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Verisign to .Web losers: stop griping and carry on

Verisign responds to complaints about its deal for .web.

Paul Livesay, VP and Counsel at Verisign, has published a detailed response to Donuts’ and Afilias’ challenges over the .web auction result.

If you’re unfamiliar with the backstory: Nu DotCo was one of seven applicants for the .web top level domain name. It struck a deal with Verisign in which Verisign would fund Nu DotCo’s bid for .web, and Nu DotCo would then assign the registry agreement to Verisign after the agreement was executed. Nu DotCo won the auction for $135 million.

Other applicants for .web were upset for two reasons. In the case of applicants that wanted to win the extension, they now faced a formidable foe. In the case of applicants that just wanted to split the proceeds from losing, Nu DotCo was now insisting on a public ICANN auction in which the proceeds would not be distributed to losers.

Second-place bidder Afilias is in the first group. It wants to operate .web and is upset it lost, so it’s lobbying ICANN to disqualify Nu DotCo’s winning bid.

Donuts is in the second camp. It has sued ICANN, demanding its share of the proceeds it would have received if the auction would have been private.

Verisign’s response on CircleID is the most the company has said publicly about the deal.

The company says Afilias and Donuts are merely trying to profit at the expense of the community that will get Nu DotCo’s $135 million payment, or, in the case of Afilias, get the domain name for below market cost.

Let’s face it; Verisign does a lot of questionable things in defense of its .com monopoly. Its lawsuit against .XYZ seemed petty at best. But in this case, I think Afilias and Donuts are acting like sore losers.

Where was the uproar when Automattic came out as the winner of .Blog? Oh, well, that was a private auction, so the losers got paid off.

The idea of new top level domain names was not to enrich auction losers. Sure, it ended up being a great business model for some applicants. But to cry about an auction opponent not agreeing to a private auction?

Likewise, the complaints about the deal Nu DotCo and Verisign struck seem misplaced. It’s not like Verisign went through Nu DotCo to avoid being vetted in the application process. After all, Verisign is already running multiple top level domain names that it applied for. It seems that the losing applicants are trying to find narrow technical reasons to disqualify another applicant.

And let’s not forget that Donuts and Rightside had an intriguing deal to apply for over 100 domain names through Donuts.

I get it. If I were a .web applicant, I’d be pissed off about losing out on a windfall. But I’d fully expect people to call me a sore loser for doing so.

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  1. DonnyM says

    I,m not going to complain, .com’s are under 10 bucks a year. Look at the other extensions, prices for others are 2k or 3k a year for renewals.

    IMO, Web will be $10/15 year same range as a .com, and be the ultimate number #2 extension in 3 years with 10 million plus registrations.

    It will be the poor mans Porsche of extensions, but I you will still drive it:)

    .io,co,net,org, and everything else will lose value. China investors are going to go after .web like crazy. It will be the number #2 worldwide extension in 3 years. Not buy numbers but by overall value.

    Verisign is the only company that really has the money to market this extension. Looking forward to buying up some good names when the auctions come out.

    DonnyM

  2. Ron says

    None of those other guys had the finances in place to purchase .web, without taxing all registrants with premium fees that exceed people’s average monthly mortgage.

    As all the people have stated above, reality check, premiums are a no no

  3. Nick says

    Donuts has nothing to look forward to or be proud of, they know this is the best their business will ever be. So, yeah their misery is making them very sore losers.

  4. kd says

    I think it will be better than most extensions, but not a huge win. Just like all other nTLDs. Too many and the market likely won’t change.

  5. Joseph Peterson says

    @DonnyM,

    “… and be the ultimate number #2 extension in 3 years with 10 million plus registrations.”

    .WEB won’t succeed automatically. Merely because .COM and .NET – Verisign’s bread & butter – have been successful is no reason to expect the same for this new suffix.

    Verisign has immense resources, yes. But how much experience does Verisign really have when it comes to launching a new TLD within a very crowded market? They didn’t do that with .COM or .NET. And their more recent IDN launches were not resoundingly successful.

    .COM and .NET succeeded for historical reasons that most definitely will NOT be replicated in the case of .WEB.

    .WEB is a strong extension with intrinsic merit. I do think it will succeed. But intrinsic merit is never enough to sell merchandise of any kind. Visibility requires marketing. It remains to be seen whether Verisign has the chops to make the most of .WEB’s potential.

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