The .homes new gTLD had some pretty onerous eligibility restrictions for the first 19 months of its life and a reasonably steep registry fee. But on 14 January, the fee was slashed and eligibility restrictions abandoned. As a result, registrations have jumped from 396 to 2,572 in 3 weeks.
It was expected registrar fees of US$20 per year or less to be common, much cheaper than the $200 or more which was commonplace.
It’s not to say the new gTLD is yet sustainable, and how these newly registered domain names will be used is another question as many of the publicly available new gTLDs have around 70%, or sometimes more, of their domains parked. TLDs being used out in the wild helps with visibility, which helps with more registrations. But initial registration figures are positive for a gTLD whose medium-term future must have been under a cloud if registrations had stayed where they were.
The registry for .homes, Dominion Registries, operates a handful of industry-specific new gTLDs in addition to .homes: .autos, .boats, .yachts, and .motorcycles. Their mission is to provide high quality, website addresses to the residential real estate, automotive, marine and powersports communities.
One of these, .boats, also had its registrant eligibility requirements dropped 11 months ago. On 15 February 2018, .Dominion Registries made .boats domain names available to everyone, without the need for verification. Since then .boats domains under management have grown from 196 to today’s 454. However .boats domain names are still commonly around the $200 mark.
According to an announcement by Dominion in December 2017, registrant eligibility restrictions are being dropped on all their new gTLDs, with the remaining new gTLDs – .autos, .motorcycles and .yachts – following in coming months following approval by ICANN.
The relaunch with changes to eligibility and registry fee reduction commences at exactly 16:00 UTC on 14 January 2019. At that time all eligibility, verification and proxy restrictions will be removed and registration will be available on a first-come, first served basis. A claims (RCP) period will be in effect until 0:00 UTC 15 April 2019.