dotTV Coaxes Exposure, Funding from Network Solutions

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.

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