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Domain Names / Recently Commented

How Big Is the Domain Business?

When you're standing close to ICANN, the domain business may seem pretty big, but when you stand farther away, not so much. Verisign's revenues are about $1 billion/year. The .COM and .NET top-level domains together have about 150M names. The next biggest gTLDS are .ORG with 25M and .INFO with 12M. The biggest new TLDs are TOP with 2.9M and .XYZ with 1.8M, with both bloated by firesale prices. The rest are smaller, mostly much smaller. more

Making Sense of the Domain Name Market - and Its Future

With ever more TLDs, where does it make sense to focus resources? After four years and a quadrupling of internet extensions, what metrics continue to make sense in the domain name industry? Which should we discard? And how do you gain understanding of this expanded market? For registries, future success is dependent on grasping the changes that have already come. For registrars, it is increasingly important to identify winners and allocate resources accordingly. The question is: how? more

Should Domain Names be Considered 'Contracts for Service' or 'Property Rights'?

The legal status of domain names is one of the most hotly debated topics with regards to evolving property rights and how they should be applied to technological and intellectual property 'innovations' in cyberspace. At present, there are two opposing factions on this topic: On one hand, there are those who maintain that domain names should be considered as contracts for services, which originate from the contractual agreement between the registrant and the registrar. more

It's About Whois Display And Access

The need for an access model for non-public Whois data has been apparent since GDPR became a major issue before the community well over a year ago. Now is the time to address it seriously, and not with half measures. We urgently need a temporary model for access to non-public Whois data for legitimate uses, while the community undertakes longer-term policy development efforts. more

Google Engineer Ben McIlwain on Why HSTS Could Be a Perfect Fit for .Brands Security

The Google-run .app TLD was always destined to draw attention and scrutiny, from the moment it fetched a then-record ICANN auction price of $25 million. Since it reached General Availability in May it has gained more than 250,000 registrations making it one of the world's most successful TLDs. However perhaps more interesting was Google's choice to add the .app TLD and its widely used .google extension to the HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) Top-Level Domain preload list, offering an unprecedented level of security for all domains under .google and .app. more

ICANN vs EPAG: ICANN Seeks Appeal Plus Pushes for ECJ Referral

As I predicted ICANN is pursuing its case against EPAG. They're now not only appealing the case to a higher court in Germany but are also trying to get the entire thing referred to the European Court of Justice. In an announcement late last night ICANN made it very clear what their intentions are. While they're pursuing the appeal in the higher court in the German region, which makes sense at some level, it's also very clear that they're not taking "no" for an answer. more

Leveraging Traffic Statistics to Manage Corporate Domain Portfolios

Corporate domain name portfolios often consist of domain names that do not resolve to relevant content. In fact, it's not uncommon for less than half of corporate domains to point to live content. Sure there are domains such as those that point to "sucks" sites or those registered anonymously for future use that purposely do not resolve, but those are the exception to the rule. more

WHOIS Users Facing Serious Challenges Caused by Post-GDPR Fragmentation

On May 25, 2018, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect, meaning that European data protection authorities (DPAs) can begin enforcing the regulation against non-compliant parties. In preparation, the ICANN Board passed a Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data - essentially a temporary policy amendment to its registrar and registry contracts to facilitate GDPR compliance while also preserving certain aspects of the WHOIS system of domain name registration data. more

What Happens If Two Applications for a New gTLD Are a City and a Family Name?

When applying for a new gTLD, what happens if two applications for the same extension are a city and a family name? Which one wins? Let's imagine that a person whose family name is "Marseille" applied for the .MARSEILLE new gTLD in the next round of the ICANN new gTLD program. What if there was a .MARSEILLE new gTLD too but as the name of the French city? more

ICANN vs Epag/Tucows: German Court Rules Against ICANN

German courts seem to be pretty fast, so instead of having to wait weeks or months to see how they'd rule, we've already got the answer. The German court in Bonn has ruled that EPAG (Tucows) is not obliged to collect extra contacts beyond the domain name registrant. The decision, naturally, is in German, but there is a translation into English that we can use to understand how the court arrived at this decision. more

ICANN vs EPAG/Tucows: Tucows Releases Statement on What They're Doing and Why

As I noted over the weekend, ICANN has instigated legal action against EPAG, an ICANN accredited registrar based in Germany that is part of the Tucows group. ICANN claims that the case is to "preserve WHOIS data", but Tucows asserts in their statement that the ICANN approach is flawed. It's not a frivolous statement, but one they've backed with fairly detailed rationale - and this is just their public statement and not a formal legal filing. more

ICANN Files Legal Action Against Domain Registrar for Refusal to Collect WHOIS Data

Germany-based ICANN-accredited registrar EPAG owned by Tucows has informed ICANN that it plans to stop collecting Whois contact information from its customers as it violates the GDPR rules. more

Domain Name Registrars Ask ICANN for a "Moratorium" on Its New GDPR Policy

"Domain name sellers rub ICANN's face in sticky mess of Europe's GDPR," Kieren McCarthy reporting in The Register. more

ICANN Releases Temporary WHOIS Specification Plan for GDPR Compliance With Deadline Two Weeks Away

ICANN has released temporary specifications for gTLD registration data in order to establish temporary requirements needed for the organization and gTLD registry operators to continue to comply with existing ICANN contractual requirements and community-developed policies. more

The Fight Is on to Save Access to WHOIS: A Call to Action for Brand Owners

Late last week, ICANN published the guidance from the Article 29 Working Party (WP29) that we have been waiting for. Predictably, WP29 took a privacy maximalist approach to the question of how Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to WHOIS, a tool widely used by cybersecurity professionals, businesses, intellectual property owners, consumer protection agencies and others to facilitate a safer and more secure internet.  more

Industry Updates

Radix Releases Its Bi-Annual Premium Domain Report Covering First Half of 2018

Verisign Launches קום., a New, Generic Top-level Domain for Hebrew Speakers*

New .LLC Domain Landrush Period Begins July 9, General Availability Begins July 23rd

.au Completes Historic Transition to Afilias, 3.1M Domain Names Transferred to New Infrastructure

Verisign Q1 2018 Domain Name Industry Brief: Internet Grows to 333.8 Million Domains in Q1 of 2018

Top 10 Trending Keywords in .com and .net Registrations in May

Top 10 Trending Keywords in .COM and .NET Registrations in April

eco/i2Coalition Update Webinar on ICANN Contracted Party GDPR Compliance

dotPR Addresses Remain Operational Despite Puerto Rico Island Wide Power Outage

Afilias to Support ICANN Community Response to the EU's GDPR

Radix's Premium Domains for 2017 Renew at 71%

ICA Statement on ADO.com UDRP Decision: Overreaching Panelists and Interference With Domain Market

Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief: Internet Grows to 332.4 Million Domain Registrations in Q4 2017

Startups on Radix Domains Rake in $436M in VC Funding

Paving the Path to the Brandsight Beta: Development and Release of Our Domain Management Product