Tag Archives: France

Brits Can No Longer Register .FR Domains Due to Brexit

The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020, but the 11 month transition period meant the UK was still bound by the EU’s rules. At the end of the transition period it was known businesses and citizens of the UK would lose the right to register .EU domain names. What very few realised was that due to the terms and conditions for .fr, they would lose the right to register and hold .fr domain names as well.

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CentralNic Expands Into France With SafeBrands Acquisition

CentralNic Group, the ever expanding London-based domain name and web services company, has announced its first foray into the French-speaking world with the acquisition of SafeBrands, a leading online brand protection software provider and corporate internet services provider.

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.FR Grows 3.7% In 2019 And Closes In On 3.5 Million Domains

France’s ccTLD grew 3.7% in 2019, totalling 3,428,951 domain names under management as of 31 December, an increase of 123,655 in the 12 months according to Afnic’s Annual Report released this week. This makes .fr the ninth largest ccTLD in the world according to Verisign’s Domain Name Industry Brief.

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Afnic Give the 7 “A”s In Determining A TLD’s Success

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A post on the Afnic blog this week is intended to give food for thought on what makes up a successful top-level domain, suggesting one way could be via the 7 As – awareness, amplitude, advantage, access, adoption, activity and affect.

For each TLD, the post by Loïc Damilaville notes, there are different metrics. Legacy gTLDs, new gTLDs and ccTLDs are all different, and even within the differing TLDs there are differing metrics – success for a .brand gTLD is completely different for a generic gTLD or ccTLD. And even with generic gTLDs there are differing metrics.

So a summary of the 7 As as outlined by Damilaville, who is a Deputy Director General at Afnic, manager of the French ccTLD .fr as well as 17 new gTLDs and a number of ccTLDs for French territories, are:

1) Awareness: the most well-known market factor as well as relating to an objective reality: “domain names in general such as new TLDs still suffer from a certain lack of awareness among the general public” and “individuals are simply unaware of this precious tool for consolidating their online presence.”

2) Amplitude: refers “to a TLD’s volume potential in terms of target audience and catchment area.” This varies from highly restrictive TLDs to open generics such as “the highly restrictive .BANK, to the .COOP for cooperatives, for example, which cannot really be consider as ‘failures’ when they achieve tens of thousands of names. As for ccTLDs, which usually have local reach, Amplitude will depend to a large extent on the spread of the Internet in the particular country.”

3) Advantage: “the advantages generated by the TLD for both clients and the registry with its registrars. It’s the ‘value-added’ in the wider sense that will explain why registrars will be more or less inclined to suggest this TLD to their clients.”

4) Access: this refers to “market access, meaning their capacity for being listed with the right registrars for the target audience.” This varies for .com that is available through almost all ICANN-accredited registrars while by “way of contrast, some TLDs are only issued by a handful of registrars, which can compromise their development. ccTLDs are often marketed by their own local registrar networks, a minority of which have the sole status of ‘ICANN registrar’, although this does not prevent them from developing a dense network across national territory.”

5) Adoption: is the TLD seen as a “must-have” or “nice- to-have” when it comes to Internet presence? The answer Damilaville notes “will often depend on the target audience, but we can look at the example of .CORP / .BRAND, which are currently ‘nice-to-have’ for major groups but might become ‘must-have’ in a few decades.”

6) Activity: “a TLD will last if it is economically viable, but also if it can be sure of a good renewal rate. This relates in part to the use that owners make of the names. Is it sites providing content and functionalities that can extend as far as e-commerce? Or is it just parking pages or websites generated automatically but of no interest to visitors?”

7) Affect: lastly “’Affect’ is also about the renewal rate, representing the retention rate that goes beyond the actual level of usage.”

To read Damilaville’s column Key success factors for Internet extensions: an evaluation grid in more detail, go to: https://www.afnic.fr/en/resources/blog/key-success-factors-for-internet-extensions-an-evaluation-grid.html

Franco-Dutch Research Project To Study Domain Name Abuse

SIDN Labs, Afnic Labs and Grenoble Alps University have commenced a new research project on the “Classification of compromised versus maliciously registered domains” (COMAR).

The Franco-Dutch project, which commenced on 1 October, will address the problem of automatically distinguishing between domain names registered by cybercriminals for the purpose of malicious activities, and domain names exploited through vulnerable web applications. The project is designed to help intermediaries such as registrars and ccTLD registries further optimise their anti-abuse processes.

AFNIC logoThe ultimate goal of COMAR is to develop a machine learning-based classifier that labels blacklisted domains as compromised or maliciously registered, then extensively evaluate its accuracy, and implement it for a production-level environment. They also plan to study the attackers’ profit-maximising behaviour and their business models. The project will apply a classifier to unlabelled domain names of URL blacklists, for example, to answer the following question: do attackers prefer to register malicious domains, compromise vulnerable websites, or misuse domains of legitimate services such as cloud-based file-sharing services in their criminal activities?

COMAR is a joint project of SIDN Labs, Afnic Labs, and Grenoble Alps University. SIDN is the country code top level domain (ccTLD) registry for .nl, Afnic for .fr and Grenoble Alps University is aiming to establish itself as a leading cybersecurity research centre in the Rhône-Alpes region in France.

For more information on the research project, see:
https://www.sidnlabs.nl/a/weblog/new-franco-dutch-research-project-on-automatic-classification-of-domain-name-abuse