Last week’s post regarding pre-registration resonated with a lot of readers, and it also sparked a conversation internally about where pre-registration fits in the bigger picture. We ultimately boiled it down to the needs and intentions of registrants, and some recommendations on what you can do as a reseller.
What pre-registrations really are
What is being marketed as “pre-registration” in the context of new TLDs is generally more an “expression of interest”. It doesn’t give any guarantee to get a domain, but merely says “whenever this new TLD becomes available for everyone, please let me know, because I would be interested in purchasing this name.” They can however help registrants to not miss the launch of their desired extension. It’s just important to note that those “expressions of interest” do not help to secure a specific name.
So, what do you tell clients who want to secure specific names upon the launch of a new gTLD, if pre-registrations don’t help? The answer depends on what kind of name it is.
How to secure your brand or trademark
There’s good news for holders of registered trademarks: you’re among the first in line for every new TLD that launches! But still, to reserve this prime spot in the queue and get a domain ahead of everyone else, you need to do two things:
- Submit your trademark record to the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH), and
- Apply for the desired domain name during the Sunrise phase of the TLD.
If your brand is registered with the TMCH, it will then be eligible to be registered as a domain name in every registry sunrise phase (some exceptions may apply). There’s a charge for submitting a mark to the TMCH, and a separate charge for every sunrise application. OpenSRS will enable you as a reseller to submit marks to the TMCH and apply for names during sunrise on behalf of your clients.
A nice additional benefit of using the TMCH is the Claims service, which will warn others intending to register your trademark that they are potentially violating your intellectual property. In case they still go ahead and register, the trademark owner will be notified and can take the necessary steps to suspend the name.
While the TMCH and sunrise phases are a good solution for holders of registered marks, what if your brand or product name isn’t a trademark, but you still want to secure the name?
How to secure your “Very Important” Domains
Landrush is your friend. Once a new gTLD has completed their mandatory sunrise launch phase for trademarks, we expect most registries to offer priority registrations during a landrush phase. Landrush means anybody can apply for any name that hasn’t already been taken during sunrise, but for a premium registration fee. Auctions will typically resolve multiple applications for the same name. Some registries will also sell high-value names as premium names, with a specific price tag on each of them.
Although Landrush registrations have a higher cost, you will still be ahead of the crowd waiting for general availability.
But what if this all sounds too expensive, and you just want to try your luck securing a regular name?
Getting a name at the regular price
After the names in highest demand have already been taken during sunrise and landrush, new gTLDs will enter their general availability phase. During this phase, we will conduct real pre-registrations, which is placing a binding order on hold in a queue at a time when the launch date, pricing and requirements are known. OpenSRS will open such pre-registration queues for general availability phases only prior to launch. At launch, those queued orders will be submitted to the registry one after the other, and you might be lucky enough to get a name.
So if you are a reseller and have decided to take “expressions of interest” from your clients, you would contact the client prior to launch with info on launch phases and dates of that TLD, and invite him to place a Sunrise or Landrush application or a binding pre-registration for General Availability.
If you want to get active now, taking expressions of interest is one thing you can do, the other is preparing the brand owners among your client base to submit their marks to the TMCH.