Google has announced a Sunrise period to its .meet new gTLD, but when the Sunrise and Trademark Claims periods finish, Google will be the sole registrant of all domain names.
Donuts announced this week their .place new gTLD will become a generic top-level domain on 1 June, dropping the current eligibility restrictions.
Some of the world’s most recognised brands – Amazon, Apple, Beyoncé – have scored their .dealer domain name during the launch of the new gTLD’s Sunrise period that began on 25 March, while General Availability commences on 24 June.
It’s been six years since the first of the new gTLDs was introduced in early 2014. The first to launch was .shabaka (“network” in Arabic) in February quickly followed by 4 of Donuts’ new gTLDs while .club wasn’t far behind launching in May 2014. Since then .club has gone from strength to strength and today is the eighth largest with 1.369 million registrations, having peaked at just over 1.65 million in January, July and August 2019.Continue reading .CLUB Celebrates Sixth Birthday With A Series Of Highlights Including Number One New gTLD By Usage
Donuts has migrated the backend operations of all their 241 new gTLDs and 3.777 million domain names to the cloud using Amazon Web Services. It is the first major backend registry operator to migrate an existing on-premises backend to the cloud.
Announcing the move, Donuts says moving to the cloud has many strategic benefits for the largest new gTLD operator by TLDs and its registrar partners. The transition will allow Donuts to scale platform capacity according to the growth of its registrations while leveraging the redundancy and resiliency of the AWS platform. By leveraging the power of the cloud and AWS services, Donuts can expand its operational footprint in new geographies and deploy cloud services to efficiently process and analyse registry data for Donuts and its partners at a competitive cost structure.
“Our teams have mastered new technologies through this migration process. With this cloud migration, Donuts is positioned to take on new growth and innovation initiatives with confidence, knowing that our team of engineers and data scientists are up to the challenge,” reported Donuts CEO, Akram Atallah.
“We’ve fully automated the platform environment build-up, allowing us to set up a new registry platform in any geography with the push of a button,” says Benoit Levac, VP of Product and Engineering at Donuts. “This strengthens our position within the market as acquisition opportunities present themselves during this market consolidation.”
As one of the most innovative registries in the new gTLD era, Donuts is committed to maintaining the best platform and technology stack. Cloud enablement provides the scale and agility required to seize business opportunities ahead. Donuts plans to continue to optimise the new cloud platform to increase security, reliability, and adapt to the ever-changing technology landscape.
The ccTLD for the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, which has gained a second home in Los Angeles, became the TLD with the second most botnet Command and Control (C&C) domains on the Spamhaus chart of most abused TLDs in its first appearance on the top 20 chart.
As usual, .com was the most abused top-level domain with 3,291 abusive domain names registered out of its 145.4 million and 45% of the top-level botnet C&C domains. There were 1,151 abusive domains for .la followed by .pw (Palau – 575) and then .xyz (278), these being the only TLDs with more than 200 abusive registrations.
For .pw and .xyz, these two TLDs have appeared in the Top 20 for over a year, although there was a significant increase in the number of botnet C&C domain registrations associated with these TLDs in Q1 2020, placing them at third and fourth respectively.
In the first quarter of 2020, Spamhaus Malware Labs also identified a total number of 2,738 new botnet Command and Controllers (C&Cs). Out of these, 2,014 (average 671 per month) were under the direct control of miscreants i.e. as a result of a fraudulent sign-up. That’s a decrease of 57% compared to Q4 2019. This, Spamhaus notes, is welcome news for internet users, following the significant increases throughout 2019.
The reason for this decrease, Spamhaus notes, is currently unproven. They believe “it could be partially related to a VPN provider who refuses to take action on abuse reports and is failing to shut down traffic from existing botnet C&Cs. If botnet C&Cs, which have been detected and reported, are allowed to continue to operate, there is no reason why miscreants should spin up new ones.”
When it comes registrars Namecheap continues to be the favourite place for malware authors to register their botnet C&C domains. For Internet Service Providers (ISPs) hosting botnet C&Cs Cloudflare came out top and while it does not directly host any content, it provides services to botnet operators, masking the actual location of the botnet controller and protecting it from DDoS attacks. Compared to Q4 2019, there was little change in the hosting provider landscape. The usual suspects were still present in Top Twenty, including Cloudflare (US), Google (US), OVH (FR) and Hetzner (DE). It would appear that these big players in the Cloud hosting market did little to improve the situation.
The report has a spotlight on the Raccoon Stealer malware. At the end of 2019 Raccoon Stealer was a newcomer on the cyber threat landscape. This Spamhaus notes is piece of malware usually delivered to the end-user through spam campaigns, dropper, or exploit kits by malware that is already present on the victim’s machine. Raccoon Stealer is a credential and information stealer that runs on MS Windows. However, it is also being used by threat actors to install additional malware. What makes Raccoon Stealer rather unique is where its botnet C&Cs are hosted: on the Google Cloud.
It’s arguable that .brands are the success story of new gTLDs and there are now 550 .brand new gTLDs in use around the world, with, according to the latest .brands Industry Report from Neustar, growth of 20% in 2019.
The big statistics in the report for the 2019 calendar year are there were 18,722 domain names in these 550 .brand new gTLDs, of which 12,509 (19% growth) were in use as of 31 December and 25 .brands were used for the first time in 2019.
There were also 9,426 redirecting domain names, a growth of 22% and almost two-thirds (64%) of all .brands are now in use, 3,083 resolving, up 15%.
Looking at how many domains each .brand had, 3 had more than 1,000, 7 had more than 500 and 8 had more than 250. The 3 with more than 1,000 domain names were .dvag with 3,575, .mma (1,859) and .audi (1,603). Neustar’s own .neustar had 655 domain names, making it the seventh largest.
The top .brands with resolving domain names were a different list with .audi being the largest, then .seat and .bmw while there were 5 sectors with more than 1,000 domain names – banking and financial with 5,633, automotive (3,661), insurance (2,370), information technology (1,702) and industrial (1,036).
Want to know what’s going on in the world of .brands? Our .brands Industry Report is now live and contains all the stats you need AND key articles like my interview with KMPG on their success and lessons learned since they dropped .com and moved to home.kpmg
The sixth edition of the Report goes in depth looking KPMG “who bravely chose to drop their .com and move their global footprint to the home.kpmg web address. This was a significant undertaking and it’s significance on the global .brand stage should not be underestimated. Nearly a year after their transition, we check back in with KPMG to learn more about their journey; specifically – the benefits, the challenges, and the impact to their SEO ranking.”
The report also explores “cost reduction and portfolio management efficiency opportunities” which they say “should be of particular interest to brand portfolio managers.”
To download and read the report in full, see: https://www.home.neustar/lp/brand-report/index.html
Registrants of domain names in gTLDs have been given relief by ICANN should they be facing hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes concerns about the ability of registrants to renew their domain names in a timely manner given current circumstances.
To ease the burden, ICANN announced in a blog post last week they will be invoking section 184.108.40.206 of the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement for the second time. This clause permits registrars to temporarily forebear from cancelling domain name registrations that were unable to be renewed as a result of a natural disaster.
The post by Russ Weinstein, Senior Director, gTLD Accounts and Services, notes “the COVID-19 pandemic once again highlights the potential need for a policy initiative to protect registrants when they are unable to renew their domains as a result of natural disasters or other extraordinary circumstances. In the interim, we encourage contracted parties to take these circumstances into consideration when reviewing renewal delinquencies.”
Barcelona became the first Spanish city to launch its own top-level domain when it launched .barcelona in March 2016 and almost four years later, as of the end of 2019, has 5,684 domains under management.
While total registration numbers are more or less the same as 12 months before, there were 1,071 new domains and 4,504 renewals. This means the renewal rate is 83.15%, in line with other leading city domains such as .nyc, .london and .berlin.
The .barcelona domain is open to everyone. All organisations, businesses, individuals and administrations with some sort of link or activity within Barcelona’s area of influence can register .barcelona domains. The money made through the sale of .barcelona domains is also reinvested in projects with a social impact, such as the .barcelona training programme in the neighbourhoods to reduce the digital divide.
In the latest Domain Pulse Q&A series looking at the year in review and year ahead, we speak to ICANN board member Chris Disspain. Chris discusses the progress of the next round of new gTLD applications, the challenges of GDPR has thrown at ICANN relating to WHOIS, a 2019 highlight being finalisation of the new strategic plan especially in the way the ICANN community focused and pulled together to get it done and then what the future may hold for him after he completes his term on the ICANN board. He also would like to see a little more kindness “in the ICANN context”.
Domain Pulse: What were the highlights, lowlights and challenges of 2019 in the domain name industry, both for you and/or the industry in general?
Chris Disspain: The challenge of GDPR and its relevance to WHOIS has consumed an immense amount of time in 2019. And universal acceptance is a real issue for many especially but not exclusively in the IDN world.
The finalisation of the new strategic plan has been a highlight especially the way that the ICANN community focused and pulled together to get it done. And the streamlining of reviews work!
There are always lowlights. Calling them out isn’t necessarily helpful.
DP: What are you looking forward to in 2020?
CD: Enjoying my last year as a board member, making a difference and riding off into the sunset….. only to return later in 2021 wearing a different hat…..Or perhaps not!
DP: What challenges and opportunities do you see for the year ahead?
CD: Every issue has both a challenges and opportunities … Some examples for us are GDPR, various contractual matters, the sub-pro work, ccNSO work on retirement of ccTLDs, the ongoing work on IGOs acronyms, the ongoing community work-load and so on.
DP: How have new gTLDs fared in 2019?
CD: Some good, some bad I expect. But given that different gTLDs have different measures of success that’s quite a hard question to address. A brand likely doesn’t care about registration levels. A geographic may have a limited market and be happy with that. I guess the only real test will be to see what sort of applications come in in a next round.
DP: What progress do you see on a new round of applications for new gTLDs in 2020?
CD: Significant but it’s a long track that needs to be carefully navigated. As a board member (actually the only current board member) who was on the board from the beginning of the last gTLD round I know many of the issues that will need to be dealt with in the updated policy. Some of these are complicated and contentious but I’m hopeful that with the extraordinary work of the Sub-pro WG and the support of the community generally we’ll get there reasonably soon.
DP: What one thing would you like to see addressed or changed in the domain name industry?
CD: Well, in the ICANN context, I think a little more kindness would be good. And a ‘fix’ for the structural challenges within the GNSO would make a huge difference to the ability of the ICANN multi-stakeholder model to deal effectively and efficiently with the constantly changing industry dynamic.
Chris was also the founding CEO of Australia’s ccTLD policy and regulatory body, auDA.
Previous Q&As in this series were with:
- Loïc Damilaville, Market Research Manager at Afnic – here
- David Fowler, vice-president, marketing and communications, Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) – here
- Katrin Ohlmer, CEO and founder of DOTZON GmbH – here
- EURid, manager of the .eu top level domain – available here
Q&As in the 2019 series were with:
- EURid, manager of the .eu top level domain (available here)
- Katrin Ohlmer, CEO and founder of DOTZON GmbH (here)
- Afilias’ Roland LaPlante (here)
- DotBERLIN’s Dirk Krischenowski (here)
- DENIC (here)
- Internet.bs’ Marc McCutcheon (here)
- nic.at’s Richard Wein (here)
- Neustar’s George Pongas (here)
- CentralNic’s Ben Crawford (here)
- CIRA’s David Fowler (here)
- Jovenet Consulting’s Jean Guillon (here)
- GGRG’s Giuseppe Graziano (here)
- Blacknight Solutions’ Michele Neylon (here)
- Public Interest Registry’s President and CEO Jon Nevett (here)
- ICANN board member Chris Disspain (here).