Top Level Domain Holdings
|Industry:||Internet, TLD Consulting|
|Founder(s):||Frederick Krueger |
|Headquarters:||Craigmuir Chambers, Road Town, Tortola |
|Country:||British Virgin Islands|
|Businesses:||Minds + Machines |
| Antony Van Couvering, CEO|
Fred Krueger, Executive Chairman
Michael Salazar, CFO
Caspar von Veltheim, Executive Director
Guy Elliott, Non-Executive Director
Keith Teare, Non-Executive Director
Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd. (TLDH) is the parent company of Minds + Machines. The company is dedicated to acquiring and operating new gTLDs, as well as providing consultancy services and back-end registry solutions for entities interested in operating new gTLDs. The company is publicly traded on the AIM under the ticker symbol TLDH.L. Its market cap is valued at over $60 million USD.
TLDH, originally known as Hecta Media Inc. was established by Frederick Krueger and Clark Landry in 2007. The company went public on November 12, 2007. In 2009, the company changed its name from Hecta Media Inc. to Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd. after acquiring Minds + Machines, dotNYC LLC, and DotEco LLC in 2009. Following the acquisition, Antony Van Couvering was appointed CEO of the company. In July 2011, former ICANN Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush joined the company as Executive Chairman. The move was a controversial moment and sparked debate about the lack of a clear conflict of interest policy at ICANN with regards to its Board and Staff, and was discussed within the U.S. Congress among other places. Mr. Thrush announced his subsequent resignation from TLDH in January, 2013.
During the opening day of the application for ICANN's New gTLD Program on January 12, 2012, TLDH purchased 20 application slots and announced that it was chosen by Dot Kiwi Limited, a New Zealand based company, to provide registry solutions for the proposed .kiwi string. On February 21, 2012, the company announced that it will purchase 20 additional application slots for gTLDs.
TLDH partnered with LHL TLD Investment Partners of Beverly Hills California (LHL) to apply for the .music TLD. Minds + Machines will provide the back-end registry services for .music. LHL is composed of leading music industry personalities including artists, managers, music producers and lawyers.
The company reported that its total number of new gTLD applications submitted to ICANN is 92. Six of the applications were submitted through joint ventures, 18 were submitted for the clients of Minds + Machines and the remaining 68 gTLDs were submitted by the company for its own registry operations. A significant number of the gTLDs the company is applying for will be placed in contention sets, including .blog, .eco, .green .site, .immo, .hotel, .home, .casa, .love, .law, .cloud, .baby, .art, .gay, .style and .store. 
In-house gTLD applications
The 68 applications applied for by the company for its own operations are:
.abogado, .app, .art, .baby, .beauty, .beer, .blog, .book, .casa, .cloud, .cooking, .country, .coupon, .cpa, .cricket, .data, .dds, .deals, .design, .dog, .eco, .fashion, .fishing, .fit, .flowers, .free, .garden, .gay, .green, .guide, .home, .horse, .hotel, .immo, .inc, .latino, .law, .lawyer, .llc, .love, .luxe, .pizza, .property, .realestate, .restaurant, .review, .rodeo, .roma, .sale, .school, .science, .site, .soccer, .spa, .store, .style, .surf, .tech, .video, .vip, .vodka, .website, .wedding, .work, .yoga, .zulu, .网址 (.site in Chinese), .购物 (.shopping in Chinese).
A certain commentator, Alexander Drummond-Willoughby, has submitted negative comments to ICANN regarding all applications submitted by TLDH, and all applications that have designated TLDH's Minds + Machines as their registry services provider. The comments are largely identical and focus on what the individual deems poor financial decisions by the company.
GAC Early Warnings
Minds + Machines received a total fo 6 GAC Early Warnings, 5 of which were for its own TLDs. This accounts for about 7% of their 72 applications, which they noted in a press release, further stating that many of their competitors and other large portfolio applicants had received much greater percentages of warned applications to total portfolio size. The in-house warned applications are: .zulu, .hotel, .green, .roma, .website. Their client, The American Bible Society, was warned for .bible.
TLDH submitted a Public Interest Commitment (PIC) for every one of its gTLD applications. PICs are voluntary amendments that applicants can create, sign, and undertake along with the general registry agreement in order to hold their registry operations to certain standards. They seem to originally have been developed as a way to allow applicants to appease GAC members that may be concerned about how their application stands as is, or how ICANN will be able to ensure a potential registry remains compliant with its aspirations and mandate as it defined in its summary of its proposed operations in the TLD application. Prior to PICs, there was no clear way of defining operating procedures when moving from the long form essays in the TLD application to the Registry Agreement.
The PICs TLDHs submitted largely reinforce the best practices and protections it defined in its applications, and the company notes in its submissions that it supports the PIC process and the GAC concern that created it, but that much of the PIC remains undefined and so they remain committed to providing further structure to the idea of the PIC. TLDH seems to simultaneously submit PICs while also noting that they are not prepared to accept the PIC program or their commitments as final.
Their PICs provide for: open registration policies; geographic names protections; clearly defining abusive behavior to registrants and the public and enforcing those parameters; the right to suspend, cancel, or otherwise take control of names that are suspected or proven of being involved in abusive activities; and maintaining a clear, singular point of contact for all abuse related correspondence. Some of their PICs, those related to applications with restricted registration requirements, such as .abogado, also note this restricted intent.
$15mm Auction Funding
On February 26 2013, TLDH announced that it had entered into a funding agreement worth $15 million to be used in the case of auction for a specific unnamed TLD. The investor will not receive ownership of the TLD but a share of future revenues. TLDH did not name the TLD that the funds are directed for, and it is in 11 head to head contentions and 12 featuring more than one contender.
On October 11, 2012, TLDH announced they had partnered with Architelos to use their anti-registration abuse software-as-a-service, NameSentry, in their future registry operations. The software protects the end-user against phishing, malware, spam, botnets and other types of abuse. NameSentry provides both aggregate and drill-down views of abusive domain names, and automates abuse polices and procedures. This announcement came a day after the largest gTLD applicant, Donuts, announced that they were set to use the same NameSentry service.
TLDH top executives particularly, Thrush and Couvering, have been involved with ICANN since its very beginnings.
Peter Dengate Thrush
Mr. Thrush is a former ICANN Chairman, and he was responsible for leading the Board of Directors that approved the implementation of the New gTLD Program. His immediate decision to join TLDH as Executive Chairman after his term as ICANN Chairman expired in June, 2011, raised criticism from the global Internet community; many questioned ICANN's lack of Conflict of Interest Policy, and its general Ethics Policy. The move was even cited by Sen. Ron Wyden of the U.S. Senate in a letter asking for further oversight of ICANN, and the need for a clear conflict of interest policy to be written into the next IANA contract with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which oversees ICANN's fulfillment of the IANA contract. Peter Dengate Thrush left TLDH in October, 2012.
During the Senate hearings regarding the implementation of the New gTLD Program, Mr. Couvering was one of the representatives of the domain industry who signed the letter sent to Senators John Rockefeller and Kay Bailey Hutchison supporting the program. He and his colleagues reiterated ICANN's position that it is beneficial for the global internet community and it promotes innovation.
Michael Salazar led ICANN's New gTLD Program, and was there for three years, before being let go as a result of prominent digital glitches, and subsequent mishandling, of the TAS (The new gTLD Application System), and also the technical failure of the Digital Archery Batching process.
- ↑ TLDH Website
- ↑ How big is the new TLD opportunity? TLDH valued at $60 million, domainnamewire.com
- ↑ Niche Website are Target for Expansion
- ↑ New Investments; Proposed Board Changes
- ↑ Board Appointment-June 15, 2009
- ↑ Outgoing ICANN Chairman, Peter Dengate Thrush, Joining Minds + Machines as Executive Chairman
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 TLDH Hires Former ICANN New gTLDs Head, DomainIncite.comPublished & Retrieved 3 Dec 2012
- ↑ New gTLD Application Window Opens
- ↑ gTLD Application Update
- ↑ TLDH to apply for .music
- ↑ Minds + Machines chosen for dot MIAMI
- ↑ Minds+Machines GmbH wins dot NRW contract
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 Top Level Domain Holdings Becomes Largest New gTLD Applicant to Date Applying for 68 Strings, TheDomains.comPublished June 1 2012]
- ↑ http://domainincite.com/10317-mystery-commenter-targets-mm-new-gtld-clients Myster Commenter Targets MM new gTLD Clients, DomainIncite.com]
- ↑ ICANN Prioritization Draw, TLDH.org Retrieved 1 Dec 2012
- ↑ PIC Download, gTLDresult.ICANN.org Retrieved 12 Mar 2013
- ↑ TLDh Gets 15 Million for A Single Top Level Domain Name Auction, DomainNameWire.com Published and Retrieved 26 Feb 2013
- ↑ TLDH Architelos NameSentry, MarketWatch.com
- ↑ M+M’s parent company, TLDH, appoints Peter Dengate Thrush as Executive Chairman
- ↑ ICANN prez calls out own board over conflicts of interest
- ↑ Dengate Thrush Quits TLDH, DomainIncite.com
- ↑ Letter to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation