Vox Populi Registry Ltd. the owner of the new gTLD .Sucks, made headlines last year when as one of several applicants for .Sucks announced pricing of up to $25,000 per domain, per year.
Now that Vox won the private auction to operate .Sucks their site went live on Friday with suggested pricing with 5 price and qualification classes ranging from $9.95 to $2,499 per domain, per year (prices are suggested retail, but each registrar can set their own price).
I had a chance to chat with John Berard the spokesman for .Sucks on Friday about the pricing and qualifications for each price range.
The first class, Sunrise Premium domain registrations will only be opened to those that have a trademark registered with the Trademark Clearing House (TMCH) which has been designated by the .sucks registry has being a premium domain.
However .Sucks has a different definition of a “premium” domain than typical registries do.
While most think of generic words as premium, even those that have a trademark or multiple trademarks like Apple or Orange, .Sucks is planning on classifying premium sunrise domain as a trademarks which has been registered across new gTLD’s and/or regarded to be protected by defensive registrations in existing and new TLD’s
I used the example of Google, which I was told would be a Premium Sunrise domain since Google has registered their brand in many new gTLD’s Sunrise periods and therefore would cost $2,499 a year (suggest price)
So if your company is registered in the TMCH, and on the Premium list, if you want to register a .sucks domain in Sunrise its going to cost you $2,499.
Once you register under the Premium Sunrise period the domain will always be a Sunrise Premium and will cost you the $2,499 a year.
The second class of registration, is a “Premium” registration.
If you have a registered trademark in TMCH that is not placed on .Sucks Premium Sunrise List or if you have a registered trademark not registered in the TMCH you can apply for under the Premium category which costs $199+ per year.
The plus sign in the $199+ price is in there because a “Premium” domain will have variable pricing as set by the registry depending on the domain.
The third category, is a domain block.
Unlike a .XXX block which for a one time payment blocked the domain from resolving for 10 years, a .sucks block is an annual fee for the domain not to resolve. A block will cost $199 a year but will not be available in Sunrise.
A standard registration for a .sucks domain has a suggested price of $249 a year.
A standard registration is not available in Sunrise.
A standard registration is what a company or person could register outside of Sunrise for a active .sucks domain.
Finally there is a Consumer Advocate Subsidized registration, with a suggested price of only $9.95 a year, however here’s the rub.
Companies are not allowed to register the $9.95 domain, nor are those that are acting on a company’s behalf.
The category is meant for consumers that want to register a .sucks domain to advocate against a company.
So lets just stick with Google as an example.
If Google wants to register Google.Sucks they can do so for $2,499 a year in the Sunrise Premium period, they can wait for “Premium” but the price of their domain can be as much or even more, whatever wholesale price the registry places on the domain plus the registrar markup. Google can wait until Sunrise and register a $199 block or a $249 standard but they risk some third party else registering the domain for as low as $9.95 and put up a Google.sucks site.
Google will not be able to register Google.sucks at the $9.95 price, nor will anyone connected to the company, although I have no idea of how the registry is going to enforce that rule.
The common thought is that if you register a domain of a trademark that is in the TMCH you can lose easily lose the domain in a URS or a UDRP.
However one of the few areas where panels have upheld the right of third parties to own domain containing trademarks, is when they use them in sites for fair criticism of companies.
Such sites have typically ended in ……….sucks.com.
Trademark holders may have the toughest time of beating a .sucks registration than any other new gTLD if its used for its intended purpose, as a site to rip a company.
Of course parked, non-resolving or redirected .sucks domains will still be at great risk of loss in a UDRP, URS or even federal lawsuit, however company’s and trademark holders are going to have to make a call if they are willing to risk a third party registration in GA which they might not be able to get back through legal means, or just register the domain in Sunrise for up to $2,499 a year.
Here is how .Sucks describes it mission on its site:
“By building an easy-to-locate, “central town square” available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, dotSucks is designed to help consumers find their voices and allow companies to find the value in criticism. ”
“Each dotSucks domain has the potential to become an essential part of every organization’s customer relationship management program.”