Have you seen the press release announcing that Afilias has acquired the .PRO registry from Hostway Corporation? We're excited to bring a new top-level domain into the Afilias family and help grow the use of it. I also think it shows that the top-level domain business is a unique one — and it's not one to be entered into lightly.
With the application window now open for a round of new TLDs, a lot of companies will be stepping up to run a TLD for the first time. No one is saying it's impossible to do that on your own. But, as many erstwhile registry operators find, running a domain can easily distract from core business, even a business that is seemingly aligned like Web hosting or domain retailing. Imagine what a distraction that would be for a major corporation or for a geographic region that might have excellent technology staff but not a core infrastructure designed to support a TLD.
It's for reasons like those that you should work with a registry services provider if you are pursuing a new TLD. While I'm proud to say that I believe Afilias is the best one out there, I can also say that we're not the only one. If you're an applicant (or considering applying) for a new TLD, you should keep in mind the level of experience your registry services partner has — both in length of time servicing domains and the number and kinds of domains serviced.
For example, the needs of a country-code TLD are different from those of a gTLD. Afilias supports both types, so we understand the difference. Has your partner had experience with gTLDs or only with ccTLDs? ICANN-contracted gTLDs operate under more stringent requirements than other TLDs, and they must provide monthly reports to ICANN on performance. ccTLDs operate independently from ICANN and do not have the same requirements as gTLDs.
Has your partner supported any new TLD launches? New TLD launches are much more challenging than day-to-day operations. Examine their experience with new TLDs before making your selection.
Or does your partner have experience with DNSSEC? All gTLD domains that are delegated in this round must be DNSSEC signed. A partner with proven DNSSEC experience will make it much easier for you to bring your domain to market.
Remember that the window to apply for a new TLD is limited, and closes on April 12, 2012. If you're seriously in the market for your new TLD, you will need to act now. But don't forget to find the right registry services partner; that will be a major key to your success.
Written by Roland LaPlante, Senior Vice President and CMO at Afilias
Afilias is the world's second largest domain registry, with more than 20 million names under management. Afilias powers a greater variety of top-level domains than any other provider, and will soon support hundreds of new TLDs now preparing for launch. Afilias' specialized technology makes Internet addresses more accessible and useful through a wide range of applications, including Internet domain registry services, Managed DNS and mobile Web services like goMobi® and DeviceAtlas®. Learn More
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