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Spammy .loan makes Alibaba fastest-growing and fastest-shrinking registrar in June

Kevin Murphy, October 5, 2018, Domain Registrars

Chinese registrar Alibaba was both the fastest-growing and fastest-shrinking registrar in June, purely due to its dalliance with hundreds of thousands of cheap .loan domain names.
Stats compiled by DI from the latest monthly registry reports show that Alibaba’s Singapore-based registrar — which has only been active for a year — grew its domains under management by 720,669 in June, almost four times as many as second-placed NameCheap.
The huge increase was due to Alibaba’s DUM in .loan doubling in June, going from from 621,851 to 1,274,532. Another 50,000 extra domains came from .win.
Both .loan and .win are run by registry GRS Domains, the company that replaced Famous Four Media as manager of the Domain Venture Partners gTLD portfolio.
According to SpamHaus, .loan has a “badness” of just shy of 90%, based on a sample size of 45,000 observed domains. SpamHaus has .win at almost 39% bad.
GRS has promised to turn its portfolio around and cut off its deep-discounting promotions effective August 20. The June figures reflect a time when discounts were still in place.
The Singapore Alibaba had DUM of 1,771,730 at the end of June.
At the bottom end of the June league table was a second Alibaba accrediation, Beijing-based Alibaba Cloud Computing (aka HiChina or net.cn), which had a net DUM loss of 266,411, after seeing 345,268 deletes in .loan (along with 45,000 deletes in .xyz and 35,000 in .xin).
The second biggest loser was AlpNames, which is owned by the same people as Famous Four, which deleted over 114,000 names in the month. The vast majority of these names were in FFM/GRS gTLDs, including .loan.
The main, earliest Alibaba accreditation, Alibaba Cloud Computing (Beijing), which has zero exposure to new gTLDs, grew by 69,794 domains to end June as the seventh fastest-growing registrar with DUM of 7,672,594.
As of a couple weeks ago, Alibaba has a fourth ICANN accreditation, Alibaba Cloud US LLC, but that obviously does not figure into the June numbers.
Here’s the top 10 registrars for June by DUM growth:
[table “52” not found /]

And the bottom 10:
[table “53” not found /]

You may notice that in both tables the net change column is not equal to the sum of adds and net transfers minus deletes. This is because, per ICANN contract, domains still in their five-day Add Grace Period are counted in DUM but not in adds, so many adds slip over into the following month.

.CLUB sees spam double after China promotion

Kevin Murphy, September 11, 2018, Domain Registries

.CLUB Domains has seen the amount of spam in .club double a month after seeing a huge registration spike prompted by a deep discount deal.
The registry saw its domains under management go up by about 200,000 names over a few days in early August, largely as a result of a promotion at Chinese registrar AliBaba.
AliBaba sold .club domains for CNY 3 ($0.44) during the promotion, helping it overtake GoDaddy as the top .club registrar.
At that time, spam tracker SpamHaus was reporting that 17.9% of the .club domains it was seeing in the wild were being used in spam.
SpamHaus statToday, that number is 35.4%, almost double the August 7 level. SpamHaus does not publish the actual number of spammy domains for .club; that honor is only bestowed upon the top 10 “bad” TLDs.
Correlation does not equal causation, of course. There could be factors other than the AliBaba promotion that contributed to the increase, but I believe there’s probably a link here.
.CLUB chief marketing officer Jeff Sass told DI:

When registrars have domains “on sale”, there is always the chance that low-cost domains will be attractive to abusers. We monitor abuse proactively, and respond promptly to complaints, as well as monitor our registrar partners collectively and individually.

It’s almost certainly unfair of me to single out fluctuations in .club here, rather than take a comparative look at multiple TLDs. There are certainly many worse TLDs per SpamHaus’ statistics — .men leads among the gTLDs, with 87.2% spam.
But, given the industry truism that cheaper domains leads to more abuse, I think such a large increase correlating with such a successful promotion is a useful data point.