Donuts dropped a bit of a bombshell on the domain name industry Thursday by announcing they were taking on the domain name registry business of Afilias, making it one of the largest providers of backend registry services for hundreds of ccTLDs, legacy gTLDs and new gTLDs.
An interesting news observation. As possible antitrust investigations into four of the biggest tech companies are discussed, this week MarketWatch reported how “some big names in videogaming could speed up things” including Fortnite, which they note “is one of the initial conclusions of legal experts and developers following Epic Games Inc.’s lawsuits against Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google for booting Epic’s hit videogame Fortnite out of their app stores Thursday.”
Over 64,000 previously unregistered .PR domain names were released on Monday, Puerto Rico Top Level Domain has announced. The domains released are a mix of words and terms in Spanish and English as well as numerical strings.Continue reading .PR Releases 64,000 Premium Domains
Afilias announced Monday it was acquiring the .global new gTLD from Cloud Names to add to its stable. It will be Afiliasâ 22nd new gTLD and add 48,650 domain names to the 172,700 domain names under management it currently has. Itâs currently 63rd on the nTLDstats chart when it comes to total registration numbers.
Afilias already provides backend registry services to .global and given Cloud Names, the current operator, only has this one new gTLD under its management means itâs likely they will exit the new gTLD business as a company. .cloud was delegated in June 2014 and entered General Availability in September 2014 and has been on a gradual but continuous rise ever since. Originally there were 2 applicants for .cloud, with Donuts withdrawing its application in what appeared to be a privately negotiated deal.
Afilias also provides backend registry services for 191 new generic top level domains, the largest of which is .xin with 94,000 domain names under management and .global is second, and in total has close to over 452,000 DUM.
As Afilias has been the registry services provider for .GLOBAL since it was delegated, the change of ownership has little practical impact on registrar customers and none on registrants. Afilias in their announcement says that some paperwork will need to be updated, and Afilias will provide support for the administrative changes.
âAilias is pleased to acquire another successful TLDâ said Hal Lubsen, Chief Executive Officer of Afilias. âRolf Larsen and his team have done a great job building .GLOBAL to the success it is today, and Afilias looks forward to continuing to work with our registrar partners to expand the franchise. Many website owners want to give their message a global appeal, and a .GLOBAL address is, by definition, a great platform.â
âWe are glad that Afilias is taking over .GLOBALâ said Rolf Larsen, Chief Executive Officer of Dot Global Domain Registry Limited. âAs our technical partner from inception, Afilias has the scale, organisation and financial resources to enable .GLOBAL to reach its full potentialâ he continued. âWe are working closely together to minimise the impact of this change on our customers.â
Afilias, the worldâs second largest domain name registry, today announced that it has promoted Ram Mohan to the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer, responsible for most of the day-to-day operations of Afilias and its global subsidiaries.
Mr. Mohan will continue to report to Afiliasâ President and CEO, Hal Lubsen; most all of Mr. Lubsenâ s previous direct reports will now report to Mr. Mohan. Mr. Mohanâs appointment recognizes the pivotal role he has played in the development of Afilias and paves the way for continued growth for the company.
âRamâs thorough understanding of our industry and the Company, coupled with his excellent record of getting things done, will help lead the company going forwardâ said Mr. Lubsen. âRam has played a leadership role in all of Afiliasâ major successes, and the Board and I have the utmost confidence in his ability to continue building on this strong foundation.â Mr. Lubsen will continue to be responsible for and oversee finance, mergers and acquisitions and most legal matters.
Mr. Mohan joined Afilias in June 2001 as Chief Technology Officer to oversee the start-up of Afilias and the launch of its inaugural product, .info. He was involved with the creation of the historic partnership with ISOC in 2002 and the founding of Public Interest Registry as the steward of .ORG. He was appointed Executive Vice President in 2008. His leadership has helped Afilias earn the confidence of the operators of over 180 top level domains (including 14 country codes), and the successful management of over 20 TLDs owned by Afilias. For over a decade, Mr. Mohan served as an ICANN Board member representing SSAC, sharing his expertise in cybersecurity. Mr. Mohan is also a global leader in IDN technology and has helped bring native language domain names to India, Asia and the Middle East.
Mr. Mohan will begin his new responsibilities on March 6th, 2019. He will initially be responsible for his former CTO responsibilities.
Afilias is the worldâs second largest domain registry, with over 20 million domain names under management in over 200 top level domains. Afilias powers a wide variety of top-level domains, including TLDs for countries, cities, brands, communities and generic terms. Afiliasâ specialized technology makes Internet addresses more accessible and useful through a broad range of applications, including Internet domain registry services, managed DNS, and mobile Web services. Afilias, Inc. is based near Philadelphia – offices are also located in Dublin Ireland, Toronto Canada, New Delhi India, Melbourne Australia, Vista California, and Beijing China. Afilias holds a Guinness World Records title for the âLargest migration of an internet top-level domain in a single transitionâ for its migration of the .au top-level domain in 2018. For more information on Afilias services please visit www.afilias.info.
This Afilias news release was sourced from:
Afilias, one of the leading operators of gTLDs and providers of backend registry services, has announced that 20 of their gTLDs have now been approved for registration by Chinese registrants and hosting within China by the countryâs Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
The announcement clears the way for millions of Chinese businesses and other registrants to operate sites using these additional 15 popular TLDs which are owned and operated by Afilias.
In 2017, Afilias became one of the first western registry operators to be licensed for in-country operations by Chinaâs MIIT with the approval of .INFO, .MOBI, .PRO, .RED, and .KIM. By 2018, there were nearly 2 million Afilias domain names registered to Chinese registrants. With last weekâs announcement, 20 TLDs operated by Afilias are now available for sale by Chinese registrars.
âAfilias is excited that our China Registry Service is now supporting 20 TLDs for China,â said Kun Qian, Afiliasâ China Country Head. âWe are pleased that these TLDs have passed MIITs stringent requirements, and we look forward to working closely with our Chinese registrar partners to expand choice for Chinese registrants and enable them to take advantage of these globally recognized TLDs.â
âChinaâs domain name market is one of the worldâs biggest and fastest growing,â said Roland LaPlante, Senior Vice President of Afilias, âand the addition of 15 popular new TLDs should help support even broader adoption and growth of the Internet. We are especially proud to offer .ç§»å¨, which can add fuel to the rapidly expanding mobile market. The new addresses are expected to be a âwin-winâ for registrars and registrants.â
Afilias also provides registry services to meet the technology needs of clients who operate their own TLDs, including country codes, âdotBrandsâ and other generic terms. Registry operators wishing to explore the China market should contact Afilias to see if the Afilias China Registry Service might be of interest.
The 20 Afilias TLDs now available in China are:
- .ç§»å¨ [dotCHINESEMOBILE]
The agenda of the 11th International Conference of ccTLD Registries and Registrars of the CIS, Central and Eastern Europe is now available. The TLDCON 2018 conference will include speeches by domain experts from Russia, Latvia, the US, Canada, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, Ukraine, Serbia and others.
The conference, which usually attracts between 100 and 150 attendees and has around 120 attendees for this yearâs meeting listed, will cover topics such as the security of the domain space, interaction between the domain industry and copyright owners, the development of national domains, DNS and new technology. In addition, on the second day of the conference representatives of Russian and foreign registries will gather to discuss the models of registration business.
The Domain VS Content section on information security will be devoted to the work with domains that are used for illegal purposes. The section will bring together registry experts from the CIS countries, Europe, North America, as well as representatives of international organizations and information security experts: ICANN’s Senior Director of Security, Stability and Resiliency John Crain, founder and CEO of iThreat Cyber Group and SSAC member Jeffrey R. Bedser, and head of the Canadian think tank Secure Domain Foundation Norm Ritchie. For the first time, the analysis and forecast for domain name usage will be discussed at TLDCON. The forecasting tools help to detect before the delegation whether it would be used for illegal purposes and thus make this domain name the focus of attention of security experts and lower the risks for the users. In this section, Russia will be represented by Pavel Shepetina from Group-IB and Alexander Venedyukhin from the Technical Center of Internet.
Another section, Legal Issues of Domain Registration, will feature a heated discussion between industry representatives and stakeholders. Yekaterina Kalinicheva, head of the intellectual property protection division at Semenov&Pevzner, will represent the latter group. For the first time in the history of TLDCON, a stakeholder is taking part in a relevant domain event to express their opinion whether registrars should be responsible for content.
The DNS and New Technology section will have speeches by representatives of Rostelecom Group: the Technical Center of Internet, Ngenix and MSK-IX. They will speak about how new technology such as blockchain, CDN and new ways to identify users, are used for the development of the domain space and the benefits for the users and the domain business. John Crain will explain to the audience how to protect DNS while using new technology. Representative of .ART domain Sergei Baukin will present a practical case of the use of DNS in works of art authentication.
At the National Domainsâ New Lease of Life section representatives of national registries of Ukraine and Belarus, on one side, and the registries of the new domains Afilias and .ART on the other side will discuss current marketing approaches to promoting top-level domain names. The section will reveal how the domain role is changing today and what new uses there are. In addition, Andrei Kuzmichev from RU-CENTER will evaluate the current situation from the point of view of a registrar.
TLDCON 2018 will conclude with a meeting of Registrars Club: Welcome or Members Only? where participants will discuss various business models of registrars, accreditation requirements, differences and similarities of work in national and general top-level domains. Representatives of Russian and Armenian registries, ICANN experts and experienced and new registrars will speak about new models. This many-sided view can help understand the nuances of the work of accredited registrars.
The TLDCON 11th International Conference of ccTLD Registries and Registrars of the CIS, Central and Eastern Europe will take place in Jurmala, Latvia, on September 12-13. Participating at the conference is free but registration is obligatory.
It’s taken 2 people 5 Board meetings, a period that could be anything from 5 to 8 months, from submitting their application to join auDA to acceptance, sources have told Domain Pulse. But now we have 955 member applications approved in one Board meeting held today. News of the approvals had begun to circulate ahead of today’s Board meeting as auDA gains a reputation of being a leaky boat.
The drawn out process of vetting applicants combined with numerous reports of applicants having been called with obtrusive questions that aren’t related to their membership applications has been commonplace over the last 12 to 24 months. Seemingly however with a fractious membership, several registrars and the incoming registry Afilias have dragooned their staff, many of whom who are not in Australia, to join in record time. Was each applicant contacted all contacted and verified as per auDA’s previous process and did auDA verify that each payment was made from an independent bank account?
The record approval of new members comes about with a Special General Meeting looming next month that is calling for the ousting of the 3 Independent Directors, including Chair Chris Leptos. The newly approved 955 members won’t be able to vote in the SGM, which auDA acknowledged in an announcement today. However they will be able to vote at the upcoming Annual General Meeting to be held later this year which could in effect overturn the resolutions put forward in the SGM and rubber stamp constitutional changes that auDA is seeking to bring about including minimising the Member’s voice in the organisation.
The number of applicants approved in today’s meeting is hundreds more than has been approved before. As Domain Pulse reported last week, “as of 28 May 2018 there were 356 Demand and Supply members listed on the auDA website, up from 311 as of 15 February. … There were 318 members as of 29 June 2017 and 286 in January 2017.”
Approved at another Board meeting earlier this year were some members with the surname “Leptos”, the same surname as auDA’s Chair Chris Leptos. Domain Pulse would be interested to know if the members with the surname “Leptos” are family members of the Chair, and if any of those are minors, that is under the age of 16 years, as well as knowing if they have paid for their own membership dues. Further, do any of them even own a .au domain name or what is their interest in the .au domain name space?
The auDA announcement also refers to a “positive response from [registrars] Ventra IP, Arq Group [formerly Melbourne IT], Dreamscape Networks [better known as Crazy Domains] and [incoming registry operator] Afilias, other organisations and individuals” that has resulted in a “surge in membership.”
Domain Pulse understands that many of those joining are staff at the above companies, including around 200 from Afilias. Afilias currently has around 10 to 20 staff in Australia, so the vast majority will live abroad and have little to no interest in the Australian domain name landscape, apart from giving support to Afilias’ continued operation of the registry where they can when it comes up for tender again and where required to vote in favour of the current auDA management. Domain Pulse would also like to know how many of these people working for the registrars and incoming registry have paid for their own memberships. The auDA constitution forbids membership being paid for by anyone apart from the applicant.
Domain Pulse would also be interested to know of the vetting procedure. Has the obtrusive questioning on who applicants know and what their background is been done for each applicant? The obvious answer is no. These applications have been rushed through so “friendly” auDA members are ready to rubber stamp any constitutional or policy changes auDA puts forward at the AGM later this year and beyond.
In principle the increase in Members is welcome. The government and former Board members have called for auDA to increase their membership. One proposal floated by a former Board member has been to establish a model like the Canadian registry, CIRA, where all domain name registrants are automatically entitled to membership. For auDA, the .au country code top level domain manager, applicants have to join in “supply” (representatives of the registry, a registrar or a reseller) or “demand” (everyone else) and pay an annual membership fee. This rush of members though has nothing to do with democratising auDA but having the membership as a pliant tool for auDA management.
* Disclosure: the writer was an auDA Board member (2005 to 2007), served on 3 auDA Names Policy Panels (2007, 2010 and 2015), was a supplier to auDA for 14 years and is now a supplier to Neustar, among a number of other registries, providing online media monitoring services.
Public Interest Registry has joined the Internet Watch Foundation as a Member, in a move which reinforces its commitment to protecting billions of internet users and the child victims of disturbing sexual abuse images and videos.
As the operator of .org, .ngo and .ong domain names, Public Interest Registry has over 10 million domains under management globally. By joining the IWF, Public Interest Registry is helping to further prevent the spread of child sexual abuse content.
PIR joins other registry operators such as Nominet, Afilias, Donuts (along with Rightside who they took over in 2017), ICM Registry (recently taken over by Minds + Machines), Dot London, webhost and registrar Names.co.uk as well as DNS Filter and Linx â the London Internet Exchange, who are all among the 130 members of the organisation that works internationally to make the internet safer by removing images of child sexual abuse.
Though a small organisation, Public Interest Registry, which is based in Reston, Virginia, operates popular domains that the world counts on to be platforms for the public interest. Its values have been echoed in this important move to join the IWF.
âThe IWF represents the companies that are defining how the world tackles online child sexual abuse,â said Susie Hargreaves OBE, IWF CEO.
âWith 137 organisations joined up as Members of the IWF, we now have more Members than ever before. These companies include some of the giants of the internet world, through to smaller filtering companies. What unites them, is their commitment to do the right thing.
âWe canât thank Public Interest Registry enough for joining us as a Member. It means that so many more domain names are now protected from child sexual abuse content. In turn, this is protecting billions of users of websites on these domains, as well as the victims themselves.â
âIWFâs global mission to eliminate online child sexual abuse imagery is among the most important work being done on the internet,â said Elizabeth Behsudi, Vice President and General Counsel at Public Interest Registry.
âPublic Interest Registry is committed to making the .org domain space a safe and trusted environment for everyone. We are proud to work with the IWF and support the incredibly important services they provide.â
It’s been a bruising year for auDA. One could call it their Annus Horribilis. An unusually high staff and board member turnover, ousting of the Chair following a member revolt and a process for dealing with the registry contract commencing in turmoil, but finally coming to an end with Afilias winning the tender to operate the registry from July 2018.
The auDA announcement today comes from a shortlist of 3 which was whittled down from the original 9 full responses received following the tender announcement, a process overseen by domain name industry veteran Bruce Tonkin, which, prior to his stewardship had the appearance of being a process without direction and in total chaos starting with auDA’s announcement, never clarified, that they intended to build and operate the registry and was being conducted without industry consultation, which they are required to do.
The current registry provider, AusRegistry, now owned by Neustar, has run the registry since late 2002 and overseen growth from around 310,000 to today’s 3.125 million.
With the auDA contract, the number of country code top level domains (ccTLDs) operated by Afilias comes to 10. The .au contract is easily the largest of these, the others being .ag (Antigua and Barbuda), .bz (Belize), .gi (Gibraltar), .in (India), .lc (St. Lucia), .me (Montenegro), .mn (Mongolia), .sc (Seychelles) and .vc (St. Vincent and the Grenadines). Afilias also provides backend registry services for 8 legacy generic top level domains (gTLDs) and 193 new gTLDs, 20 of these which they’re also the registry for.
Established in 2000, Afilias is the world’s second largest domain name registry provider with over 21 million names under management, including .org (10.372 million domain names) and .info (5.917 million).
As part of the requirements for operating the .au registry, Afilias is required to have an Australian office and according to the auDA announcement they “will set up a new Melbourne office with 20 local staff, including seasoned domain name professionals with more than 20 years global experience.”