France-based registrar OVH is to make up to 50,000 domain names in its new gTLD .ovh available for free.
According to its web site and a bulletin send to customers today, the regular price of £2.69 ($4.35) will be waived for the first year and renewal pricing will be discounted.
The first 20,000 names registered will renew at £1.01 ($1.63), the remaining 30,000 names will renew at £2.03 ($3.29). There will be a limit of five domains per customer.
While “free” is not an unusual business model in the new gTLD round, .ovh is noteworthy for several other reasons.
It’s the first “dot-brand” new gTLD to accept registrations from third parties, for starters.
It’s also the only live dot-brand belonging to an accredited domain name registrar.
The restrictions on the gTLD also raise eyebrows — in order to register a name in .ovh, you need an OVH customer number.
So while the .ovh names should in theory be available via third-party registrars, such registrars would have to capture the OVH customer number of their own customers — or encourage their own customers to become OVH customers — in order to process the registration.
Unsurprisingly, there’s no mention of any approved third-party registrars on the official .ovh web site.
General availability begins at 1000 UTC Wednesday October 2.
Thanks to Andrew Bennett for the tip.
Bayern Connect took its .bayern new gTLD into general availability yesterday and secured close to 20,000 registrations.
This morning’s zone file count shows that at least 19,121 domains were registered during .bayern’s combined sunrise/landrush period, which ended a few weeks ago.
GA kicked off at 1300 local time yesterday.
There are no local presence requirements to register names, according to the registry’s web site.
Bayern in the German word for Bavaria, Germany’s second most-populous state. It has 12.5 million inhabitants, 1.5 million of whom live in its capital, Munich.
It’s the third most-successful geographic gTLD launch of the current round, after .london’s 35,000 names and .berlin’s 33,000.
On a per-head basis, however, the numbers don’t look so good.
While .koeln, the gTLD for the city of Cologne, had one registered domain for every 79 inhabitants at the end of its first GA day, .bayern has one domain per 663 people. The numbers for .berlin and .london were 106 and 240 respectively.
Domains in free and cheap ccTLDs are much more likely to host phishing attacks than new gTLDs.
That’s one of the conclusions of the latest report of the Anti-Phishing Working Group, which found that Freenom’s re-purposed African ccTLDs were particularly risky.
The first-half 2014 report found 22,679 “maliciously registered” domains used in phishing attacks. That’s flat on the second half of 2013 and almost double the first half of 2013.
Only roughly a quarter of the domains used in phishing had been registered for the purpose. The rest were pointing to compromised web servers.
On new gTLDs, the APWG said:
As of this writing, the new gTLD program has not resulted in a bonanza of phishing. A few phishers experimented with new gTLD domain names, perhaps to see if anyone noticed. But most of the new gTLD domains that were used for phishing were actually on compromised web sites.
The new gTLDs .agency, .center, .club, .email and .tips were the only ones to see any maliciously registered phishing domains in the half — each had one — according to the report.
The APWG speculates quite reasonably that the relatively high price of most new gTLD domains has kept phishers away but warns that this could change as competition pushes prices down.
While .com hosts 54% of all phishing domains, small ccTLDs that give away domains for free or cheap are disproportionately likely to have such domains in their zones, the report reveals.
The Freenom-operated ccTLDs .cf (Central African Republic), .ml (Mali) and .ga (Gabon) top the table of most-polluted TLDs, alongside PW Registry’s .pw (Palau).
Freenom, which also runs .tk, offers free domains, while PW Registry has a very low registry fee.
APWG measures the risk of phishing by TLD by counting phishing domains per 10,000 registered names, where the median score is 4.7 and .com’s score is 4.1.
.cf tops the charts with 320.8, followed by .ml with 118.9, .pw with 122, .ga with 42,9 and .th (Thailand) with 27.5. These number include compromised as well as phisher-registered domains.
Read the APWG report here.
Retail giant Safeway has removed itself from the new gTLD program entirely, last week withdrawing all four of its applications.
The $139-billion-a-year company had applied for the dot-brands .safeway, .vons, .justforu and the generic .grocery, but all four bids are now showing as withdrawn.
Now that Safeway has withdrawn, the only remaining applicant for .grocery is rival retailer Wal-Mart.
.grocery had been applied for as a “closed generic”, in which Safeway would be the only eligible registrant.
The ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee had advised against closed generics on consumer protection grounds.
When ICANN pressed applicants for such strings to clarify whether they were in fact “closed generics”, Safeway denied (pdf) that .grocery was.
Wal-Mart, on the other hand, said that its .grocery would be restricted to Wal-Mart and its affiliates.
Iraq was this week granted the right to use a new Arabic-script country-code top-level domain.
ICANN said the war-torn nation’s request for عراق., which is Arabic for “Iraq”, has passed the String Evaluation phase of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track program.
Like .iq, the registry will be the government’s Communications and Media Commission.
Once delegated, the Punycode inserted into the root will be .xn--mgbtx2b.
ICANN said Iraq is the 33rd nation to have an IDN ccTLD request approved. There are currently 26 IDN ccTLDs in the root. Most of them aren’t doing very well.