Interview with Antony Van Couvering — Part II

July 12, 2011 at 7:41 am 3 comments

Here’s the second part of my interview with Antony Van Couvering of Mind and Machines focused on the business opportunity of new TLDs. You can read part one here.

Q: Can you talk about your Espresso registry services platform, and the advantages that offers for new TLD operators?

Espresso is the gTLD cousin of CoCCA, which was developed for ccTLDs. At present, Espresso is running .FM, which contains many prominent sites such as ping.fm. Taken together, the platform hosts 30 ccTLDs, making it the most widely deployed TLD registry solution on the planet. Over the last two years, while we’ve been waiting for ICANN to approve the new gTLD program, we haven’t been sitting on our hands. Together with CoCCA, we’ve been implementing all the new features required by ICANN, including the trademark clearinghouse, IPv6, DNSSEC, and other features. We may well be the most advanced of all the registries in this regard.

Espresso has some real advantages over any other solution. First, as a client you have a choice of using our hosted version, where all you need to run your registry is an Internet connection; or you can install it locally on your network, which makes a lot of sense for brands and other clients with particular security needs or IT policies. Second, the platform was developed over the last ten years with particular attention to the needs of a variety of different ccTLD requirements, so it’s very very flexible and accommodates all kinds of business models, from very open to quite restrictive, based on a number of different criteria.

Additionally, the reporting is first-rate, payment systems are fully integrated, and best of all it’s already connected to all the major ICANN-accredited registrars, so our clients won’t have to convince them to do any time-consuming technical integration, which could be a major stumbling block in a landscape with hundreds of new gTLDs. All the registrars will have to do is check a box on the Espresso system to turn on a new gTLD — it’s that simple.

George Bundy of BRS Media runs .FM and is planning to do .RADIO with us. He has had a lot of experience with the platform both as an existing ccTLD and as a prospective new gTLD. George has agreed to be a reference for us, so if anyone wants to know what Espresso is like from the perspective of someone who’s using it, just ask George.

Q: What kind of organizations are looking at new TLDs, based on your conversations to date? Any general trends you can share?

Clearly the brands have come out of the closet. After opposing the new gTLD program for so long, it’s clear that now that’s it’s been approved some brands are starting to look at the positives of new gTLDs for them, in terms of branding, authentication, and a number of other corporate imperatives. I’m hearing about a lot demand from brands.

In general there’s been a significant uptick in interest from all sectors — I’ve certainly been very busy with phone calls and meetings with new clients. I think after Labor Day is when we’ll start to see a real surge, with additional announcements, ICANN’s awareness campaign kicking in, and the deadline looming.

Applicants will have the last three months of the year to get ready, and given the heavyweight application, that might be just enough time.

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