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An ICANN working group recently released a report entitled, “New gTLD Program Reviews and Assessments Draft Work Plan,” which outlines the work required to initiate a ‘second-round’ application period for the New gTLD Program. The report reveals that so far in round one, “…404 new gTLDs have been delegated. A total of 1,168 applicants have been invited to contracting. Of those applications in string contention sets, 49% remain subject to contention resolution procedures, forecast to be completed by the third quarter of 2016.” ICANN estimates that contracting will wrap up some time in late 2016 and pre-delegation testing by the middle of 2017.   

ICANN’s current timeline for a second round roll-out indicates that the first application period for new gTLDs would begin sometime mid-2018. But this can/will only happen if every scheduled milestone is met along the way. Before a round two would even be considered, ICANN would need validate new gTLDs and related processes, promote competition, consumer trust, and consumer choice.

 

New gTLD ‘.organic’ launched in August and is now in General Availability. Domains are registered first come, first served. The .organic extension is expected to do extremely well in terms of registration numbers so if you’re interested in securing a .organic domain name, the sooner the better.

If you have any questions about this post please contact Safenames in the UK at +44 1908 200022 (emeasales@safenames.net) or in the US at +1 703 574 5313 (nasales@safenames.net).

New “GEO” TLDs .eus (the top-level domain for Basque, a region located at the western end of the Pyrenees) and .gal (the top-level domain for Galicia, a community in northwest Spain) are now in Trademark Sunrise. Registering ‘geo’ domains is such a great way to enhance the credibility (reputation) of your business in specific regions (cities, countries, etc.).

TM Sunrise (as well as Landrush) for .eus and .gal will remain open though November 18, 2014, and General Availability will open on December 2, 2014. Because TM Sunrise and Landrush are open concurrently, registrations will be processed as follows:

  • Domains that are applied for between September 16 – November 18, 2014 and have an smd file will be treated as a TM Sunrise application.
  • Domains that are applied for during this period and do not have an smd file will be processed as a Landrush application.

During General Availability  domains will be registered on a first come, first served basis unless the name is blocked or reserved by the registry.

For questions about this post please contact Safenames in the UK at +44 1908 200022 (emeasales@safenames.net) or in the US at +1 703 574 5313 (nasales@safenames.net).

Google recently released some interesting news. As part of their effort to promote improved online security they announced that ‘HTTPS’ sites (meaning, sites that have added a SSL 2048-bit key certificate) will see a rank increase.While ‘high-quality content’ is still the best way to rank high, competition is vast and stiff so every little bit helps. Google says that currently, the ‘SSL’ benefit is a “very lightweight signal,” but they “may decide to strengthen” the signal to incentivize business/site owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS because this small change will help keep businesses safe online.

There are a number of benefits associated with leveraging SSL certificates for your website, not the least of which is that they can help increase SEO rankings, which means more web traffic, more opportunities, and increased revenue. But will going ‘HTTPS’ impact your SEO efforts —should you be concerned? Not so much. Google has claimed for years that going ‘HTTPS’ is not a major issue for SEO. That’s not to say you can make this switch and that everything will fall into place on its own. You will need to follow protocol and take the appropriate steps to ensure that your site traffic doesn’t suffer. For example, be sure to let Google know that you’ve moved your site from HTTP to HTTPS. Google says it will provide more documentation going forward, but until then, here are a few tips:

  • Decide what kind of certificate you need for your business/site (single, multi-domain, or wildcard)
  • Use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  • Check out Google’s site move article for more guidelines on how to change your site’s address
  • Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.
  • Track your HTTP to HTTPS migration carefully

If you have any questions about this post please contact Safenames in the UK at +44 1908 200022 (emeasales@safenames.net) or in the US at +1 703 574 5313 (nasales@safenames.net).

TM Sunrise has launched for another New Donuts gTLDs (.healthcare). Five more New gTLDs will enter TM Sunrise between August 26 and September 9, 2014, respectively. The TM Sunrise period is specifically for trademark holders to register domains that are the exact match (e.g., trademarkname.TLD) to the existing corresponding trademark(s). If you want to protect your brand(s) within specific markets, registering additional domains (specifically new gTLDs), is the best way to optimize your naming strategy.

  • Trademark Sunrise for .healthcare :: Now open and will remain open through October 11, 2014
  • Trademark Sunrise for .pizza :: Scheduled to open August 26, 2014 and remain open through October 25, 2014
  • Trademark Sunrise for .restaurant, .gifts, and .sarl :: Scheduled to open September 2, 2014 and remain open through November 1, 2014
  • Trademark Sunrise for .immo :: Scheduled to open September 9, 2014 and remain open through November 1, 2014

It’s important to note that only trademark holders who have received a valid signed mark data (SMD) file issued by the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) may apply for an exact match domain name during the Sunrise period for any new gTLD(s). If you have any questions about this launch, please contact your Safenames account manager. You may also contact us in the UK at +44 1908 200022 (emeasales@safenames.net) or in the US at +1 703 574 5313 (nasales@safenames.net).

The TM Sunrise launch phase for new gTLDs .LAWYER and .ATTORNEY launched today, July 29, 2014. These domain extensions offer a new way for legal professionals to connect with prospects and build an identity through distinctive web and email addresses. Whether you are a sole practitioner or a partner in an established firm, registering a .LAWYER a/o .ATTORNEY domain(s) will help set your practice apart and reinforce your brand.

TM Sunrise for .LAWYER and .ATTORNEY will remain open through September 27, 2014 and the remaining schedule is as follows:

  • Phase 2—Rest Period :: In lieu of formal Landrush Period
  • Phase 3—General Availability/EAP :: Scheduled to open October 8, 2014*.

It’s important to note that only trademark holders who have received a valid signed mark data (SMD) file issued by the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) may apply for an exact match domain name during the Sunrise period for any new gTLD(s). If you have any questions about this launch please contact Safenames in the UK at +44 1908 200022 (emeasales@safenames.net) or in the US at +1 703 574 5313 (nasales@safenames.net).

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