Donuts acquires a sponsored top level domain name for the travel industry.
Top level domain name company Donuts announced today that it has acquired the .travel top level domain name from Tralliance Registry Management Company.
It is the 239th top level domain name that Donuts will operate, but this one is very different from the others.
.Travel is a sponsored top level domain name that was authorized by ICANN in 2005, well before the recent domain expansion took place. As a sponsored domain, it has restrictions not found in new top level domain names. While these restrictions have been watered down over time, registering a .travel domain requires more work than the other domains Donuts sells.
Registrants must have an affiliation with travel. Before registering a domain name they need to obtain a member number from the .Travel registry. This number must be provided to the registrar when registering a domain name.
Perhaps because of this added friction, many large registrars such as GoDaddy do not offer .travel domain names.
As of the end of October, EnCirca and Name.com were the top two registrars for .travel with 3,397 and 2,770 names respectively. There were about 18,000 .travel domains registered at the time.
I suspect that Donuts will work to remove the member number requirement and move fully to a post-dispute model in which people can challenge registrants for not meeting eligibility.
The acquisition should end the saga that .travel and its ownership have gone through over the past decade. It puts it in the hands of a well-capitalized registry that has many travel-related domain names such as .flights, .holiday, .tours and .vacations.