First open multi-gTLD auction kicks off domain industry consolidation

Hong Kong, April 10th 2015 – Innovative Auctions is holding the first multi-string TLD auction that is open to any interested party. .Promo is one of the strings that will be auctioned.

Innovative Auctions Ltd. has managed nearly all of the TLD contention resolution auctions and their approach of dividing the winning bid among the losing bidders has resulted in several parties receiving payments higher than their original investments. This means that there is now an influx of capital available for the potential purchase of other top-level domains.

Lindsay Holden explains that in addition to the existing players, there is potential for other companies to get involved: “We expect the upcoming open auction to generate new interest in TLDs. The previous contention auctions were only available to those that applied in 2011. This auction is the first real chance for other businesses to hop on board.”

The auction will be held on 4th of June 2015 and is going to include a handful of top-level domains, featuring “.promo” as the headline item. Holden explains that .promo is expected to do well: “Previous promotion-related TLDs in our auctions such as .coupons, .deals, .gratis, .forsale, .sale and .discount have attracted high bids.”

Many new top-level domains have already enjoyed success, but the kind of business that they can sustain is sometimes questioned. Markus Ståhlberg, director at Play.Promo Oy, a Finnish company, the sole applicant for .promo, sheds some light on the basis of the valuation of the TLD:

“A gTLD is like real estate - its value is not expected to decline over the years. However there needs to be a viable business case in the background. In the case of .promo, the strongest business driver is the fact that all businesses, from small brick-and-mortar local companies to big brands and major multinational online enterprises, need promotion in some form. With a total value of $628 billion, the promotions market is almost three times bigger than the advertising market, and growing much faster, as businesses move their ad budgets to online promotional activities. Additionally, in a successful domain business it is essential to reach out to the global market. In this respect, .promo really has the edge over all other promotional TLDs, as it is the only multilingual TLD that is natively understood by over 1.3 billion people globally. Promo is a shortening that’s used in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Indonesian and several other languages. ”

Consolidation seems inevitable as small, single gTLD owners such as Play.Promo are expected to face increasing competition from companies that manage huge gTLD portfolios such as Donuts Inc (~250 gTLD’s), Google and Amazon, who have nearly 100.

Markus Ståhlberg explains what was behind the decision to auction .promo: “We strongly believe in the business case behind .promo but selling domains is simply not our core business. Having had a close look at the market during the past 12 months we have come to the conclusion that there are many parties out there who focus 100%  on the domains value chain, and so are better placed to monetize .promo so that it fulfills its commercial potential.”


About Innovative Auctions

Innovative Auctions (IAL) is a Hong Kong based company that specializes in auction and market design for multiple industries in many different countries. The firm is offering gTLD auction services to applicants in contention in ICANN's New gTLD Program.


About Play.Promo Oy

Play.Promo Oy is a Helsinki-based company operating the .promo generic top level domain. Play.Promo is part of a We.Promo company group involving several businesses from marketing automation to content marketing and software development.



Lindsay Holden

Innovative Auctions Limited


Markus Ståhlberg Oy


Malmikatu 24 e 67

00100 Helsinki, Finland

Top Level Auction announces auction for .reise

We will be holding a Top Level Auction (TLA) on Feb 27th for .REISE.

The .REISE TLA will be a simultaneous ascending clock auction, similar to the format of the Applicant Auction. There will be no buyer commission for this auction, so there will be no additional fees - you just pay the winning price if you win. 

Bidding starts at $400,000 and there is no reserve.

For more information on the .REISE auction, please email Please check the Auction Schedule for relevant dates.

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