DENIC 2018 Successes Include Becoming Designated Escrow Agent and ID4me, But Decline in Domain Registrations and Increased Government Regulation Loom as 2019 Challenges

DENIC is the manager of Europe’s largest ccTLD (.de) and 2018 saw a few successes and a few challenges. Here in the latest in Domain Pulse’s Q&A series of 2018 in review, looking forward to 2019 and looking at some of the challenges of the domain name industry, DENIC tell us about their successes including becoming the only European Designated Escrow Agent for ICANN-accredited registrars and developing their domain name-based digital identity ID4me. But there were challenges including a decline in domains under management and the threat of increasing government regulation. And then there’s the challenge of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. Domain Pulse: What were the highlights, lowlights and challenges of 2018 in the domain name industry for you? DENIC: Winning the global tender and becoming the first and so far only European Designated Escrow Agent for ICANN-accredited registrars marked one of several 2018 DENIC highlights. Further significant achievements were the implementation of a sustainable new Whois solution for .de, in compliance with GDPR, as well as the development of ID4me, an innovative single sign-on solution based on domain names which is open, secure, and privacy-friendly. 2018 lowlights, on the other hand, included the increasing efforts and investments it takes to make a firm stand against regulation in a broader sense. Challenges in the past year, with respect to DENIC and .de, ranged from the first-ever decrease in domains under management (DuM) through a rise of the overall price index to recruiting and retaining suitably qualified staff. DP: GDPR – good, bad and/or indifferent to you and the wider industry and why? DENIC: The unpleasant point about GDPR was that it almost paralysed the whole industry, obstructing work on other important issues. Yet with a high-level new .de Whois policy and implementation, reflecting all GDPR-related requirements, DENIC has reason to be quite satisfied. DP: What are you looking forward to in 2019? DENIC: In the year ahead, apart from evaluating new business opportunities in different fields, we are excited about the prospects of our domain-based open and secure digital identity solution ID4me gaining market traction. DP: What challenges and opportunities do you see for the year ahead? DENIC: Among the challenges we might be facing during this coming year, one giving rise to some concern is a potentially tougher regulatory push at a national level in Germany. Also, on top of being intensified, such efforts may turn into “bad”, unreasonable regulation, lacking the right know-how and expertise. Currently, this might affect, in particular, DENIC’s long-standing stance toward notice and take down. Additionally, coping with stagnating registration numbers while overall prices are on the rise and prompt the need for strategic cost reduction, remains a demanding task. At industry level, getting ready for DoH (DNS over HTTPS) as well as for the reform of the EU Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation (CPC) will represent a major challenge. DP: 2019 will mark 5 years since the first new gTLDs came online. How do you view them now? DENIC: On the whole, new gTLDs have missed their declared goal to “foster consumer trust and choice”. Only a few have truly been able to take root and solidify their position in a longer-term perspective, while many have developed into nothing more than niche players and most likely won’t grow out of this marginal role over time. DP: Are domain names as relevant now for consumers – business, government and individuals – as they have been in the past? DENIC: Indeed they are, and especially in the light of the never-ending scandals involving social media, they‘ll certainly retain their high level of relevance now and well into the future. Previous Q&As in this series were with EURid, manager of the .eu top level domain (available here), with Katrin Ohlmer, CEO and founder of DOTZON GmbH (here), Afilias’ Roland LaPlante (here) andDotBERLIN’s Dirk Krischenowski (here). If you’d like to participate in this Domain Pulse series with industry figures, please contact David Goldstein at Domain Pulse by email to david[at]  

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