The US elections last month seem to be responsible for almost all of Verisign’s “top trending keywords” for November.
Donald Trump topped the company’s monthly list of fastest-growing strings in both .com and .net registries.
The four words of his idiotic campaign slogan “Make America great again” also appear individually in the .com top ten.
The votes to legalize medical and recreational marijuana use in several US states also seems to have inspired speculation in “pot”, “weed” and “cannabis” names, though more noticeably in .net.
In fact, the only string in the .com list not related to the US polls appears to be “near” (at least, I cannot find a connection).
The Verisign report includes words that achieve a certain level of growth month-to-month, factoring out strings that are commonly registered every month.
Here are the November lists.
Attentive DI readers will recall my journalistic meltdown last week, when I tried to figure out how the Chinese new gTLD .网址 managed to hit #2 in the new gTLD zone file size league table, apparently shifting a quarter of a million names in a week.
Well, after conversations with well-placed sources here at NamesCon in Las Vegas this week, I’ve figured it out.
.网址 is the Chinese for “.url”.
Its rapid growth — hitting 352,000 names today — can be attributed primarily to two factors.
First, these weren’t regular sales. The registry, Knet, which acquired original applicant Hu Yi last year, operates a keyword-based navigation system in China that predates Chinese-script gTLDs.
The company has simply grandfathered its keyword customers into .网址, I’m told.
The keyword system allows Latin-script domains too, which explains the large number of western brands that appear in the .网址 zone.
The second reason for the huge bump is the fact that many of the domains are essentially duplicates.
Chinese script has “traditional” and “simplified” characters, and in many cases domains in .网址 are simply the traditional equivalents of the simplified versions.
I understand that these duplicates may account for something like 30% of the zone file.
I’ve been unable to figure out definitively why the .网址 Whois database appeared to be so borked.
As I noted last week, every domain in the .网址 space had a Knet email address listed in its registrant, admin and technical contact fields.
It seems that Knet was substituting the original email addresses with its own when Whois queries were made over port 43, rather than via its own web site.
Its own Whois site (which doesn’t work for me) returned the genuine email addresses, but third-party Whois services such as DomainTools and ICANN returned the bogus data.
Whether Knet did this by accident or design, I don’t know, but it would have almost certainly have been a violation of its contractual commitments under its ICANN Registry Agreement.
However, as of today, third-party Whois tools are now returning the genuine Whois records, so whatever the reason was, it appears to be no longer an issue.