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dotShabaka Diary — Day 8, Launch Uncertainty

Kevin Murphy, September 5, 2013, Domain Services

Today, the eighth installment of dotShabaka Registry’s journal, charting its progress towards becoming one of the first new gTLDs to go live, written by general manager Yasmin Omer.

Thursday 5 September 2013

Having passed PDT on the 27th of August, we were notified of our eligibility to transition to IANA for delegation and told that we will receive instructions regarding the next steps via the Customer Portal.

We’re still waiting to hear from ICANN. We have no visibility regarding when we will be delegated.

There are so many moving parts in the new gTLD program right now that the delegation timing impacts everything from hiring staff to deciding on launch strategies. Discussions with registrars and marketing agencies beg one simple question – when will you be launching? My response: no idea.

We’re trying to launch a business in what can only be described as a vacuum. We understand that delays may be inevitable right now, however, it would be great if the nature and impact of those delays on our TLD was officially communicated to us (perhaps by a designated account manager?).

Communications during the PDT Pilot and Beta periods were great but seem to have slowed down since we passed PDT. We look forward to receiving some clarity about delegation from ICANN soon.

Read previous and future diary entries here.

ICANN’s name collision plan “creates risk of abuse”

Kevin Murphy, August 27, 2013, Domain Services

One of ICANN’s proposed methods of reducing the risk of name collisions in new gTLDs actually may create its own “significant risk for abuse”, according to RIPE NCC.

Asking registry operators to send a notification to the owner of IP address blocks that have done look-ups of their TLD before it is delegated risks creating a “backlash” against ICANN and registry operators, RIPE said.

Earlier this month, ICANN said that for the 80% of applied-for strings that are categorized as low risk, “the registry operator will notify the point of contacts of the IP addresses that issue DNS requests for an un-delegated TLD or names under it.”

The proposal is intended to reduce the risk of harms caused by the collision of new gTLDs and matching names that are already in use on internal networks.

For example, if the company given .web discovers that .web already receives queries from 100 different IP blocks, it will have to look up the owners of those blocks with the Regional Internet Registries and send them each an email telling them than .web is about to hit the internet.

RIPE is the RIR for Europe, responsible for allocating IP addresses in the region, so its view on how effective a mitigation plan this is cannot be easily shrugged off.

Chief scientist Daniel Karrenberg told ICANN today that the complexity of the DNS, with its layers of recursive name servers and such, makes the approach pointless:

The notifications will not be effective because they will typically not reach the party that is potentially at risk.

In addition, it will be trivial for mischief-makers to create floods of useless notifications by conducting deliberately erroneous DNS queries for target TLDs, he said:

anyone can cause the registry operator to send an arbitrary amount of mandatory notifications to any holder of IP address space. It will be highly impractical to detect such attacks or find their source by technical means. On the other hand there are quite a number of motivations for such an attack directed at the recipient or the sender of the notifications. The backlash towards the registry operator, ICANN and other parties in the chain will be even more severe once the volume increases and when it turns out that the notifications are for “non-existing” queries.

With a suitably large botnet, it’s easy to see how an attacker could generate the need for many thousands of mandatory notifications.

If the registry has a manual notification process, such a flood would effectively DDoS the registry’s ability to send the notices, potentially delaying the gTLD.

Even if the process were to be automated, you can imagine how IP address block owners (network admins at ISPs and hosting companies, for example) would respond to receiving notifications, each of which creates work, from hundred of affected gTLD operators.

It’s an interesting view, and one that affected new gTLD applicants (which is most of them) will no doubt point to in their own comments on the name collisions mitigation plan.

dotShabaka Diary — Day 6, TMCH Integration Testing

Kevin Murphy, August 26, 2013, Domain Services

Today, the sixth installment of dotShabaka Registry’s journal, charting its progress towards becoming one of the first new gTLDs to go live, written by general manager Yasmin Omer.

Monday 26 August 2013

We attended the second IBM webinar on the TMCH which ran smoothly. The guys at IBM were pretty responsive and helpful.

Having received our registration token from ICANN, we logged on to the TMDB System to create credentials for the OT&E platform, provide contact details and accept the TMCH Terms and Conditions. TMCH integration testing is now on hold since we were not able to download the DNL file or upload the LORDN file. IBM confirmed that this functionality will not be available until the Trademark Claims functionality update scheduled for the 9th of September.

The testing environment was communicated as the TMCH accreditation environment that would include all the functionality required for Sunrise processing. It’s currently a limited test environment but we’re looking forward to conducting further tests as IBM continue to add functionality.

We recommend those planning on conducting TMCH Integration Testing in the near future wait until the Claims functionality update scheduled for the 9th of September before proceeding.

Read previous and future diary entries here.

New gTLD Application Tracker 3.0 launched

Kevin Murphy, August 12, 2013, Domain Services

While we’ve added several smaller requested features to the DI PRO New gTLD Application Tracker over the last few months, the time has come for the second big update to the service.

Subscribers have asked for a number of changes and upgrades to make it easier to quickly get at the data they need, and we’re happy to oblige.

The Application Tracker, has been updated in three areas.

New “Current Status” Tab

Talking to subscribers over the last few weeks, it became clear that different people are using the Application Tracker in different ways for different reasons.

Some want to be able to find out if, for example, an application has ever been objected to or received GAC advice, while others only want to know whether those objections and advice are still active.

From today, both use cases are made easier with the introduction of a new Current Status tab.

Searches conducted under this tab automatically filter out all withdrawn and rejected applications. If a contention set has been won, the winner will not display as contested in results.

Similarly, if an application managed to fight its way through objections or GAC advice, it will show as unopposed and unencumbered in search results pages.

DI PRO

Subscribers who want to carry on using the service to access historical information about applications can continue to use the previous version of the Application Tracker under the new “Original Status” tab.

Full IE Results

The existing IE Results database has been folded into the Application Tracker under a new tab, and there’s also a new option to see the full scores for each application that has passed through Initial Evaluation.

The new IE Results (Detailed) tab shows the scores each application received for each of the 27 Applicant Guidebook questions for which scores are made available

The Basic tab shows the financial and technical evaluation subtotals along with other information about the applicant and back-end provider.

New Search Options

With ICANN’s publication of Interilse Consulting’s report into the potential security risks of new gTLDs last week, each string was assigned a risk profile: Low, High or Uncalculated.

The database was updated with this information the same day it was published, but now you can search on it too, choosing to limit your search to, or omit, any of the three classes.

You can now also search for, or exclude, applications that have been rejected by ICANN. There are only three such applications right now, but I’m sure this option will become more useful in future.

Past and Future Updates

For details of all the original features of the Application Tracker, see this April blog post. For DI PRO subscription information, click here.

Subscribers can send suggestions for future updates to kevin@domainincite.com, as always.

Donuts details second private gTLD auction list

Kevin Murphy, July 31, 2013, Domain Services

Donuts has committed 68 of its new gTLD applications to a set of private auctions due to commence August 13.

It’s the second round of auctions conducted by Innovative Auctions, which last month settled six contention sets for an average of $1.5 million per TLD.

Here’s the full list of Donuts’ strings:

.apartments .hot .art .jewelry .auction .law .audio .lawyer .baseball .legal .beauty .life .blog .living .boats .loans .broadway .memorial .broker .online .cafe .phone .casa .pizza .chat .place .church .plus .city .property .construction .rent .data .run .deals .salon .direct .school .discount .search .dog .show .expert .site .fish .soccer .football .storage .forum .store .furniture .studio .fyi .style .garden .team .global .theater .gratis .trading .group .website .guide .wedding .help .world .hosting .yoga

It’s very similar to the list of 63 strings that Donuts committed to the first round of auctions, which was under-subscribed by its rivals.

The additions since then are: .broker, .casa, .data, .deals, .dog,. expert, .lawyer, .life, .loans, .place, .property, .rent, studio, .website, .world and .yoga.

This list does not include the six gTLDs that were settled in the first round, for obvious reasons, but the following strings have also been removed: .forsale, .juegos, .marketing, .media, .sale.

Some of those appear to have been removed because Donuts has already won the contention set due to withdrawals.

The list still includes many in which Donuts is in a contention set with Uniregistry, which has previously said it would not participate in private auctions due to legal concerns.

Innovative said recently that over 100 applications had been committed to the August 13 auction.

It had previously said that the over 40 strings being applied for by applicants that had participated in the first auction had also been committed.

The deadline for committing to the auction is August 5.

Microsoft and others join London gTLD strategy conference line-up

Kevin Murphy, July 24, 2013, Domain Services

Momentum Event Group has updated its agenda for the forthcoming Digital Marketing & gTLD Strategy Congress, with additional speakers from Microsoft and the new Domain Name Association joining the line-up.

Dave Coplin, “chief envisioning officer” of Microsoft UK, has been tapped to deliver a keynote entitled “What Lies Ahead. Looking Forward to the Future of Brand Marketing Post-gTLD”.

Momentum also said that ARI Registry Services, NetNames, Interbrand and the Domain Name Association are also set to speak at the event.

The agenda at this point is an interesting mix of industry regulars and dot-brand gTLD applicants. From the brand side of the house, the conference will feature also speakers from Richemont, LEGO, HSBC, Google and KPMG.

From ICANN, vice president of stakeholder engagement for North America Christopher Mondini is delivering a keynote, apparently on the wrong continent.

The Congress runs from September 26 to 27 at the Park Plaza Hotel in London. Tickets are priced at £795 ($1,220) until August 3, when prices go up.

DI is a media sponsor but has no financial interest in the conference.

The first morning session on day one of the conference is me interviewing Uniregistry CEO Frank Schilling on stage about the future of the internet, post-gTLDs. Coffee had better be provided.

DomainsBot takes its new gTLD spinner to registries

Kevin Murphy, July 11, 2013, Domain Services

DomainsBot has started promoting its domain name suggestion services to new gTLD registries.

Announced today, its new TLD Recommendation Engine for Registries is designed to make TLD suggestions more relevant when people are hunting for a new domain name.

It’s a sister service to the TLD Recommendation Engine for Registrars that, as we reported last week, DomainsBot hopes to have in place on many of the major registrars’ storefronts when new gTLDs launch.

After last week’s news, Domain Name Wire did a test of its demo and found it lacking in certain areas, such as failing to offer a .accountant domain to a query containing “CPA”.

DomainsBot CEO Emiliano Pasqualetti told DI that the service being announced today will help TLD registries avoid this kind of problem.

In consultation with DomainsBot, they’ll be able to more accurately define the meaning of their TLD string, improving the relevancy of DomainsBot’s results and potentially not missing out on sales.

Under the hood, it’s based on a database of all the existing second-level domains in existence today. DomainsBot wants to connect each second-level string to relevant results in new gTLDs.

“My goal is to pre-classify every existing second-level domain before new gTLDs go live,” Pasqualetti said.

The service is not free, of course. The cheapest tier has an introductory price of $1,000 per month, which Pasqualetti said will go up in future.

It’s “pay for relevancy” rather than “pay for display”, he said. “I’m not saying if you pay me I will display .cpa every time.”

MinardosGroup, which has applied for .build, .construction and .expert, has already signed on to use the service, according to a DomainsBot press release.

Report names and shames most-abused TLDs

Kevin Murphy, July 11, 2013, Domain Services

Newish gTLDs .tel and .xxx are among the most secure top-level domains, while .cn and .pw are the most risky.

That’s according to new gTLD services provider Architelos, which today published a report analyzing the prevalence of abuse in each TLD.

Assigning an “abuse per million domains” score to each TLD, the company found .tel the safest with 0 and .cn the riskiest, with a score of 30,406.

Recently relaunched .pw, which has had serious problems with spammers, came in just behind .cn, with a score of 30,151.

Generally, the results seem to confirm that the more tightly controlled the registration process and the more expensive the domain, the less likely it is to see abuse.

Norway’s .no and ICM Registry’s .xxx scored 17 and 27, for example.

Surprisingly, the free ccTLD for Tokelau, .tk, which is now the second-largest TLD in the world, had only 224 abusive domains per million under management, according to the report..

Today’s report ranked TLDs with over 100,000 names under management. Over 90% of the abusive domains used to calculate the scores were related to spam, rather than anything more nefarious.

The data was compiled from Architelos’ NameSentry service, which aggregates abusive URLs from numerous third-party sources and tallies up the number of times each TLD appears.

The methodology is very similar to the one DI PRO uses in TLD Health Check, but Architelos uses more data sources. NameSentry is also designed to automate the remediation workflow for registries.

See all new gTLD withdrawls and Initial Evaluation results in a handy timeline

Kevin Murphy, July 2, 2013, Domain Services

From today, DI PRO users have a new feature for tracking new gTLD withdrawals that removes the huge pain and inconvenience of actually having to read DI and other domain blogs.

It’s been the mostly commonly requested feature over the last couple of weeks, and we’re happy to oblige.

The New gTLD Program Timeline lists all withdrawals, evaluation results and other major changes to application status, in chronological order.

There are over 1,100 entries in the database so far, going back to August 2012. Withdrawals are automatically updated daily, IE results weekly on Friday evenings UTC.

It’s designed for utility. Here’s a screen grab:

New gTLD Timeline

To join the growing ranks of DI PRO subscribers click here. Subscribers also get access to the following tools and searchable databases:

Daily new gTLD program stats, searchable Initial Evaluation scores, the most comprehensive and flexible database of gTLD applications available anywhere, and much more.

Tickets on sale for newdomains.org conference

Kevin Murphy, June 19, 2013, Domain Services

After a year’s hiatus, the newdomains.org conference organized by United-Domains is back this October.

Registration has now opened for the two-day event, which is entirely focused on the new gTLD market. The agenda is still forming and United is looking for speakers.

The conference will take place in Munich at the Sofitel Munich Bayerpost hotel from October 28 to 29. Unlike the 2011 event, I believe this time the official Oktoberfest jollities will be over.

Early bird registration comes to €583 ($780) when you include VAT. Prices go up to €821 July 15.

Afilias, Verisign, Donuts, PIR, InternetX, Sedo, Nic.at have already signed up to sponsor.

While in 2011 newdomains had to compete with .nxt for your new gTLD conference dollar, this time it’s competing with Momentum’s gTLD Strategy Congress, coming to London in September.

Like .nxt, the first newdomains.org suffered from coming before the Big Reveal and became a bit of a vendor echo chamber as a result, but was nevertheless a breath of fresh air compared to ICANN meetings.

By October we might have seen the first new gTLDs go live, so this year it will likely be a different story. DI will be in attendance.