Latest news of the domain name industry

Recent Posts

New gTLDs top 100 as first dot-brands hit the root

Kevin Murphy, January 18, 2014, Domain Registries

There are now 107 new gTLDs live on the internet, following the latest batch of delegations.

Sixteen strings were entered into the DNS root today, including the first two dot-brands, which are Monash University’s .monash and CITIC Group’s .中信 (“.citic” in Chinese).

.CLUB Domains, Luxury Partners and Plan Bee became freshly-minted registries with the delegations of .club, .luxury and .build while legacy gTLD registry Afiias added .red, .pink and .shiksha to its roster.

Uniregistry added five new gTLDs to the two it had delegated in an earlier batch: .gift, .guitars, .link, .photo and .pics.

The delegation of .photo means the root now has its first singular/plural clash; Donuts already owns .photos.

Finally, I-REGISTRY added .rich to its .onl and China’s CNNIC had .网络 (“.network”) and .公司 (“.company”) delegated.

UPDATE (Jan 22): This post originally overlooked the delegation of .公司. It has been updated accordingly.

The plurals debate is over as ICANN delegates 17 more new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, December 18, 2013, Domain Policy

Another 17 new gTLDs were delegated to the DNS root last night, most of them belonging to Donuts.

Notably, Donuts now runs .photos and .careers, the first two delegated gTLDs where live applications also exist for the singular form of the string.

Uniregistry is currently contracted and awaiting the delegation of .photo, while dotCareer is already contracted for .career.

The debate about whether ICANN should permit singular and plural versions of the same string to coexist is now surely over.

Just a week ago, the Internet Association — a trade group comprising Amazon, Google, AOL, Yahoo, Salesforce, Zynga and many others — called on ICANN to rethink its policy of coexistence.

Calling the policy a “violation of user trust”, the Association said (pdf), “the existence of these domain names poses significant risks to the DNS, Internet companies, and their users”.

The Association noted that the Governmental Advisory Committee had strong concerns about singular and plural coexistence, due to the risk of consumer confusion.

String Confusion Objection panels have reached quite different conclusions about whether adding an “s” makes a string confusingly similar to another.

Personally, while I’m all for competition, I believe coexistence will lead to parasitical business models that will bring the domain name industry into further disrepute.

I know for a fact that some registries are considering the merits of tailgating their confusingly similar competitors.

But it seems ICANN’s decision was final.

There’s currently no mechanism for ICANN to un-approve a gTLD once it’s been delegated — failing serious wrongdoing by the registry — so it’s difficult to see how it could now decide that plural and singular forms of the same string should be mutually exclusive.

While I’m sure the Internet Association and others will carry on complaining, I think they’re now talking to deaf ears.

There were 17 new gTLDs delegated yesterday in total, 15 of which were in Donuts portfolio.

Donuts has also added the following to its portfolio: .cab, .camp, .academy, .center, .company, .computer, .domains, .limo, .management, .recipes, .shoes, .systems and .viajes (Spanish for “travel”).

CONAC, the China Organizational Name Administration Center had .政务 (“government”) and .公益 (“public interest”) delegated.

GAC kills off two more new gTLD bids

Kevin Murphy, December 11, 2013, Domain Registries

A new gTLD applicant has withdrawn two of its Chinese-language applications after failing to secure the necessary government support.

Guangzhou YU Wei Information Technology Co withdrew its applications for .深圳 (.shenzhen) and .广州 (.guangzhou).

Both are the names of very large cities in southern China.

The ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee had previously issued official Advice against both bids.

The applicant had failed to get a passing score on its Initial Evaluation earlier this year, with ICANN ruling that governmental “support or non-objection was either not provided or did not meet the criteria”.

To get a geographic gTLD, you need to prove local government support, something which the applicant seems to have been unable to provide during Extended Evaluation.

Weirdly, Guangzhou YU Wei has previously passed EE for .佛山 (.foshan) and IE for .广东 (.guangdong), which are both also Chinese geographic names.

Let’s Learn IDNs — .中文网 (Chinese Website)

Kevin Murphy, December 2, 2013, Domain Registries

Today, the belated first in an irregular series of articles devoted to making new IDN gTLDs more recognizable to the majority of DI readers who use the Latin alphabet in their native tongue.

Let’s Learn IDNs, as I said in my introduction to the series, won’t teach you Greek, but it will hopefully make it easier to instinctively know what a Greek IDN means when you see it.

I’m hoping this will prove very useful for everyone with an interest in the new gTLD program, bringing meaning to what otherwise would be an incomprehensible string of gibberish.

For the first lesson, we’re looking at TLD Registry‘s .中文网, which I guarantee after today you’ll never forget.

U-Label
.中文网

A-Label
.xn--fiq228c5hs

Translation
“.chinesewebsite”

Script
Chinese (Simplified)

Language(s)
Chinese. According to the registry, this includes “Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka and over 250 other Chinese dialects.”

Transliteration
Zhōng Wén Wǎng

Pronunciation
Jong (rhymes with long)
When (as in “when are you arriving”)
Wong (rhymes with long)

How to Learn this IDN

In Chinese, each character generally represents a syllable and will often also have meaning as a word in its own right, which is the case with the three characters of .中文网.

Helpfully, these characters are also pictograms that pretty much explain themselves.

(Zhōng) is a line going through the middle of a box. It means “middle”. It’s also the first character of the Chinese word for “China” — 中国, which literally means “Middle Kingdom”.

(Wén) looks like a little writing desk with a quill on top. It means “language”. Combine it with 中 to get 中文, which means “Chinese Language”.

(Wǎng) looks like a net (or maybe a cobweb). It’s the Simplified Chinese word for “net”, which the Chinese also use to refer to the internet or web.

“Altogether, 中文网 as a gTLD string, is two words that make one common Chinese language expression: Chinese-language (中文) website (网),” said TLD Registry’s head of comms Simon Cousins.

Dead easy, right?

Certainly, since Cousins first explained this to me a few months ago, I’ve never failed to recognize .中文网 whenever I’ve seen it.

Phishing domains double in 2013

Kevin Murphy, September 20, 2013, Domain Tech

The number of domain names registered for phishing attacks doubled in the first half of the year, according to the latest data from the Anti-Phishing Working Group.

The APWG identified 53,685 phishing domains, of which 12,173 are believed to have been registered by phishers. The remainder belonged to compromised web servers.

This 12,173 number — up from 5,835 in the year-ago period — is the important one for the domain name industry, as it is there that registries and registrars have the ability to make a difference.

“The increase is due to a sudden uptick in domain registrations by Chinese phishers,” the APWG said in its Domain Name Use and Trends 1H2013 report (pdf). Chinese targets accounted for 8,240 (68%) of the registered domains.

This works out to about 66 maliciously registered domains per day on average, or less than half a percent of the total number of domains registered across all TLDs daily.

According to the APWG, the number of phishing domains that actually contain a brand or a variation of a brand is smaller still, at 1,244. That’s flat on the second half of 2012.

It works out to about seven new trademark-infringing phishing domain names per day that a brand owner somewhere in the world (though probably China) has to deal with.

APWG reiterated what it has said in previous reports:

most maliciously registered domain names offered nothing to confuse a potential victim. Placing brand names or variations thereof in the domain name itself is not a favored tactic, since brand owners are proactively scanning Internet zone files for their brand names. As we have observed in the past, the domain name itself usually does not matter to phishers, and a domain name of any meaning, or no meaning at all, in any TLD, will usually do. Instead, phishers often place brand names in subdomains or subdirectories.