New gTLDs and all other gTLDs are treated the same by Google’s systems with keywords in a TLD not giving any advantage or disadvantage in search, according to a post from John Mueller, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst.The Q&A was issued to deal with misconceptions about the way the search giant treats the new gTLDs, whether they be generic terms, regional or brands.For internationalised TLDs, they are crawled by Googlebot and indexed so they can be used in search.”These TLDs can be used the same as other TLDs (it’s easy to check with a query like [site:みんな]). Google treats the Punycode version of a hostname as being equivalent to the unencoded version, so you don’t need to redirect or canonicalize them separately,” writes Mueller. “For the rest of the URL, remember to use UTF-8 for the path & query-string in the URL, when using non-ASCII characters.”Brand gTLDs will be treated the same as all other gTLDs Mueller writes and on region and city gTLDs, “even if they look region-specific, we will treat them as gTLDs. This is consistent with our handling of regional TLDs like .eu and .asia. There may be exceptions at some point down the line, as we see how they’re used in practice.”For ccTLDs, Mueller writes that “by default, most ccTLDs (with exceptions) result in Google using these to geotarget the website; it tells us that the website is probably more relevant in the appropriate country.”And what should a registrant do if they move their main website from a .com to a new gTLD. Mueller writes that Google treats “these moves the same as any other site move. That said, domain changes can take time to be processed for search (and outside of search, users expect email addresses to remain valid over a longer period of time), so it’s generally best to choose a domain that will fit your long-term needs.”The post reiterates earlier posts by Mueller and his former colleague Matt Cutts who pretty much said the same thing.But there are some that believe there are some slight advantages with new gTLDs. At the Domain Pulse conference in Berlin in February, Martin Scholz gave a presentation on how new gTLDs can be advantageous for business.Scholz, from Searchmetrics who specialise in SEO content marketing analysis, explained that while using a good .com or ccTLD domain is likely to be the best option for a brand owner to get a high search ranking, not everyone is able to get one.So a small business might find that they can get a more targeted .london or .berlin domain that will be advantageous. Searchmetrics, Scholz said, had found there are advantages with a .berlin domain for local Berlin businesses. They found .berlin domains rank higher than .de domains in local search results for searches relating to the German capital.
The lawyers of brand ownersand other registrants expressed their satisfaction with DENIC’s rules and procedures in a panel discussion at the Domain Pulse conference in Berlin last Friday. But lawyers being lawyers, they’re never totally happy!Disputes over .de domains run at about 4,500 per year, but this is relatively small given that there are 15.8 million domains registered in the ccTLD and 1.5 million new domains registered each year.The lawyers quibbled about issues such as faster granting of so-called Dispute entries, DENIC’s surrogate for an ADR procedure or the introduction of a rapid suspension system when there was a manifest violation of the law. DENIC’s general counsel Stephan Welzel stated that DENIC is not going to offer anything which would involve DENIC in judging whether a domain name or the content of a website constitutes an infringement or breach of the law.With respect to the Dispute entry, Welzel said that for no cost, complainants received good value and emphasised that the processing of an application for a Dispute entry usually takes no more than 24 hours.Lawyers on the panel also expressed a desire for changes to the way in which DENIC deals with disputes over trademarks such as a domain that includes a trademark as part of the domain string to be deleted. However Welzel said that the German courts have ruled that DENIC is obliged to step in only if the domain is identical to a ‘famous’ trademark. In such cases DENIC cancels the contract first and then deletes the domain.There was also discussion about a dispute over the domain aserbaidschan.de. In this case DENIC deleted the domain because it was believed this was a case where the registry had to step in following judgments of the German Supreme Court regarding DENIC’s liability.The registrant involved went to court, and eventually lost in three different panels of two courts who dealt with the case. But each held three different views on whether DENIC really had to or even was allowed to step in here. This the panel agreed was good proof that it might not be the best idea to put the burden of deciding which domain names to delete on DENIC – and in any case it shows that the criteria have to be crystal clear so that there is no debate on whether DENIC acted correctly after the fact.All presentations but not panel discussions are now available in German only at the Domain Pulse conference website – www.domainpulse.de/en/programme
The development of new gTLDs could be equated with the growth of a baby, Thomas Rickert representing the German internet association eco told the Domain Pulse conference in Berlin on Thursday with the greatest development takes place within the first 12 months.When applications closed there were 1,930 applications and 1,400 unique strings applied for. And in the first 12 months since registrations began in the first of the new gTLDs in February 2014 there is much to celebrate. Looking at nTLDstats.com, registrations across all new gTLDs will pass 4.5 million domains in the next week or two, there are over 520 gTLDs delegated, 223 registrars participating plus an unknown number of resellers.The application and implementation process though has had its problems, Rickert said in the German capital of Berlin, but he was of the view the programme had been a success.The problems as Rickert described them, were the TAS (TLD Application System) which said was an “epic failure”, Digital Archery, the Trademark Clearinghouse, Public Interest Commitments (PIC) Specifications, dealing with name collisions and the sometimes curious decision-making process.On the Trademark Clearinghouse, Rickert noted how trademark owners made a lot of noise over their concerns regarding potential trademark abuse in the new gTLDs when they were introduced. Yet when it came to using the TMCH “it was a failure”. There were nowhere near the numbers of Sunrise registrations that were hoped for to protect trademark owners.Looking to the future, Rickert said not all new gTLDs will survive, just as in any industry. This was backed up in comments in the following panel session by Alexander Siffrin, founder and CEO of Key-Systems. Siffrin believes some of the new gTLDs will fail in part due to issues such as bizarre registration requirements.Rickert also believes new gTLDs are necessary. “It’s extremely arrogant in the western world to ask internet users to change their keyboards to type domain names. I believe there is a need for growth.” And looking to the future Rickert said “stamina will be needed due to unexpected developments.” And we’re only at the beginning of a new era of the internet as the public gains awareness of what is available.The following panel session also included panellists involved in the .bio (for organic products) and .hamburg gTLDs.Godefroy Jordan, whose company Behind the Dot operates the .bio gTLD, which is aimed at the organic foods market, has over 8,000 registrations in just over six months. While this is below initial expectations, Jordan said the gTLD is performing well in its in eight key markets where it is in the top 20 in registration numbers and top ten in value.The .bio gTLD is targeting those in organic foods, from production to sale. One group is farmers who want to market their produce online but to date have found the complexity of getting a domain name, email and website too difficult. Behind the Dot research found 60 to 70 percent of farmers don’t have a website but many would be keen if it were an easier process.Registering a domain name in itself is difficult. Jordan said registrar websites are for geeks. Simplicity is important. Farmers and others don’t often understand the difference between a website and a domain name. They are also marketing to industry with advertising in magazines such as the German Bio Nachrichten (Organic News). And they are having success with 40 percent of registrants using their domains.Another to be pleased with their success was Oliver Süme, co-founder and CEO of Hamburg Top Level Domain, the operator of .hamburg. Since its launch in August 2014, there have been over 21,000 .hamburg domains registered and they are becoming quite prominent in the city. Süme commented that in the recently elections in Hamburg candidates were regularly using the local gTLD.Looking to the future, both Jordan and Süme were optimistic. Jordan said it’s a competitive market. “There aren’t a lot of markets that get 400 new products in a year. We have to fight every day to get visibility with registrars, new co-promotions and fight other gTLDs, just like the supermarket industry” where Jordan has previously worked.And while it is early days, both Christian Müller from Stratos and Siffrin said they are seeing renewal rates of around 70 percent. But that in about two weeks we’ll know more.Süme believes that in .hamburg “we have a premium product and a premium price is justified. I’m not aware of any failed registration because of the price. In terms of new gTLDs we’ve just learned to walk upright and it’s very early in process and next year could be the most exciting of my life!”Jordan said their research had found price was very important for more the more generic new gTLDs such as .online and .website but for most a price of 20 to 50 is what people expect to pay.
It’s January and that means many things. But for the German-speaking domain name community, it’s not just peak skiing season, it means that the annual Domain Pulse conference, the largest annual domain name conference in Europe, is just around the corner!And this year the German hosts DENIC are setting up camp in Berlin on 26 and 27 February at andel’s Hotel for two days of the latest of happenings in the domain name world with a focus on Europe and in particular the German-speaking countries, and plenty of networking opportunities with your peers plus the usual glamorous gale event. And fear not non-German speakers, all sessions are translated into English, if presented in German, and vice versa.Topics on the agenda relating to domain names over the two days include:
- an interim report on new gTLDs
- a panel discussion featuring registry and registrar representatives on their experiences with new gTLDs
- search engine optimisation with new gTLDs featured
- real time detection of cyberattacks
- Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Kleinwächter giving an outline of internet governance in 2015, with no doubt the IANA transition featuring as well as a panel session featuring some of the German-speaking specialists
- some recent legal highlights from SWITCH, nic.at and DENIC
- registrants and trademark owners discuss their differing views on how they view DENIC’s policies.
So go to www.domainpulse.de and register, book your hotel and flights or rail travel if required, pack your bags and get to Berlin at the end of the February. And stay the weekend to check out one of Europe’s most exciting cities.
Security is an ongoing issue for the domain name system and TLD registries are at the forefront of dealing with it.
So in 2011 CENTR, on its membersâ request, created a Security Working Group for ccTLDs to share security best practices and discuss ways to mitigate security risks, the latest CENTR News highlights.
At a recent workshop in Brussels and for the second time a workshop was dedicated to one topic only, the ISO 27001 security standard.
âOver the past few years I got a lot of questions from colleagues from other ccTLDs about ISO 27001,â Bert ten Brinke, Security Officer with SIDN, Chair of the CENTR Security working group and expert in the field of ISO 27001 told CENTR News. âAfter a short inventory, the idea was born to organise a workshop completely focused on ISO 27001.â
âISO forces you to build a process to deal with security risks within and around your organisation and its core tasks,â reported CENTR News. âWhen everyone involved starts to operate according to this process an organisationâs security will become less dependent on individual employees. Bert ten Brinke feels this is the main reason why ISO 27001 increases the chance of a better secured registry.â
âThere are alternative standards that can be useful for ccTLDs and itâs of course possible to build your own processes follow your own standards. But by doing so, youâll risk having to explain your standard over and over again. Official standards donât have that issue. They are already accepted and used by a whole community.
âFor companies there are a lot of security standards which can be used. Examples are: the American COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology), which is an IT governance framework that addresses every aspect of IT and the originally British ISO 27001(International Organization for Standardization). COBIT lays more focus on Risk Management and following Bert ten Brinke it is more difficult to implement than the ISO27001 standard.â
âIt is important to build a standard according to your organisation and not the other way aroundâ. This is Bertâs main advice for ccTLDs that are considering implementing systematic security processes by means of an official standard. Furthermore, in order to start implementing security processes in a successful way the full support of the CEO or Managing Director is crucial.
âAn ISO certificate is an engagement for the future. When you are certified ISO27001 for the first time this is only the beginning. Each year you have to proof that you are âworthâ the certificate and after three years, you have to recertify. For most companies itâs a never ending circle of security improvement.
On registry to recently acquire ISO27001 certification was nic.at, the registry for .at domain names. The announcement was made at the recent Domain Pulse conference held in Salzburg, Austria, and Richard Wein, General Manager, said the certification was proof of the registryâs dedication to security of .at domain names.
Elsewhere in the February 2014 edition of CENTR News, there are articles on CENTR preparations for the next Internet Governance Forum meeting to be held in Istanbul in September. Plus an update on DNSSEC in Europe, which shows there are two-thirds (67%) of registries that have implemented the security standard and a quarter (26%) planning its implementation, which are the findings of a survey of 26 ccTLD registries.
Plus there is a Q&A with Nominet Brand Manager Becky Bradburn and a European ccTLD update.
To download the latest CENTR News, go to https://centr.org/news/european-cctld-news-february-2014.
The domain name aftermarket players are looking curiously as to whether money can be made from new gTLDs. But Sedo, the largest domain name marketplace, is confident money can be made, and Tobias Flaitz, CEO of Sedo, explained why at the Domain Pulse conference last Thursday.
While he doesn’t give a definitive response, Flaitz said “the chances are good to make money from new gTLDs” in front of the 300 delegates at the annual conference hosted by the German, Swiss and this year Austrian registries.
For new gTLDs to be successful though, Flaitz said they will have to make their way into the user’s behavioural mind, which will take time and effort. Flaitz believes that in five years new gTLDs will become a part of daily online life.
For now though, the market doesn’t know enough about new gTLDs and how to use them, and there will be some hesitation by some in whether they should be used.
But for now initial sales in some of the new gTLDs to come to market are good. And Flaitz gave some examples of why the aftermarket is promising.
At the time of his presentation, the average sales price was â¬720 per domain in sunrise auctions. And there is plenty of interest in at least some of the new gTLDs with 93,876 domains registered in 14 gTLDs in the first ten days. An average registration fee of approximately US$35 means there were registrations generating $3.4 million in annual fees after these ten days.
The most popular new gTLD when it comes to registrations was .guru, with 32,751 registrations in the ten days (including in their case registrations during the Sunrise period). The second most popular was .photography with 15,519 (while .camera only received 1,931), followed by .bike (7,037), .clothing (6,655), .gallery (4,761), .singles (4,674), .estate (4,072) and .ventures (3,319) making up the top ten of the 14 new gTLDs launched at 5 February.
And there have been some promising premium sales in these early days with mad.bike sold two days after registration for â¬500 and findme.singles sold for â¬2000 four days after registration. And of those new gTLD names sold through Sedo, there was an average price of â¬1,324.
Earlier in the day, Dirk Krischenowski of dotBERLIN, applicant for .berlin outlined how the Trademark Clearinghouse was an expensive and complicated way for brand owners to protect their brands in new gTLDs.
Registering with the TMCH is a precondition of being able to register a domain in a new gTLD during a Sunrise phase. And while Flaitz said this a small number of the world’s trademarks, he did show how registrations in the TMCH were accelerating with 23,024 marks currently submitted, and over 5,000 in January alone, which is around double the amount of as recently as September.
Maybe from little things big things grow!
Applicants for new gTLDs have faced a few hurdles to not just get their applications submitted, but also processed and implemented.First there was the “glitch” that halted for a few months the TLD Application System (TAS) for applications for new gTLDs, then the fiasco of the Digital Archery process to determine the order in which applications would be processed and most recently an expensive and then a complicated Trademark Clearinghouse for brand owners to protect their brands in new gTLD.These were the hurdles Dirk Krischenowski of dotBERLIN, applicant for .berlin, described that new gTLD applicants faced at the Domain Pulse conference in the Austrian city of Salzburg in front of over 300 attendees attending the annual two day conference, this year hosted by the Austrian (.at) registry nic.at. The conference rotates between Germany (.de), Switzerland (.ch) and Austria.But .berlin has overcome these hurdles and is ready to rumble with its General Availability due to commence on 18 March. It is also the world’s first cityTLD to accept registrations.Krischenowski also compared the launches of other TLDs to get an idea of how they evolved over their first year. Looking at .asia, .co, .tel and .xxx he found that at the end of the first month, all of them consistently had around 45 percent of their registrations they at the end of the first year of operation, and that growth rates as a proportion of their current registrations grew very consistently across the four TLDs in the first year.Having overcome their hurdles, .berlin and other applicants that also spoke on a new gTLD panel outlined how they are moving forward to implement their gTLDs with new opportunities for marketing and branding being important in their implementation.The European travel agency Tui said that while they were initially focussed on getting the gTLD instead of the New Zealand brewery of the same name, now they are looking at a vision for the brand under .tui.Alexander Bialas from TUI AG said strategic options for the future are being considered. He also gave examples of some of the ways in which Tui will use their TLD with plans to create destination domains to promote destinations with information on activities, events and eating, for example, as well as direct access to social media (facebook.tui and twitter.tui) so people don’t have to leave the Tui online world.Another with a view to increasing brand awareness was .tirol. Markus Kichl, CEO of .tirol said the Austrian region wanted to enhance tourism and make businesses easier to find in the region.Dirk Hamm, Founder and CEO of Valuetainment, the applicant for .voting spoke of how they plan to introduce .voting and use it as a mechanism to enable voter initiatives and online voting, with tools to be available to make voting on a registrant’s website easy to implement.And Ulrich Retzlaff from the Public Interest Registry, who has applied for .ngo and .ong spoke of how PIR is wanting to give the 10 million non-governmental organisations around the world an opportunity to market themselves, and provide better opportunities for fundraising.Earlier in the day, Sally Costerton, Senior Advisor to ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé, spoke of the importance of an open internet. Its importance was underlined by a recent Boston Consulting Group report that said in 2018, the global online economy will be worth $4.2 trillion, up from $2.3t in 2010.But implementing an internet that is free of walls and silos that stifle innovation and take advantage of the opportunities online, information must be accessible, Costerton said.Costerton also implored attendees to get involved. “Business can make a difference,” she told delegates, “as governments listen” and that the “influence business has on their national government is extremely disproportionate.” To help with influencing governement, Costerton said ICANN will help business to reach out to their governments.”We owe it to the next billion people to keep the internet open and free and frictionless,” she concluded.
Maturing domain name markets and the global financial crisis have both impacted on the registration growth within the German speaking countries in Europe as well as elsewhere Mathew Zook of Zooknic told the Domain Pulse conference last week.However this does not mean registrations have declined, as they are still growing strongly and would be the envy of any other industry or economy. It is just not growing as strongly as they have previously. Growth could be compared to the Chinese economy, which was rocketing along until the GFC hit, but then still continued to grow at a rate that was the envy of almost every other country.Overall across the world Zook has observed through his research that yearly growth rates have been declining over time due to maturing markets, high penetration rates for internet use and it becoming harder to find good domains. As the GFC hit, registration growth was slowed a bit more. But as the global economy is improving, Zook has observed so are registration growth rates.But the pattern observed by Zook is inconsistent as registrations are growing more strongly in some markets. Over the last ten years the fastest growth has occurred in ccTLDs such as in .in (India), .cn (China), .tk (Tokelau, which gives away its domains for free) and .co (Colombia). But within the German speaking countries that co-host Domain Pulse, growth has been slower. However it should also be noted these are more mature markets.An example of a maturing market is .de which has expanded by 2.5 times over the last ten years and remains the world’s largest ccTLD and second largest TLD, but overall share has shrunk due to the expansion of other TLDs.One market that has grown strongly in recent years and which is a mature market is .fr (France). However this is likely to be largely explained by the liberalisation of registration policies.Domain registrations also increase the more computers there are connected to the internet, Zook also told Domain Pulse, which was also fairly constant over time.Speaking of new TLDs, a focus of this year’s Domain Pulse, Zook believes they can be successful. Those TLDs that will be open for public registrations may face an uphill battle getting noticed with registrars reluctant to add new and unknown TLDs to their “shelf space.” But Zook cites the examples of .me (Montenegro), .co and .tk, all successfully relaunched in recent years as defacto gTLDs, to show that they can work.Zook also believes new TLDs are not likely to have a significant impact and they may be complementary to rather than a substitution for existing registrations.
The annual and growing Registrar Atlas, a survey of registrars across a growing number of Europe countries, has found that registrars are still reluctant to devote shelf space to new Top Level Domains when they are introduced. The theme is one that has been picked up by the survey for the last three years.
In a presentation on day one of Domain Pulse 2013 in Davos, German lawyer Thomas Rickert presented the preliminary findings of the survey, conducted by eco, the German association that promotes the internet economy.
The Registrar Atlas 2013 has grown from covering registrars in Germany, Austria and Switzerland to this year the Netherlands, United Kingdom, France, Bulgaria and Russia as well and covers registrar attitudes towards a number of topical issues.
The survey also found that a number of registrars are not interested in acting as a registrar for new TLDs and would rather act as a reseller, possibly reflecting they do not want to go to the effort of adding them to their TLDs offered.
Many registrars appear to be reluctant to devote resources to the unknown quantity of new TLDs. So the ability of many of the new TLDs that will be relying on public domain registrations to attract attention will be difficult.
But registrars are also not particularly concerned that the new TLDs will have much of an impact on ccTLDS.
Rickert also noted that interest in Domain Name Security Extensions (DNSSEC) is sadly lacking and interest among registrars has changed very little in recent years, with the only country in which there was an interest was the Netherlands with around a quarter of all .nl domains registered signed with DNSSEC. This was possibly due to the promotional efforts of the registry, SIDN.
But one area in which Rickert was particularly critical of registrars was the lack of effort made by them to promote domain name registration. The registrars that are highly active in marketing domains, Rickert said, were few and far between.
Rickert said based on the findings, registrars are missing out on many opportunities on growing their business through promoting services such as monetisation, making it easier for registrants to get their domain up and running and through promoting DNSSEC.
One registry that was doing better than the others was nic.at, who Rickert noted was promoting DNSSEC and monetisation.
The final Registrar Atlas 2013 will be released later this year and will be available online at eco.de.
Most Domain Pulse presentations are available from the “programme” section of the conference website in the language of presentation (either German or English).
And to check out photos of the conference, see www.domainpulse.ch/en/photo-gallery
SWITCH is extending an invitation to the specialist “Domain pulse” conference – the most important event dedicated to domain names in the German-speaking world – which is being held in Davos on 18 and 19 February.In the spotlight: new generic Top Level Domains (new gTLD)
Do the new endings like .swiss, .app or .shop mean that we are heading for a revolution in the web? In what way will the Internet change? At the World Conference on International Telecommunication (WCIT) in December 2012, a large number of Western countries refused to sign the agreement as a protest. Find out what happens next from the viewpoint of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Nigel Hickson, Vice President Europe of ICANN, will be speaking at the conference. The focus of the specialist papers presented will also be on Switzerland as one of the most secure Internet locations in the world. Domain pulse – a joint event staged by the registries for Austria (nic.at), Germany (DENIC) and Switzerland (SWITCH) – offers the best opportunity for catching up on social, political and economic topics from the world of domain names.Date: 18 and 19 February 2013
Where: Congress Centre Davos, Talstrasse 49a, 7270 Davos PlatzBackground: new generic Top Level Domains (new gTLD)
ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) which is responsible for the international coordination of the Internet addressing system, took the decision in June 2011 to introduce new generic top-level Internet domains (new gTLD). From January 2012 to May 2012, it was possible to submit applications for any other generic domain names. ICANN regards the new gTLD as a further development of the domain name market, serving to make content and brands more visible in the Internet. The introduction of the new gTLD is planned for the end of 2013.See the Domain pulse website for full programme and further details at www.domainpulse.chThis SWITCH news release was sourced from: