Automattic announced today that it will begin offering top-level .blog domain registration starting in August 2016. The .blog domain extension will be available to both WordPress and non-WordPress sites.
According to Mark Armstrong, an Automattic subsidiary is exclusively managing the registration of .blog domains and will be offering it for purchase through WordPress.com and other domain registrars.
“Automattic subsidiary Knock Knock Whois There LLC, in partnership with the domain company Primer Nivel, won the rights to the .blog domain in 2015 through an auction process overseen by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the non profit organization that oversees namespaces of the internet,” Armstrong said.
In an announcement on his blog, Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg said they used the Knock Knock Whois There LLC company name to “stay stealth while in the bidding process,” which closed around $19 million.
Although WordPress.com is currently providing the registration information site at dotblog.wordpress.com, Armstrong said that the company is using Nominet (the backend registry provider for .UK) to provide the technical infrastructure for managing the domain extension.
Registration for .blog domains will be offered in a phased approach during the second half of 2016, according to the following estimated timeframe:
- Sunrise (August): Trademark owners will be able to register .blog domains associated with their brands
- Landrush (October): Before .blog becomes available to the public, domains may be registered during the landrush period on an application basis.
- General Availability (November): Automattic plans to begin offering .blog domains to the general public before the end of the year.
With the exclusive rights to manage the sale of millions of .blog domains, Automattic has the opportunity to promote WordPress.com as a potential host for new registrants. The company hasn’t finalized the price but Armstrong said it will be “in the standard range for new top-level domains with some premium pricing for higher-value names.”