices may being affected and they may be coming down or they may not. So, we know the resell of that one extension took place about a week or two ago and that whole extension sold for four hundred thousand as opposed to just being a gTLD application. That extension had about thirteen hundred registration.
Andrew: Right. And so that was the .reise (.rice) that Donuts acquired. You know, it is kind of interesting in some ways to think about if a domain name has more value, a new TLD has more value before it launches than after it. I know before it launches, of course, you get the Sunrise, land rush, all that sort of stuff, but you can also have higher hopes…for how it will work if you market it.
Michael: Right … Right, but I think there is enough extensions that have been launched now that I think we all pretty have a good feel with maybe a couple of rare exceptions like .porn and .sex and .adult and .sucks that we already seen that trademark holders are buying large, not playing in this Sunrise game, and they, you know, they’re … most Sunrises are in the few hundreds. I know the vast majority of applicants were thinking there was going to be a lot more. It is pretty steady and pretty consistent throughout the whole process. Kind of can gauge that, and then there’s enough extensions that are launched now what is known as five hundred of these things and they are all over the place in terms of registration numbers but there also all over the place in terms of what they cost to register and, of course, it ranges anywhere from free to fifty cents to a dollar to two dollars, and to thousands of dollars for premiums. So, it is a very interesting kind of thing.
Andrew: You have written a flurry of stories over the past week about some of these recent deals. I guess … so basically, the ICANN option of Last Resort is scheduled now monthly and will allow these to get settled in a week or two before. Right?
Michael: Correct. They do. It seems to be two that may be heading for an ICANN auction next week. That will be marked as ‘confirmed’ instead of ‘preliminary’. So the two that look like they will go next week is … one is SRL, which is a designation that they use, I think, in Spain as an .inc or .llc designation. The next one is GMBH a couple days ago, which should be reported on. So that auction looks like it is going to be held next week as well as PING, P-I-N-G, which is between Radix, who applied for … we don’t know why, but they did, and a golf manufacturer. Not surprised we did not want to go with a private auction. Those two seem too headed to an ICANN auction. Cannot image either one of them going for a substantial dollars.
Andrew: And what about you some of these others you wrote about? I know you wrote about some from Donuts and Uniregistry.
Michael: Yeah, I think there are definitely patterns. Donuts, I think the first two groups of private auctions that were held by Applicant Auction, Application Auction actually released some totals for those. The first two sets and then the stopped doing that. So, I think at the beginning, Donuts seemed to be not winning that many, but seems to be winning a lot more of late. There have been eleven ICANN auctions, as you mentioned, those are public. The result are public. You know, Donuts hasn’t won any of the eleven that have gone to an ICANN auction. But they’ve knocked the auctions. There is about two hundred twenty-five, I think, originally. Two hundred twenty-five contentions sets and as we saw today, there is about eighteen auctions that are active. Some are scheduled, some are not. And then there is another fourteen or so that seem to be on hold because of some other legal issues that are part of these programs. So, it’s definitely winding down.
Andrew: Got it. So one of the ones you wrote about this week was major league baseball getting .baseball and you seemed a little bit surprised about that?
Michael: Well, I would say it is good for the gTLD program that MLB embraced .baseball and got it. I know there are others that feel differently because they did plan on running it as a closed generic and, you know, they are not necessarily going to make a lot of these names available to the public and, of course, baseball is played worldwide and the MLB is a United States professional baseball league. But I think … overall I think the attention that hopefully MLB will give to their .baseball will help the overall program.
Andrew: Mike, what I was saying about this morning that could be a bit one because major league baseball has spent three hundred thousand plus dollars to acquire all these team names. Cardinals.com. They just did Rangers.com for north of three hundred thousand dollars and basically, they’ve just been forwarding these to the MLB.com site. However, if you watch a baseball game, you see behind the batter back there, it will have Cardinals.com, Yankees.com, whatever it is just kind of plastered, you know, behind the batter. And imagine if they did either Cardinals.MLB or Cardinals.baseball back there, just imagine the numbers of impressions the people would have of these new TLDs and actually kind of check them out and become aware of them.
Michael: Yeah, definitely that could help. It could definitely take it to a different level and that is a good point you did raise that they, the major league baseball, also apply for .MLB. So they have those and it will be interesting to see what they do with it and, of course, that is opposed to say that .soccer, which was also applied for by the Major League Soccer in the United States, the professional soccer league team here, and they did not win the .soccer. Donuts won that. So, interesting and I will see how it falls out.
Andrew: So let’s talk a little bit about Google. They won .App for about $25 million dollars, but they also lost several this past week. They really haven’t won many of their auctions at all, right?
Michael: I have them losing thirty-seven auctions. They applied for a hundred and one, which was the second most that anyone applied for. Donuts applied for three hundred seven, which was the most. So, Google at 101 as they sit today … they only have thirty-seven delegated. So, they have lost thirty-seven also. And then they have some in auction. Of course, they have applied for a lot of extensions that nobody else applied for. So, it’s like Donuts did.
Andrew: They have lost a lot and kind of everyone going in thought, “Oh man!” The people that were pitted up against Google were like, “they’ve got unlimited pockets, and there is no chance I am going to win”. Do you think this means anything about their commitment to the new top level domain names?
Michael: First of all, I was never one of the believers that Google was going to win all of these auctions just because they could. I think they’re a big business and I am sure they allocated a certain budget to the project overall, and I am sure people allocated different strings into different levels and different categories. I mean I have never believed that they would just going to win them all for various different reasons including anti-trust reason. So that is not surprising to me that they are not. But it seems like the ones they won are almost all brand. I know .App is a generic, but obviously since, I guess, Android is the biggest app store in the world in terms of number of apps. So, we searched a couple of days ago and I think they have 1.3 – 1.4. Slightly ahead of Apple store. And about … almost three times as big as Amazon store. So depending on what they do with an app, you know, depending on what they do with it. If they basically hold it in house and give it to app developers and those who are using … develop Android, then it is a whole different play. And then it really does become a brand and a lot of the stuff … a lot of the TLDs that they applied for and have, like .YouTube and .Google, is obviously brands and it is interesting to me that they didn’t go for tube knowing that would create an actual competitor of YouTube.
Andrew: Right. You mean they lost the auction?
Michael: They loss the auction. They didn’t bid up on it enough. I found that interesting. I found .blog, the passing on that to be fairly interesting. And I guess the next big one with them will be search. I think they have … there was also a statement … that I think you wrote about last week that they may have lost sudden … they made some statement regarding GoDaddy and they may not aggressively pursue the domain registrar business as anticipated initially. And so I think the combination seems to be that, yeah, I think they pulled back on their enthusiasm for the program is what I would say.
Andrew: Yeah. That makes sense. So let’s talk about some other companies. What are some kind of big brands that are going after generics and such?
Michael: You know, L’Oreal, which is a make-up company that went after quite a few generics and seem to have, I think, won almost all of them. So, they’re doing really well. I think they have things like ‘makeup’ and things with the new wheelhouse and their product line. I think they have about ten generics. Also, Scripps Howard, which you know is a big broadcasting company, and it’s the Food Network, and has the Travel Channel and a bunch of other H … the home garden TV network and so on. They applied for some of their brands, but they also applied for things like .food, .cooking, and to protect some of their brand of channels. It seems to be doing well and collecting and winning a lot of those auctions as well. And then you have the big portfolio players. You know it is interesting to sort of see what they’re doing and how they’re doing.
Andrew: Yeah, let’s talk about some of those? So Frank Schilling, for example?
Michael: Frank seems to … you know, I would say … I don’t have the exact numbers. I can just … seems to be losing more of these contention sets than he is winning. Certainly the bigger ones, at least in my opinion, the ones that would be more valuable or would have more potential registrations. Things like .news, which he was in, and .fashion, which he was in. He didn’t win those. He just really … just won .mom recently, which is one of the first ones I have seen him win in a little bit. So, he has a very … he … you know … love Frank and we are good friends. A little bit of a strange play. I think ever since it was released and the big reveal came out and that is what everybody applied for. There were definitely some, I would consider them to be head scratchers. Unless then … you know … mom is sort of another one to me. I just don’t get it. But in the world of … if you have seven hundred or five hundred choices on what you want to use to designate your online identity, I don’t know if ‘mom’ is going to be that huge of a winner.
Andrew: Yeah, I guess, you know, there are a lot of mom blogs out there and such, and now I am trying to think who won .dad?
Michael: Who won .dad? Well, actually that is one I would have to look up.
Andrew: Here … I will do it here too. I’m online right now. I feel like …
Michael: I think Google has it.
Andrew: It looks like Google is the only one who applied for that. You have Google with .dad and then you have Uniregistry with .mom, so that’s interesting.
Michael: Yeah, but that is nothing to say that couldn’t be bought or sold or traded or something in the future right?! So, you would think that somebodies going to wind up with both. I have no knowledge of any dealings going on in that. Logically, it would seem like you would have to have both so you would have a shot at anything with either.
Andrew: Let’s see … Radix. They have been making some waves as well, right?
Michael: Yeah, Radix has been doing pretty well I would say. Definitely have been acquiring some strings. They picked up .tech.
Andrew: Yep, and that was a public auction. So I think I mentioned that earlier. $6.8 million.
Michael: Correct. To get into … of course, they didn’t originally apply for that string so to actually win the auction, they had to get into the auction and then they had to pay another applicant off who was in the auction, so we don’t know what that cost. But, you know, obviously, at least we can anticipate the company got their 185 back and probably a profit on top of that. And so it may have cost them an extra, who knows, half a million or another million, I mean it is something we just don’t know. But it definitely cost them something extra. They wound up with online. Going back to the days when One-on-One was running those commercials and taking all those free pre-registrations, .online was pretty consistently number two. The ones that were most requested. For what it’s worth.
Andrew: I think because of the … originally, there was a partnership for .online that involved a public company Tucows, so I think we had some pretty good data around saying that they spent at least ten million to get .online.
Michael: Yeah, I agree with that. Yeah, for sure. So, I think they have some really good strings. I think .tech is a good one. Online is a good one. Websites actually done pretty well for them as well.
Andrew: They have .site coming up as well too.
Michael: They have .site coming up. Right. So they won an auction for. They actually have a pretty good set, I think, overall.
Andrew: Let’s talk about the behemoth here, Donuts. What are your thoughts on what they are doing here?
Michael: Well, they applied for three hundred and seven. The numbers I have is that they got … the hundred seven and a hundred fifty-eight, they were the only applicants for. So that was … they are manically were basically awarded those.
Andrew: Yeah, about half.
Michael: About half. So now out of the one … the difference being basically one fifty, I have them withdrawing fifty-nine applications. Meaning mostly from losses to auctions. So, I think … they seem to be very consistent. I think in their acquisitions, I mean, they have … you know, they now have, I think ‘taxi’ which is a new acquisition, and ‘cab’ and ‘limo’, which they had. So, they have a lot of the sports. They didn’t get ‘basketball’, that went to FIBA. But aside from that…
Andrew: Baseball, of course, which we talked about.
Michael: Yep. They could of outbid them for that. But they have quite a few of the rest of them. They have ‘football’ and they have ‘soccer’ and so they are doing pretty well on the sports veins. So I think they are doing well. I think, plus, let’s not forget that they are private auctions. So, as companies lose private auctions, they are making money.
Andrew: Yeah, well you know look at Minds and Machines, they have about fifty billion dollars cash sitting in the bank, which is pretty crazy to think about. And then you have Rightside, I guess some of those ones that Donuts originally applied for are now owned by Rightside as well.
Michael: Right. One hundred and seven of the 307 were supposedly jointly owned and, of course, they applied for twenty-six on their own as well.
Andrew: Right, and my understanding is that there was some sort of after the contention sets were resolved, some sort of thing where those got divvied up between Donuts and Rightside in some sort of manner. So that was pretty complicated.
Michael: But I think Donuts is doing really well and I think they are making a little … I think they have made a lot of money and they are making a lot of money, and I think … they obviously have some very good strings. They have some stinkers too for sure. But I guess for some that is just the way it goes. I think the company that’s for me is a little surprising and, I don’t know, lack of winning the private auctions and just seems to be losing a lot is Famous Four. I know they got ‘cricket’ and I think ‘rugby’ that they won in the contention set a while ago but, you know, I just seem to write about them losing a lot. They applied originally for, let me see … Famous Four … fifty-six I believe and I think they only have fourteen delegated. There is obviously some still pending in contract a few. There are still a few more in auction. But still, you know, I don’t know if they are going to reach the fifty percent mark.
Andrew: Well, and obviously, each company probably had some different anticipation of how auctions would go, but in a lot of cases, you can make the argument that losing an auction is the way to go. Right? It makes business sense.
Michael: Yeah, for sure…for sure. I mean, you definitely win by losing. I think there is some … some amounts that you would be hard pressed on the business case justifying the prices being paid. I mean, app, for example, we can go back to that since that was public at $25 million. I mean Google is uniquely positioned to take advantage of that like none other. Amazon was an applicant, but Apple wasn’t. So that may have made it worth a whole different number based on what they are going to do with it. But if you are just selling domain names, right, it is like … there is one and a half million apps in existence, you know. And then they all have a presence as we sit today. Almost all of them have a domain name as well, right?! So, it may not be a great domain name, but they all have something so the question is how many of the 1.3 million are going to switch. I don’t know if an app is one of those things that really … a generic is that meaningful to it.
Andrew: Yeah, I don’t know. But I think you bring up a good point here, which is Google, you know, they may have a different purpose for it, right? Maybe to get a dot-app domain name, you have to have an app in the Google Play Store and that will encourage app makers to think of the Android OS up there with iOS at the same time.
Michael: Correct, correct. So that is a different play and that would be a different valuation. There is another one that was a private auction but EnCirca, which is a domain name registrar reported in a newsletter that the string .law sold for close to $20 million. Again that’s private and I don’t know where they got the information but they put it out there. So, if we look at that number, I think I read that their plans are to strict .law to lawyers, to licensed professionals.
Andrew: Right, right. That’s a Minds and Machines domain and I think at NamesCon, Minds and Machines CEO, Antony Van Couvering mentioned that it is going to have like a $200 whole sale or something along those lines. That one I also have a theory on, which is Minds and Machines … some company had kind of partnered with them on one TLD where they were going to contribute up to like $15 million so I wonder if that was the one. You know, maybe Minds and Machines out-of-pocket wasn’t as much.
Michael: That’s what I thought.
Andrew: We will not confirm this in audio but that is our speculation.
Michael: That’s our speculation. Yes. Makes logical sense. It definitely could be … it could be the one. I mean, it definitely may go for .horse.
Andrew: Yeah (laughs). So let’s talk about a couple more players in this. One is Daniel Negari with .xyz, who seems to be making more of a play than he originally applied for.
Michael: Right. I think he’s applied for .xyz and, of course, he was the sole applicant so he didn’t have to go into an auction for that and he got out early, obviously. Which was the other big advantage, you know, of being a sole applicant is you didn’t have to settle contention with, which took a little bit of time and this is still taking time and in some cases a year, you know, a year and half change later. He got out of it early. He has .college, which he was also the sole applicant…well, I think he went up against …
Andrew: Yeah, that one I think he went up against Uniregistry.
Michael: Right. So he won an auction on that one.
Andrew: Sorry … Donuts.
Michael: Donuts, okay. And then I think he was an applicant for .site and lost that. So he obviously has made his path and he has gotten a lot of coverage. Assuming he has gotten a lot of coverage because he is the youngest applicant and obviously from a domainer background, a very smart guy. Always knew that he would make a splash somehow with the thing. So, it will be interesting to see when the renewals come and see how this thing flushes out.
Andrew: You know I have heard whispers that he is maybe talking about getting involved with more top level domain names as well. More than he applied for.
Michael: I have heard to the same affect that he has or is in the process of possibly acquiring other strings.
Andrew: So keep an eye on that. And then let’s finish kind of with one of these big kind of bogies in the business, which is Amazon. What do you think about what they’ve been doing?
Michael: Well, I think first of all we need to let everybody know who doesn’t know, you know, it’s really important I think to recognize the fact that Amazon applied for seventy-four extension. All should be operated on a closed basis, even generic words like app and book and music and things like that. So, when they applied and they put their money in and then they applied for the seventy-four and they had envisioned operating these extensions in a certain way and along this long and winding gTLD road, you know, ICANN changed that. The governments actually insisted on changing that and they are not allowing companies to own generics. So, obviously, that’s going to impact their whole business model and, of course, the other thing is that they were not able to get .amazon.
Michael: Which is probably the most important one, of course, because, you know, again the conflict with the geographical area.
Andrew: Right, the Amazonian countries.
Michael: Right. They have a big internet presence down there for sure.
Andrew: But Amazon strikes me as interesting. You know they bought like domains like .spot, which I can’t imagine what they would do with it. But I have noticed … I track obviously who’s registering domains in all the TLDs and I have noticed that Amazon is buying up just a ridiculous amount of generic terms in every TLD and, of course, their brands, and I am kind of wondering if like when they spend two million on .spot or whatever it is, if they’re just like were doing this as a defensive place so that we don’t have to worry about going out and registering all these individual second level domains?
Michael: I think they have … I think your point is interesting that they’ve acquired some eclectic mix. Donuts, as we’ve talked about, has some consistency maybe more so in their acquisitions. So grouping verticals together but, for example, I guess lawyer and attorney, which are Rightside but still part of that same mix again. You know, on the other hand, Amazon bought .buy at ICANN last resort auction, so they made a big splash.
Andrew: And that was about $5 million for that one. It was … hold on here, it was $4.6 million.
Michael: And then this last past week, they just picked up .free. Obviously, polar opposite words and a strange combination. I am not really sure what Amazon’s plan for free would …
Andrew: It’s certainly a mystery and their kind of … well, they are a very tight-lipped company. So I think this is one of the more interesting things to keep an eye on over … over the next year.
Michael: You know there was also a concern by applicants that Google would basically buy everything and if not Google, then Amazon and then there were a number that they both were in together, you know, and in strings for. Many times, neither one won. They both lost.
Andrew: Yeah. It’s definitely played out a little bit differently than I think a lot of people predicted. So, you know, it’s been fascinating to watch and I think it is going to be fascinating to continue to watch and so hopefully you will agree to come back on a podcast and maybe talk about this again at some point in the future?
Michael: Yeah, that would be great. There are a few interesting ones to go. I mean, real quick there is .gay.
Andrew: Still in a lot of dispute over that one. It’s still in a community.
Michael: Correct. So is music. There is still a community applicant, so that is waiting. Of course, that could be one of the big daddies along with ‘web’ as well. And there’s ‘webs’ … somehow the ‘webs’ I think got in there.
Andrew: Yeah, there is a little bit of a contention there over a brand versus .web, so that one … I think we are a long way off from seeing that one.
Michael: Right. And then there is .search, which is Amazon and Google famous for and Donuts. So that should be really interesting to see what happens there.
Andrew: Yeah, it’ll be interesting if Google was kind of saving up for .app and .search.
Michael: And then there is the mix … you know, then there’s that mix again between game and games, which was for the same sets. So, you know, again they are already looking at again with Google and Amazon you know along with, of course, Donuts, Uniregistry … I think a Chinese gaming company and Famous Four. So that should be interesting.
Andrew: So there are some interesting ones to come for sure?!
Michael: Yeah, maybe we could meet after it’s all over, said and done?
Andrew: Sounds good. Michael, thanks so much for being on the program.
Michael: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Andrew: Michael Berkens writes the blog, TheDomains.com and he is also a partner in the Domain Name Consultancy, Right of the Dot. That is a wrap on this week’s Domain Name Wired Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a positive review on iTunes and, of course, you can listen to previous podcasts by subscribing on iTunes or going to DNW.com/podcasts. We will see you next week.
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