Tag Archives: new gTLDs

.LA Second Most Abused TLD, Enters Chart Top 20 With A Bullet In Q1: Spamhaus

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.

You can download the 2020 Q1 Botnet Threat Report as PDF.

.BRANDS Grow 20% In 2019: Neustar Report

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

gTLD Registrants Get Temporary Renewal Relief If Facing Hardship Resulting From COVID-19 Pandemic

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 3.7.5.1 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 Maintains Total Registrations Of Over 5,500

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.

Chris Disspain Looks At The Highlights of 2019 And What His Final Year On The ICANN Board Might Hold

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:

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).

What Happens To A Brand With A .BRAND When They Change Their Company Name Asks Afnic’s Loïc Damilaville

What happens when a Brand changes its company name, which has a .brand new gTLD, such as through a takeover, merger or just a name change? There’s currently no quick process in place to allow them to obtain a new gTLD to reflect the change. This is one of the many issues raised by Loïc Damilaville, Market Research Manager at Afnic who manages the French ccTLD as well as 17 new gTLDs, in today’s Q&A looking at the year just gone and the year ahead.

Damilaville delves into many issues facing the industry including growth, or lack of growth, rates for top-level domains, the financial issues forcing some gTLD operators to sell their gTLDS, the vulnerability of some TLDs to Chinese domainers, future rounds of new gTLD applications, challenges faced by smaller TLDs, particularly new gTLDs. Here he’s concerned about how to get registrars to carry them and without a presence on platforms, Damilaville is also concerned about how the industry is flourishing for many of the established players, but quite hostile to newcomers and real innovations.

There’s a lot more in Damilaville’s Q&A, so please read on!

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?

Loïc Damilaville: In terms of trends, 2019 has seen the continuing decline of Legacy TLDs, apart from .COM which is enjoying an enviable – even if surprising – growth rate. Surprising because with its nearly 150 million domains it still grows by 5% a year. Is this single TLD “aspirating” the market? What is driving this growth?

“Penny TLDs”, that is to say TLDs whose domain names are “given” or sold at a very low price, have increased their volumes, but we doubt that these millions of domain names are actually used. They shall be considered as highly volatile and not relevant to assess the good or bad health of the market.

The market remains vulnerable to the domaining effect: in 2019, lots of Chinese domainers have transferred their investments from new gTLDs to .TW and this one has literally exploded in a few months. At the present time, we see the reverse effect with a .TW affected by deletions and a .ICU boosted, quite at the same time, by new creations. It may mean that these domaining waves are done by a relatively small number of coordinated big investors.

This phenomenon affects the stability of the market. For instance one may consider that new gTLDs have boomed at the end of 2019 but this boom is almost 100% caused by the .ICU effect, with most of the other new gTLDs experiencing a decrease in their new registrations. A global improvement in volumes doesn’t mean that most of the players are doing well.

This situation drives some registries faced with financial difficulties to sell their TLDs to big players which are also fighting increasingly on the back-end registry market. What is interesting as regards to these back-end activities is that they are researched not only by registries of small TLDs unable to get some costly technologies and infrastructures by themselves, but also by registries of very big TLDs, maybe for the same reasons, with a difference of scale. This is the sign of a kind of professionalisation of the market, but also of a concentration process, with a handful of players on the worldwide level. On the local or regional level, lots of middle-sized players are managing some geoTLDs and/or .BRAND TLDs.

The concentration continues at the registry and registrar levels, some back-ends being both of them. This phenomenon requires (and is allowed by) the growing presence of investment funds in the capital of these players. Although made with dubious methods, the .ORG takeover by Ethos Capital is just one example of this structural evolution of the market.

The Second Round is a topic, but more an icy one than a hot one. We should wait for Winter to leave ;-).

Among the very hot topics of 2019 we have noticed security issues, fights against all kind of DNS abuses, the painful consequences of GDPR for the IP community, and the emergence of services combining data, monitoring and qualification of domain names in terms of notoriety, risks etc.

Referring to our “7As” model (*) we shall consider that 2019 has not seen great improvements in Awareness, Amplitude, Advantages, Access, Adoption, Activity nor Affect. The domain name market may be a little too self-oriented and that could explain some of the difficulties met by new TLDs to “meet their market”.

We have developed a key success factors for Internet extensions  evaluation grid which you can see here: htttps://www.afnic.fr/en/resources/blog/key-success-factors-for-internet-extensions-an-evaluation-grid-1.html

DP: What are you looking forward to in 2020?

LD: The main trends of the market should remain the same: decline in Legacy gTLDs, and maybe a 4 percent growth for .COM due to their forecast price increase.

ccTLDs will be affected by the .TW and .UK deletes, but apart from this phenomenon the growth should not be above 3-4%.

New gTLDs will still be split between high volumes generic TLDs and the others. Geos seem to be stronger than Communities and little Generics but the average volume remains low. Brands will continue to progress slowly but surely. They are the most promising segment of this market.

Security, monitoring and data issues will have more and more audience in relation with the DNS Abuse efforts. Tools designed to manage the GDPR limitations will enjoy a strong interest since the needs for identifying and tracking “abusers” have not vanished, those “abusers” feeling encouraged by the anonymity guaranteed by GDPR and the failure of ICANN to provide any reliable, quick and low-cost solution to rights owners.

DP: What challenges and opportunities do you see for the year ahead?

LD: The big challenge for domain names is to exist by themselves, that is to say, to be actually perceived by users as added-value components of their internet presence and not just something technical, necessary to be reached on the internet, whether it is a .COM, .FR or .ANYTHING.

Another big challenge is for the registrars to find their way into a more diversified domain name world. One of the main burdens for new gTLDs is to reach their potential customers, a task they can’t do if they are not referenced by the registrars which actually reach these customers. But registrars seem to lack enthusiasm to sell new gTLDs which are not at first sought by their customers, and a vicious circle is in force: big registrars proposes to their customers the TLDs they already know (and buy), and the new gTLDs are kept in the shadows and not bought as the customers don’t know them very well and do not trust them.

We may also mention the “Next Round” as a challenge for the ICANN Community, but – in relation with what precedes – also for the market players in general. In the current organisation of the market, more generic TLDs will create only more confusion without being able to reach their customers. The situation of .BRANDs and .GEOs are very different because in both cases the “market” already exists: big companies will become used to consider that having their own TLD is a “must have”. And GeoTLDs are appealing to the feelings of proximity and local pride of their “natural” customers.

This leads to another big challenge. Apart from the high-volume oriented ones, the new or future TLDs will be more and more focused on niches, whether they be geographical or sectorial. This means that we will see a lot of TLDs with very low volumes compared to those we are used to see. In order to allow them to be financially viable, there MUST be a deep thought about the global financial organisation of the market.

At the ICANN level, the $25,000 flat fee is a burden that strangles many little TLDs and obliges them to sell their domain names at uncompetitive prices compared to .COM and big ccTLDs.

At the back-end level, things are more difficult to analyse but we should see in the future the emergence of some low-cost solutions targeting little TLDs and some value-added solutions targeting big TLDs or TLDs wanting to propose very specific services to their registrants. The homogeneous market as we know it nowadays is probably condemned but the transition to new models will take a long time. The growing influence of financial people in the management of TLDs should be an opportunity by providing some new means, but it can also be a threat because innovations may imperil the forecasted Return on Investment rates. When you buy a cash cow, you do not want it to become a risky bet.

DP: What progress do you see on a new round of applications for new gTLDs in 2020?

LD: There will be progress but it would be hazardous to say that everything should be settled at the end of the year. One main question – that is not addressed by the focus on process – is to ask what kind of «new round» we really want, and basically if we want a «round» or a continuous process.

It seems very logical and strategically important to allow the .BRANDs to benefit from a special, expedited and permanent process as soon as the candidates are eligible to certain rules avoiding «optimization» by some «smart» guys. There are lots of reasons in favour of this special process: these TLDs are for internal use only, and since the big companies are often changing their names, creating some new trademarks, etc., they should be able to change their .BRANDs when they need to do so. For the time being, having a .BRAND is a strategic strength if you intend to keep the same name for the next decades, but it can also become a trap if you are obliged to change your company’s name because of a merger or any other event.

The Geo-TLDs should also be allowed fast procedures if they are requested by legitimate authorities.

The fact that ICANN is only able to provide a «round» every ten years is not a proof of its efficiency. That said, we are aware that it depends strongly on its own Community and should not be considered the only responsible of these delays.

DP: What one thing would you like to see addressed or changed in the domain name industry?

LD: Lots of the points we could address have already been talked about. The main issue is that some problems or deficiencies, or even some threats to some players, are benefitting others, and reciprocally. The situation of the domain name industry results mostly from compromises built through power relations between its members and their «external» partners such as governments, right owners, customers etc.

These compromises are not fully optimal and many of them are so weak that they are constantly challenged by the dissatisfied parties. One may remark that it is the story of life: but the parties involved should make an effort to reach a long-term win-win deal more than seeking for deals which only protect their own interests in the short term.

The global situation for this market – still flourishing for the established players, but quite hostile to newcomers and real innovations – would be improved by a new approach of the challenges it faces. It is still waiting for its «New Deal» and will probably still wait for a long time, not for the better.

Previous Q&As in this series were with:

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).

Radix Sells Premium Domains Valued at $1.7m From July to December, a 22% Increase

Radix sold premium domain names in their new gTLDs to the value of $1.657 million in the second half of 2019, an increase of 22% on the previous 6 months sales of $1.36 million, according to Premium Domains Report for July to December 2019.

For the year, there was a total of $3 million in premium sales, which not unexpectedly was their best year ever with .online, .tech and .store being the highest-grossing of their new gTLDs for premium sales.

There were also over 220 domain names sold with a value of at least $1,000, including 10 over $10,000, with clean.tech the highest one-time sale in this period, selling for $30,000 through Sedo. 82% of the premium domains registered in or before 2018 were renewed.

The biggest grossing of Radix’s new gTLDs for premium sales was .tech with 208 premium sales valued at $208,746 followed by .online (198 sales valued at $167,155) and .store (146 sales valued at $104,875). These were the only 3 gTLDs that had more than 100 sales. But of the top 9, the new generic top-level domain with the highest mean value sale was .fun with 43 sales valued at $51,013 for an average of $1,186 each.

For renewals of premium domain names, Radix had revenue of $903,687 for 807 domains with .online providing over a third of that with $328,132 followed by .tech ($151,538) and .store ($149,175), the only 3 gTLDs with renewal revenue in the 6 figure mark.

Use of .BRANDS and Efforts To Thwart Domain Name Abuse Industry Highlights For DOTZON’s Katrin Ohlmer

Criminal activities continue to be an issue and challenge for the domain name industry, and it’s one of the main issues addressed in today’s Q&A with Katrin Ohlmer, CEO and founder of DOTZON GmbH. Ohlmer cites it as a highlight and lowlight – a highlight because the industry is attempting to tackle domain name abuse and a lowlight with phishing, malware, botnets and pharming being threats to consumers putting the whole industry in a bad light and seemingly not interested in fixing the issue. Ohlmer also sees the growth in usage of .brand new gTLDs as another highlight while she says the whole domain industry could improve in terms of customer experience and customer-centric marketing and communications.

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?

Katrin Ohlmer:

Highlights

A new awareness has been reached within the industry that many registries and registrars are responsible and taking actions against abuse, including the “Framework to Mitigate Abuse”. We started to communicate our efforts better to the community and will continue these efforts in 2020.

We noticed a growing use of domain names of .brands including the likes of .audi, .dvag and .mma – all with well beyond 1,000 registered domain names. We spotted quite a number of .brand domains “in the wild” – in print advertising, on vehicles and social media ads.

Lowlights

The ever-present existence of phishing, malware, botnets and pharming threats to consumers puts the whole industry in a bad light seemingly not interested in fixing this issue. The industry has to improve its communication activities within the community and to all stakeholders in 2020.

In 2020, we would like ICANN to focus again on their mission “to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems”.

Challenges

GDPR brought to our industry new challenges and burdens. GDPR and its consequences are an asset for our industry that personal data are not published anymore. Even though this negatively affects the interests of the trademark industry.

DP: What are you looking forward to in 2020?

KO: I’m really looking forward to welcoming the ICANN community to Hamburg in Autumn and showcasing the broad use of .hamburg domain names in the city. With and ICANN meeting taking place only for the second time ever, it will be a great opportunity for the local and national Internet community to meet the ICANN community.

DP: What challenges and opportunities do you see for the year ahead?

KO: As the next round of new TLDs is still ahead of us, .brands including some of our customers have the opportunity to showcase the many usage scenarios which they have already implemented and will be implemented in 2020.

The whole industry has to increase their communication efforts about DNS Abuse to demonstrate that they take abuse seriously. Further debates are likely whether registries and registrars will mitigate abuse beyond DNS like counterfeiting, but hopefully ICANN will stay within its remits.

Further consolidation will happen between registries, registrars and vertically integrated groups. We might also see further investments from equity investment companies within the industry.

Tech trends like Artificial Intelligence, Bitcoin, Internet of Things will improve our industry – whether process-wise, with new products or communication channels.

The topic how ICANN will consider in its actions the Public Interest – not only at the Board level, but also within the wider community – will be a challenge. A first step has been made with the proposal drafted by the Board, and further activities will likely happen in 2020.

DP: How have new gTLDs fared in 2019?

KO: We observed that the diversity of TLDs being actively used across the globe is slowly but constantly increasing. Therefore we expect a steady uptake over the next few years and establishing the new gTLDs as a valid alternative to former TLDs.

A number of the new gTLDs are doing very well – they are chosen by users because they have a meaning like .realestate, .consulting and .rich, some provide local and regional identity to users like .berlin, .bzh and .nyc, and some represent the brand online like .audi, .google and .edeka. The more generic TLDs are, the less differentiation and meaning they have making it harder to develop a long-term value proposition beyond the price.

DP: What progress do you see on a new round of applications for new gTLDs in 2020?

KO: We are currently finalising the last open issues within the Subsequent Procedures PDP Working Group. I expect that the substantive progress of our ongoing work will continue in 2020, leading to a final report being sent to the GNSO Council and later to the ICANN Board for approval.

DP: What one thing would you like to see addressed or changed in the domain name industry?

KO: I tend to repeat myself: I still think the whole domain industry could improve in terms of customer experience and customer-centric marketing and communications including lower barriers to set-up a website, easing the whole domain registration process, and setting up an email account.

For decades, customers were attracted by prices. This led to many registrations with no or very limited usage. Now it’s time to encourage existing customers to use the product they bought and improve processes for new customers making it easier to bring their website with their new domain online.

Previous Q&As in this series were with:

Amazon Gets Christmas Present From ICANN Winning .AMAZON

After a battle for the control of the .amazon new gTLD that’s been going on for 7 years, ICANN announced Friday [pdf] in a letter to the Secretary General Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization Brasilia they were to sign an agreement with the ecommerce giant Amazon for delegation of .amazon.

It’s been a hotly contested battle with Amazon Corporation making a number of concessions to the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) member states – Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela – in an attempt to come to a solution that could benefit both parties. Although it seems it didn’t placate the ACTO states who felt strongly they had more rights to .amazon than the ecommerce giant.

In a letter dated 17 December, but published on the ICANN website on the 20th, to Ambassador María Alexandra Moreira Lopez, Secretary General ACTO Brasilia, ICANN’s President and CEO Göran Marby says ICANN “will shortly sign the agreements related to the delegation of .amazon top level domains as part of the next steps toward delegation of these top level domains.”

Marby notes that “Amazon Corporation has provided Public Interest Commitments that will ensure that ACTO’s countries concerns are taken into account in the context of the .amazon delegations and ICANN’s compliance processes will be responsible for the enforcement of these Public Interest Commitments in the coming years.”

For a more detailed coverage of the announcement, see the Domain Incite article on the announcement here.

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

AFNIC logo

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