By the end of March, the number of domain registrations relating to “coronavirus” in the Czech Republic’s country code top-level domain (ccTLD) had increased the total number of domain names by 0.09%.
The 1,209 newly registered domains were detected using selected keywords (corona, korona, virus, rousk, respirator, epidem, dezinfekc, karanten, covid, pandem, ffp2 and ffp3). The first such domain appeared in the Czech registry on 23 January, before the outbreak in the Czech Republic. A steeper increase in registrations can be seen after the adoption of individual government measures, which have been introduced from 10 March when schools were closed. On some days, these domains accounted for 15 to 20% of total new daily registrations.
Using a simple automatic classification of web page content associated with COVID-19-related domains, CZ.NIC discovered that the highest number of domains (519) contain only a placeholder page. They believe that some belong to so-called speculative domain names set up for later sale. The second most numerous group (468) are actually existing websites that were created to provide up-to-date statistics and information regarding COVID-19 in the Czech Republic. On these websites, their operators also focus, for example, on coordinating public initiatives such as sewing face masks or organising other support and charitable activities. It should also be mentioned here that apart from commendable purposes, cases of fraudulent websites have also been detected.