China’s April batch of approved TLDs has been released, featuring three domains from Neustar and Uniregistry.
Neustar had its longstanding, 2000-round .biz pass regulatory scrutiny, while Uniregistry’s .link and .auto have also been approved.
While .auto is managed by Cars Registry, a joint venture with XYZ.com, its stablemates .car and .cars do not appear to have yet been approved.
The rubberstamping was made by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which administers the country’s stringent regulatory framework.
Clearance means that customers of Chinese registrars will actually be able to deploy and use the names they buy.
The registries have also agreed to strict takedown policies for Chinese registrants.
While MIIT appears to be announcing newly approved TLDs on a monthly basis, it’s a slow drip-feed. I believe there are still fewer than 20 Latin-script gTLDs currently cleared for use in China.
ICANN has released the results of a huge survey focusing on awareness and trust in gTLDs new and old.
The headline number is 46% — that’s the how many of the 6,144 international survey respondents said they were aware of new gTLDs.
The respondents were asked this question:
As you may or may not know, new domain name extensions are becoming available all the time. These new extensions are called new gTLDs.
Which of the following new gTLDs, if any, have you heard of? Please select all that apply.
They were presented with a list comprising .email, .photography, .link, .guru, .realtor, .club and .xyz. These were the biggest seven Latin-script new gTLDs when the survey was developed in January.
Tellingly, .email and .link stole the show, with 28% and 24% awareness respectively. The other five options ranged from 13% for .club to 5% for .xyz.
I think the numbers were influenced by some respondents not quite understanding the question. People are familiar with email and with links as internet concepts, which may have swayed the results.
Akram Atallah, president of ICANN’s Global Domains Division, acknowledged this potential problem in ICANN’s announcement last night, saying:
The survey found that domains with an implied purpose and functional associations, such as .EMAIL, were most often recalled by Internet users. While some of the drivers may be linked to familiarity and general association versus awareness of the extension, we believe it’s a signal that people are receptive to the names.
It’s also notable that, almost 15 years after launch, .biz and .info only have 50% awareness, according to the survey. For .mobi. .pro, .tel and .asia, all released between 2004 and 2008, the awareness was at 37%.
It’s not impossible that new 2012 round — which has generated thousands of headlines — has raised more awareness of new gTLDs.
The survey found that 38% of internet users who were aware of new gTLDs have visited a .email web site in the last year. The number was 28% for .link.
The survey also found that 52% of respondents would consider using a new gTLD if they were setting up a web site in the next six months. The number ranged from 40% for .email to 22% for .xyz.
Among the plethora of other findings, the survey discovered that only 92% of internet users have heard of .com.
The entire survey, carried out by Nielsen, can be found here.
UPDATE: This article was substantially revised a few hours after publication to remove references to the numbers being “nonsense”. This was due to my misreading of the survey questionnaire. My apologies for the confusion.
The total number of new gTLD domains broke through half a million for the first time yesterday, but it seems to be due to Frank Schilling obtaining tens of thousands of names in his own TLDs.
Uniregistry’s .link became the fifth-largest new gTLD, moving almost 20,000 names, but it appears that the vast majority are registered to a company affiliated with CEO Schilling.
Uniregistry’s other gTLDs — .tattoo, .sexy, .pics, .photo and .gift — all saw huge jumps too, apparently for the same reason.
This morning’s .link zone files show a pop of 19,945 names, to a total of 20,050.
That would be the third-best GA-day performance, after .guru and .berlin, of any new gTLD to date, but it seems the vast majority are actually premium names acquired by a Uniregistry affiliate.
Of those new .link names, 18,272 (91%) are being parked on internettraffic.com, another Schilling company.
I took a random sampling and found them all registered to North Sound Names, a company based on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, which is where Schilling lives.
Schilling said this on Twitter yesterday:
— Frank Schilling (@Frank_Schilling) April 15, 2014
Premium names are of course those that were reserved by the registry. So either a third-party has bought them wholesale, or Uniregistry has simply shifted them over to an affiliated company.
I’ve asked Schilling to confirm that North Sound Names is also his company and will update this post with his answer.
Testing some domains in Uniregistry’s other gTLDs, I found a similar pattern — big spike, mostly parked at internettraffic.com, North Sound Names in a sampling of the Whois.
Here’s a screenshot of today’s best-performing new gTLDs from DI PRO (click to enlarge):
Overall, six of Uniregistry’s new gTLDs grew by a total of 50,735 domains today — 95% of the 53,147 industry total — and internettraffic.com’s name servers are responsible for 37,668 new names.
This brings the total number of “registered” domains to 538,093, though I would suggest that this metric may no longer be a decent measurement of actual end user interest in new gTLD domains.