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On February 11, Afilias announced that it has acquired mTLD Top Level Domain Ltd., the sponsoring organization and registry operator for the .mobi top-level domain. Under terms of the private deal, Afilias Limited, an Irish Limited company, has acquired all of the issued and outstanding capital stock of mTLD Top Level Domain Ltd. (known publicly as dotMobi), and plans to continue operating dotMobi as a wholly owned subsidiary.
dotMobi is a leading mobile Internet services company, helping businesses and individuals reach the world's billions of mobile phone users. dotMobi spurs mobile industry innovation by giving content providers the tools they need – including the .mobi top level domain – to ensure the Web will work on mobile phones with speed, accuracy and relevant content.
Read the full press release:
Afilias is the registry operator for .INFO with a direct contract with ICANN. dotMobi, although now a subsidiary of Afilias, will continue to be the registry operator for .mobi, under contract to ICANN. The remainder of Afilias' registry services contracts are with parties other than ICANN. .mobi is a sponsored top-level domain. Reflective of this, the dotMobi Policy Advisory Board (PAB) and the .mobi Advisory Group (MAG) will remain in place to ensure a voice for the mobile community, including a voice for the 14 founders..mobi contains over 950,000 registrations across the world and is available at over 200 registrars. Over 80% of .mobi domains are active Web sites. The .mobi domain is in use throughout the world as a fast and intuitive mobile content discovery tool.
Heather Read, Sr. Director, Communications
Maranda Woody, Asst. Manager, Communications
Vance Hedderal, Director, PR and Communications
The followingcompany logoshave been made available for download and use by the Press.
Trey Harvin, CEO - dotMobi
Trey Harvin, a longtime Internet and technology expert, is CEO of dotMobi. Mr. Harvin is charged with building on the success of dotMobi to date and taking the company forward with more innovative products for expanding the use of the mobile Web.
He served as Vice President of Business Operations at leading internet company VeriSign and was Vice President of Product Development at Network Solutions and was Network Solutions' Chief of Staff. Also, he has held senior executive and management positions at several wireless and Internet start-up technology companies.
Mr. Harvin holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship & Finance from Georgetown University as well as a BA from the College of Charleston. He has also completed post-graduate international business studies at the University of Oxford.
Hal Lubsen, CEO - Afilias
Ram Mohan, EVP and CTO - Afilias
Ram Mohan is Executive Vice President, & Chief Technology Officer of Afilias Limited.Ram oversees key strategic, management and technology choices for the company in support of the company's various lines of business. These include fifteen generic top-level domains (gTLDs) including .INFO and .ORG. Ram has led the strategic growth of the company in registry services and security as well as new product sectors such as Managed DNS, RFID/Auto-ID,and Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs).
Before joining Afilias in September 2001, Ram held various leadership positions at Infonautics Corp., a pioneering online database and content distribution company. Ram is the founder ofthe award-winning CompanySleuth product, and helped architect Electric Library, a widely used reference database, and Encyclopedia.com. Ram is also founder of the technology behind TurnTide, an anti-spam company acquired by Symantec.
Ram joined the ICANN Board of Directors in November 2008 as a non-voting liaison from the Security and Stability Advisory Committee (of which he is a founding member). He has authored numerous global internet-industry standards, has led the GNSO IDN Working Group, and is a co-founder of the Arabic Script IDN Working Group.
Ram has a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Mangalore and an MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from Bharathidasan University.
Roland LaPlante is the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Afilias. Mr. LaPlante oversaw the marketing and launch planning for .INFO in 2001, and the transition and launch of every TLD supported by Afilias since. An accomplished marketing expert, Mr. LaPlante crafted an 18-month outreach plan for .ORG registrars that resulted in the smooth and well-communicated migration of registrars from a thin registry (VeriSign) to a thick one.
During his 30-year career in marketing, he has held senior marketing positions at McGraw Hill, Providian Corporation, Citibank and Heublein, Inc. Before joining Afilias, he was Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Xlibris, an Internet publishing company based in Philadelphia. Mr. LaPlante has extensive Internet marketing experience, having built Xlibris into the recognized brand leader in the Internet publishing space, according to Newsweek, Inside.com, the New York Times and Harper's. While at McGraw Hill, Mr. LaPlante was responsible for bringing two 100-year old construction brands, Sweets and Dodge, into the digital age, focusing marketing and product efforts on the Internet. His consumer marketing background is equally as extensive. As Vice President and Director of Marketing in Citi's upstate NY and DC banks, Mr. LaPlante launched numerous new products; he also managed global marketing for Smirnoff vodka at Heublein.
Mr. LaPlante holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from Amos Tuck.
The following executive photos have been made available for download and use by the Press and blogging community.
The following quotes may be used by members of the press or blogging community regarding this transaction:
Hal Lubsen, CEO of Afilias says, "Afilias has long been a leader in launching new TLDs and now supports over 50 percent of the entire universe of registrations in TLDs launched since 2001. Our acquisition of dotMobi reflects our long term commitment to the success of the TLDs we support and the communities they serve. We are particularly proud of the global success of the .mobi domain, and look forward to working with the dotMobi team and the mobile community to build on this solid base."
Trey Harvin, CEO of mTLD Top-Level Domain Ltd. says, "The mobile Web continues to evolve and expand, and Afilias' strategic domain expertise combined with mobile industry support will be a powerful accelerant for .mobi growth. Afilias' strategies for growing top-level domains have directly resulted in several of the world's largest domains, and we are excited to work closely with Afilias' management to achieve dotMobi's full potential."
Jerry Easom, Chairman of the Board of dotMobi says, "With its excellent registry and DNS support, Afilias has been a close partner since the beginning. This partnership, coupled with the success of dotMobi in furthering acceptance of the mobile web, makes moving the ownership of dotMobi to Afilias a natural progression. dotMobi founders, who include some of the largest companies in the mobile space, are looking forward to supporting dotMobi and the .mobi domain with involvement in both the MAG (.mobi Advisory Group) and the PAB (dotMobi Policy Advisory Board)."
Q: Why did Afilias purchase dotMobi?
Afilias was originally created to develop and launch new top-level domains. Since our founding in 2000, Afilias has built a successful track record of doing so with more new TLDs launched than any other registry services provider. We also support many well established TLDs. As we look at ways to expand our core registry services business, acquiring additional top-level domains adds to Afilias' future revenue stream, leverages our operational platforms, and enhances our technology. Since we have been providing registry services for the .mobi domain since its inception, this transaction simply makes strategic sense for Afilias. The mobile internet is an important of the future, and .mobi is the most intuitive way for Internet users to interact with the mobile internet – our investment in .mobi is a reflection of our faith in this model.
Q: How does this impact dotMobi's relationship with its 14 founders?
The founders of dotMobi remain committed to the mobile Web and support .mobi's central role in helping consumers find made-for-mobile content. They will continue to provide their expertise, background and support by participating in the .mobi Advisory Group (MAG). The MAG is specifically designed to give a voice to the mobile and Internet communities in shaping the future of the mobile Web and ways .mobi can contribute.
Q: Will .mobi names continue to be available for purchase?
Yes. This acquisition will be virtually invisible to the Internet public, domain name owners and registrars, since Afilias already provides registry services for .mobi. Registrars and the general public may register and renew .mobi domains as they have in the past.
Q: Will there be any service disruption to .mobi domain names?
No. Afilias already provides registry services and DNS support for the .mobi domain, so there will be no disruption of service at all.
Q: What does this mean for me as a .mobi domain owner? Will this impact my ability to find information via the .mobi WHOIS? Will this impact my ability to learn about "dropped" names as early as I used to?All registry and DNS services will continue to function normally. This acquisition is simply an ownership transfer.
Q: Does dotMobi's acquisition affect my development obligations for premium names?
No. mTLD Top-Level Domain Inc. (dotMobi)--now a subsidiary of Afilias--will remain a legal entity and its contracts remain in force. Existing contracts for premium name development Web sites must be fulfilled according to their terms.
Q: Is .mobi still a sponsored TLD?
Yes. Since the sponsoring organization, mTLD Top-Level Domain, continues to operate (now as a subsidiary of Afilias), there is no impact on .mobi's relationship with ICANN or its status as a sponsored TLD. It should be noted that both the dotMobi Policy Advisory Board (PAB) and the .mobi Advisory Group (MAG) will also continue to operate, ensuring a voice for the mobile and Internet communities in shaping the future of the mobile Web and .mobi.
Q: Will the price of .mobi names change?
Afilias and dotMobi have no plans to alter .mobi pricing to registrars at this time. However, it should be noted that RETAIL industry prices are set by domain name registrars, and neither Afilias nor dotMobi have control over the retail price.
Q: Will the services and support features like Instant Mobilizer™, DeviceAtlasTM, mobiForge and mobiThinking continue to remain in place?
dotMobi has been a pioneer in launching innovative new services to grow the mobile Web and use of the .mobi domain. Afilias will evaluate all of these services and technologies to determine their role in the ongoing success of the .mobi domain; however, Afilias and dotMobi management have no immediate plans to alter existing services.
Q: What does this mean if I am a dotMobi certified developer? Will dotMobi certification continue?
With this acquisition, the day-to-day operations of dotMobi will not be disrupted and current certifications will continue.