ICANN update: Initial evaluation and first private auctions

June 11, 2013

Highlights

  • All TLDH applications reviewed to date by ICANN’s evaluation panels have passed;
  • Company confident all 88 applications should pass;
  • .london on course for delegation and launch from early 2014; and
  • TLDH to compete in all relevant private auctions.

The directors of Top Level Domain Holdings (AIM: TLDH) are pleased to report that all of the gTLD applications submitted by TLDH on behalf of itself and its clients which have been reviewed to date by ICANN’s seven evaluation panels have passed ICANN’s Initial Evaluation (“IE”).

As at 7 June 2013, ICANN’s evaluation panels had reviewed and passed 36 of the 88 applications filed by TLDH and its clients. IE of all applications is expected to be completed by August 2013, ICANN’s evaluation panels having completed their review of 632 applications (out of 1,930 applications) as at 7 June.

Uncontested Applications and .london
Of the 36 applications belonging to TLDH, its clients or joint venturers that have passed IE to date, nine are uncontested. The uncontested applications are: .london, .gop (for the Republican Party), .budapest, .rugby, .nrw, .rodeo, .vodka, .购物 (Chinese for “shopping”) and .kiwi. These applications will now proceed automatically to the next step towards delegation which is the agreement and execution of the contract with ICANN.

Fred Krueger, Chairman of TLDH, commented:

Based on the results to date and the nature of the application process, we are confident that all our applications should pass this important evaluation phase. We are particularly pleased that three of our uncontested geographical gTLDs, most notably .london, are now in a position to proceed to delegation and launch.

As announced by London & Partners yesterday, .london is expected to be launched in phases from early 2014.

Contested Applications and Private Auctions
Meanwhile applications that pass IE but which are in contention with one or more other IE-approved applications for a given string can begin the process of privately resolving contention, for example by forming a joint venture or participating in a private auction, or proceed to the ICANN-sponsored auctions which are currently scheduled for November 2013.

In relation to the private auction process, the Directors note that the first private gTLD auctions successfully took place last week for six contested strings not related to TLDH’s portfolio: .club, .college, .luxury, .photography, .red and .vote. In total, the winning bidders agreed to pay USD9.01 million for the six strings, the amounts to be paid for each string being distributed to the losing participants of the private auction net of the auctioneers’ fees.

Antony Van Couvering, CEO of TLDH, commented

When compared to ICANN-sponsored auctions, we view private auctions as the auction-method of choice for competing gTLD applicants: they provide benefits to both winners and losers on any given string. We look forward to participating in the relevant private auctions as and when the timing is right.

As previously announced the Company has already arranged a conditional funding facility of up to US$15 million (repayable solely through a gross revenue share) for one contested gTLD string application and is progressing discussions on similar non-recourse debt funding facilities for other contended gTLD applications. The Company also recently raised an additional US$10 million gross of expenses via a placing of new shares.

The applications from TLDH and its clients which have been approved by the ICANN IE panels as at 7 June 2013 are listed below:

ownership

status

.网址 (Chinese for “site”) 100% contested
.购物 (Chinese for “shopping”) 100% not contested
.dog 100% contested
.fishing 100% contested
.casa 100% contested
.gop client not contested
.home 100% contested
.love 100% contested
.rugby client not contested
.budapest 100% not contested
.book 100% contested
.kiwi client not contested
.llc 100% contested
.blog 100% contested
.cpa 100% contested
.deals 100% contested
.law 100% contested
.wedding 100% contested
.lawyer 100% contested
.flowers 100% contested
.review 100% contested
.fashion 100% contested
.cloud 100% contested
.vodka 100% not contested
.pizza 100% contested
.rodeo 100% not contested
.nrw majority-owned not contested
.london client not contested
.green 100% contested
.coupon 100% contested
.country joint venture contested
.broadway client contested
.style 100% contested
.vip 100% contested
.store 100% contested

For further information, please contact:

Top Level Domain Holdings Limited
North America
Antony Van Couvering
Tel: +1 917 406 7126

Beaumont Cornish Limited (Nomad)
Roland Cornish
Michael Cornish
Tel +44 (0) 20 7628 3396

N+1 Singer (Broker)
Matt Thomas
Tel +44 (0) 20 3205 7500

gth media relations
Toby Hall/Suzanne Johnson Walsh
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3103 3903/2

About Top Level Domain Holdings Limited
Top Level Domain Holdings is a publicly-traded holding company listed on the London AIM market. The company is focused on the new top-level domain space. Top-level domains, such as .com, run by VeriSign (NASDAQ: VRSN), and .biz, run by NeuStar (NYSE: NSR), are regulated by ICANN. ICANN has announced plans to expand the number of top-level domains. TLDH intends to make targeted investments in this space, focusing on both infrastructure technologies and specific top-level domains.

About Minds + Machines
Minds + Machines is a registry services provider that works internationally with commercial organisations, cities, not-for-profits, and entrepreneurs to secure and operate new web domains, known as top-level domains (TLDs). Minds and Machines Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Top Level Domains Holdings Limited.