The third quarter of 2020 closed with 370.7 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains (TLDs), an increase of 0.6 million registrations, or 0.2 percent, for the quarter, according to Verisign’s latest Domain Name Industry Brief released this week. This compares to growth of 0.9 percent for the second and 1.2 percent for the first quarter of 2020. Over the 12 months to the end of September, registrations have grown by 10.8 million, or 3.0 percent.
Two recent ICANN announcements caught our eye because of their relevance to domain investors.
The first was ICANNâs placement of a notice that it was seeking to hire its first ever Registrant Services Director-Consumer Advocate. The Job Description states that the position âinvolves participation in a number of cross-organizational projects in areas such as registrant rights, contract interpretations and compliance, operations, legal policy definitions and implementation with a strong focus on multi-stakeholder collaborationâ and that, among other tasks,Â the selected individual will âbecome the Registrant Community advocate within ICANN and represent their needs to other teams across the organization.â The Director will report to the President of the Global Domains Division, the separate business unit established within ICANN last year. Consistent with CEO Fadi Chehadeâs statement during the London meeting that future staff growth would occur in locations outside ICANNâs Los Angeles headquarters, this position is to be based in Istanbul, Turkey â although applicants must be willing to travel 40% of the time. Curiously, despite the jobâs focus on registrant rights, contractual interpretations, and legal policy, the educational experience sought is âBA or BS degree, MS or MBA preferred. Advanced degree in engineering or systems is highly desirableâ â and not a law degree.
The creation of this position finally puts some meat on the bones of CEO Chehadeâs June 2013 declaration that domain registrants are ICANNâs primary customer. As a trade organization representing the interests of registrants who are professional domain investors and developers we have been critical of ICANNâs failure to âwalk the walkâ on that verbal commitment in the past. ICA now looks forward to working with this new ICANN staffer on issues of importance to registrants, while recognizing that in certain situations involving registrant grievances against ICANN there will be constraints against biting the hand that pays him, or her.
Separately, ICANNâs GNSO is soliciting volunteers for the just-launchedÂ GNSO New gTLDs Subsequent Rounds Discussion Group. This Group will review the first round of new gTLDs and report findings to the GNSO Council âthat may lead to changes or adjustments for subsequent new gTLD application proceduresâ. With Initial Evaluation just having been completed on all applications submitted in the first round of the new gTLD program, ICANN is putting in place the first step in meeting its commitment to review it thoroughly before a second round commences.
From what we have heard, when it does launch down the road the second âroundâ may not be a round at all, in terms of having a set time window in which applications must be submitted. Rather, once any adjustments in the program are made based upon first round experiences the application window may simply stay open indefinitely, with applicants free to submit a bid for any string at any time.
The new gTLD program of course included the new rights protection mechanisms (RPMs) of Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) and the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH), and we expect both to be the subject of discussion and possible suggestions for modification within the new Discussion Group. Thatâs one major reasonÂ why ICA shall be participating. Perhaps onceÂ the Registrant Services Director is hired he or she will participate as well â to help assure that registrant rights receive adequate due process as the new gTLD program evolves.
This article by Philip Corwin of the Internet Commerce Association was sourced with permission from:
At its 18 May 2013 meeting, the ICANN Board adopted a resolution to commission a study to identify the levels of potential impact posed by each applied-for new gTLD on the use of TLDs that are not currently delegated at the root level of the public DNS.
The study, “Name Collision in the DNS,” together with a proposal to manage the risks identified in the study, was published for public comment from 5 August 2013 to 17 September 2013. During the public comment period, 75 comments were received. Based on the public comments, staff updated the proposal to manage the risks identified in the study. The report of these public comments is available at: forum.icann.org/lists/comments-name-collision-05aug13/.
The ICANN Board New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) met on 28 September 2013 to review and discuss a proposal on how to deal with name collisions. On 7 October 2013, the NGPC met again and approved an updated proposal, titled “New gTLD Collision Occurrence Management Plan,” [PDF, 840 KB] to mitigate the risks of potential name collisions caused by the introduction of new gTLDs.
The Collision Occurrence Management Plan directs staff to undertake an additional study to develop a name collision occurrence management framework. The framework will include appropriate parameters and processes to assess both probability and severity of harm resulting from the occurrence of name collisions. Examples of the parameters might include number of DNS requests, type of DNS requests, type of queries, diversity of query source and appearances in internal name certificates. The framework will specify a set of collision occurrence assessments and corresponding mitigation measures, if any, that ICANN or TLD applicants may need to implement per second level domain name (SLD) seen in the “day in the life of the Internet” (DITL) dataset.
Additionally, the plan provides a registry operator with the option to proceed to delegation prior to receiving its SLD collision occurrence assessment report (subject to established processes and procedures). If the registry operator chooses this alternative path to delegation, it must initially block all SLDs that appear in the DITL dataset while the assessment is conducted.
An additional feature of the plan requires establishment of a process by each TLD operator to enable an affected party(ies) to report and request the blocking of an SLD that causes demonstrably severe harm as a consequence of name collision occurrences. This process is intended to mitigate the risk that collision occurrences from additional SLDs not observed in the study dataset could have severe impact.
The plan also includes an outreach campaign targeted to potentially affected parties to help them identify and manage the origins (causes) of name collision occurrences in their networks. As part of the outreach campaign, ICANN, under the direction of the President and CEO, will invite and collaborate with relevant parties and members of the community that share the same interest in making progress in this issue.
At its 7 October meeting, the NGPC also recommended to the ICANN Board that the issue of name collisions be monitored by the Board’s Risk Committee and reviewed periodically, and that ICANN work with the community in developing a long-term plan to retain and measure root-server data.
For more information about the NGPC, please visit: www.icann.org/en/groups/board/new-gtld.
This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
In his latest post on the ICANN blog, ICANN’s CEO and president Fadi Chehadé has announced the organisation has signed an agreement with Deloitte Enterprise Risk Services to be the first provider of validation services for the Trademark Clearinghouse.There is also continuing progress with IBM for the provision of database services Chehadé wrote, as well as that ICANN has received multiple submissions in response to the RFI on the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) implementation that are within the target price range with an announcement due shortly.On the Trademark Clearinghouse agreement, Chehadé outlined the terms of the agreement, these being:
- ICANN retains all intellectual property rights in the Trademark Clearinghouse data. (Note this is as between ICANN and Deloitte. ICANN claims no intellectual property rights with respect to user data.)
- Deloitte’s validation services are to be non-exclusive. ICANN may add additional validators after a threshold of minimum stability is met.
- Trademark submission fees are capped at USD 150 per record per year. Discounts are available for bulk & multi-year submissions.
- IBM will charge Deloitte for database access via an application processing interface (API).
- ICANN may audit Deloitte’s performance (and revenues/costs) to confirm that the costs and fees for validation services are reasonable.
On the provision for database services, Chehadé noted the highlights as being:
- IBM will maintain the Trademark Clearinghouse Database.
- Data will be imported to the Database within three hours of receipt from a Validator.
- IBM will be available 24 x 7 for high severity incidents impacting the operability of the database.
- ICANN will receive all intellectual property rights necessary for transition to a new database provider.
- IBM will charge registries and registrars for real-time access to the database during the sunrise and claims periods. The fee structure remains under consideration.
[news release] With fewer than four weeks of ICANN’s official public-comment period for the 1,930 new Top Level Domain applications remaining, online brand specialist Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services (DBS) today urged brands to prioritize the assessment of potential risks and promptly respond before the comment window closes on August 12th.
More than 1,400 unique domain names, or âstrings,’ were applied for among the 1,930 applications for new Top Level Domains (TLDs) announced by ICANN on June 13, including strings such as .shop, .baby, .football, and .home. Melbourne IT CEO, Theo Hnarakis, said while many brands applied for their own trademarks as a new TLD, all organizations need to review and assess all of the submitted applications to see if any of the applications pose a risk to their own brands.
“Every organization has a different risk profile and tolerance level in relation to their brand or online presence and strategy. We urge all brands to identify and carefully examine the top level domain strings which have been applied for that are relevant to their business, then judge whether they pose a business risk and take the opportunity to respond accordingly. For instance, financial institutions will be interested in who has applied for .bank, retailers should examine the applicants for .shop, and hoteliers will take a keen interest in applications for .hotel,” Mr. Hnarakis said.
“It is not necessarily as simple as merely looking at the list and being confident in knowing which brands or entities are applying, and for what string, particularly with applications being accepted in languages other than English for strings using non-Latin characters,” he said.
“With less than a month left to file a comment with ICANN during the public comment phase, the race against the clock has begun. In our experience, few runners are prepared to navigate the track, let alone the hurdles of the new gTLD Applicant Guidebook. There is a very short window for legal teams to wade through thousands of pages of detail to make sense of the data and translate raw facts into astute analysis and an actionable strategy. Time is running out.”
Melbourne IT DBS’s risk-review services offer two options to help quickly analyze published applications and determine risk – within ICANN’s limited 60-day comment window.
Tailored risk reports developed by an experienced Melbourne IT consultant, who analyzes new TLDs for potential risk and provides recommendations – such as whether or not public comments should be posted or whether or not an organization should consider filing a formal objection.
A powerful self-service information database that combines the publicly available ICANN data with proprietary qualitative assessments to help brand owners make better informed decisions. Using the database, brand owners can rapidly scan new TLD application data under a number of different criteria, including IDN translations, trademark classifications, industry categorizations, string similarity and much more. Data is supplemented with qualitative assessments of the mission statements, abuse prevention provisions and proposed registration processes detailed in the applications.
Both services are available immediately through Melbourne IT’s TLD Risk Assessment Center (TRAC).
“Time is one of the most critical elements of the new TLD challenge. Tackling a complex, time-consuming project such as this and developing effective public comments in a matter of weeks, to either support or oppose a new TLD application, will challenge even the most well-resourced organization. Working with experts with many years of experience and a strong understanding of the Application Guidebook means companies can approach the challenge confidently,” Mr. Hnarakis said.
Each TRAC risk report covers a list of up to 15 new TLD applications with a full analysis of the potential risks. Subsequently, a verbal debrief takes place with a Melbourne IT consultant to discuss the findings and recommended strategies to address any exposed risks – whether lodging a comment, formally objecting or determining whether a defensive second-level domain registration strategy is needed.
For those organizations wishing to undertake their own risk assessment, the self-service TRAC custom search and analysis tool facilitates deep searches of TLD application data to assist legal teams be more efficient and effective in their response. For more information about Melbourne IT’s TRAC services, visit www.gtldscan.com.
About Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services
Melbourne IT DBS helps organizations manage, protect and optimize online brands to maximize the value of online assets. The Company helps clients minimize risk and make smarter decisions in managing online presence. The company’s 3,800 clients include some of the world’s most recognizable brands. Headquartered in Santa Clara, CA, Melbourne IT DBS maintains 15 offices in 10 countries, and is a division of the listed Melbourne IT Group (ASX: MLB). For more information, visit www.melbourneitdbs.com.
This Melbourne IT DBS news release was sourced from:
ICANN are planning to reopen the TLD Application System (TAS) on 22 May the organisation announced.If all goes as planned, the TAS will reopen at 19:00 GMT/UTC and be open for a further eight days to allow users to review their applications for new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) and complete any remaining activities.And if there are no glitches, such as the one that forced ICANN to take the TAS offline on 12 April, the application system will remain open until 23:59 GMT/UTC on 30 May 2012.
Purpose (Brief): ICANN is posting a proposed revision to the process that allows existing registry operators to request removal of cross-ownership restrictions for the gTLDs that they operate. The revision will allow existing gTLD registries to own or control registrars that sell domain names in their own, existing registry. (More detail is provided below.)
Commencing a public comment period on the proposed revised process at this time is intended to solicit community input for Board consideration of the revised process.
Public Comment Box Link: www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/revised-cross-ownership-restrictions-16may12-en.htm
This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
Half of all new gTLDs, at least the ones that are open to registrations from the public, will fail, said the CEO of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), Byron Holland, in an interview with the Canadian IT Business. In addition, Holland believes that the introduction of the new gTLDs will create competition for ccTLDs such as .CA.”It’s going to dramatically impact the Canadian domain space one way or the other,” Holland told IT Business. “We assume if you add 500 or 1,000 new TLDs to the Internet landscape, we will definitely be up against a more competitive environment.”ICANN’s governance model to allow private stakeholders to control the new domains is the right approach, Holland said. Some critics would have preferred a treaty-based system run by national governments, possibly organised by the United Nations. But less government regulation and a more free market approach should lead to more rapid expansion of the internet, Holland went on to tell IT Business. Even if that does mean that for the first time in the Internet’s history, consumers will see TLDs fail.”Just like any other private business starting up, all these new TLDs will have a 50 per cent chance of going out of business in two or three years,” Holland says. “That’s going to be somewhat disquieting to people.”The full IT Business report is available at www.itbusiness.ca/it/client/en/home/News.asp?id=67442.
One application for a new generic Top Level Domain will have security at the forefront. The proposal for a .SECURE gTLD will require “fully encrypted HTTPS sessions and a comprehensive vetting process for websites and their operators,” according to Dark Reading. The proposal has gained investments of $9 million.”Effortless security’ is our tagline,” Alex Stamos, CTO at Artemis, told Dark Reading. “Right now, when you go to .com, you have to look for five different visual clues to figure out what’s going on” security-wise, Stamos says. “If you type .secure, you’re telling the server or organization that you want to communicate with that you want to be safe and expect them to be as safe as possible. All of that security stuff is taken care of for you.”Stamos went on to say he expects financial institutions and other security-sensitive businesses to adopt the new domain for their pages that handle transactions, for example, or sensitive data. “We’re not trying to tell people to throw away your .com. You can create a namespace where you can do more secure things, so if you are a bank that runs hundreds of websites and have some website for users who do billion-dollar transactions,” that site could go to the .SECURE domain, he says.Explaining the rationale for the .SECURE proposal, Stamos said “We saw the Internet was in a period of malleability: DNSSEC is being deployed, IPv6 transition is [under way], and in the middle of all of that, this TLD [program] is happening. The Internet is now wet concrete again and we want to make a positive impact.”Potential registrants will be required to go through a “rigorous screening to verify their identity” reports Ars Technica. As well as meeting the abovementioned security requirements, those wanting to use .SECURE will need to provide “physical addresses, trademark registrations, articles of incorporation, and other legal documents” which would be reviewed by human beings. “Upon approval, applicants would receive two-factor authentication hardware to register online.”For now there is work underway including Artemis working “with other as-yet unnamed Internet companies under the auspices of the Domain Policy Working Group, which is creating a Domain Policy Framework specification that spells out how browsers and mail servers would implement .secure’s security functions, for instance. The final spec will be submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF),” Dark Reading noted.
Publishing house HUB Uitgevers has appointed SIDN, the registry for .NL, to provide back-end registry services for the new top-level domain (TLD) .AMSTERDAM.
Amsterdamâs municipal authority asked HUB Uitgevers to operate the Dutch capitalâs TLD after careful market research. The expectation is that the new TLD will come on line in 2013. Pre-registration is possible at puntamsterdam.nl and dotamsterdam.nl from 7 May.
âNaturally we are very pleased that Amsterdam and HUB have chosen SIDN to handle the technical realisation of .AMSTERDAM,â said Roelof Meijer, SIDNâs CEO. âWith nearly five million registered .NL domain names, we have vast experience with all aspects of domain name registration. We expect new TLDs such as .AMSTERDAM to change the internet landscape. Clearly, therefore, we want to be involved in this development.â