The .tk registry has become only the second TLD to pass 25 million domain names.
Netherlands-based Dot TK passed the milestone at the weekend, according to statistics posted on its web site, and today has 25,068,128 domains under management.
It’s grown by a whopping 837,703 names in the last 30 days alone.
That means Tokelau, the tiny island nation the ccTLD represents, has a nominal 17,900 domains per citizen.
The reason for the huge numbers is that .tk names are usually free to register anywhere in the world, with Dot TK using a freemium model through which it only makes money from add-on services.
.tk became the largest ccTLD last year, hitting 16.7 million names in April 2013 and passing Germany’s .de, which today has about 15.7 million domains under management.
Being free, you’d expect there to be a disproportionate amount of nefarious activity in .tk, but that does not appear to be the case any more.
The TLD doesn’t show up in the top 10 most abused TLDs in the most recent report of the Anti-Phishing Working Group (pdf).
Architelos says (pdf) it’s the 47th-safest out of 72 TLDs, scoring it better than .com, .net, .co and many other popular TLDs.
ICANN has finally finished evaluating all 1,930 new gTLD applications from the 2012 round.
Indian conglomerate Tata Group’s dot-brand .tata passed Extended Evaluation (pdf) on Friday, having apparently secured the non-objection of Morocco, which has a province of the same name.
Calculated from Reveal Day — June 13, 2012 — it’s taken a little over two years (765 days) for every bid to pass through first Initial Evaluation and then, if necessary, Extended Evaluation.
Calculated from the first batch of Initial Evaluation results being released, it’s 483 days.
A total of 1,783 applications passed IE. A further 38 failed, of which 35 passed EE. There have been 211 withdrawals so far and, due to contention, another 380 are expected.
ICANN has offered dot-brand gTLD applicants the ability to delay the signing of their Registry Agreements until July 29, 2015, nine months later than under the former process.
The extension was offered by ICANN after talks with the Brand Registry Group, whose members felt pressured by the old deadline.
All new gTLD applicants had previously been told they had nine months to sign the contract from the date they receive a so-called “Contracting Information Request” from ICANN.
For many applicants, those CIRs were sent out many months ago, leading to an October 29 deadline.
However, Specification 13 of the contract, which allows dot-brands to opt out of things like sunrise periods and equal treatment of registrars, was not finalized by ICANN until May 14 this year.
Only a minuscule number of dot-brands eligible to sign contracts — which is pretty much all of them — have so far opted to do so.
Bearing the Spec 13 delay in mind, ICANN is now offering would-be dot-brands the July 2015 deadline instead, as long as they show “good faith” by responding to their CIR by September 1.
What this means is that dot-brands might not be hitting the internet for another year.
For non-branded gTLD registries — some of whom hope the big brands’ adoption and marketing will help the visibility of new gTLDs in general — this may be disappointing.
The concurrent sunrise periods of .moscow and .москва have unsurprisingly seen the Latin-script new gTLD trounce the Cyrillic version.
There were 154 registrations in .moscow, according to FAITID, the registry for both gTLDs, compared to just seven in .москва.
They’re both pretty low numbers, but they’re quite typical for new gTLDs. The .moscow number is actually a little above average.
And two of the IDN registrations appear to be for generic terms — мы.москва (“we.moscow”) and скачать.москва (“download.moscow”) — masquerading as trademarks, which happens a lot in new gTLDs.
There are many reasons why the Latin script beat the Cyrillic.
Sergey Gorbunov, head of international relations at FAITID, said that Russian holders of Cyrillic-script trademarks may not be very familiar with the Trademark Clearinghouse.
There are only 127 Cyrillic strings protected in the TMCH right now, he said. Non-Russian brands are also less likely to have their names protected in Cyrillic, he said.
Apple registered 11 Latin-script domains in the sunrise, according to Gorbunov, making it the biggest single registrant.
In what is possibly the longest launch phase of any new gTLD to date, there now follow two “Limited Registration Periods” for Russia and Moscow-based organizations, which end August 25.
A landrush period will kick off September 24 and FAITID expects to go to general availability on December 1.
New gTLDs have been on the market for months now, and the slow process of building out sites is underway.
As regular readers and DI PRO subscribers know, one way DI tracks the popularity of domain names, and therefore their corresponding TLDs, is using Alexa rankings.
These scores are not perfect, but they’re a reasonable way to highlight which new gTLD domain names are getting traffic from internet users.
There are currently 635 new gTLD domains in Alexa’s top one million most-trafficked sites, up from just 10 when I checked almost six months ago, February 19.
Only 35 of those have a ranking better than 100,000.
I visited each in turn today to determine to what use the registrants have put their names.
In this top 35, I found two instances of apparent malware distribution and one instance of possible cybersquatting. Four returned errors. One (www.link) is a blocked name collision name.
Notably, controversial BitTorrent index The Pirate Bay, which has been TLD-hopping for many months and recently got kicked out of .guru, seems to have found a home in .uno.
Only one of the domains redirects to a domain in a different TLD.
One (gen.xyz) is a new gTLD registry’s official homepage.
The remainder represent a broad cross section of regular internet usage: blogs, tools, photos, sport, porn, get-rich-quick schemes, forums, file-hosting, and so on and so forth.
Varying degrees of professionalism can be found on these sites. Some are very pretty, others very ugly.
There’s even one site on the list that appears to be a legitimate corporate home page. On reflection, no it isn’t. It’s a Get-Rich-Quick site.
These are my results, make of them what you will.
|warriors.tips||36897||Y||Get Rich Quick||N|
|jid-company.trade||79730||Y||Get Rich Quick||N|
|iif.club||84736||Y||Get Rich Quick||N|
|bankcode.today||97414||Y||Get Rich Quick||N|