Tag Archives: Montenegro

Domain.me Suspends Incels.me Due To Content Violations

The registry for .me domain names, Domain.me, has suspended the incels.me domain name “due to the content that violated the .ME registry’s anti-abuse policy.”

The registry says “the decision to suspend the domain was made after the .ME Registry exhausted all other possibilities that could assure us that the registrant of incels.me domain and the owner of incels.me forum was able to remove the subject content and prevent the same or similar content from appearing on the forum again.”

Then on 8 May the .me country code top level domain (ccTLD) registry was notified that certain members of the online community at incels.me forum might have been involved in or associated with the Toronto van attack on 23 April. Ever since, they have closely monitored the content on incels.me forum and determined that it was allowing part of its members to continuously promote violence and hate speech.

On 12 September the Registry of .ME domains asked ZhuHai NaiSiNiKe Information Technology Co Ltd., the sponsoring registrar of incels.me domain, to send an official notice to the registrant of incels.me to avoid suspension of incels.me domain by taking down the content that violated the .ME registry’s anti-abuse policy and by preventing the same or similar content from appearing on the forum again.

Upon inspecting incels.me forum for policy violations on 15 October, the .ME Registry determined that the content that encouraged acts of violence and hate speech still appeared on the forum. Having witnessed this disregard of not only .ME Registry’s policies and suspension warnings, but also of incels.me forum’s policies the domain registrant formulated themselves, the .ME Registry suspended the domain and decided that it would remain suspended.

“Incels” is short for “involuntary celibate”, a group of people who are usually white, male, heterosexual and right wing and unable to find sexual partners. Wikipedia notes “discussions in incel forums are often characterised by resentment, misanthropy, self-pity, self-loathing, misogyny, racism, a sense of entitlement to sex, and the endorsement of violence against sexually active people. The Southern Poverty Law Center described the subculture as “part of the online male supremacist ecosystem” that is included in their list of hate groups. At least four mass murders, resulting in 45 deaths, have been committed in North America by people who have either self-identified as incels or who had mentioned incel-related names and writings in their private writings or Internet postings. Incel communities have been criticised by the media and researchers for being misogynist, encouraging violence, as well as spreading extremist views and radicalising their members.”

.ME Introducing IDNs Next Week

It’s been 10 years since .me launched as a unique and memorable gTLD. The Montenegrin ccTLD has become one of the most successful ccTLDs that operates as a gTLD and is also recognised as a gTLD by Google. And now on their tenth anniversary .me is about to enable the registration of Internationalised Domain Names.

As of 12 November, .me will allow the registration of domain names in Arabic, Belarusian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Croatian, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Montenegrin (Latin and Cyrillic), Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian (Latin and Cyrillic), Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian.

“Personal appeal and worldwide availability from the day one is what made .ME domains so popular”, said .ME Registry CEO Predrag Lesic. “We feel that November 12th is a very important day for us because, with the launch of .ME IDNs, people around the world will be able to register .ME domain names using their own national alphabets. It does not get more personal (or global) than this!”

.ME came about following Montenegro becoming an independent nation in June 2006 and .me was allocated that September. Then in September 2007, ICANN delegated .me to the Government of Montenegro, becoming active on 24 September 2007 with registrations commencing in 2008. Registrations at the second level were made available to anyone anywhere in the world while third level such as .co.me and .net.me are only available to Montenegrins.

The appeal of Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) is that internet users and business can register domain names in their own language – not just the Latin alphabet letters A-Z, digits and hyphens. Although 70% of the world’s population uses Latin alphabet, less than half of them use only letters A-Z, which makes IDNs very useful for the words that cannot be properly described without characters used in the local representation of a language.

As .me note in their announcement:

The DNS was originally developed to recognise only ASCII characters (“Latin alphabet letters A-Z” , “0–9″ and ”-” ), and was not planned to manage characters used in other languages like Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, and Latin alphabet-based characters with diacritics or ligatures, such as German, Spanish and French (letters like æ, ä, ö, ü, ă, â, î, ș, ñ, š, č, ž, ć).

However, with the implementation of IDNs in the system, these scripts can be used to register a .ME domain. Now, when the registrant tries to register an IDN, the domain registrar converts the local-language characters into a sequence of supported letters using an ASCII-compatible encoding (ACE) in the domain registration process. That means that the ACE prefix, “xn--” is used to represent an IDN. When an IDN is typed in a Web browser, and nowadays all browsers support IDNs, it encodes the characters into an ACE string that DNS understands. The DNS processes the request and returns the information to the browser as with any other domain.

.ME IDNs may be registered for 1 to 10-year terms on a First-Come-First-Served (FCFS) basis with .ME accredited registrars or their resellers.

Did .ME Suffer a Serious DNSSEC Failure in March?

In a lesson for Registry Operators everywhere, it appears the .me ccTLD suffered a significant incident in late March that could be described as an embarrassingly serious DNSSEC failure that could have escalated to catastrophic failure with the potential to disrupt all domain names in the zone file.

So what happened? Domain names in the .ME zone are signed with Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC). In DNSSEC signed TLDs, when an internet user attempts to contact one of the TLD’s domain names, such as through visiting a website, a request is sent to the zone-file to check if the domain name is authentic. DNSSEC works as a mechanism by which users can validate the data they receive from Authoritative DNS servers has not been altered between the server and themselves, known as a Man in the middle (MITM) attack.

In the case of the .ME failure, the requests could not be verified as the zone file signatures – which have a finite life – that were to be checked had expired with expiry dates listed as 20 March or earlier. This should never happen, but it did because the software responsible for communicating between the zone signing keys (ZSK) and the key signing keys (KSK) failed. It appears the ZSK and KSK which are meant to communicate with each other to regenerate signatures did not, and the software responsible for regenerating these signatures should have tried to have done so several days before. In short, the fact that the signatures didn’t regenerate in time indicates a significant technical failure at the Registry.

The result was many .ME domain names would have been inaccessible for several days. Websites that weren’t cached would have been unreachable, and email is likely to have been disrupted. For popular websites, content would have been cached but not able to be updated. In the world of Registry operations, this is an unacceptable impact to end users.

We don’t know why signatures weren’t refreshed, but we do know that it applied to both the KSK and ZSK, which suggests a system failure, not a one-off procedural failure. It’s also is likely that this failure would have occurred many days prior to its discovery and remediation. (If you are technically inclined you can review the incident in greater detail at DNSViz.net.

The outage might have been a key-roll gone bad. The ZSK listed in the screen capture taken during the failure is different to the ZSK used in nic.me today. So the key has certainly been rolled since the incident. The Hardware Security Module (HSM) used for the .ME ccTLD is incredibly quirky, so maybe they lost access to the private key? Maybe re-signing required manual intervention? Without access to the incident report, and in the absence of any official communications, it is hard to understand why it took the Registry so long to detect the issue and identify and remedy the root cause.

When there are significant security incidents, it’s becoming an imperative to report such incidents. Governments are often mandating such transparency, and frankly, end-users deserve accountability. So, the question is should the domain name industry be open and report such incidents as we all strive for continual improvement and to support the advancement of internet services? The domain name industry is unique in that it operates a multi-stakeholder model for governance, sharing such information would assist other Registry Operators and backend providers to improve and learn from the mistakes of others.

With the past two industry security incidents, the Afilias Registrar Credentials incident of December 2017 that was grudgingly reported after complaints from Registrars, and the .io ccTLD Registry breach in July of 2017, a hack that was luckily self-declared by Matthew Bryant, sadly, it seems increasingly that some operators in the industry prefer to keep things quiet and hope nobody notices.

Comment was sought from doMEn Ltd but wasn’t available at the time of publication. This article will be updated when comment is available.

.ME Reaches 1 Million Domains!

Montenegro .ME logoThe Montenegrin ccTLD, .me, relaunched as a gTLD some years ago, has reached the one million registrations mark.

The .me was launched in May 2008 (Sunrise) after “Montenegro declared its independence from Serbia and Montenegro on 3 June 2006, after a majority of Montenegrins supported independence in a national referendum,” according to Wikipedia.


Registrations have grown steadily ever since until the last few months when numbers have spiked due to what the registry is calling “the China Giant Awakening”. The registry notes in a blog posting celebrating their milestone that:
“Since September 2015 .ME domains have become very popular in China. According to some sources .ME is the fourth most popular domain in China. It’s not only about numbers of domains registered but also about the usage. What makes us proud is that you can see food-delivery bikes with ele.me’s logo around Beijing. Chinese men buy flowers to their girlfriends through songhua.me website. Chinese people are starting to understand and accept the idea of personal branding online promoted by the .ME domain.”

dotME 1Million Infographic

To read more on how .me achieved its staggering growth for such a small country, see their blog posting at:

.ME Passes 800,000 Registrations

domen-logo.gif Montenegro .ME logoSince its relaunch in 2008 as a more generic Top Level Domain, the Montenegrin ccTLD has been a hit and has now reached the 800,000 registrations mark.

The TLD is now marketed as a place for individuals and brands that want to be a bit more personal. The domain has continued to grow steadily in response to the global trend of nurturing personal identity online.

“This is a big day for us! Knowing that you are getting closer to one million domains in the registry is extremely rewarding”, stated Predrag Lesic, executive director of the .ME Registry. “We marketed .ME domains aggressively from the very beginning and as of now we have more than two hundred accredited registrar partners and customers from almost every country in the world. This could not have been done without them”.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Information Society and Telecommunications, Mr. Vujica Lazovic, PhD, emphasised that to date, the Government of Montenegro earned almost 17 million EUR from .ME domain registrations. “These funds were invested in the development of information society and eGovernment projects with the aim of raising awareness among general public about the importance of being involved in decision-making processes”. He also added: “Millions of Internet users can access the content available on .ME domains on daily basis and we are proud to say the .ME domain is one of the best exports from Montenegro”.

The registry in announcing reaching the milestone mentioned a few of the more prominent companies that have registered .me domains.

“Facebook got Fb.ME, WordPress.com registered Wp.ME, Tango and Line got tango.me and line.me, respectively. But it does not end there”, Mr. Lesic said, adding: “We knew that high quality content was of utmost importance for every new domain extension. Therefore, we decided to launch the Premium Domain Program and offer our most attractive domains to startups and large businesses working on innovative services and products. I am proud to say that Premium Domain Program graduates are the biggest contributor to the total of 169,000,000 indexed .ME pages on Google.”

ccTLDs Growth Outstrips Legacy gTLDs: CENTR Report

CENTR small logoThe growth rate for the 248 ccTLDs around the world has been higher than that for the 21 legacy gTLDs in the three months to the end of August according to the latest CENTR DomainWire report.

The number of domains registered across all ccTLDs was 129,388,192, an increase of 1.7 percent over the three months, not including internationalised domain ccTLDs, which themselves grew by the even higher rate of 2.9 percent to 1,244,863.

Meanwhile the 21 legacy gTLDs saw growth of 0.3 percent to 148,807,739. Meanwhile, as would be expected, registrations across all the new gTLDs grew significantly across the three months – growing a total of 139.8 percent to 2,070,244.

In total, according to the ZookNIC statistics used by CENTR, there was a total of 282,526,140 domains registered across all TLDs, an increase of 1.3 percent in three months.

Among the ccTLDs, growth was highest with the largest, .tk (Tokelau) which saw registrations of its free domains grow 8.6 percent to 26.0 million. No other ccTLD saw growth of over two percent, but five saw registrations of 1.0 percent or more. They were .cn (China) with growth of 1.8 percent to 10.8 million registrations, followed by .eu (European Union – 1.5% – 3.8m), .ch (Switzerland – 1.2% – 1.9m), .br (Brazil – 1.2% – 3.5m) and .au (Australia – 1.0% – 2.9m).

The 20 largest ccTLDs accounted for around 82 percent of all ccTLD domains registered globally and 38 percent of all domains.

Within Europe there were almost 66.5 million ccTLD domains registered at the end of August, a growth rate of 0.3 percent for the quarter and 2.8 percent for the year.

The report also notes the countries with the highest domain name penetration. Liechtenstein tops this list with 176 ccTLD domains registered per 100 people, followed by Montenegro with 117, boosted by their .me ccTLD being promoted as a gTLD. The Netherlands and Switzerland followed with 33 and 24 respectively, then Denmark (23), Germany (19) and the United Kingdom (17).

The report also looked at registrar security and authentication. CENTR asked over 100 registrars, web hosting companies, ISPs and other IT related organisations for their thoughts on some specific areas of security management. The aim of the survey was to gather views on how to increase the security level access to their web portals as well as to evaluate the need for a greater emphasis on two-factor authentication and other security features.

The survey found that 90 percent of respondents are not aware of any situation where leaked credentials have led to an attacker modifying DNS or related data. This left 10% who have experienced this type of incident. Almost 70 percent of all respondents stated an attack of this kind would be a major impact on either the entire or part of the organisation.

To download the CENTR report in full, go to:

.ME Announces Loyalty Programme… With Prizes!

DotME logoThe .ME Registry has announced the .ME Loyalty Program where among other perks and prizes you can win t-shirts, domain name and hosting packages, gift card vouchers and much more.

The announcement came at NMX in Las Vegas and was available as of 4 January.

The .ME Loyalty Programme is designed to honour members of the .ME community through what they call a fun exchange of points and rewards. To get involved:
1. Sign up at the Loyalty Programme Page
2. Perform fun actions to collect points
3. Redeem rewards.

There is also a Facebook page with announcements at https://facebook.com/domainme as well as #domainME on Twitter.

European ccTLD Growth Slowing But Still Higher Than gTLDs

It may have a reputation for being one of the TLDs with the most phishing domains, but the number of .tk (Tokelau) domain names under management continues to soar. Registrations grew by 13.9 percent in the quarter ending August, according to the latest Centr DomainWire StatReport, with total registrations reaching 19.1 million for the ccTLD whose domain names are given away for free.The report notes .de (Germany) continues to progressively grow and maintain its second place with 15.5m DUM while .uk (United Kingdom) comes in third with 10.6m. But .cn (China) continues to rapidly grow, again, and is now back to 7.8m.Within Europe, at the end of August 2013 there were just over 65.1m DUM while over the past 12 months, overall net growth is 5.9 percent – an increase of around 3.6m. The largest contribution to the increase came from .ru with 780,000.The ccTLDs with the largest growth rate within Europe were .me (Montenegro) where registrations grew by 5.2 percent in the quarter ending August, followed by .ru (Russian Federation – 4.1%), Cyprus (.cy – 3.8%), .pt (Portugal – 3.4%) and then .is (Iceland – 2.9%).The report also shows the number of domain names per person. This statistic is skewed by how the ccTLD is marketed, with .me ranking highly due to it being marketed more as a gTLD. The Centr report shows that .li (Liechtenstein) has the highest penetration with 181 domains per 100 people for the 37,000 people in the country, followed by .me with 116. Then follows .nl (Netherlands – 32), .ch (Switzerland – 23), .dk (Denmark – 22), .de (19) and then .uk (17).The report also notes that growth rates in European ccTLDs have slowed over the past 12 months. The growth rate for the year to August 2013 was 5.9 percent (compared to the 12 months to April 2012 whose growth rate was 6.6 percent) but this was on average 2.5 percent higher than for gTLDs globally. The average monthly growth of all European ccTLDs is 0.47 percent. Globally the number of ccTLD registrations grew by one percentage point in the 12 months to August 2013, while gTLDs share dropped by the corresponding percentage point.Marketing is also looked at in the report, with how ccTLDs are marketed. Registries use traditional as well as new marketing tools, as shows the below graph which is based on a June 2013 survey amongst CENTR members. The same survey shows that a large majority of the registries have, or are developing, a formal marketing plan. The traditional ‘offline’ channels such as printed media, TV and radio are used by several registries while others cooperate with registrars with sponsorship arrangements and co-marketing initiatives and programmes.The report is available for download from centr.org/system/files/share/domainwire_stat_report_2013_2.pdf.

.ME Announces Release Of Five Premium Domain Names

Dot ME logo[news release] The .ME Registry, operator of the .ME Internet extension, is releasing five exclusive, previously unreleased premium domain names: Around.ME, Hire.ME, Fund.ME, Find.ME and For.ME. The .ME Premium Domain Program is open for applications starting May 10, 2013 and is set to close June 15, 2013.

These memorable .ME domain names are ideal for any company that wishes to brand themselves as unique and personal, or launch a new product using an exclusive name. All businesses, large or small, existing or start-up, are eligible to apply.

The .ME Registry CEO, Predrag Lesic explains: “The goal of the Premium Domain Program is to assign the very best premium domains to the best content. We are not interested in just selling the domain; we think the quality of service provided has a far better value for our company and for the end users. That’s the main criteria we’ll be looking for in our Premium Domain Program applicants.”

The .ME Premium Domain Program, which began in 2008, has had many successful applicants. Startups like About.me, Couple.me and Connect.me as well as established companies like Visa (V.me), Google (Ro.me) and Time Inc. (Ti.me) have all participated in the program.

“Branding our service with a dotME domain was an obvious choice because we provide a unique, personalized experience for our users to display a full snapshot of their lives online in one central place,” said Ryan Freitas, co-founder of About.ME. “We also found that the ability to so specifically brand About dot me was an integral part of how we were able to make such a successful connection with our users.”

Applicants are judged on the quality of the service they are providing, their references and their business proposals. The winning applicants for Around.ME, Hire.ME, Fund.ME, Find.ME and For.ME. are scheduled to announced by July 1, 2013.

To learn more about how to apply for one of the five Premium Domains, as well as the application and selection process, please visit www.domain.me/premium-domain-program.

This .me news release was sourced from:

Domain Pulse 2013: GFC, Maturing Markets, Lead To Domain Registration Growth Slowing

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.