A second commercial, non-branded new gTLD has thrown in the towel after failing to sell many domains and ICANN will seek out a new registry operator to take over.
Desi Networks has told ICANN it wants to unilaterally terminate its contract to run .desi, which as of the end of March had 1,425 domains under management after almost a decade in the root. It peaked at 4,330 domains in December 2018.
ICANN said it will invoke its Registry Transition Process to find a new registry operator. That’s essentially an auction, though if Desi Networks has so far failed to find a buyer privately one wonders how much attention it will attract.
The term “desi” broadly refers to people of South Asian residence or descent, usually Indians and the Indian diaspora. With over 1.5 billion potential registrants, on paper it looks like a winner.
But a Google search for .desi sites reveals just a handful of active domains, all related to porn sites.
The registry seems to have given up on approving zone file requests some time last year, so I have no insight into the kinds of domains currently registered, but ICANN says they are registered to third parties.
None of the registry’s own web sites, save nic.desi, appear to be working, and its Twitter account has been dormant since 2018.
The failure of the business doesn’t appear to be from a lack of channel opportunities. The gTLD is available through most of the major registrars, according to transaction reports, and runs on CentralNic’s back-end.
ICANN said it may transition .desi to an Emergency Back-End Registry Operator while it sorts everything out.
The Registry Transition Process has been invoked just once before, in 2021, after Atrgon’s .wed failed. That gTLD has been using an EBERO, Nominet, for six years.
Most registries that have terminated their gTLD contracts have been dot-brands with no third-party registrants. ICANN just removes those from the root.