Uniregistry

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Type: Partnership
Industry: Internet/Registry
Founder(s): Frank Schilling
Headquarters: Governors Square Unit 3-110
23 Lime Tree Bay Ave. Grand Cayman
Country: Cayman Islands
Website: uniregistry.com
Key People
Frank Schilling, Managing Director

Uniregistry is a new registry operator established and managed by a group of Internet and domain name industry experts. The company's technical infrastructure is designed and maintained by the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC), a non profit organization dedicated to developing and distributing open source software worldwide, and involved in the development of DNS, DNSSEC, IPv6, and BIND.

The company was officially launched on June 11, 2012 and it is headed by its Managing Director Frank Schilling, owner of one of the world's largest domain name portfolios.[1][2] The original trademark application for Uniregistry, however, was filed in 2010, and the domain name was registered in 2006 by Bret Fausett, who also registered the .net, .org, .info, and .biz versions the following year.[3]

In February, 2012, it was noted that a related company, Uniregistrar, had become an ICANN accredited registrar, signaling that Uniregistry had intentions to sell its New gTLDs in house. Uniregistrar was initially accredited to sell about a dozen existing TLDs.[4]

New gTLD Applications

At the time of the company's launch, Schilling refused to reveal the exact number and names of the domain name strings the company applied for. According to him, the gTLDs were selected by the company's founders, and he was confident that the gTLDs would be successful. He said, "We strongly believe in the gTLDs we have chosen and are 100% committed to their long-term success. These new names look better, sound better, and represent a big opportunity for brands to market themselves on the Internet in a different way."[5]

Just prior to reveal day, Schilling confirmed that he invested $60 million in his company and is pursuing 54 gTLDs. He publicly announced his bids for .lol and .home, saying that he knew that both strings would be highly desirable and that he thinks they would definitely be auctioned by ICANN. Google had previously announced its application for .lol, and GoDaddy and other companies applied for .home. Schilling said that his company will try to acquire the strings through auction.[6]

Uniregistry has applied for the following TLDs:

.art, .auction, .audio, .auto, .blackfriday, .cars, .christmas, .click, .country, .deal, .design, .diet, .family, .fashion, .flowers, .free, .furniture, .game, .garden, .gift, .gratis, .guitars, .help, .hiphop, .home, .hosting, .inc, .juegos, .link, .lol, .love, .marketing, .media, .mom, .news, .photo, .pics, .pizza, .property, .racing, .realestate, .restaurant, .sale, .save, .school, .sexy, .shopping, .store, .style, .tattoo, .team, .tech, .video, .yoga.[7]

Availability

In December 2013, Uniregistry announced a unique Sunrise Period system for they gTLD applications the company had succeeded in winning. There would be two Sunrise Periods, known as Sunrise A and Sunrise B. Sunrise A would be the regular period involving the Trademark Clearinghouse and mandated by ICANN, in which trademark owners could apply for their trademark's corresponding TLD. Sunrise B would allow trademark owners to apply for SLDs that do not exactly match their trademark and may "span the dot", as in ''toms.tattoo" for the trademark "Tom's Tattoo".[8]

As the first two Uniregistry New TLDs, .sexy and .tattoo, became generally available in February 2014, many Domain industry members noticed that some of the leading Registrars were not selling these TLDs. Companies such as GoDaddy and Register.com did not sign up to sell these TLDs because Uniregistry's Registry-Registrar Agreement would require Registrars to provide real names and contact info to Uniregistry.[9]

Company Values

Uniregistry's management and operations is guided by the following values: [10]

  • Liberty & Fairness
  • Responsible Stewardship
  • Technical Excellence
  • Ease and Simplicity

Uniregistry promised that its management will be "registrant-centered." The company ensures that the reliability and security of its infrastructure is of high technical standard and uncompromised, its policies and processed is transparent and neutral, and that they will have stable and predictable service as well as fair pricing.[11]

Uniregistry on Private Auctions: Illegal?

In March 2013, the ICANN community and its new gTLD applicants and their representatives responded to news that Uniregistry had learned from the U.S. Department of Justice that Private gTLD Auctions would be potentially illegal and could be prosecuted as "bid-rigging." The practice in question is illegal in various countries and largely related to government contracts, when bidders for multiple contracts may collude to each submit one high-ball bid for different jobs, thereby guaranteeing that they will each receive the project where they were able to submit the lower bid. The practice inflates the price paid for work obtained via bidding processes. The ICANN process is notably different in the fact that ICANN has expressly noted that it prefers not to receive funds via auction and prefers applicants to reach agreements among themselves. However, it is not up to ICANN whether or not charges are pressed, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) apparently has told Uniregistry that, "no private party, including ICANN, has the authority to grant to any other party exemptions to, or immunity from, the antitrust laws. The decision means that the Department of Justice reserves its right to prosecute and/or seek civil penalties from persons or companies that participate in anti-competitive schemes in violation of applicable antitrust laws."

The announcement from Uniregistry was decried by prominent supporters of private auctions, such as Michael Berkens of the auction services provider Right of the Dot, while other community members, such as Antony Van Couvering of Minds + Machines, corroborated Uniregistry's statements and the stance of the Department of Justice.[12] It has been noted that Uniregistry has never supported private auctions, and it has arguably come to the conclusion that it stands a better chance of winning contention sets against other large portfolio applicants, such as Donuts and Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd., if those applicants are not allowed to receive funds through lost auctions.

Commentators have noted that the DOJ could just as easily prosecute the ICANN Auctions of Last resort, though ICANN would have significant funds obtained via these auctions and the application process to defend itself via legal proceedings.[13]

Management Team

UniRegistry's team include: [14]

References

  1. About Uniregistry
  2. Frank Schilling Unveils His New gTLD Company: Uniregistry.com
  3. Plans for Frank Schilling’s Uniregistry go way back, domainnamewire.com
  4. Frank Schillings Uniregistry Gets Accredited as a Registrar, DomainIncite.com
  5. Frank Schilling Unveils His New gTLD Company: Uniregistry.com
  6. Here comes the greatest Internet landgrab in history
  7. New gTLD Application Status, icann.org
  8. Uniregistry Plans dot-spanning Sunrise Periods and anti-gaming Protection, DomainIncite Retrieved 30 Dec 2013
  9. Here's Why Registrars Are Boycotting .sexy, DomainIncite Retrieved 25 Feb 2014
  10. About Uniregistry
  11. What do we mean by registrant-centered?
  12. Breaking DOJ says New gTLD Private Auctions Might be Illegal, DomainIncite.com Published 19 March 2013, Retrieved 29 March 2013
  13. Did Uniregistry Over Sell the Auction Antirust Risk, DomainIncite.comPublished 20 March 2013, Retrieved 29 march 2013
  14. The Team
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