There seems to be quite a few announcements from ICANN regarding new gTLDs being withdrawn. I noticed another two this week (at the time of writing) - .idn and .ummah. This takes the total number to over 60 since initial results were revealed almost a year ago.
It was expected that a number of applications would never see the light of day, but it was anticipated that the major withdrawals would come from the applications that were in contention, especially where they were up against a competing application from one of the big brands, such as Google or Amazon. However, it seems that this wave still hasn’t reached us yet, with applicants perhaps adopting a “wait and see” approach to see what deals are put on the table first.
We also haven’t yet seen many applications being withdrawn following the GAC communique from the Beijing meeting back in April.
Some of the withdrawals have been high-profile brands who perhaps felt that the investment required to create a new online brand image was not in-line with their existing strategy such as .transformers (Hasbro), .ketchup and .hienz and probably the most surprising one for me, .hilton.
We have also seen what appears to have been a deal already struck by two competing applicants - Guardian News and Media withdrawing two applications (.gdn and .guardianmedia) in return for the acquisition of the domain name theguardian.com from the other applicant, Guardian Life Insurance. Other deals will undoubtedly be made in the coming months as large company legal teams flex their muscles ready for a battle for their new online digital assets.
Written by Stuart Fuller, Director of Commercial Operations and Communications, NetNames