Tag Archives: .NET

Verisign Publishes Top April Keywords In .COM/.NET Registrations

verisign-com-net-imageThere’s often a correlation between domain name registrations and significant events, and to help understand this Verisign publishes a top 10 list of keywords used in .com and .net domain name registrations each month.

But it’s often hard to draw the correlation, and this month is no exception. The top keywords were “jumbo” and “solar” for .com and .net respectively. The list in full published by Verisign is below.



jumbo solar
visit model
oath guitar
expat explore
hung clan
spinner intel
pediatric disney
therapeutics buyers
surface meditation
seam join

For previous domain trends blog posts, click here.


URS is MIA in .Net Renewal RA by Philip Corwin, Internet Commerce Association

Philip Corwin imageThe Proposed Renewal of the .Net Registry Agreement (RA) was published for public comment by ICANN on April 20th. The biggest surprise about the proposed contract is how little it differs from the current one between ICANN and Verisign.

Conspicuously absent from the agreement is the new gTLD rights protection mechanism (RPM) of Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS). For the past two years ICA – along with ICANN’s Business Constituency and Non-Commercial Stakeholders Group – has been protesting the appearance of the URS in other legacy gTLD renewal agreements, contending that this is a policy decision specifically assigned under the Charter of the ongoing ICANN working group reviewing all RPMs at all gTLDs (note: ICA Counsel Philip Corwin is a Co-Chair of that WG). Trademark interests have countered that legacy registries were free to “voluntarily” adopt the new RPMs, although the presence of beneficial contract revisions or substantial financial concessions in those other renewal agreements raised questions about whether the URS inclusion was truly voluntary or a quid pro quo concession.

ICA had been concerned that Verisign would seek a reduction of the $0.75 .Net domain fee paid to ICANN to the standard registry fee level of $0.25 – and might acquiesce to URS in exchange for it. That change that would have netted Verisign savings of $7.6 million per year at the current level of 15.2 million .Net domain registrations. But the proposed renewal RA maintains the fee at $0.75, with the extra revenue still earmarked for special restricted funds for developing country Internet communities’ participation in ICANN, and to enhance and facilitate the security and stability of the domain name system (DNS).

While we have no insight as to what actually transpired during the closed door negotiations between ICANN’s Global Domain Division (GDD) and Verisign, we hope that ICA’s repeated protests against imposing URS via contract renewals was a factor in alerting the parties to the heated controversy that would arise from taking such action in regard to the second most populous gTLD. As one prominent industry publication recently noted:

Also likely to cheer up domainers is the fact that there are no new intellectual property protection mechanisms in the proposed contract.

Several post-2000 legacy gTLDs have agreed to incorporate the URS into their new contracts, leading to outrage from domainer organization the Internet Commerce Association.

ICA is worried that URS will one day wind up in .com without a proper ICANN community consensus, opening its members up to more risk of losing valuable domains.

The fact that URS is not being slipped into the .net contract makes it much less likely to be forced on .com too.

The .Com RA was extended last year through 2024, while the decision by the RPM Review WG on the extension of relevant new gTLD RPMs to legacy gTLDs will likely be made within the next year. Trademark interests that extolled the “voluntary” adoption of URS by other registry operators will have to employ pretzel logic if they plan to comment that Verisign should be involuntarily compelled to impose it on .Net registrants.

The proposed renewal RA will also let Verisign continue to increase .Net wholesale prices by up to ten percent each year. Verisign exercised that option in each of the six years of the current .Net RA, raising the wholesale price from $4.65 in 2011 to the current level of $8.20. Verisign will likely continue to do so under the proposed renewal agreement, at least until such price increases demonstrate a marked negative effect on .Net renewals. While carrying costs will thus likely increase for investors holding .Net domains in their portfolios, at least the potential price hikes are capped and predictable.

The proposed renewal RA does contain a number of materially new provisions, many of them drawn from the new gTLD and .Org RAs. One even provides ICANN with new powers in the highly unlikely event of a Verisign bankruptcy. But all are technical in nature, and none appear to raise any significant concerns for the domainer community.

The comment period closes on May 30th, and ICA will have more to say about this proposed RA by that date.

This article by Philip Corwin from the Internet Commerce Association was sourced with permission from:

.NET Continues To Struggle As Verisign Report Quarterly Results

Verisign’s financial results for the first quarter of 2017 continue to steam along. Cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities were down a rather insignificant $12 million to $1.8 billion from year-end 2016, according to their results released last week.

Cash flow from operations was $148 million for the quarter, compared with $150 million for the same quarter in 2016 and deferred revenues on 31 March totalled $1.01 billion, an increase of $37 million from year-end 2016.

But on domain names, .com and .net rake in the revenue and registrations. The registry operator reported that the first quarter ended with 143.6 million .com and .net domain name registrations in the domain name base, a 1.0 percent increase from the end of the first quarter of 2016, and a net increase of 1.4 million during the first quarter of 2017.

But it is .com that is powering the increase while .net has declined. In their quarterly results, Verisign don’t break out the results, but using a combination of their latest Domain Name Industry Brief and RegistrarStats.com one can get an idea of where they’re heading.

As of 31 December 2016 there were 126.9 million .com domain name registrations, while the .net domain name base totalled 15.3 million registrations according to the DNIB. Today there are 127.0 million .com registrations and 14.9 million .net registrations indicating there has been a decline in .net registrations of 400,000 in 4 months. However .net is still the fifth largest top level domain behind .com, .cn, .tk and .de.


.COM & .NET Keywords Still Influenced by US Politics

verisign-com-net-imageThe top ten keywords used in registrations for .com domain names are still showing signs of being influenced by US politics, with the top trending keyword for March being president while healthcare came in eighth. And with the visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping to the US last week, Chinese came in third.

Otherwise the makeup of the top ten keywords used in .com and .net domain name registrations appears to be a random jumble of words, which are below.



president fun
degree max
chinese value
bots ultra
gambia jury
jumbo funds
tshirt metal
healthcare tool
raiders johns
mortgages bliss



UK Child Protection Agency Finds 5 TLDs Account For 80% of Child Porn

Five top level domains accounted for 80% of all webpages identified as containing child sexual abuse images and videos, according to the 2016 annual report from the UK’s online reporting hotline for child sexual abuse, the Internet Watch Foundation, released today, with 57,335 URLs containing child sexual abuse imagery and these were hosted on 2,416 domains worldwide.

The 5 TLDs are .com, .net, .se (Sweden), .io (British Indian Ocean Territory) and .cc (Cocos (Keeling) Islands). Verisign is the registry operator for .com and .net, the largest and fifth largest TLDs globally, with 126.9 and 15.3 million registrations respectively, according to their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief, as well as the backend registry operator for .cc. On a per domain basis, it’s clear the operators of .se, .io and cc need to do much more.

Criminals are increasingly using masking techniques to hide child sexual abuse images and videos on the internet and leaving clues to paedophiles so they can find it. IWF has identified commercial child sexual abuse websites which only display the criminal imagery when accessed by a “digital pathway” of links from other websites. The pathway is like a trail of breadcrumbs; when the pathway is not followed or the website is accessed directly through a browser, legal content is displayed. This means it’s more difficult to find and investigate the illegal imagery. It also means that criminal enterprises online are receiving legitimate banking services, as checking their website won’t automatically reveal the criminal content.

When IWF first identified this technique, they developed a way of revealing the illegal imagery, meaning they could remove it, and the websites could be investigated. But the criminals continually change how they hide the illegal imagery, so IWF’s expert analysts adapt in response.

Europe now hosts the majority of child sexual abuse webpages (60%), with North America moving to second place (37%). In contrast, UK now hosts less than 0.1% of child sexual abuse imagery globally, and this is due to the zero tolerance approach the internet industry in the UK takes. Breaking this down further, 92% of all child sexual abuse URLs identified globally in 2016 were hosted in five countries: Netherlands (37%), USA (22%), Canada (15%), France (11%), and Russia (7%).

Unsurprisingly, the criminals behind child sexual abuse online have also taken to the new gTLDs. Registration numbers in the new generic top level domains have jumped almost 8-fold to 29.034 million today from 3.722 million on 1 January 2015 and 2.6-fold from 11.230 million on 1 January 2016. And so has the child abuse that has used new gTLDs. In 2015, the IWF took action against 436 URLs on 117 websites using new gTLDs. In 2016 they took action against 1,559 URLs on 272 websites using new gTLDs – an increase of 258% from the year before, or 2.3-fold. Of these 272 websites, 226 were websites dedicated to distributing child sexual abuse content.

Recognising that new gTLDs are also used for hosting child sexual abuse, the IWF has partnered with leading registries to help prevent the use of gTLDs being used to show children being sexually abused. They utilise Domain Alerts to help their members in the domain registration sector to prevent abuse of their services by criminals attempting to use domains for websites dedicated to the distribution of child sexual abuse imagery. Several registries and registrars are members of IWF, including Rightside and Nominet.

Rightside has been particularly active and playing their part, becoming an IWF Member in September 2015. The IWF annual report gives as a case study the work Rightside, registry operator for .ninja, in attempting to take down domain names that host child abuse content. In 2016 Rightside received Domain Alerts relating to two .ninja domains. These domain names were found to be associated with 138 items of content depicting child sexual abuse material.

Rightside considers the IWF as a trusted third party notifier; this simply means that given the IWF’s unique mandate from the UK authorities, to actively seek and take action on criminal online content worldwide, any Domain Alert report received from the IWF, is taken at face value. Rightside’s Abuse Team can proceed, confident in the knowledge that the IWF’s trained analysts, have investigated, evidenced, and reported all findings to the relevant law enforcement authorities.

Rightside has implemented rapid internal processes for best managing IWF Domain Alerts. They are especially sensitive to the possibility of hacked websites, or situations where their domains are being used by legitimate businesses who may have thousands of users, with any one of these users being potentially responsible for the illegal content. As a registry, Rightside wants to ensure their actions don’t cause further harm, working quickly and decisively to identify the best way to remove illegal content, with the least impact to those not responsible.

“We believe that the IWF partnership provides an important protection, not only for all of Rightside’s registrants, and the general internet user, but protects the well-being of Rightside’s own Abuse Team in processing such reports,” said Alan Woods, Rightside’s Registry Compliance Manager.

“Rightside, as one of the first new gTLD registries to partner with the IWF, sees the benefit of membership in establishing gTLD best practices to protect all web users worldwide from malicious actors. Working with the IWF has been a great partnership in notifying us immediately when a site, using one of our domains, is being abused so we can take action to disable the domain in question.”

“Criminals will attempt to abuse new technologies for their own gain – in this case it’s using new domain names,” said Susie Hargreaves OBE, IWF CEO.

“As a Member of IWF, and the registry for .NINJA, we’ve seen first-hand how Rightside shares our zero-tolerance of child sexual abuse material. We appreciate their commitment and hope the rest of the industry steps up to ensure that criminals distributing child sexual abuse material can find no refuge in gTLDs, only swift and immediate action to stamp out these channels.”

The IWF Annual Report 2016 is available here:

Verisign’s Top 2016 .COM and .NET Keywords Headed By Trump and US Election

Donald Trump by Per TrystadThe top keywords used in .com and .net domain names registered in 2016 were dominated by the US presidential election, and in particular Donald Trump, according to an analysis provided by the registry operator Verisign.




trump research
research trump
reality pokemon
bot bot
pokemon near
donald driver
hillary donald
current architecture
towers hillary
keto optics

“Trump” came first in .com keywords and second in .net, and Donald came sixth and seventh respectively while Hillary came seventh for .com and ninth for .net. “Pokemon” also featured in both lists, as did “bot”. “Towers” also featured in the top 10 for .com, which could also be related to Trump. At least in part.


The keyword, “trump,” emerged as a trend in February, March, May and November while “Hillary” was not a top keyword in any specific month in 2016, but it was a trending keyword overall.


It wasn’t only the presidential election that influenced domain name registrations. Keywords related to other political initiatives also trended. Words like “cannabis,” “weed” and “marijuana” were top keywords during the November U.S. elections when several states legalised the use of marijuana in some form.


In the world of technology, keywords like “bot” and “drone,” as well as “driver,” “self” and “less,” may reflect increased interest in domain names associated with future opportunities in technology.


“Block” and “Chain” Among Top .COM Keywords Registered In February

verisign-com-net-imageVerisign’s latest list of the top 10 trending keywords in the .com and .net TLDs for February is a little perplexing. The top trending keywords in registered domain names in English in the 2 TLDs usually has some correlation between domain name registrations and popular events, as well as anticipated trends.

For February “block” and “chain” make the list, but one can scratch their heads and guess at why the others were the most popular.

The top ten keywords for .com and .net were:



year drone
near fresh
block surveyors
chain angel
seed research
floor premier
employment zero
webcam leader
halal rehab
educate forex




.CN Regains Top ccTLD Rank As .TK And .NET Shed Registrations, While Global Registrations Hit 329 Million: Verisign

2016 closed with global domain name registrations reaching 329.3 million according to the latest Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief, growing by approximately 2.3 million registrations, or 0.7% over the third quarter of 2016. Registrations grew by 21.0 million, or 6.8%, year over year. The most notable changes over the last 12 months were China’s ccTLD adding over 4 million registrations to become the largest ccTLD again, while .tk and .net shed over 7 million and 500,000 registrations respectively.

Total country code top level domain (ccTLD) domain name registrations were approximately 142.7 million, a 1.8% increase over the third quarter of 2016, and a 3.1% (4.3 million) increase year over year.

Without including .tk which has dropped from 26 million to 18.7 million in the 12 months to the end of 2016, ccTLD domain name registrations increased approximately 2.1 million in the quarter, a 1.7% increase compared to the third quarter of 2016 and ccTLDs increased by approximately 8.0 million domain name registrations, or 6.9%, year over year.

It means China’s ccTLD has now overtaken the free registration model of .tk to become the largest ccTLD and second largest TLD overall, again, positions it last held back in 2009 when it had over 14 million registrations. In the last 12 months .cn has grown by 4.24 million registrations.

At the end of 2016, .com was the largest TLD with 126.9 million registrations, followed by .cn with 21.1 million, .tk (18.7 million), .de (16.1m) and .net (15.3m). The largest of the new gTLDs remains .xyz which had 6.0 million registrations.

The top 10 ccTLDs, as of 31 December were .cn (China), .tk (Tokelau), .de (Germany), .uk (United Kingdom), .ru (Russian Federation), .nl (Netherlands), .br (Brazil), .eu (European Union), .au (Australia) and .it (Italy).

There were 293 global ccTLD extensions delegated in the root, including Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs), with the top 10 ccTLDs composing 64.7 percent of all ccTLD domain name registrations.

For .com and .net, both operated by Verisign, .com grew from 124 million registrations at the end of 2015 and 115.6 at the end of 2014. However for .net it’s a different story and it has suffered since the introduction of new gTLDs. In 2016 .net bled half million registrations from the 15.8 million one year ago but is still above the 15 million at the end of 2014.

New .com and .net domain name registrations totalled 8.8 million during the fourth quarter of 2016. In the fourth quarter of 2015, new .com and .net domain name registrations totalled 12.2 million.

New generic Top Level Domains (new gTLDs) totalled 25.6 million domain name registrations, which represents 7.8% of total domain name registrations. The top 10 new gTLDs represented 63.% of all new gTLD registrations.

Verisign’s average daily Domain Name System (DNS) query load during the fourth quarter of 2016 was 143 billion across all TLDs operated by Verisign, with a peak of 398 billion. Quarter over quarter, the daily average increased 11.4 percent and the peak increased by 122.5 percent. Year over year, the daily average query load increased by 16.0 percent and the peak increased 105.1 percent.


Verisign Releases December Trending Keywords For .COM And .NET

Verisign have published their monthly top 10 trending .com and .net keywords for domain names registered in English for December 2016. The lists often reflect topical news events, or even anticipated trends, although a quick scan of the keywords for December doesn’t seem to offer much in the way of reflecting events.The top .com keyword was “amazon”, followed by lawn, fake, sold, broken, bone, museum, certified, puppy and member.For .net the top keyword was “near” followed by custom, control, core, lock, loans, creek, indian, adult and block.

Verisign Seeks To Reinvigorate “Uncommonly Timeless” .NET

verisign-net-logoRegistrations in .net have plateaued over the last couple of years, being stuck around the 15 million mark, while its Verisign stablemate .com has continued to see registration numbers grow and many of the new gTLDs have grown rapidly.

The first ever domain name created was a .net domain – nordu.net. However .net seems to have been hit by the introduction of new generic Top Level Domains. For the last four years registrations in .net have hovered around the 15 million mark, dropping slightly as new gTLDs began to be introduced in early 2014. But it wasn’t the only legacy TLD to be impacted. Others such as .info, .biz, .tel and .mobi also saw registration numbers drop, along with .us, some commencing their decline prior to the introduction of new gTLDs. But often the decline was accentuated after the decline of new gTLDs.

So to seek to get domain registrants interested again in .net, Verisign has launched a campaign describing the TLD as “Uncommonly Timeless” highlighting .net’s enduring appeal as a domain that is recognised as original and reliable.