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Afnic gets renewed for .fr

Kevin Murphy, October 4, 2021, Domain Registries

Incumbent .fr registry Afnic has been reinstated for another five years by the French government.

The company said its contract has been re-upped for a further period starting July 1 next year, following an open call for rival bidders that opened in May.

Between now and then, the precise terms of the deal will be worked out. The government appears to want improved security and accountability at the ccTLD.

Afnic has been running .fr, which has been estimated as a €76 million contract, since 1997.

.fr has about 3.8 million domains under management, making it a the eighth-largest ccTLD by volume.

France gets more domain takedown powers

Kevin Murphy, September 13, 2021, Domain Registries

Afnic, the French ccTLD registry, has updated its policies to make it easier for the government to take down .fr domain names, and has banned names that could be used for government-related phishing.

The company has incorporated provisions of a 2020 national law that allows the General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control to instruct the registry to suspend domains believed to be used in fraud.

It sounds similar to the set-up in the neighboring UK, where consumer protection agencies have a deal with Nominet to take down domains used for things like counterfeiting and piracy.

Afnic has also banned all domains where the second-level string ends in “-gouv”.

In France, official government domains end in, but fraudsters could register the similar-looking to trick citizens into thinking they were visiting a legit government web site. Not any more.

.fr up for grabs again

The French government has opened up a call for expressions of interest from registries who fancy a bash at running .fr, the local ccTLD.

A brief procurement document was published last month. The deadline for responses is June 30.

.fr, along with several other ccTLDs representing French overseas territories, has been managed by AFNIC since 1997.

It came under government oversight a decade later, with the contract now coming up for renewal every five years. The current contract began in April 2017 and will end next year.

The new procurement document is light on detail, but it seems to me that to dislodge the incumbent would be an uphill battle.

.fr has over 3.7 million domains under management, making it one of the largest TLDs in the world.

The government estimates the value of the deal at €76 million.

Afnic appoints Pierre Bonis new CEO

Kevin Murphy, September 1, 2017, Domain Registries

French ccTLD registry Afnic has named Pierre Bonis its new CEO.
Bonis officially started his new job today, but he’s been in the role on an interim basis since May 1, when he replaced Mathieu Weill.
Weill had abruptly quit after 12 years at Afnic in order to join the Digital Economy Department of the French government’s Directorate-General for Enterprise.
Bonis was Weill’s deputy for five years, so being kicked up the ladder by the Afnic board of trustees was perhaps not unexpected.

Afnic CEO quits, heads to new mystery job

Kevin Murphy, April 25, 2017, Domain Registries

Afnic CEO Mathieu Weill has abruptly quit the French domain registry and is heading to a new job elsewhere.
The .fr registry said Weill will be replaced on an interim basis by his deputy, Pierre Bonis, from May 1.
A formal search for a permanent replacement will begin “in the coming weeks”, Afnic said.
Weill has been with the company, which also manages the ccTLDs for French overseas territories, since 2005.
He oversaw the growth of .fr from 300,000 names to 3 million in that time, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He told DI that he has a new job lined up with a different company, but that he’s unable to disclose his new role yet.

Afnic working with 16 gTLD applicants in France

Sixteen French new top-level domain applicants have selected .fr manager Afnic to provide the back-end registry for their applications, according to the company.
The applicants are from “local public authorities, companies and associations”, Afnic said in a press release. An application for .paris is thought to be among them.
The announcement puts Afnic in the customer-win lead in terms of European ccTLD operators branching out into the gTLD back-end market.
Austria’s is involved with 11 applications, while .uk’s Nominet is involved with seven.

European ccTLDs liberalize policies

Kevin Murphy, November 30, 2011, Domain Registries

Afnic, the .fr registry, will adopt new policies next week enabling organizations from outside of France to register domain names for the first time.
Under the rule change, entities in European Union countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, will qualify for .fr names.
The new policy (pdf), which comes into effect December 6, also applies to .re, the ccTLD for the French terrirtory Réunion, which Afnic also manages.
The registry is also discontinuing a handful of second-level domains which were previously available for third-level registration by the public.
Existing domains in,,,, and will continue to function, but Afnic will no longer accept new registrations in these extensions.
Elsewhere in Europe, the Norwegian registry Norid liberalized its registration policies this morning, raising its ownership cap from 20 to 100 domain names per registrant.
Evidently anticipating a possible increase in cybersquatting disputes as a result, Norid has said it has also instituted a loser pays model for its dispute resolution process.

Google Translate turns ccTLDs into .com

Kevin Murphy, May 12, 2010, Domain Tech

I’ve found Google Translate an invaluable tool for researching overseas news stories, but it’s a pain in the neck for reading about domain names in foreign languages.
The service seems to have developed the habit of turning all freestanding ccTLDs into “.com”.
For an example, head over to Norid and turn on Norwegian-to-English translation (or, if you don’t have the Google Toolbar, use Google Translate on the web).
Every instance of “.no”, Norway’s country-code domain, is translated into a .com, more specifically “. Com”.
Ditto for German. Translate this story about Denic’s troubles today to see all instances of “.de” translated into “. Com”.
However, the front page of Afnic sees .fr translated to “. Com”, leaving .re, for the Reuinion Islands, untouched.
I should point out that the service leaves domain names alone, so is still But you’ve still got to wonder what Google’s designers were thinking.