The .com address—a few years ago this was the only domain that anyone really wanted. While there were options available such as the .net or .org address, they were generally seen as second-rate, when compared to the .com. Today, the internet is a much bigger place that it ever was before, plus using a domain name has become even more important for a company that wants to prove itself seriously.
That means it is harder than ever to get the address you want in a .com address, or even a .net or .org. If you do a quick search for casino domains for sale, you find there are few “good” names available–especially at an affordable price.
Luckily, there has been an influx of new domains, including a recent creation of over 1900 new gTLD (generic top level domains.) One of the new domains included in this batch is the .poker domain. Of all 1900 domains, this is one of a few that is creating the most excitement.
The way new domains are handled is a bit complex. When new domains are announced, companies bid for the rights to “hold” the domains. This means that the company that purchases the gTLD .poker will have final control over who can purchase a domain that ends in .poker. A company could choose to hold the domain strictly for its own use, or it could choose to sell individual domains with the .poker prefix—ie ABCCompany.poker.
In 2012, there were four companies vying for rights to hold the .poker domain. These companies are Afilias Domains, Binky Mill LLC, dot Poker Limited and Dot Poker LLC. By doing some research into these names, including a whois lookup, experts believe that these are all large domain firms that control thousands of domains, and are now snapping up these gTLD as they become available. Commonly referred to as “domain squatters,” these companies hold domains and sell them to small businesses at a higher price than the standard domain registration cost.
As of mid to late 2013, nothing has been officially decided about the future of the .poker domain. Current reports is that Binky Mill LLC has dropped out of the running, leaving three current contenders for this desired name. Information provided by independent domain name information firms show a 2015 launch for the .poker domain, so likely we will find out something in the coming months.
Correction, August 8: Donuts Inc., through its applicant subsidiary Binky Mill LLC, is still an applicant to administer an open .POKER registry.
The interested firms have been engaged in a long and expensive bidding war, and it will continue on before the final victor is decided. The final decision will be interesting for the world of online and offline poker. Only time will tell how popular the .poker domain proves to be and whether we see it become a common prefix for online poker websites like Link Poker and strategy sites created by lovers of the game, or if it instead remains in limited use among only a few elite firms.