Domain names entirely in Greek script are
now available from the .eu registry, EURid, with the launch this week of .ευ.
.ευ is the third top-level domain launched
by EURid with the original .eu and then the Cyrillic version of .eu, .ею,
in June 2016. Now there’s a Greek version too. And following changes to
eligibility last month, citizens of a European Union country anywhere in the world
can not only register .eu domain names but also .ευ.
“The .eu in Greek will enable end-users to enjoy the full
Internationalised Domain Names experience in Greek, as Greek domain names will
be registered under the Greek extension,” said Giovanni Seppia, EURid External
“We worked hard to have the .eu in Greek delegated with
ICANN/IANA and we are grateful to our industry peers who supported us
throughout a process that has lasted a decade. We are delighted to add the Greek
extension to the list of features for our registrars and registrants.”
All domain names registered under .ευ must be
in Greek script and EURid will fully enforce the basic rule that the
second-level script must match the top-level script. This means that any
current domain names registered in Greek under .eu (Latin string) will undergo
a three-year ‘script adjustment’ phase. All policies, procedures and features
currently available for .eu (such as transfers, bulk transfers, multiyear,
DNSSEC, registry lock, etc.) will also apply to .ευ.
Public Interest Registry and the Internet Society announced Wednesday that they had agreed for PIR, the .org registry, to be taken over by Ethos Capital, an investment firm, based in the United States.
.ORG was established in 2002 when the Internet Society won a
competitive bidding process for the .ORG registry and established PIR to manage
and operate the .ORG domain.
The takeover sees PIR excited for their future and allowing
the Internet Society to focus on their core activities with a long term financial
endowment and security.
Speaking to Domain Pulse, PIR’s CEO Jon Nevett said they’re
“excited for the future and the new opportunities the new ownership brings.”
Nevett went on to say they’ll be looking at other TLDs that have a similar
mission to PIR, without naming any, with a view to future takeovers and growth.
“We’ll be looking at other mission-based TLDs that are
consistent in their mission with .org and that are focussed on doing good on
the internet,” said Nevett.
Speaking to the issue of an increase in the registry fee
that has been discussed in the domain name community in recent months, Nevett
went on to say “the takeover is not a masterplan to increase the .org fee and
any future increases would be reasonable and fair.” It was a point reiterated
by a spokesperson for Ethos who said there would be no dramatic price
increases, not least because of competitive pressures in the market, namely, a
wide range of other choices of TLDs.
“For the most part, it’s just a change in ownership,” said
Nevett. “The same management team will exist.”
“Since the inception of Public Interest Registry, our
mission has been to enable the .ORG Community to use the Internet more
effectively and change the world for the better,” stated Jon Nevett, CEO of
Public Interest Registry in a joint announcement. “That will not change. We
have enjoyed a long and successful relationship with the Internet Society, and
are thrilled that we will be able to continue – and expand – our important work
with Ethos Capital while sustaining our commitment to the .ORG Community going
Vint Cerf, former Chairman of the Board of ICANN and
founding President of the Internet Society, said in a statement: “When the
Internet Society won the bid to operate the .ORG registry, it enabled a
productive and sustainable future for the organisation. Public Interest
Registry exercised its stewardship to the benefit of the registrants and the
Internet Society’s mission. I am looking forward to supporting Ethos Capital
and PIR in any way I can as they continue to expand the utility of the .ORG
top-level domain in creative and socially responsible ways.”
Going forward, PIR and Ethos Capital are planning to launch
several new initiatives aimed at promoting and supporting the .ORG Community,
Establishing a Stewardship Council that will serve to uphold PIR’s core founding values and provide support through a variety of community programs;
Launching a Community Enablement Fund to support the financing of current and additional initiatives undertaken by key Internet organisations; and
Expanding a program to award .ORG prizes to promote the success and positive impact of non-profit organisations.
“We are excited to support PIR’s mission and build upon the
incredible work it has done to promote success and positive impact for the .ORG
Community,” said Erik Brooks, Founder & CEO of Ethos Capital. “As part of
our commitment to setting the gold standard of registry operations, we will be
establishing a Stewardship Council that will serve to uphold PIR’s core
founding values and provide support through a variety of community programs.”
“Importantly, throughout the transition and beyond, we are
committed to ensuring complete continuity of PIR’s operations and enhancing the
relationships PIR has established over the years. We look forward to continuing
PIR’s longstanding partnerships and vendor affiliations to ensure domain
operations run smoothly and without interruption.”
Sources have told Domain Pulse the takeover was initiated by
Ethos, who along with other interested companies approached the Internet
Society and PIR and submitted proposals. But Ethos was judged to offer the best
deal and be the best steward for .org and the .org community going forward.
Registrations in .org have declined in recent years to 10.1
million at the end of the first quarter of 2019, down from 10.4 million from 2
years ago, according to Verisign’s Domain Name Industry Brief. But the decline
isn’t confined to .org, but rather an industry-wide trend, particularly among
the legacy generic top-level domains (gTLDs), with the exception of .com. PIR
also has 6 new gTLDs that have been delegated, 5 of which have entered general
availability with the 2 largest being .ong and .ngo, both currently with 3,201
domains according to nTLDstats, as well as .ОРГ (1,151) being the only other
with more than 1,000 registrations.
Ethos Capital describes themselves as a private investment
firm focusing on companies in which technology can be used to automate,
optimise and transform traditional business models into faster growing, more
efficient organisations. Their founder and CEO, Erik Brooks worked at Abry
Partners for 20 years before founding Ethos this year and worked on the deal
that saw Abry, another private equity firm, take over Donuts, which is where
it’s believed while working alongside former ICANN CEO and President Fadi
Chehadé he gained an interest in the domain name industry.
In an announcement from PIR, Ethos Capital commented they
are “committed to ensuring complete continuity of PIR’s operations, to
maintaining the strong community relationships PIR has established over the
years, and to continuing PIR’s longstanding partnerships and vendor
affiliations to ensure domain operations run smoothly, without disruption to
the .ORG Community or other generic top-level domains operated by the organisation.”
PIR is also likely to seek to change from a not-for-profit
to a for profit organisation with their announcement noting that PIR will
consider seeking B Corporation certification, a certification businesses can
acquire “that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental
performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit
It was supposed to be a new beginning. But on the day when a
new auDA Board, including a new Chair, was announced, it appears there are
still recriminations from those in the past with explosive allegations of what
could at worst amount to corruption by outgoing directors. Not only that, the
new CEO was second choice, with the first choice as Chair overruled due to what
can be best described as a personality conflict.
First, today. A new Board has been appointed. The new Chair,
Alan Cameron, was appointed after an executive search for the new Board.
However the first recommendation for Chair, a high profile female company
director, was overruled due to what Domain Pulse has been told can be best
described as a “personality conflict” with at least one person on the outgoing
Cameron has had a strong background having been appointed Chair
of NSW Law Reform Commission in 2015 and prior to that was head of the
Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) from 1993 to 2000.
According to what is believed to be his LinkedIn profile he has been an Executive
Director at Macquarie Group since 2007.
The new Board has stronger executive experience than
previous Boards, but only a few Directors on the 9-member Board appear to have
any background in the domain name industry. Also, auDA members were told there
would be 6 independent appointed directors, one of which would be the Chair,
and 4 elected directors. However in their announcement of the new Board today
there were only 3 elected directors, none of whom have a background in domain
investing which is sure to irk that community.
It also emerged today that a Freedom of Information (FOI)
request in the name of Christopher Byron Leptos has been lodged on the Right to
Know website, a website setup where the public can make requests for
information on the goings on in government departments and their agencies, of
which auDA, the .au policy and regulatory body, comes under through their
connection with the Department of Communications and the Arts. The request has
been timed 2 days out for the annual general meeting on 14 November, the last
of which the outgoing Directors will attend.
Leptos was the former auDA Chair who walked out of a Board meeting
in late July never to return with claims he was spurned in his request for more
information on the then auDA CEO Cameron Boardman’s allegedly falsified academic
qualifications. However it’s likely Leptos is not the person making the FOI requests
as several of the requests relate negatively to him, but rather a disgruntled present
or former Director, or even staffer, or both, with intimate knowledge of recent
happenings at the Board level.
There were 6 FOI requests to the Department of
Communications and the Arts dated 12 November in Leptos’ name, these relating
“serious allegations of bullying and intimidation committed
by AUDA Chair Chris Leptos between May 2018 and June 2019 resulting in the
resignation of a company secretary and an official complaint from a current
AUDA staff member”
a “serious breach of governance and directors duty committed
by AUDA director James Deck via his attempt to inappropriately access AUDA
marketing funds, specifically” relating to an application using Deck’s position
on the Board for “substantial marketing funds for his private business” and
that former Chair Leptos “attempted to cover up and misrepresent the conduct of
a request for all relevant information on a direction from Departmental
Officer Vicki Middleton instructing outgoing acting Chair Suzanne Ewart to “withdraw
her application for Chair of the new AUDA board”
allegations of “verbal abuse directed at Departmental staff
member Annaliesse [sic] Williams by AUDA directors Joe Manariti and James Deck
at the ICANN meeting in Barcelona in October 2018” including amount of alcohol consumed
by Manariti and Deck and response of the then Chair Leptos
an order by acting Chair Suzanne Ewart “to pay her A$10,000
per week despite there not being a Board resolution or budget for this to occur”,
which didn’t include superannuation payments and was in addition to her Chair
salary of $70,000 which would have taken her total salary “to $627,000 per
year, making her the 9th highest paid public servant in Australia”
expense claims by the aforementioned Directors James Deck
and Joe Manariti relating to their attendance at the ICANN meeting in Barcelona
where the FOI request alleges Deck and Manariti’s flights were “booked through
Manariti’s wife [sic] travel agency (African Luxury Safaris) at 30% more than
market rates and equivalent airfares and contrary to AUDA travel policy” with “4
nights in Prague, 4 nights in Paris and 7 nights in Barcelona which shows that
only 3 meeting [sic] were conducted over the 18 day trip”, “hotel accommodation
in Barcelona at A$1500 per night for a luxury suite, despite other AUDA staff
and directors staying in A$250 per night accommodation and a “total expense
claim showing the AUDA was charged over $35,000 for this travel for 3 meetings
in 18 days”
allegations relating to the above travel by Manariti and
Deck that “AUDA incurred [an FBT liability] totaling over $11,000 as the travel
was of a personal nature and not approved by AUDA and that the Chair of AUDA
Suzanne Ewart covered up this liability”.
The option of reducing the risk of domain names being hijacked by cybercriminals by signing up to a Registry Lock has been available through many top-level domains for several years now, but the uptake among brands, to which they are mostly aimed, has been very slow.
This is the subject of a recent blog post from SIDN, the manager for the Netherlands ccTLD .nl, who note that only 150 of the 5.8 million .nl domain names are secured with .nl Control, SIDN’s name for their Registry Lock.
While there is a cost involved in securing a domain name
with a Registry Lock due to extra costs incurred, mostly in time by registrars
and registries, the cost is inconsequential to business. And the costs of
having one’s domain name hijacked by criminals can be major through loss of
reputation and sales. Businesses known to have suffered having their domain
name hijacked, and which the option of a Registry Lock likely would likely have
prevented, in recent years even include Google, among other high-profile brands.
Despite the benefits of a Registry Lock and that to date
they haven’t proven popular, they do protect against all hacks, including the
hacking of a hoster or registrar. SIDN in their post say by “offering registry
locks to customers, a registrar is effectively implying that its own systems
are not entirely secure against hacking.”
They work by requiring any changes in a domain name record
to be verified before the change can happen.
SIDN also note another problem: “the lack of good
(international) e-IDs.” SIDN offer than own eID – eHerkenning in the
Netherlands, but this is “only just starting to gather momentum as a business
eID. And, without an e-ID system that everyone’s at home with, old-fashioned
paperwork is the only way of verifying a customer’s identify in order to set up
a registry lock.”
And when it comes to Registry Locks there’s a lack of
standardisation which is an issue for the industry as well. A .com lock doesn’t
work the same as a .nl lock, so things can get complex for an international
company with multiple domains. Standardisation, SIDN note, was an issue of
discussion between registries and registrars at the CENTR Registrar Day: why
can’t the national registries get together and agree on a uniform registry
SIDN go on to say that “as cybersecurity awareness grows and
the value of a domain name is recognised more widely, the business community is
coming to see an unprotected name as a vulnerability. It’s also increasingly
common for a domain name to be pledged as collateral for a business loan. And
the desire to make sure that a pledged domain name is completely secure is
understandably strong. The rise of electronic IDs, such as eHerkenning, is also
significant. By reducing the administrative burden associated with a registry
lock, e-IDs are lowering the threshold to getting a name locked. It comes as no
surprise, therefore, that various national registries represented in Brussels
announced plans to introduce locks or to expand their existing services.”
Registrations of .eu domain names dropped by just over 21,000
in the third quarter of 2019 according to EURid’s Q3 2019 Progress Report. Of
those, registrations to British registrants declined by over 7,500 due to
Brexit has created havoc with .eu registrations to British
registrants. When, or maybe if, Britain leaves the European Union, the European
Commission has determined British registrants without citizenship of an EU
country (for individuals) or without an office in an EU country (for businesses)
will become ineligible to hold or register .eu domain names.
As a result, .eu domain name registrations to British
registrants have almost halved in 2 years, plummeting from 303,564 at the end
of the third quarter of 2017 to 273,060 at the end of the third quarter 2018.
In the last 12 months alone they dropped 118,327 to 154,733 at the end of the
third quarter of 2019 and in the last 3 months registrations dropped 7,554.
Total .eu registrations decreased from 3,602,573 at the end
of second quarter of 2018 to 3,581,478 at the end of the third, a drop of 21,095
according to the report. In the 12 months from the end of the third quarter
2018, registrations were down 166,401 from 3,747,879. Taking out the British-based
registrants, .eu registrations were down 48,074 for the year.
Combined there were 3,617,530 .eu and .ею domain names
registered at the end of Q3 2019, down from 3,623,691 at the end of the second
quarter and 3,747,879 at the end of the third quarter 2018.
Some of the highlights of EURid’s Q3 2019 Progress Report
noted in the report are:
166,984 new domain name registrations recorded
Portugal tops the list of top growth countries with 39.2% growth, and 103.8% in 12 months, followed by Norway (11.2%) and Slovenia (2.9%)
the average renewal rate was 78.3%
35,706 internationalised domain names (IDNs) under .eu and 1,656 IDNs under .eu in Cyrillic
the top countries for .eu registrations were Germany with 979,797 registrations followed by the Netherlands (466,741) and France (326,998) while the UK comes in seventh.
EURid also reported a number of developments during the
EURid started to use nic.at’s RcodeZero DNS Anycast technology powered by nic.at
Researchers from the University of Leuven, in collaboration with EURid, published a third paper related to the identification of malicious domain names.
A dedicated page was published for the .ευ (.eu in Greek) forthcoming launch, planned for 14 November 2019
The fee for a basic .eu ADR procedure was further discounted.
During the third quarter EURid also unveiled the 2019 .eu Web Awards finalists. There were 139 nominees with more than 5,500 votes. The 15 finalists are invited to attend the gala on 20 November 2019 in Brussels, where the winners will be announced.
The EURid Q3 2019 Progress Report is available to download here [pdf].
In advance of the ICANN meeting currently underway in
Montreal, Canada, the Canadian ccTLD registry CIRA announced 3 new partnerships
with ccTLDs – with InternetNZ, Finland’s Traficom and Poland’s NASK. As ccTLDs find
registration growth plateauing, although .ca is somewhat of an exception, there
is a growth in some registries providing services to others with CIRA one of
the leading providers.
The announcement prior to ICANN66 builds on a number of partnerships the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has announced in recent years, including a previous one with InternetNZ, as well as the Portuguese country code top-level domain (ccTLD) registry Associação DNS.PT, in 2017 to deliver Anycast DNS services. In another 2017 announcement CIRA said Uniregistry and SIDN, the .nl registry, had signed on to receive CIRA’s D-Zone DNS services.
“We are excited to partner with our fellow members of the
ccTLD community,” said Mark Gaudet, business leader, cybersecurity products,
CIRA. “ccTLD registries offer similar services in distinct regional markets.
This creates a unique opportunity to collaborate through the exchange of
technologies, platforms and best practices to ensure our users and customers
have the best—and safest—internet experience possible.”
The first of the 3 new partnerships sees InternetNZ choose CIRA
as its partner to roll out D-Zone DNS Firewall to its customers in New Zealand.
Defenz DNS Firewall by InternetNZ will be offered to businesses through
internet service providers (ISPs) and managed IT service providers. Defenz DNS
Firewall will leverage the technology of D-Zone DNS Firewall to provide
protection against malware and phishing attacks by blocking access to malicious
“Our exploration of new products and services has enabled us
to further develop our long-standing relationship with CIRA,” said David
Morrison, commercial director, InternetNZ. “Partnering on Defenz DNS Firewall
was a no brainer and we’re excited to offer this product in New Zealand to
strengthen security and trust in the Internet.”
CIRA will also be partnering with the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom), who among its many roles acts as the registry for .fi, to provide its D-Zone Anycast DNS as a white label secondary DNS service to registrars to strengthen the resiliency of .fi domains. The service, called Traficom Anycast, leverages D-Zone Anycast DNS to help protect customers from DDoS attacks and increase the resilience of their networks.
Through our partnership with CIRA, we will be able to
strengthen the internet infrastructure in Finland by offering anycast DNS to
our .fi registrars,” said Juhani Juselius, chief specialist, Traficom.
The third partnership sees NASK, the registry for Poland’s ccTLD .pl, choose CIRA’s D-Zone Anycast DNS as its secondary DNS provider to strengthen its global DNS footprint. The announcement follows another in mid-October where nic.at’s RcodeZero DNS service will supply Anycast technology to .pl. This means that nic.at infrastructure provides supplementary hosting and security to the seventh biggest ccTLD in the EU with over 2.5 million domains.
“We chose CIRA due to its global reputation, robust
infrastructure, and commitment to strengthening the ccTLD community,” said Waldemar
Lisek, business development manager, NASK. “We are confident that D-Zone
Anycast DNS is the right choice to strengthen our DNS footprint.”
Neustar is one of the world’s leading companies when it comes to domain names. Providers of security services that protects brands around the world, providing ads and providing backend registry services to over 220 top-level domains. So that they’ve got detailed knowledge on the scale and frequency of threats on domain names and DNS infrastructure, is no surprise.
So this week they’ve published “Safer Domains: Security and
Resilience In The Domain Name Industry” that shows these threats are continuing
to rise. In their introduction, Neustar notes that “as an industry, we must
work together with the relevant authorities and technology providers to ensure
that we’re maintaining an internet that is as secure as possible for our
billions of users. For domain name Registries and technical providers,
collaboration, openness and a willingness to invest will be key to
differentiating ourselves and protecting digital consumers.”
Their Safer Domains publication explores the latest news,
analysis and opinion on security and resilience in the domain name industry,
from the team at Neustar Registry — leaders in Registry safety and security.
There are 4 main articles: Why beating the biggest DDoS
attacks is only half the battle, The tremendous team effort behind building
Colombia’s digital security, How do you take down a website? And DNS Audits:
What you need to know.
It took the European Union 4 years of preparation and debate
to develop the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and it was finally
approved by the EU Parliament in April 2016, then came into being in May 2018.
But it’s taken ICANN to this week to get to the stage to enter final negotiations
with its constituencies on the Registration Data Access Protocol
(RDAP), a replacement to WHOIS, that was in effect rendered obsolete and not
compliant when the GDPR came into being for those registrars selling gTLD
domain names and gTLD registries with operations within the EU.
In letters this week to the Registries Stakeholder Group and
Registrars Stakeholder Group, ICANN’s CEO and President Göran Marby said they
were ready to enter negotiations regarding the form and substance of the
proposed revisions for a period of at least 90 days in an “attempt to reach a mutually
acceptable agreement to the proposed revisions.” Marby writes if agreement is
reached, proposed revisions will be posted on the ICANN website for public
comment for no less than 30 calendar days.
Marby goes on to write ICANN and the Working Group will then
consider the public comments and submit the proposed final version of the
amendments for Registry Operator approval and approval by the ICANN Board. If
these approvals are obtained, the amendment will become effective upon 60 days’
notice from ICANN to the Registry Operators. Going by these timeframes and the
consultation required, it is reasonable to expect WHOIS to be replaced by RDAP
in late 2020, or early 2021 at the latest.
Within the European Union, as Domain Pulse has previously
reported, registrars such as the German EPAG were none too happy with ICANN’s
proposals, a “Temporary Specification”, that applied to generic top-level
domains (gTLDs). ICANN went to court at least 4 times, losing each time, as they
sought to have EPAG, and all registrars, collect the registrant data that put
registrars within the EU in contravention of the GDPR.
To be fair to ICANN, they had realised a replacement to
WHOIS had to come eventually long before the GDPR was mooted. But discussion
progressed at a snail’s pace. In a post Wednesday on the ICANN blog, Cyrus
Namazi, Senior Vice President, ICANN
Global Domains Division, outlined the background of the move to the
replacement, called the Registration Data Access Protocol,
known as RDAP. It doesn’t roll of the tongue like WHOIS does.
Outlining the change, Namazi writes “the WHOIS protocol, or
Port 43, has been the standard to access domain name registration data for more
than 35 years. For most of ICANN’s existence, the community has discussed
issues related to registration data (or in ICANN-speak, Registration Data
Directory Services, or RDDS) and over time identified limitations with the
existing technology. These limitations include:
No standardised format.
Lack of support for internationalisation.
Inability to authenticate users.
Lookup-only abilities and no search support.
Lack of standardised redirection or reference.
No standardised way of knowing what server to query.
Inability to authenticate the server or encrypt data between
the server and client.”
“The Registration Data Access Protocol, known as RDAP, was
created by the technical community in the Internet Engineering Task Force
(IETF) as an eventual replacement for the WHOIS protocol. RDAP enables users to
access current registration data and was designed to help address the
limitations of the WHOIS protocol. As we shared in February 2019, the ICANN
organisation took another important step in a multi-phased approach to
transition WHOIS services to RDAP by mandating that all generic top-level
domain (gTLD) registries and ICANN-accredited registrars provide RDDS over RDAP
in addition to WHOIS by 26 August 2019. We are now well underway with the first
step of registrars and registry operators executing the technical
implementation of RDAP.
“The next step is to amend the current Registry Agreement
(RA) and Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) to incorporate contractual
requirements comparable to the WHOIS services for RDAP, such as Service Level
Agreements, or SLAs. We have initiated negotiations with the gTLD Registries
Stakeholder Group and the Registrars Stakeholder Group to begin this process
and to define a coordinated transition from the WHOIS protocol to RDAP. ICANN
will continue to communicate progress on the amendments and the transition from
WHOIS to RDAP, including the plans to raise global awareness of what’s changing
with the introduction of RDAP, in the coming months.”
Chaos is reigning not just in Britain over their attempts to
enact legislation for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, but also
for businesses who work across both the UK and other EU countries. And one of
these is EURid who have had to delay once again their plans for enforcing rules
which would see British registrants of .eu domain names mostly become ineligible
to hold their domain names the day after Brexit is enacted.
In an announcement on their “Brexit notice” page, EURid, the .eu registry, notes “Following the recent developments in the UK withdrawal scenario, the entire plan outlined below is on hold. We will keep you informed as soon as we receive further instructions from the European Commission.”
The delay is a blessing for some registrants in the UK that
have business connections in the remaining EU countries or have citizenship of
a EU country as it means they can update their details and still keep their .eu
domain name. But for the rest it’s at worst a disaster, at best an inconvenience.
.eu has been haemorrhaging registrations to British
registrants over the last 2 years. Registrations have declined from 318,668 at
the end of June 2017 to 304,133 at the end of June 2018 and then in the 12
months to the end of June 2019, registrations to United Kingdom registrants
almost halved, declining 46.7% to 162,287. Despite the collapse, the UK remained
the sixth largest country of registrant origin as of 30 June.
Assuming Brexit happens, British .eu registrants will shortly thereafter lose their domain names unless the registrant has citizenship of a European Union country or for a business has an office in a EU country. Currently media reports are predicting that the likely Brexit date, if it happens, is 31 January 2020, if it is agreed among leaders of EU countries. If leaders are in agreement this will be made public on Friday (25 October), but if they are in disagreement, there will need to be a summit on Monday. So assuming the UK leaves the EU on 31 January, on 1 February British based .eu registrants will be ineligible to hold their .eu domain names “and their domain names will be WITHDRAWN” 2 months later.
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
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.”