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.xyz is now the biggest new gTLD (kinda)

Kevin Murphy, June 6, 2014, 07:19:51 (UTC), Domain Registries

The controversial new gTLD .xyz is now officially the biggest, with 67,504 domains under management.

That’s according to today’s zone files, which see former number ones .club at 65,630 and .guru at 60,480.

Due to what appears to be an ICANN screw-up, there were no zone files available for any new gTLDs via the Centralized Zone Data Service yesterday, so I can’t tell you what the daily growth numbers are.

But .xyz had 36,335 names in its zone on Wednesday. It’s grown by 85% in two days.

That’s a shocking, unprecedented growth spurt.

The question is, of course, how many of these registrations are legit?

.xyz has come under a great deal of fire from domainers the last few days, after it emerged that the majority of its growth in the first days of general availability was questionable.

Network Solutions, it transpired, had seriously inflated .xyz’s numbers by registering .xyz names matching existing .coms on behalf of its customers without their permission and for no charge.

NetSol seems to have paid .xyz a few hundred thousand dollars for domain names its customers have not requested.

Data from today’s .xyz zone file is likely to reinforce the perception that most of .xyz’s apparent popularity is bogus.

I see that 56,019 domain names in .xyz today — 82% of the gTLD’s total — are using register.com name servers.

Those name servers belong to Web.com, NetSol’s parent company.

There were 27,000 such names on Wednesday. While .xyz as a whole has grown by about 31,000 names in two days, NetSol’s .xyz share has grown by about 29,000 names.

Nobody believes that NetSol, with its $40 retail price for .xyz (with a wholesale price I peg at around $6 to $7), could have obtained this market share with actual, paid-for sales.

I believe that the large majority of NetSol’s roughly 56,000 .xyz names are freebies, not reflective of buyer demand.

Many domainers are incandescent about this.

They look to registration numbers as a measurement of demand, which could be a predictor of the resale market for a TLD, so they’re upset at anything that looks like a manipulation of that number.

Daniel Negari, the charismatic CEO of .xyz, has borne the brunt of this criticism, despite the fact that there’s no evidence out there yet that .xyz supported or had prior knowledge NetSol’s mass giveaway.

Negari has so far refused to comment on the situation (he hasn’t responded to several inquiries from yours truly), which has only served to reinforce the suspicion that the registry was somehow complicit in NetSol’s promotion and used the registrar to artificially inflate its numbers.

I have no evidence one way or the other.

NetSol refused to even confirm the existence of the promotion when DI inquired earlier this week.

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Comments (45)

  1. Joe says:

    This TLD is getting more and more dubious.

  2. Elena says:

    So out of 67,504 total .xyz registered domain names 56,019 of those are at netsol right now. In other words 83% of all the .xyz registered domain names are currently at netsol (compared to 72% 2 days ago). Add the fact that Netsol is 3 times more expensive than the average registrar it’s easy to see (even without the freebie email proof) that they (netsol and most likely Daniel) are playing the numbers.

    Funny fact:
    If you leave out netsol and count only the .XYZ registrations of the other 47 registrars then .XYZ had around 10K registrations 2 days ago. Fast forward to today this number has climbed to only 11,500.
    In other words there were 1,500 new .xyz registrations in 2 days spread over 47 registrars (around 750 .xyz paid registrations per day). Compare this to the preposterous 29,000 new freebie registrations spread over 1 registrar (netsol).

    Why is this scam (for lack of a better word) allowed to continue?

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Why do you think it’s a scam? A bunch of people got some free domain names. Who’s getting hurt?

      • Kevin,
        nobody asked for those free names.
        The whole industry is getting hurt by this.
        Would like me to register some free names for you?

        Should I approve a free(for the first year) loan for you?

        Would you like a credit card? Free for the first year.

        • Cameron says:

          why you are always complaining ? dont you belive $10 is still free for a lot of lot of people?

        • Volker Greimann says:

          Unless they are set to renew at the end of the “free” registration terms, I see no actual harm. Provided they operate within the scope of the RAA when registering those name for their customers.

          • I gave an example below: “Let’s say you have abc.com and they give you abc.xyz for free. What if there is a trademark β€œabcxyz”. Then guess what will happen!”

            I believe that they operate outside the scope of the RAA. Let’s see what ICANN will say about the RAA. If anything…

            Also a lot of corporate accounts have someone enter into the account and renew all domains. And dropping a domain name will probably require a board decision.

            This is not that simple.

  3. Elena says:

    The “scam” is not the free domains. The scam is pretending all registrations are paid for.

    Ok let’s not call it a scam. it’s just about making people believe the extension is more popular that it is by lying about the numbers… Oh wait, wouldn’t that qualify as a scam?

  4. Richard Funden says:

    Well, if it is a registry promotion, I sure hope that it was offered to all accredited registrars.

  5. Snoopy says:

    The people getting hurt are those buying domains because of the high registration numbers. That is exactly who .xyz are trying to target from the outset with this.

  6. page howe says:

    dont forget the old 5 day rule, heck for all we know tasting is legal under the new g’s. i think this is the first of many “interesting ” promotions and we will more likely see more of this than less.

    your spot on that its the people who wanted to use numbers as a gauge and not “actually make up their onw mind” of what they liked that are somehow ticked…

    in this case, the handling of the response has told me a lot about .xyz, and it was less than i had hoped. … but hey ive got 360 more days plus grace period for them to surpise me on the upside…

    ph

  7. Cameron says:

    .xyz easy to remember domain,i personally like .xyz

    • What is easy about .xyz?
      Is it easier than .com? .web? .anything?

      • Igo says:

        Lol you one of thise people that complain and miss out on everthing. Like it or not .xyz is the future I mean like I just got offered $10,000 for a premium domain I brought obviously I declined if someone wants that for it now lets see what the future holds! You just keep complaing and miss out on all the good things!

  8. Dan says:

    .xyz management has no credibility in their given actions to deceive, and reverse register, so I deem the term to carry the brunt of that goodwill going forward.

    I would say .xyz has become a bad joke.

    • Cameron says:

      ha ha ha .co has become a bad joke, the only country code that generates huge traffic to .com in every single typing and the .com owner dont know where the traffic comes from.ha ha ha,if .co was in competation today could not stand.every one love only .xyz

  9. Rubens Kuhl says:

    I think the questions that need answering are not related to the number of domains. This metric is flawed and anybody relying on it is bound for sorrow.

    1) If NetSol is relying on a registry promotion to make their promotion, has this been offered to other registrars ?
    2) If NetSol is paying registry fee, isn’t this promotion just dumb ?
    3) Is NetSol violating RAA 2013 with this opt-out scheme ?

    • 1) There are ways to circumvent this. It is not necessary that NetSol is getting a discount on registration fees.
      They can sign a promotion contract with xyz paying $x for “ads” and then Netsol can run their own promotion paying back to .xyz full fees but for a total that is a fraction of that $x.
      Win, win.
      2) No, look at 1)
      3) I think so.

      • Rubens Kuhl says:

        Because that ad fee couldn’t be tied to the actual registration, or it would be in fact a reg fee discount, this would require a guess on return by both NetSol and .xyz. But yes, it can be done and it can be done right. So the question becomes if it has been done right, or not.

  10. Max says:

    These new TLDs created a lot of mess… I just hope competition will drive domain names prices down.

  11. Bret Fausett says:

    “Registered name” is a defined term in the 2013 RAA (Section 1.15). Beyond that, I don’t think you can categorize registered names into categorizes of “legit” or something else.

    • James says:

      Fair enough. So who is the Registrant? Who executed the Registration Agreement (RAA Sec. 3.7.7), in which they agreed to be legally responsible for the domain name, and abide by the UDRP, URS and other Consensus Policies?

      If the person/entity listed in WHOIS as the Registrant didn’t approve/execute the name, then is the Registry the Registrant? Or is it NetSol?

      Im not a lawyer, so I am genuinely asking: Can you structure an email proposal, such that inaction on the part of the recipient constitutes acceptance of the proposal?

      • Acro says:

        Robo-registrations, the new trend for 2014.

      • Kevin Murphy says:

        As far as I can tell the NetSol names are all using a proxy/privacy service. If memory serves, doesn’t ICANN say that privacy services are the registrants within the meaning of the RAA?

        • Acro says:

          Nope. The registrant’s name is still fully visible, examples: 00938625.xyz, 03304cjp64ubzd1.xyz

          If the onus is now shifted on NetSol, they will soon spill the beans about what exactly ensued.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      You can if you’re not a lawyer πŸ˜‰

      • John Berryhill says:

        Unless you read the stupid footers that so many lawyers put in their email messages, in which they attempt to impose a number of unilateral conditions premised on the mere fact that they sent you an email.

        Incidentally, this comment is posted on the condition that anyone reading it owes me $100, payable immediately. By reading this comment, you accept these terms and conditions.

  12. This may not end well for either the xyz registry or the domain industry. When the .eu ccTLD was destroyed by non-EU speculation in 2005/2006, it was aided by an incompetent registry that tried to lie its way out of the problem. The silence of the xyz registry is worse in that it is not providing its side of the story and clarifying if it is a NetSol issue that has had some unexpected side-effects.

    The NetSol aspect is the important one because it seems to have been a “rewards” based offer. That means that it would favour accounts with high numbers of registrations rather than older bluechip accounts with less registration activity. Thus an account with a high churn rate and dealing mainly in one year wonder domains would be more likely to benefit from this “rewards” based offer. If that’s what happened then the long term effect could be far worse for the TLD because such reward schemes reward high churn more than retention. It could be building a high churn figure into the TLD.

    • Acro says:

      John – In my educated opinion, the selection of NetSol accounts was made randomly from a pool of .com owners that were specifically non-premium.

      Eg 00938625.com owns just 4 domains according to DomainTools. And 03304cjp64ubzd1.com is in pending deletion!

      Your DNA research provides great insight about how/why this happened.

      • Theo,
        let me know what you think.
        Why do you think a registrar chose the General Availability day to register thousands of free domains. Everybody knows that on that day the most registrations happen so they could only assume that at least a few paid registrations were bound to happen on that day.
        Why not wait a week or a month to run such a promotion? The only explanation is that it was done on that day so that the .xyz numbers were inflated.

        • Acro says:

          All the common sense responses don’t apply in this case, and your analysis uses too much of it. Of course, I am being sarcastic. πŸ˜€

  13. zack says:

    Well…it looks like the inflated numbers are doing what Negari probably hoped it would do…cause a lot of discussion and raise the profile of his TLD. Even negative publicity is still publicity…

    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      But this has been too much negative among domainers, one segment that he was trying to be in good graces with.

  14. Andrew says:

    If .xyz powered by Centralnic…

    And Network Solutions and CentralNic have a Joint Venture Called Central Registry Solutions: https://www.centralnic.com/company/news/2009/jv

    Could it be the backend provider actually doing the ‘promotion’?

  15. Rubens Kuhl says:

    “Q: how 2 solve chicken/egg problem 4 marketplaces? A: Fake The Chicken.” (manufacture liquidity) #Echelon2014

  16. Dylan Barr says:

    I love XYZ i own http://revealed.xyz thanks to it, i always wanted to start revealed, but thanks to people taking all the domains i couldn’t, now i can πŸ˜€

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