During the Durban summit this month, four companies signed registry agreements with ICANN, moving forward to pre-delegation testing and launch for their respective new TLDs. What is a registry agreement, and what does this landmark mean for new TLDs and the expected timeline? Glad you asked! Here’s a quick run-down of the registry agreements: who signed, what they are, what they signify, what it means for the ICANN timeline, and some FAQs.
Which applicants signed, and for what new TLDs?
All four registry agreements were internationalized domain name new TLDs (IDNs were prioritized first), and all four are open registry, generic term TLDs. The four IDNs are:
- شبكة : “Web” or “network” in Arabic; registry: International Domain Registry.
- онлайн: “Online” in Cyrillic; registry: Core Registry.
- сайт: “Website” in Cyrillic; registry: Core Registry.
- 游戏: “Game” in Mandarin; registry: Spring Fields (Donuts).
What is a registry agreement?
A registry agreement is a contract between a registry, or the applicant, and ICANN. The agreement covers a lot of ground, including how the registry will protect trademark holders’ rights, the technical service requirements for running a registry, who may register domain names within the registry, what rights the registry has, and what obligations the registry must fulfill to ICANN. Signing the agreement marks that the registry has the right to sell their new TLD and add to the root zone.
What do the first signings signify?
The first four signings signify that the new TLD program is pushing into the next phase. As ICANN makes more registry agreements available, we’ll see more contracts signed, which of course means we’ll be seeing those new TLDs on the market in the not-too-distant future.
The new TLDs are coming, but don’t start trying to buy just yet. These first four TLDs will probably launch sunrise in the beginning of September, according to the new ICANN timeline released in Durban. During that time you’ll be able to register new TLD domains in your registered brand or trademark. After the sunrise period, the new TLD will enter landrush, when any person may register (if the new TLD is an open registry).
When will we see other new TLDs? That depends on a number of factors, including the prioritization number of the new TLDs, the readiness of the registries, and whether the registries want to launch sunrise right away. We’ll probably start seeing new TLDs launching in September and October, and steadily increase in number throughout the year and into 2014 and 2015.
- Q: How will I know when to register, or when sunrise starts?
- A: One of the easiest ways is to sign up for a free watcher service (ours is the best, of course) and we’ll update you when specific new TLDs enter sunrise and landrush. Our watcher service allows you to pick only the new TLDs you’re interested in, to customize the information you receive.
- Q: There’s been a lot more registry agreements offered than signed. Why?
- A: Many companies aren’t quite ready to launch, so they’re holding off on signing until they are. Because the IDNs were prioritized first, and many new IDN registries are first time registries, or brand registries, there will be a lag between being offered an agreement and the agreement being signed while the registry works out the kinks in the system, negotiates the contract, and finalizes preparations needed to run the registry.
For more information on sunrise and landrush, check out this super-informative post by Name.com’s own operations manager, Scott McBreen. To sign up for our free watcher service and begin looking out for your favorite new TLDs to launch, click here.