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The Early Access Program: a Landrush of a different color

Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

As you may know by now, the release process for the new gTLDs, by which a new extension becomes available, happens in 3 phases:

  • Sunrise
  • Landrush, a.k.a. Early Access Program, in Donuts parlance
  • General Availability, a.k.a. Go Live

The first of these phases, the Sunrise period, is reserved to copyright holders. In the regulated market of new TLDs, this corresponds to individuals and businesses in possession of a registration obtained from the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH), which attests to their rights to the registered trademark in question. In this case, the "registrant" has an SMD file which permits them to register the protected term during this phase. If such a case applies to you, our Gandi Corporate services team can help.

The Landrush period, on the other hand, is open to all, and can be a very lucrative time for the Registry in question. In effect, during a classic Landrush, domain registration prices are considerably higher, the argument being that for people who really want to register a given domain before anyone else, money is no object...

In Donuts' version of the Landrush, which they have dubbed the "Early Access Program" (EAP), the idea is the same: If you want to secure a particular domain name before anyone else, you're going to have to pay up. To organize this, Donuts is using a format inspired by the "Dutch auction": The EAP lasts 7 days and is accessible to all, but the price will start high and drop daily until someone registers the domain.

The first day of the EAP, the price to register a domain will be – hold on to your spacebars – 300 times the normal price. Yes, if you really want to buy on the first day of the EAP, it will cost you 300 times more than the regular .guru registration price. The second day of the EAP, if no one has yet registered the domain of your dreams, the price will drop to "only" 75 times the normal rate. The third day, if your precious domain is still available, the "Dutch tax" will be 30 times the normal price; by the fourth day, it's down to 15 times as expensive.

Finally, during the last three days of the EAP, it will only cost you 4 times the normal price to register the domain name you so desire (if it hasn't already been grabbed by someone richer than you).

At Gandi, we have decided not to automate the process during these first four days of staggering prices, which we think will interest very few of our customers. On the other hand, our system will automatically handle registration requests during the last three days of the EAP by allowing you to purchase domains at the corresponding daily rate.

The first Donuts extensions that will become available for registration at EAP+4 (2 to 5 February 2014) are as follows: .clothing, .holdings, .ventures, .singles, .plumbing, .bike and .guru.

To give you a concrete example, let's say you want to register a .guru: during the last three days of the EAP, it will cost you $139.65 (USD), whereas if you wait until General Availability starts, the price will be $32.44.

It's worth mentioning that if you actually want to register a domain with us during the first four (astronomically expensive) days of the EAP, you should contact our support team, being sure to indicate the desired domain name and the day you want to submit the registration. We will make sure the domain is still available and provide you with the price. Once we have received your confirmation, we can proceed with the registration on your behalf.

Finally, the General Availability period (also referred to as "Go Live"), during which the new gTLD in question becomes available for registration by anyone (according to the Registry's rules, if applicable) at the regular prices. See the TLD info pages for details.

Further reading (external links):

Note: the French version of this post can be found here.