Tag Archives: .uk

Registries Aren’t Content Police, But Keeping Trust Is Reputationally Important: Domain Pulse

Registries universally said they’re not content police in a discussion on domain name take down processes involving legal counsels from the operators of 6 European registries, both generic and country code TLDs. However processes vary among the registries.

The discussion involved representatives from dotSaarland, DENIC (.de), SWITCH (.ch), SIDN (.nl), DNS Belgium (.be) and Nominet (.uk) at the Domain Pulse conference in Munich Friday, the annual event that rotates between Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

One registry that does make decisions on takedowns, or suspensions as they’re often called, and the content on the sites using the domain names, is SWITCH. Anna Kuhn explained how SWITCH was rather unusual in that they were both a registry and operated a national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), which gave them some additional expertise. However SWITCH still doesn’t make decisions on content, only on domain names involved in the hosting malware and phishing Combatting cybercrime, Kuhn explained, is one of the roles of the registry operator.

Volker Greimann from dotSaarland, the only new gTLD operator in the panel discussion, said .saarland is in a different position to the country code top level domain (ccTLD) registries as they have a direct contract with ICANN. Additionally, the Saarland regional government said they don’t want their new generic top level domain (new gTLD) to be a haven for crime. The gTLD for the German state has an anti-abuse rule in their terms and conditions that requires domain names to not ruin the reputation of the Saar region.

Horst explained the German registry's position of the German registry in this respect: “DENIC is not the right point of contact to which to turn when it comes to content. If DENIC were to evaluate content and delete, at its own discretion, domains through which websites with questionable content can be accessed, this would be equivalent to censorship. In a democracy based on the separation of powers, no one can seriously support law enforcement by the private sector. This philosophy of DENIC's is, by the way, also reflected by the unanimous opinion of the German courts.”

The courts, Horst explained, have always sided with DENIC’s view that they also aren’t in a position to judge on what is illegal content and that complaints should always go to the registrant if they can be contacted.

SIDN’s Maarten Simon said SIDN will never just take down a domain name and that contacting the registry should be a last resort. However Simon also noted .nl domain names are much more trusted by Dutch people than any other TLD. And that this trust is both in SIDN’s interest to protect so that internet users continue to want to visit sites using the Dutch ccTLD and businesses want to register .nl domain names. Building trust benefits SIDN’s bottom line as more .nl domain names are registered. For complaints regarding .nl domain names, there is an independent appeals board with a number of judges and professors with the expertise to deal with complaints.

Peter Vergote from DNS Belgium also noted how .be has nothing to do with judging content hosted using a .be domain name, so to get a domain name suspended a complaint has to give necessary evidence such as a court order to have a domain name taken down.

Vergote echoed Simon’s views on .nl in that DNS Belgium deeply cares about the quality of the .be zone and it’s their sincere duty to do what they can without taking unnecessary risks. While they are more active than in the past on dealing with complaints, they will never evaluate content on a website. This position has been backed by a court order from a Belgian court that states deciding illegal content is up to the courts and can’t be done by DNS Belgium. When it comes to phishing though, DNS Belgium treats this differently and will take action without a court order if they are advised from a competent body that a domain name is used for phishing.

But DNS Belgium will never take it upon themselves to suspend a domain name that’s suspected of being used for phishing because that’s a content evaluation. Additionally Vergote said a phisher is unlikely to put their correct identity in Whois. DNS Belgium suspends around a dozen domain names per month with complaints largely driven by government agencies and rarely from private individuals or organisations.

So what about the domain names that are required to be taken down, or suspended? For SIDN, Simon explained the procedure starts with a form to be completed on the SIDN website where the complainant explains why the domain name should be taken and what they’ve done to date to complain. If the complaint is clear cut SIDN will go to the registrar and get the domain name taken down. SIDN receives about 20 requests per year and take down one, maybe 2, each year out of the 5.8 million .nl registrations.

Nominet’s Wenban-Smith commented on the futility of removing or suspending a domain name because even if they do, the content still exists. Nominet doesn’t allow child abuse or content that promotes criminal activity on .uk domain names. But Nominet doesn’t make decisions on what is illegal content but does cooperate with those who can such as law enforcement. For those wishing to make complaints, Nominet doesn’t take requests from those outside the UK. In 2017 Wenban-Smith said Nominet suspended 16,000 .uk domain names in 2017.

Global Domain Registrations Climb Up, But .NET and New gTLDs Slide Down: Verisign

Global domain name registrations continue to rise, with approximately 332.4 million registrations at the end of 2017 across all top level domains, according to the latest Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief out today. The increase for the fourth quarter was approximately 1.7 million domain names, or 0.5%, from the third quarter and 3.1 million, or 0.9%, year over year.

Within this slight increase there are notable declines – that of .net which declined to 14.5 million at the end of December from 15.0 million at the end of the third quarter and 15.3 million at the end of 2016. Five years ago at the end of 2012 there were 14.9 million .net registrations.

There was also a decline in the total number of new generic top level domains (new gTLDs) registrations. Among the new gTLDs there were approximately 20.6 million registrations, or 6.2% of total registrations across all TLDs. This was a decrease of approximately 0.5 million registrations, or 2.4% for the quarter, and approximately 5.0 million registrations (19.5%) year over year. The top 10 ngTLDs represented 48.9% of all new gTLD registrations.

But of course there were increases. The big behemoth, .com, saw registrations rise to 131.9 million at the end of 2017 compared to 130.8 million 3 months earlier, 126.9 million 12 months ago and 106.2 million at the end of 2012.

Total country code top level domain (ccTLD) registrations were approximately 146.1 million, a 1.0% increase over the third quarter of 2017, and a 2.4% increase year over year. Registrations at the end of the third quarter of 2017 were 144.7 million, 142.7 million 12 months ago and 110.2 million 5 years ago when the 12 month growth rate for ccTLDs was 21.6% in 12 months.

Without including .tk, ccTLD registrations increased approximately 0.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, a 0.5% increase compared to the third quarter of 2017 and ccTLDs increased by approximately 2.3 million registrations, or 1.8%, year over year.

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), .fr (France) and .au (Australia). As of the end of 2017, there were 302 global ccTLD extensions delegated in the root, including Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs), with the top 10 ccTLDs composing 65.5 percent of all ccTLD domain name registrations.

New .com and .net domain name registrations totalled 9.0 million during the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to 8.8 million for the fourth quarter in 2016 and 8.0 million 5 years earlier in 2012.

Nominet Shows What One Day of .UK Looks Like

Ever wondered what a day in the life of the internet looks like? Nominet has sought to answer that, looking at the .uk’s virtual visitors across just one day, the 5 April 2017, using powerful analytics tools they have built in-house to monitor the UK registry.

To get closer to actual visitors, as opposed to machine-to-machine traffic, Nominet filtered the data using Alexa Top Sites as it’s a list compiled based on visits from web browsers and so will tend to favour humanly-driven traffic over infrastructure lookups. The traffic seen in their animation is created from authoritative DNS queries to .UK domains over 24 hours. The source of the queries is the location of the IP address that the query came to us from – this is likely to be the ISP provided resolver rather than the actual client. In reality, the destination of the query is one of Nominet’s servers which are distributed worldwide, however to simplify the visualisation they have made the destination the location of the domain owner.

Across the day, you can see visits from right across the globe, from Buenos Aires to Tokyo, with the largest number coming from the US, followed by Germany and France. All in all, our infrastructure handled 2.2 billion DNS queries over the course of that day, hitting 37k queries per second at its lunchtime (GMT) peak.

The analytical tools the .uk country code top level domain (ccTLD) manager has developed can do far more than just create cool videos. They are used to constantly evolve and refine our processes and systems to best serve users of the .UK domain. Using this phenomenal power to analyse the DNS, one of the fundamental protocols of the internet, is the bedrock of the cyber security services Nominet says they provide to clients, helping them to monitor their networks for suspicious activity, and identify specific threats and trends.

.UK Domains Suspended for Criminal Activity Doubles to 16,632 in 12 Months

The number of .uk domain names suspended due to being used for criminal activity has doubled, again, in the year to 31 October according Nominet.

Nominet suspended the 16,632 domain names for the United Kingdom’s country code top level domain (ccTLD) following notification from the police or other law enforcement agencies that the domain is being used for criminal activity. The suspensions represented around 0.14% of the more than 12 million .UK domains currently registered.

“A key part of our role in running the .UK internet infrastructure is to ensure that .UK is a difficult space for criminals to operate in,” said Russell Haworth, Nominet’s CEO. “The upward trend in suspended domains confirms that increasingly criminals seek opportunities online, but also shows how our cooperation with the law enforcement community and our expertise in network analytics helps tackle this problem thanks to the established processes and cyber security tools we have in place.”

The number of suspensions is an increase on the 8,049 suspensions over the preceding 12 month period. Nominet is now collaborating with ten organisations and received requests from seven of these reporting agencies including, for the first time, requests from DEFRA – Veterinary Medicines Directorate. The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) which processes and co-ordinates requests relating to IP infringements from nationwide sources is the main reporting agency with over 13,500 requests (almost double year on year), followed by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Trading Standards.

The number of requests that didn’t result in a suspension was 32 – half the number for the previous year. Reasons for domains not resulting in suspension include the domain name already being suspended by the Registrar or being transferred to the IP rights holder as a result of a court order in the meantime.

The number of suspensions that were reversed was 15. A suspension is reversed if the offending behaviour has stopped and the enforcing agency has since confirmed that the suspension can be lifted.

The report also provides an update on domains suspended and blocked under Nominet’s offensive names policy, introduced in May 2014. Almost 3,500 domains were flagged for potential breach of the offensive names policy for the period, and two suspensions were made.

An infographic detailing more of the suspensions is available here [pdf] with full details of the report.

E-Shops Selling Counterfeit Goods Often Use Re-Registered Brand Domains, European Study Finds

Companies letting their domain names expire are often finding e-shops are re-registering their domain names and using them to market trademark infringing, or counterfeit, goods. But there’s no correlation between the use of the domain name prior to the e-shop and what the e-shop sells.

The study by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) [pdf], through the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, was on online business models used to infringe intellectual property rights. The study found when domain names were available for re-registration the entities operating the e-shops would systematically re-register the domain names and shortly after set up e-shops marketing goods suspected of infringing upon the trademarks of others. It was a characteristic that the prior use of the domain names was completely unrelated to the goods being marketed on the suspected e-shops. There were examples of domain names previously used by politicians, foreign embassies, commercial businesses and many other domain name registrants.

The study was conducted in 2 phases. Phase one looked at .dk (Denmark) from October 2014 to October 2015. During this period 566 .dk domains were re-registered by suspected infringers of trademarks immediately after the domain names had been given up by their previous registrants and became available for re-registration. Phase 2 looked at Sweden, which as a Scandinavian country would be assumed comparable with Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom, which have very well-developed and large e-commerce sectors, and a country with a large e-commerce sector in southern Europe, Spain.

Phase 2 found the same phenomenon previously documented in Denmark also occurs in the Swedish, German, British and Spanish ccTLDs.

According to the study, the “total number of detected e-shops suspected of infringing the trade marks of others using a domain name under the ccTLD” ranged from 2.9% in .de (Germany) to 9.5% in .se (Sweden) while the “total number of detected e-shops suspected of infringing the trade marks of others using a domain name under the ccTLD where the domain name had been previously used by another registrant” ranged from 71.1 % of suspected e-shops in .uk (United Kingdom) to 81.0% in .es (Spain). The average was 5.41% across all ccTLDs in the study and 75.35% respectively.

Based on the research, the researchers believe it must be considered likely that the same also occurs in other European countries with well-developed e-commerce sectors.

An analysis of the 27,970 e-shops in the study identified a number of patterns including shoes were the product category most affected, accounting for two-thirds (67.5%) of the suspected e-shops and then clothes, accounting for 20.6%, while 94.6% of the detected suspected e-shops used the same specific e-commerce software.

Additionally, 40.78 % of the detected suspected e-shops in Sweden and the United Kingdom were registered through the same registrar, 21.3 % of all the e-shops used the same name server and a quarter (25.9%) of the suspected e-shops had the hosting provider located in Turkey, 19.3 % in the Netherlands and 18.3 % in the United States.

Even if the domain name was previously used for the marketing of goods, the study found the current e-shops were marketing a different type of product at the time of analysis. The study examined 40 case studies that indicated the sole reason for re-registration of the domain names is to benefit from the popularity of the website that was previously identified by the domain name. The benefits would include search engine indexing, published reviews of services and/or products and links from other websites that have not yet taken the current use into consideration. The case studies used also indicate a high degree of affiliation between the e-shops is likely. The research seems to indicate that what on the surface seems like thousands of unrelated e-shops are likely to be one or a few businesses marketing trade mark infringing goods to European consumers.

The 140 page study is available for download from:

Global Domain Name Growth Continues at a Crawl in Second Quarter

It was only a few years ago that the growth in the number of domain names registered around the world was in the 5 to 10% range every year, sometimes even higher. Today however that growth has slowed to a crawl as many markets around the world reach maturity, even saturation.

In the 12 months to the end of June domain name registrations grew by 6.7 million, or 2.1%, year over year, to a total of 331.9 million domain names across all top level domains according to the latest Domain Name Industry Brief from Verisign. For the second quarter of 2017, registrations grew approximately 1.3 million equating to a growth rate of 0.4% over the first quarter.

The .com and .net top level domains had a combined total of approximately 144.3 million domain name registrations as of the end of June. This represents a 0.8% increase year-on-year. There were 129.2 million .com registrations and 15.1 million .net registrations.

New .com and .net domain name registrations totalled 9.2 million during the second quarter of 2017. In the second quarter of 2016, new .com and .net domain name registrations totalled 8.6 million.

Compared to previous years, the global year-on-year growth across all TLDs for the 12 months to 30 June in 2009 was 9%, to 30 June 2012 it was 11.9%, 5.9% to 30 June 2015 and 12.9% to 30 June 2016.

The top 10 TLDs as of the end of June for selected years with total registrations where published in Verisign’s DNIB were:


  June 2017 June 2016 June 2015 June 2012 June 2009
1. .com – 129.2million .com – 127.5m .com – 118.5m .com – 103.7m .com
2. .cn (China) – 21.4m .tk .tk .de .cn
3. .tk (Tokelau) – 19.1m .cn .de .net – 14.8m .de
4. .de (Germany) – 16.2m .de .net – 15m .tk .net
5. .net – 15.1m .net – 15.8m .cn .uk .org
6. .uk (United Kingdom) – 10.7m .org .uk .org .uk
7. .org – 10.4m .uk .org .info .info
8. .ru (Russian Federation) – 6.4m .xyz .ru .nl .nl
9. .info – 5.9m .ru .nl .ru .eu (European Union)
10. .nl (Netherlands) – 5.7m .nl .info .cn .biz

Total ccTLD registrations were approximately 144.2 million in the second quarter of 2017, with an increase of 1.1 million, or a 0.8% increase compared to the first quarter of 2017. ccTLDs increased by approximately 3.7 million registrations, or 2.6%, year over year. Without including .tk who gives away its domain names for free, ccTLD domain name registrations increased approximately 603,000 in the second quarter of 2017, a 0.5% increase compared to the first quarter of 2017 and ccTLDs increased by approximately 3.8 million registrations, or 3.1%, year over year.

As of 30 June there were 302 global ccTLD extensions delegated in the root, including Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs), with the top 10 ccTLDs composing 64.8% of all ccTLD registrations.

Registrations among the new generic top level domains totalled 24.3 million, which represents 7.3% of total domain name registrations. The top 10 new gTLDs represented 61.5% of all new gTLD registrations.

To read this story with images, see:

auDA Ignores Their Stakeholders With Echoes of Nominet Debacle a Decade Ago

It’s looming as a battle that has echoes of a few others. There’s the current battle between the powers that be at Cricket Australia and the cricketers. And there was the battle between members and management at Nominet a decade ago. And now there’s another battle that’s been going for a few months now. auDA is defying its members, ignoring their constitution and trashing transparency and accountability. Nominet lost the battle, Cricket Australia is so far losing the battle and auDA is digging in hoping it doesn’t follow.

auDA logoComing up for auDA is a member vote to sack the Chair Stuart Benjamin. The result will be known Monday after a Special General Meeting called by members. But no matter what happens, there are plenty of members that will remember how the auDA management and some board members have ridden roughshod over them.

auDA has continued to defy its members. It ignores their wishes for accountability and transparency, deleting historical documents such as meeting minutes from their website, which were only reinstated after a successful Freedom of Information request by former board member. One would have to question what auDA is trying to hide? Is it that auDA historically has been accountable and transparent to its members and stakeholders and the new CEO, Chair and a few board members have something to hide, either now or in the future?

Questions are asked of auDA, especially by fellow auDA member Ned O’Meara who also writes the domainer.com.au blog. But all he gets is auDA trying to obfuscate, and even lie, about what’s going on. Things are so dire at auDA that in the last xx months, 12 of the 14 staff members have either left or been sacked with suspicions staff leaving have been paid to keep quiet.

These sort of things have happened before at a country code top level domain (ccTLD) registry. A decade ago it was Nominet, the .uk ccTLD registry.

For Nominet, the UK government became so aggrieved by the risk to the stability of the .uk registry, as Kieren McCarthy wrote back in 2010, it inserted a number of clauses in the Digital Economy Bill giving the government “a number of reserve powers to take over the dot-uk registry if it thinks the situation warrants it.” As with Nominet back in 2007, members were aggrieved, particularly as their concerns weren’t being listened to. At the time McCarthy wrote of how the registry put a number of changes forward to a vote of members, members of its advisory board revolted and Nominet relented putting “forward only the two changes that have proven most popular with its members” at “its second extraordinary general meeting in a year.” During the Nominet debacle, “several members of Nominet's Policy Advisory Board started raising concerns over some of the changes. One, Hazel Pegg, even set up a website to outline her concerns in which she urges Nominet members to vote 'no'.”

The Pegg website was not unlike the grumpy.com.au site for auDA member dissatisfaction outlining 4 resolutions members wanted put to a vote. However auDA took “legal advice” that said the first 3 were not valid, only the fourth, to oust Chair Stuart Benjamin was allowed to proceed. The 3 resolutions blocked related to putting historical minutes, agendas and annual reports back online, a review and vote on by members of a Code of Conduct that was imposed without consultation and whether auDA was able to operate a wholesale registry.

So the auDA debacle of 2017 has echoes of the Nominet debacle of 2007, and even Cricket Australia. Ignore your stakeholders at your peril.

Verisign Report Shows Significant Slowing of Domain Registration Growth

Once upon a time not that many years ago, the growth in domain name registrations each year was like growth in the Chinese economy – well over 10%. These days the growth rate overall is nothing to be sneezed. In the year to the end of March, registrations around the world grew by 3.7% (11.8 million) to 330.6 million across all top level domains (TLDs) according to the latest Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief. It was only in the preceding year, to the end of March 2016, that registrations had grown 11%.

OK, Verisign add a proviso when looking back on registrations for registrations to the end of March 2016 for the .tk (Tokelau) country code top level domain (ccTLD) with a significant re-estimation downwards of its zone file size. As a result total global domain name registrations were changed from 326.4 million to 318.8 million. However these 10%+ annual registration increases were standard for several years.

The change in of annual registration increases of below 5% though are likely to be standard for some years to come as the significant growth is coming from ccTLDs in developing countries and within new gTLDs, although even here due to some new gTLDs such as .xyz having hugely discounted promotions, renewal rates are very low and even declining. However in total new gTLD registrations have stabilised around the 27 million mark for the last 6 weeks according to nTLDstats.com. As of 31 March new gTLD registrations were near their peak of 29.1 million. They peak at 29.4 million in mid-April.

For the quarter, registrations grew only 0.4% (1.3 million) to 31 March, which indicated an even greater slowdown in registration growth.

The .com and .net TLDs had a combined total of approximately 143.6 million domain name registrations in the domain name base in the first quarter of 2017 – 128.4 million for .com and 15.2 million for .net. This represents a 0.8% increase year over year, almost entirely due to increase in .com.

Among ccTLDs, .cn (China) has regained the crown of the largest and now has 21.4 million registrations to be the second largest of all TLDs while .tk has 18.6 million with .de (Germany) next with 16.2 million. Following in the top ten TLDs is .net then .uk (United Kingdom – 10.6m), .org (10.4m), .ru (Russian Federation – 6.4m), .nl (Netherlands – 5.7m) and then the largest of the new gTLDs, .xyz (5.6m).

Growth in ccTLDs was only 0.3% for the quarter, or 408,242 registrations, and 1.7% (2.4 million) for the year. Without including .tk, ccTLD domain name registrations increased approximately 568,242 in the first quarter of 2017, a 0.5 percent increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2016 and ccTLDs increased by approximately 4.6 million domain name registrations, or 3.9 percent, year over year.

At the end of the first quarter there were 294 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 the new gTLDs registrations totalled 25.4 million as of 31 March, 7.7% of total domain name registrations. The top 10 new gTLDs represented 64.1% of all new gTLD domain name registrations.

Volume 14, Issue 2, of the Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief is available for download from:

An archive of recent reports is available from:

Nominet Sees 0.0074% of .UK Domains Disputed in 2016 as 3rd Level Registrations Drop, 2nd Level Rise

Nominet saw a small drop in complaints in 2016, with 25 fewer complaints for the 12-month period than in 2015. The 703 complaints related to 785 domain names, according to their 2016 annual summary of domain name disputes brought before its Dispute Resolution Service (DRS). The disputed .uk domain names in 2016 were 0.0074% of all domain names under management (DUM), or registrations.

In the same period total registrations dropped marginally by 44,882 from 10,637,764 at the end of 2015 to 10,592,882, or 0.4219%. Interestingly, and not unexpectedly, third level .uk registrations have been shrinking (from 10,140,436 to 9,972,226) while second level registrations have been growing (from 497,328 to 620,656) in the same 12-month period.

Of the complaints, over half resulted in a domain transfer, which was the same as the previous year (53%). 2016 also saw a 10% increase in the number of summary decisions made by DRS independent Experts, who support the DRS by giving their time and professional expertise to help resolve disputes when needed.

“While only a small proportion of domain names overall – 0.0074% of the .UK register – resulted in a dispute in 2016, the DRS continues to provide an efficient and cost effective way of resolving those that do arise,” said Russell Haworth, Nominet’s Chief Executive. “In fact, we should not underestimate the value of the service as £7million could have been saved on legal fees last year alone, thanks to the efficient process in place and the many volunteer Experts who generously offer their time and expertise.”

Brands such as Facebook Inc, O2 Worldwide, Jaguar Land Rover Limited, Virgin Enterprises Limited, JD Sports Fashion Plc and Anne Summers Ltd used the DRS in 2016.

Other users of the service included Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club, The National Council For Voluntary Organisations, the National Council For The Training Of Journalists, Wembley Primary School and PAGE, a campaign against gravel extraction in South Oxfordshire.

Nominet provided a number of statistics on the 2016 disputes:

  • In 2016 there were 5 appeals, with 4 original decisions being upheld. One appeal overturned a No Action decision to a Transfer decision.
  • The most common industries were automotive and Internet (14 each); retail (12); software and sports (7 and 6 respectively).
  • The year saw cases brought by complainants from 28 different countries, led by the UK (570) followed by the US (46), France (13) and Germany (10). Respondents were widely dispersed, coming from 35 different countries. Again, the UK leads with 570 respondents, with the US second (22) and St Kitts and Nevis third (16).
  • Mediated cases by Nominet took an average of 47 days to resolve in 2016, compared with 41 days in 2015, and 47 days in 2014. Cases being resolved by an Expert decision also took slightly longer to close than in 2015.
  • The majority of cases (91%) involved .co.uk domain names, with 4% of cases involving a .org.uk domain. The .uk domain names, launched in June 2014, made up 4% of cases in 2016, an increase on the 3.5% in 2015 and 1.6% from 2014.

“Almost 12,000 Complaints have been made to the DRS since 2001 with more than half of these resolved between the parties directly, through mediation, or an Expert. With millions of small businesses and individuals now in possession of a domain, it’s also important to bear in mind that the DRS recognises a wider class of rights than simply trademarks,” said Nick Wenban-Smith, General Counsel at Nominet. “So, if someone has the rights in a name which is the same as or similar to a .UK domain name they are concerned about and they can provide proof that the domain name has been registered or used in a manner that has or might cause unfair detriment, then the DRS is a good first port of call to address those concerns.”


.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.