.Club Domains, the operator of new gTLD .CLUB, announced on Monday that it has signed its registry agreement with ICANN.
As one of multiple applicants for the .CLUB gTLD, .Club Domains had to beat out other companies including Donuts and Merchant Law Group in a private auction in order to secure the new gTLD. Donuts announced seven of its new gTLDs last week, including .BIKE and .GURU.
According to .Club Domains, it has spent more than $5 million on a private auction, legal fees and market awareness campaigns since its formation in 2012. Marketing is one of the biggest challenges brought on by new gTLDs, as a recent Sedo study showed a lack of education around new gTLDs could threaten SMB adoption.
.Club Domains is backed by $8.2 million from 26 private investors including Canadian entrepreneurs William Campbell and Dirk Bhagat. As implied by its name, .Club Domains only applied for one new gTLD.
“This has been a long, stressful, and emotional process for myself and the team at .CLUB,” Colin Campbell, CEO and founder of .CLUB said. “We are so excited to have signed the agreement after more than two years of hard work. From the beginning we had only one focus – to help people who have similar passions and interests come together, and to create a new social top-level domain that makes it easy for companies, individuals and communities of all kinds to brand themselves with a great domain name.”
Sedo is one of the registrars that will resell .CLUB, but .Club Domains is planning to sign resale agreements with GoDaddy, Network Solutions and Webnames.ca, among others. Last week, GoDaddy launched pre-registration for new gTLDs including .MENU.
According to pre-registration numbers, .CLUB has consistently ranked among the most popular extensions to apply for.
“.CLUB is global brand, which has so many different meanings for so many people,” Campbell said. “Whether you are an academic club, sports club, social club, business club or fan club, you will be able to find a great domain name that represents your group.”