dotTV Coaxes Exposure, Funding from Network Solutions
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Proprietor of .tv and country code suffixes dotTV Tuesday scored a major coup when Network Solutions agreed to .tv registrations to its customer base and offer .tv through its Web site next to perennial top-level domains .com and .net.
DotTV President and Chief Executive Officer Lou Kerner said NSOL/Verisign's decision was extremely gratifying for his company, which can expect to experience greater scale in the torrid TLD market.
"When the dominant player in your market validates you by distributing your product, that's a huge validation and in the history of Network Solutions, dotTV is going to be the first additional top-level domain distributed on a global basis," Kerner told InternetNews Radio Tuesday.
"Everybody who has a Web presence will be providing rich media content and streaming video -- it's the most powerful form of communication on the planet," Kerner continued. "It doesn't matter whether you're a broadcast or entertainment media company, which comprises less than 20 percent of our registrations, or you're a lawyer or a plummer or a retailer or real estate, those are all significant vertical markets for us."
DotTV, which boasts 100,000 .tv suffixes through October, joins a slew of private companies that have signed deals with small countries to allow them to market their country code domains, or ccTLDs, to users.
However, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' Chief Policy Officer Andrew McLaughlin said such ccTLDs are not regulated at all by ICANN.
"Consumers who are interested in domain registration in country code top level domains should be very cautious and very aware that that ccTLD's rules are being set by the local community for that ccTLD and that means that as the local community changes its mind and changes its rules for whatever procedures are in place, the policy can change," McLaughlin told InternetNews Radio Tuesday.
McLaughlin said .com and .biz and are not subject to this uncertainty because registries signed contracts with ICANN.
"ICANN is not a consumer protection agency, and so we're not out trying to service the Internet police for top-level domains or even for domain names broadly," McLaughlin said.
"What we do do is specify issues like registry prices, competitive models and competitive structures to ensure that the promises that were made during the application process are actually enforced through contracts."
But DotTV's Kerner said his deal with VeriSign puts .tv in the same protected cadre of .com .net and .org.
He said his firm's deal is structured in a such a way that a corporation can work with the domain to maximize value to its shareholders.
But NSI/VeriSign Inc., may have done dotTV's wallet an even greater solid. In a time when cash induction seems to be at a lull following a year when venture capital firms were scrambling to invest in dot coms, the giant registrar also padded dotTV's pocket by leading a $28 million financing round in dotTV.
Additional new investors include UnitedGlobalCom, Munder Capital Management, Mark Asset Management, and Compass Asset Management.
The cash will be used to fund a $50 million global radio and broadcast ad campaign scheduled to kick off in January.
InternetNews Radio host Brian McWilliams contributed to this story.