The new top level domain name, .biz, is yet to be launched to the public but is making waves in domain name circles.
At least one e-commerce developer is complaining of price gouging and a cavalier attitude from Melbourne IT, the company that won the rights to sell .biz domain names on behalf of ICANN.
Melbourne IT has set up a company, NeuLevel, to sell .biz domain names and initially it offered what it called a “sunrise period” where existing trademark owners could register their names in the .biz domain, so as to avoid the cyber-squatting issues that have dogged .com holders.
“You would pay $US90 and be given priority for that domain name. Disputes would be avoided that way,” says Auckland-based developer 3-Tier Solutions CEO, Tim Muhundan. While that’s fine in theory, he says the practice has worked out to be less user friendly.
“In fact what has happened is the $US90 per name guarantees nothing - you simply get an email notification if someone tries to register that domain name. The ‘sunrise period’ is almost up and then we enter the ‘land rush’ where everything left over is opened up for general buying.”
The directory of names will go live in October 2001, giving cyber-squatters three months to register as many .biz names as they want.
“I really believe the registrars and NeuLevel have decided to make some money out of this process. How many end users know they’ve spent $US90 on an email notification - I bet they think they’ve bought protection for that domain name.”
The other TLD, .info, is being controlled by a consortium of 18 of the world’s largest registrars operating under the name Afilias. It too is running a 30 day sunrise period but has seen less contention than .biz, possibly because the name is less of a competitor with .com.