A new dot-poker or “.Poker” generic top level domain name has just entered the first phase of a three phase release process.
The .Poker internet domain name will be the first and only one that is dedicated to the game of poker.
For players and operators looking for an effective web address, the domain name is completely logical.
In the months to come, any interested parties can follow the registration process and apply for a potential .Poker address.
Three Phases of Release
The registration schedule begins next month and fully opens up in April, timing the availability of who can apply at what time.
The first phase for .Poker is referred to as “sunrise” and runs from February 5 through March 7, 2015.
During the sunrise period, any domain names will be awarded in a first-come, first-served method.
The caveat to this period is that eligibility for registering these domains is strictly limited to trademark holders who have their marks registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse.
The second phase is referred to as “land rush” and will run from March 10 through April 9, 2015. At this period in the registration process, members of the public have the ability to apply for the domain name they prefer.
In the case where one name receives more than one registration, the domain will be awarded through an auction process. Applications will be finalized after the conclusion of the land rush period.
On April 21, 2015 the open registration period begins and names will be available for registration in the same manner as any other top level domain. An announcement has not yet been made regarding the cost of a dot-poker name when it goes up for sale.
However, top level domain names tend to have a higher price that typical dot-com ones.
Global registry services provider Afilias is managing the registration and release process. With approximately 20 million names under management, Afilias is the second largest domain registry in the world. The new .Poker is one of hundreds of top level domains that is being prepared by the company for launch.
“Poker is one of the most popular games on the Internet today, and now there is a dedicated space on the Internet for all aspects of poker,” said Roland LaPlante, Chief Marketing Officer of Afilias. “.Poker is an easy-to-remember web extension that will resonate with poker fans, gaming entities, tournament organizers, product manufacturers, news sources, and just about anyone involved in the game of poker.”
Non-profit company the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) are responsible for managing Internet domains.
In 2008 at the 32nd International Public ICANN Meeting in Paris, the system for privately sponsored domains like .Poker was proposed. ICANN revealed that over 2,000 applications for new top level domains were made by June 2013.
.Poker Boom… or Bust?
The potential popularity of a dedicated .Poker domain is evident based on the rise of online poker rooms and tournaments. The listing on Afilias’ website describes .Poker as “the perfect web address to stack the chips in your favor and set your Poker website apart from the rest!”
Referencing online gaming, tournaments and local poker nights, the .Poker domain seems to be the most obvious venue of highlighting a site as completely poker-centric.
The real question is whether or not established sites such as PokerStars or 888Poker would want to include an almost redundant “.Poker” in their name.
For companies wanting to rebrand or include poker as an extension of their services, .Poker could increase visibility to potential customers.
The option to have .Poker as a domain gives start-ups the ability to further expand the online poker market, which could be an important step in increasingly the legitimacy of regulated markets across the world.
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