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(photo courtesy of Christian Meyn and freedigitalphotos.net)

True to any ICANN gathering, at lot was happening at ICANN 51 last month in Los Angeles. ICANN’s IoN (“Internet of Names”) publication highlighted some of the more interesting side stories on the Internet/Domain front. Here’s our Part I sampling (courtesy of IoN):

•The government of Norway opposed Opera CEO’s (Håkon Wiu Lie) proposal to set up 2 domains that would be used for secure and private web services. Lie had proposed that the “.sj” and “.bv” domains be reserved for domain owners who agreed to store all their data within Norway so that it would be protected under Norwegian law.

•Verisign has proposed setting up the “Registration Operations Association”, a standards setting body.  According to IoN, the ROA would bring registries and registrars together to consolidate and simplify their technical interfaces. A website for the new organization has been set up at regiops.net.

•ICANN’s first set of gTLD auctions raised over $14 million from “.buy”; “.tech” and “.vip”.  The average price for each of the first 3 gTLD extension was $4.8 million. Amazon won “.buy” at auction, edging out Google and other competing bidders.  Future monthly auctions will feature over 100 new extensions.

•ICANN released an approximate timeline for releasing the upcoming rounds of new gTLD’s., but noted that time is needed to consider a number of relevant studies and reports before it can proceed with the new offerings. IoN estimates that future rounds of top-level domains will not be ready until 2017-2018.

•After many delays, Bill Doshier finalized his ICANN contract in 2013 for the “dot-buzz” top level domain registry.  Mr. Doshier spoke with DomainNameWire in October last year and explained that dot.buzz is “designed for organizations that want to create buzz and notify the world about what’s going on right now.” Some examples he gave include public relations firms, social networks and event organizers. But “dot-buzz” also got a whole lot of attention from the cannabis industry, too (who knew??). According to IoN, Mr. Doshier intends to make the most out of the growing cannabis industry’s new interest. At this point, it looks like “dot-buzz will be offered at a premium price level, with domains going for about $40-$50 retail (e.g., Name.com is currently offering dot-buzz domains for $42.99).

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