Latest news of the domain name industry

Recent Posts

Momentum offers free new gTLD show passes

Kevin Murphy, July 10, 2014, Domain Services

Momentum Events is offering brands a free pass to its upcoming Digital Strategy & DotOps Congress in Amsterdam.

The deal is only open to companies that have not already applied for a new dot-brand gTLD. Each eligible company gets one free pass for the two-day event. Additional tickets start at $299.

For applicants and others the standard price is $599 per person. That’s about half the price of previous conferences in the series, which is now in its fifth incarnation.

Previous shows have taken place in New York and London.

Confirmed speakers for Amsterdam include executives from Philips, Goodyear, Coke and Google. From the domain world, Afilias, doMEn, Donuts and Dot Luxury are due to talk.

DI, which is a nominal media sponsor of the show, may also be on a panel.

The shows were previously called the Digital Strategy & New gTLD Congress, but Momentum has switched out “New gTLD”, which perhaps caused non-domain folks’ eyes to glaze, for “DotOps”.

No, I don’t know what that means either.

The conference will take place at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Amsterdam, Netherlands from September 18 to 19.

OpenDNS raises $35 million

Kevin Murphy, May 15, 2014, Domain Services

DNS service provider OpenDNS has raised $35 million in Series C funding, doubling its total raised capital to date, according to the company.

The laundry list of participating venture capitalists comprised Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures, Glynn Capital, Cisco, Evolution Equity, Lumia Capital, Mohr Davidow Ventures, and Northgate Capital.

The company offers DNS-based security services for enterprises, such as malware and phishing detection, and content filtering for schools and universities.

CEO David Ulevitch said in a blog post that OpenDNS has over 50 million daily users. Its prices range from $28 t $42 per user per year.

Architelos goes flat-rate with NameSentry pricing

Architelos has introduced flat-rate pricing for its flagship NameSentry abuse detection and mitigation service.

Now, TLD registries will be able to pay $389 a month for the Basic service and $689 for the Enterprise version, regardless of the size of their zones.

Previously, pricing ranged from $249 to $3,999 per month, depending on zone size.

NameSentry scans and collates various malware, spam and phishing URL lists in order to alert registries when domains in their TLDs are being used for different types of online abuse.

The primary difference between the Basic and Enterprise versions is the ability to automate remediation workflow.

NameSentry customers include Donuts and Rightside. Architelos reckons it has 44% of the new gTLD market using the service.

Glitch takes out ICANN’s zone file service

Kevin Murphy, April 30, 2014, Domain Services

A bug which gave elevated privileges to new gTLD registries has taken out ICANN’s Centralized Zone Data Service for the best part of a day.

CZDS is the central clearinghouse for zone file data access requests. All new gTLD registries must participate. DI uses the data provided via the service to calculate registration numbers.

The service was turned off yesterday after registries noticed that they were able to view and approve pending requests made to rival registries and informed ICANN.

The site has been “currently undergoing maintenance” since at least 0200 UTC today. The bug was present from at least 2100 on Monday night, which was when I first heard about it.

ICANN tells me the move to take down the site yesterday was made out of “an abundance of caution” and that its techies are looking at the issue right now.

Talking to a few registries, it seems they were given super-user privileges.

They were able to review requests for zone file access made by users like DI to any new gTLD registry. They would have been able to approve such requests, registries tell me.

The contact information of the requesting party was also visible, they tell me.

I think in most cases this isn’t a big deal. I assume most CZDS users just blanket-request every file from every gTLD registry, but there could hypothetically be edge cases where a sensitive request was exposed.

For the avoidance of confusion, the bug would not have given anyone the ability to edit any zone files. CZDS is just a publishing clearinghouse, it has no functional role in the DNS.

Two other ICANN sites, the Global Domains Division portal and parts of MyICANN, both of which run on the Force.com platform, also currently appear to be down for maintenance, but it’s not currently clear if these issues are related.

Rook Media acquires DomainSponsor

Kevin Murphy, April 22, 2014, Domain Services

Oversee.net surprised many in the domainer community yesterday when it announced the sale of its flagship parking service, DomainSponsor, to upstart rival Rook Media.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, means Oversee, once the parent to brands such as Moniker and SnapNames, now barely has a presence in the domain name industry at all.

Switzerland-based Rook Media, describing itself as “Europe’s largest domain monetization platform”, was formed three years ago by former NameDrive and Sedo executives.

US-based DomainSponsor, on the other hand, has been around since 2002.

Rook CEO Ash Rahimi told Domain Name Wire yesterday that both platforms will operate independently for the foreseeable future.

Oversee said in a press release that it will “now focus on more aggressively developing its growth businesses” which comprise web sites in travel, consumer finance and retail.

The company sold off Moniker and SnapNames to KeyDrive in 2012. KeyDrive has since sold on SnapNames to Web.com.

Oversee still has the DomainFest conference listed as one of its brands on its web site. Other than that, there seems to be little left of its presence in the domain industry.

Over half a million Trademark Claims notices served

Kevin Murphy, March 25, 2014, Domain Services

The Trademark Clearinghouse has delivered over 500,000 Trademark Claims notices and prevented over 475,000 trademarked names from being registered, according to the TMCH.

The 500,000 number announced in a press release today seems to refer to pre-registration warnings that the name about to be registered matches a trademark in the TMCH database.

Three weeks ago the TMCH said it had served 17,500 post-registration notices to trademark owners in just one month. I’m inferring that this number is now up to over 25,000.

Half a million appears to be an awfully big number, especially when compared to the number of active domain names in new gTLDs, which today stands at just over 347,000.

The TMCH said today that 95% of these notices led to the name not being registered, which it said shows the success of the Claims system.

It could also mean that it’s having the “chilling effect” predicted by opponents of the process, with legitimate registrants being scared away from non-infringing uses of registered marks.

There are plenty of dictionary words in the Clearinghouse — some that match legitimate brands, some which are simply attempts to game sunrise periods and obtain potentially valuable names.

There are currently over 28,000 marks in the TMCH database.

Van Gelder rebrands to Milathan

Kevin Murphy, March 5, 2014, Domain Services

Domain name consultant Stephane Van Gelder has changed the name of his company from Stephane Van Gelder Consulting to Milathan.

The name, Van Gelder tells us, is a “derivative of words in Hindi that mean ‘union’ or ‘meeting’ in the sense of bringing people together”.

Milathan’s tagline will be “Internet Intelligence – Strategic Advice”.

Van Gelder is co-founder of the French registrar Indom but left in 2012 after the sale of the company to Group NBT in 2010.

TMCH sends out 17,500 Trademark Claims notices in a month

Kevin Murphy, March 3, 2014, Domain Services

Wow.

Just four weeks after the first new gTLDs went into general availability, the Trademark Clearinghouse has already sent out over 17,500 Trademark Claims notices to trademark owners.

A Claims notice is a warning that is generated whenever somebody registers a domain name that exactly matches a trademark listed in the TMCH’s database.

The 17,500 number refers to post-registration notices sent to trademark owners, not pre-registration warnings delivered to would-be registrants.

Considering that there are somewhere in the region of 180,000 domain names in new gTLDs today, 17,500 represents a surprisingly high percentage of the market (high single figures).

Of course, not all of these will be due to cybersquatting attempts.

There are plenty of marks in the TMCH that are acronyms or dictionary words, either because they match a genuine brand or because somebody obtained trademarks on generic terms in order to game sunrise periods.

I’d count those as false positives, personally, but it’s impossible to know without access to TMCH data how many of the 17,500 alerts delivered to date can be accounted for in that way.

There are 26,802 marks in the TMCH, according to the company.

Fifth URDP provider goes live

Kevin Murphy, February 25, 2014, Domain Services

The Arab Center for Dispute Resolution has gone live as the fifth approved provider of UDRP dispute resolution services.

The Jordan-based outfit, which says it has offices in “all Arab countries”, says it “is uniquely positioned to address domain name issues pertinent to the region, while maintaining an international, multicultural disposition to case settlement.”

ACDR was approved by ICANN to administer UDRP cases last May, over the objections of the Internet Commerce Association and others, which want UDRP providers bound to ICANN contracts.

The organization does not appear to be competing hard on price. A single-domain case will set trademark owners back a minimum of $1,500 ($1,000 to the panel, $500 to ACDR), which is the same as market leader WIPO.

It’s actually a little more expensive than WIPO — a five-domain case will cost $1,700 compared to WIPO’s $1,500.

Track new gTLD growth on DI PRO

Kevin Murphy, February 6, 2014, Domain Services

DI PRO subscribers from today can track daily changes in new gTLD registration volumes.

The New gTLD Zone File Report is a simple, sortable table showing how each new gTLD has performed over the last 24 hours.

It’s the database I’ve been using for DI’s analysis of Donuts’ landrush numbers over the last week, but I’ve received a few requests to make the data available in a more structured way.

DI PRO

The data is also being incorporated into the next TLD Health Check update too, enabling longer-term views and interactive charts. More on that in due course.

DI PRO subscribers also receive access to the New gTLD Application Tracker, a calendar of crucial new gTLD launch dates, the New gTLD Collisions Database and many more useful services.