That .hiv is going to a good home is excellent news.
But why did this happen?
The .hiv domain extension wasn’t setup like other domain extensions. It was established to be something else – a digital red ribbon.
Their video tries to explain the idea behind it (bear in mind the video is from prior to the domain’s launch):
Conn interviewed Carolin Silbernagl last year and they spoke about the project in some detail. As outlined in the interview then, the way .hiv was setup was as a “social enterprise” ie. to channel both funds and attention into HIV research.
Earlier this year the registry started looking for a buyer, as it was clear that the numbers weren’t there. While a registry can probably survive on relatively modest registration numbers .hiv to date has only got about 500 domains registered. Even with the higher registration fees the way they were setup meant that most of the income wasn’t going to the registry itself.
But the auction, with a reserve of USD200k, came and went without anyone stepping up.
Today’s announcement means that the .hiv registry will not only continue, but will become part of a company that is well funded and well respected.
Schilling is one of the domain industry’s most successful entrepreneurs. Not only is he successful, however, he’s also well respected and liked. His company will make a good home for a TLD that was setup as a vehicle for “social good”.
“By assuming the registry operations of .hiv, we are taking our core skills and putting them at the service of one of the most urgent challenges of humankind,” says Uniregistry’s Managing Director Frank Schilling. “The United Nations has reconfirmed the opportunities to end the global AIDS epidemic within our lifetime. At Uniregistry, we want to be a part of this ambitious endeavor.”
“Of course, Uniregistry is a for-profit company. But with .hiv, we act as a social enterprise”, says Frank Schilling. “It is the social mission that will guide the operation of this special TLD.”
So what of the future?
The transition of .hiv should be completed by December of this year. It’s not clear as yet whether they’ll switch over to using the Uniregistry backend, though it would make sense if they did. Uniregistry has already launched 24 new top level domain extensions and many of the registrars are integrated with them.
The December 1st date is World AIDS Day, so from a PR perspective it would make sense to be able to “relaunch” the domain extension then.