The .blog registry made a blog post today trying to explain what is going on with all the reserved domains and the .blog landrush. In short they explained that they did what they did simply because they can.
“As a registry, we can decide to reserve as many domains as we want.”
I wrote that they registered for themselves the best keywords and also reserved many names including all one, two and three character domains. They will probably auction many of these reserved names.
They also confirmed what I already said. That they used people’s pre-registrations to compile their list of reserved domains. They finalized their reserved domains just before Landrush started on November 2nd. People were making pre-order for at least 2 or 3 months prior to that.
“the lists of Founder domains and Reserved ones weren’t final until just before Landrush”
This blog post seems like the reply I was promised by the .blog registry but never received. I am still waiting for Patrick Jones to reply to my email from November 7. On November 8 I got this: “Sorry for the delay and thanks for sharing the article. I am in India for ICANN at the moment but will circle back with the team and will get back to you.”. Then silence. That is very disappointing from a registry that I thought was going to make something of the extension.
This was a sloppy launch with will hunt .blog for many years to come. Oh well…
You can read the complete announcement here:
As we move forward on the road to General Availability, which will start on Monday, Nov 21st at 15.00 UTC, we’d like to take a moment to explain the process behind the decision to activate domains in our Founder’s Program while reserving some others.
Founder Program, or Qualified Launch Phase (QLP)
As a registry, we had the option to activate up to 100 domain names, either for our use or to give to third parties to promote .blog.
We offered some these domains to third parties, and you can see a showcase of these sites on our Founders page. We also decided to offer a list of 25 very generic domains to WordPress.com, so that they could be shared for free among millions of users instead of being owned by single entities.
Reserved domains are domain names that are not registered, and cannot be registered until released. As a registry, we can decide to reserve as many domains as we want.
We reserved all one-, two- and three-character domains from being registered by anyone and will probably release them in the future. In addition, we allowed employees of our parent company, Automattic, many of whom are bloggers and passionate about blogging, to reserve a single domain each, some of which were first names.
Many registrars started taking pre-registrations for the Landrush period as early as last August. We do realise that some users were disappointed when they discovered that the domain names they had applied for were in fact attributed as part of the Founder’s program, or reserved, and wouldn’t be possible to register or auction at the end of Landrush.
We would like to apologise to these users, but as the lists of Founder domains and Reserved ones weren’t final until just before Landrush, we couldn’t communicate them to registrars in advance (there is nothing registrars hate more than ever-changing lists of reserved domains) .
In addition, domains were removed as well as added to the lists, and we didn’t want to take the risk for registrars to refuse applications in September for domains that would be released in October.
To mitigate the downside of such uncertainty, we structured our fees in a way that registrars are charged only for successful registrations, giving them the opportunity to refund their clients in full for failed applications.