As we move forward on the road to General Availability, which will start on Monday, Nov 21st at 15.00 UTC, we’d like to take a moment to explain the process behind the decision to activate domains in our Founder’s Program while reserving some others.
Founder Program, or Qualified Launch Phase (QLP)
As a registry, we had the option to activate up to 100 domain names, either for our use or to give to third parties to promote .blog.
We offered some these domains to third parties, and you can see a showcase of these sites on our Founders page. We also decided to offer a list of 25 very generic domains to WordPress.com, so that they could be shared for free among millions of users instead of being owned by single entities.
Reserved domains are domain names that are not registered, and cannot be registered until released. As a registry, we can decide to reserve as many domains as we want.
We reserved all one-, two- and three-character domains from being registered by anyone and will probably release them in the future. In addition, we allowed employees of our parent company, Automattic, many of whom are bloggers and passionate about blogging, to reserve a single domain each, some of which were first names.
Many registrars started taking pre-registrations for the Landrush period as early as last August. We do realise that some users were disappointed when they discovered that the domain names they had applied for were in fact attributed as part of the Founder’s program, or reserved, and wouldn’t be possible to register or auction at the end of Landrush.
We would like to apologise to these users, but as the lists of Founder domains and Reserved ones weren’t final until just before Landrush, we couldn’t communicate them to registrars in advance (there is nothing registrars hate more than ever-changing lists of reserved domains) .
In addition, domains were removed as well as added to the lists, and we didn’t want to take the risk for registrars to refuse applications in September for domains that would be released in October.
To mitigate the downside of such uncertainty, we structured our fees in a way that registrars are charged only for successful registrations, giving them the opportunity to refund their clients in full for failed applications.