.asia is a sponsored top-level domain sponsored by the DotAsia Organization, with the back-end registry operated by Afilias. It was approved by ICANN on 19 October, 2006 as a sponsored TLD. It will serve as a regional domain for companies, organisations, and individuals based in the region of Asia, Australia, and the Pacific.
From 20 February 2008 to 12 March 2008, .asia was in the "Landrush" state. Anyone meeting the .asia registration requirements could apply for any available .asia domain name. Domain names that received more than one request will be auctioned between the requesting applicants after Landrush closes. The auction process is considered innovative for a TLD launch, however, it may be biased against individuals and non-profit driven entities, as they typically lack the scale of funds available to commercial enterprises.
During the Landrush state 473,633 domain registration applications were received, bringing the total number of applications to 505,838. (Note that these are applications for registration rather than actual registrations, so many may be contested by auction or be disqualified.)
The first commercial website to launch under the .Asia domain was Admart.Asia, founded by Wayan Chan, of the Special Administrative Republic of the Peoples Republic of China on 26 March 2008.
- To sponsor, establish and operate a regional Internet namespace with global recognition and regional significance, dedicated to the needs of the Pan-Asia and Asia Pacific Internet community.
Allegations of insider trading and conflict of interest have been levelled at the CEO of Pool.com, a Canadian company with exclusive rights to auction .ASIA domains prior to initial allocation. The CEO, Richard Schreier, is accused of securing with unfair advantage several premium .ASIA domain names via a number of corporations he apparently has links with.
Mr Schreier specifies that he does "not have any ownership interest" in the corporations involved. As of 15th May 2008, it is unclear whether Mr Schreier has control over the domains in question, nor whether this would breach the DotAsia contract or any laws for countries that the TLD applies to.
The 'DotAsia.com Plot' website that makes the allegations, claims to have received correspondence from CEO of DotAsia, Mr Chung, stating that "Being a party related to a bidding party, in my understanding, does not automatically create any issue." If there is such an affiliation, it would almost certainly be illegal under Australian competition law (where one of the companies involved, Throne Ventures Pty Ltd, is registered.)
Some of the domains in question: porn.asia; dating.asia; insurance.asia; lotto.asia; stocks.asia; auction.asia; beer.asia; fitness.asia; girls.asia; wine.asia
The facts would speak for themselves however. All of these domains according to the .ASIA whois service, were awarded during the Sunrise period which means their applications were made with a claim of prior right (registered trademark identical to the domain name). These claims would have been validated by the .ASIA validation partner (there were two including Deloitte Touche) and where multiple applications were received, the domains would go to auction. The actual auction schedule shows these domains did not go to auction from which it can be concluded there was only a single verified application for the domains in question.