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First Dot-xxx Domains Hit Pre-Reg Market at $133 a Pop

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from www.ynot.com – DomainDiscount24.com, a division of German company Key-Systems, has become the first registrar to publish a price schedule for dot-xxx domains. Ranging from 92.44 to 110 euros (about U.S. $132.85 to $158.10), even the least expensive dot-xxx domains will retail at DD24 for more than double ICM Registry’s wholesale price of $62, including ICANN’s $2 cut.

In addition, a non-refundable application fee of 80 to 113.40 euros (about U.S. $115.28 to $163.41) also is required for all domains except those permanently blocked and those purchased during the “general availability” registration period. Domains may be blocked for a one-time fee of 378.15 euros (about U.S. $544.71).

And those are the registrar’s “May special” prices, according to a dedicated page on DD24’s website. Prices may increase or decrease at the end of the month.

“Each registrar has its own business model,” ICM Registry Chief Executive Officer Stuart Lawley [pictured] told YNOT.com on Tuesday. “Our wholesale price has never changed. I expect a large range of pricing in the marketplace from different registrars depending on their business model.”

Key-Systems and its subsidiaries (the others are RRPproxy.net for resellers and BrandShelter.com for trademark owners) were among the first to be approved to sell dot-xxx, following Network Solutions and UK-based DomainMonster and preceding Ireland’s Blacknight Solutions. Only DomainDiscount24, Key-Systems’ consumer division, has published pricing or begun actively marketing what the company calls “non-binding” pre-registrations. The first Sunrise registration period, during which all fees will be due, is expected to begin Sept. 7, Lawley told YNOT.com.

“But the Founders Program domains may be able to be registered before that,” he added.

According to Lawley, a total of 55 registrars worldwide passed muster with ICM; of those “about 20” have either signed contracts with ICM already or are in the process of finalizing agreements with the dot-xxx overseer. Another 20 remain under consideration, he said. After completing negotiations with ICM, each approved registrar also much sign an addendum to its contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and fund a financial responsibility insurance account before offering dot-xxx domains to the public.

“Just a handful [of applicants] did not qualify under the criteria [ICM laid out for approval],” Lawley told YNOT.com. “Probably between five and 10.”

So far, registrars have been approved in the U.S., Australia, the Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, the Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and the UK, Lawley said.

“None have been accepted yet in Africa or South America, but I know there are some in Latin America in the pipeline,” he added.

When applicants were rejected, Lawley noted, most often it was because they provided an unsatisfactory response to No. 4 in ICM’s “Registrar Accreditation Criteria Request for Information,” a mandatory part of the application process.

No. 4 requires registrar applicants to “confirm the Registrar’s understanding of the Sponsored Community and its willingness and ability to serve that community.”

Lawley said No. 4 failures most often occurred because the registrar was uncomfortable working with the adult entertainment community or because the registrar caters primarily to domain speculators.

As comparatively expensive as dot-xxx registrations may seem through DD24, they are hardly the most costly domains on the registrar’s list. More than a dozen other country code Top Level Domains and sponsored Top Level Domains are as pricey or pricier. The High Dollar Award goes to ccTLDs belonging to the nation of Kiribati: dot-com.ki, dot-net.ki and dot-org.ki retail for 180.67 euros (about U.S. $260.26) each.

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