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Old 29th June 2007, 09:38 PM
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Preparing to Bid Adieu to the Newly Launched .TRAVEL TLD

The recently launched .TRAVEL TLD, a product of travel domain registry Tralliance, seems to be approaching its rapid extinction. The new registry is in the midst of a capital deficit of approximately $7.8 million and expects to be unprofitable in the foreseeable future.

Tralliance Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the .TRAVEL registry, TheGlobe.com, which "develops products and services to promote the efficiencies and convenience of e-commerce for the global travel and tourism industry." Tralliance's site advocates a Value-Added Service requiring all .TRAVEL registrants to be authenticated as a "legitimate service and/or product provider in the travel and tourism industry."

Registrants are required to submit all .TRAVEL domains they intend to register to the registry and will then be subsequently assigned a Unique Identification Number (UIN) required for registration purposes. It costs $100 to register a .TRAVEL domain; not a price a small start up travel business may be willing to sacrifice for an extension that is not yet ranked highly in search engines and has not gained popularity among travel suppliers as of yet. These stringent stipulations are part of the reason .TRAVEL is running into some difficulties. While the concept of an industry-sponsored top level domain with a comprehensive directory, search and navigation service is not bad, the countless registry regulations are playing a part in its decline.

With the .TRAVEL registry strictly prohibiting domain tasting and with the regulation stating that all .TRAVEL web sites be held only by legitimate travel organizations, this seems to rule out any possibility of domain parking. In addition, TheGlobe.com is dealing with $2.6 million in losses due to a 2006 MySpace lawsuit with allegations that 400,000 spam e-mails were sent to the popular social network's users. That just might be the tipping point in the whole situation. TheGlobe.com management recently admitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission that they do not think they can continue to fund their operations until they receive more money. Is there enough interest in .TRAVEL to keep the registry alive and is there any restitution planned for the hundreds of .TRAVEL registrants should a registry collapse occur?

It's been approximately two years since Tralliance signed their contract with ICANN, and .TRAVEL continues to face hurdles. It may be difficult for .TRAVEL domains to compete with the thousands of brandable and generic travel .COM domains that have already made an immense impact on the travel industry. Their value is hard to overlook; Malta.com sold last year through Sedo for $250,000. The .COM is still the most desired domain extension. Just as any astute domainer would prefer to own the .COM extension over the .BIZ or .NET; it seems that they would prefer a brandable one or two word .COM over the .TRAVEL for their travel business or domain parking needs.

Its hard not to notice the flashing warning sign on the .TRAVEL highway. Whether the .TRAVEL TLD will survive the current obstacles is yet to be seen. But don't be surprised if you find yourself bidding adieu to the .TRAVEL TLD in the near future.

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