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New DNA social media site highlights “in the wild” domains

Kevin Murphy, June 18, 2015, Domain Services

The Domain Name Association has launched a new web site to show off domains, primarily new gTLD names, that have been spotted “in the wild”. points to a Tumblr blog where members and others can share, for example, photos of billboards or promotional videos that prominently feature new domains.
“Tumblr offers the DNA a very efficient and flexible platform that will help the DNA social media team and you find and post more domains, rather on non-productive management tasks,” the DNA told members.
The site currently has a few dozen posts, such as a billboard and a red carpet video.
Most listed domains are in 2012-round new gTLDs, but there’s a .info, a .us and a .co in there too. I don’t see any .com names.
The submission process appears to be open to everyone, but submissions are moderated by the DNA’s social media people.

New gTLD trade group launches

A group of new gTLD registries have got together to form the TLD Operator Community, a new “think tank” devoted to the commercial aspects of running new TLDs.
According to its web site:

The TLD Operator Community is designed to provide all new TLD applicants with an opportunity to share their experiences, learn from each other and focus on the commercial realities of operating a TLD – away from the confines of ICANN, policy or technical discussions.

The group appears to be coordinated right now by ARI Registry Services.
The distinction between the TLD Operator Community and the Domain Name Association appears to be that the DNA has more of a focus on outreach and education beyond the industry.
The new group will hold an introductory webinar June 30 (or July 1, depending on your time zone) featuring speakers from Donuts, Vox Populi, dotBerlin, Barclays and others.

Verisign plans TLD standards group

Kevin Murphy, September 22, 2014, Domain Tech

Verisign is trying to form a new industry standards-setting association for domain name registries and registrars.
To be called the Registration Operations AssociationTM (yes, according to its web site it is apparently already trademarked), Verisign wants potential members of the group to meet in October to figure out whether such an association is needed and what its remit would be.
But the Domain Name Association apparently has other ideas, suggesting in a recent blog post that the DNA would be the best place for these kinds of technical discussions to take place.
In the second of a series of three blog posts revealing the ROA plan, Verisign senior director Scott Hollenbeck said:

The primary purpose of an association would be to facilitate communication and technical coordination among implementers and operators of the EPP protocol and its current extensions to address interoperability and efficiency obstacles.

EPP is the Extensible Provisioning Protocol used by registrars to transact with all gTLD and many ccTLD registries. It’s an IETF standard written by Hollenbeck over a decade ago.
One of the problems with it is that it is “extensible” by design, so every time a registry extends it to deal with a peculiarity of a particular TLD, partner registrars have to code new connectors.
In a world of hundreds of new gTLDs, that becomes burdensome, Hollenbeck explained in his posts.
An industry association such as the formative ROA could help registries with common requirements standardize on a single EPP extension, streamlining interoperability.
That would be good for new gTLDs.
It’s no secret that many registrars are struggling to keep up with new gTLD launches while providing a good customer experience, as Andrew Allemann pointed out last week.
The need for cooperation seems plain; the question now is what is the correct forum.
While Verisign is pushing for a new group, the DNA reckons the task could be best-performed under its own umbrella.
Executive director Kurt Pritz blogged:

Given its multi-functional and global diversity, the DNA will be an effective place to coordinate discussion of these issues and to involve broader domain name industry involvement.

Verisign isn’t a DNA member. In fact, it appears to be the only significant back-end registry provider in the western world not to have purchased a membership.
But Pritz said in his post that technical discussions would not be limited to DNA members only — anyone would be able to participate without coughing up the $5,000 to $50,000 a year the group charges:

Recognizing that industry-wide issues are… well … industry wide, the DNA Board determined that this work must include those inside and outside the DNA, welcoming all domain name industry members. Scott and others from Verisign and other firms are invited regardless of whether they join the DNA.

So is the industry going to have to deal with two rival standards-setting groups?
In the many years I was a general Silicon Valley tech reporter, I must have written scores of articles about new technologies spurring the creation of competing “standards” organizations.
Usually, this involved pitting an incumbent monopolist such as Microsoft against a coalition of smaller rivals.
It makes for great headlines, but I’m not sure the domain name industry is big enough to support or require multiple groups tackling the same problems.
With resource-strapped registries and registrars already struggling to make new gTLDs work in any meaningful way, I doubt their geeks would appreciate duplicating their efforts.
I don’t know whether the DNA or ROA would be the best venue for the work, but I strongly suspect the work itself, which almost certainly needs to be done, only needs to be done once.
Verisign wants interested parties to meet in Los Angeles on October 16, just as the ICANN meeting there concludes. The meeting may also be webcast for those unable to attend in person.

DNA has new plan for gTLD auctions: give us your money!

The Domain Name Association is hoping to raise funds for marketing by hosting private new gTLD auctions, according to executive director Kurt Pritz.
Chair Adrian Kinderis made the pitch at a meeting of the New TLD Applicants Group today.
The DNA is hoping to tempt applicants that are reluctant to participate in existing private auction schemes because they don’t want their money going to competitors.
Instead, the winning bid in an auction managed by the DNA would go straight into the DNA’s marketing and operations budget, to the potential benefit of the whole new gTLD industry.
Participating applicants would get to choose how the money would be split been marketing and the general DNA kitty.
The organization hasn’t picked an auction provider yet, and no applicants are yet committed to the plan, Pritz said.

Pritz to head DNA trade group

Kevin Murphy, November 17, 2013, Domain Services

Former ICANN chief strategy officer Kurt Pritz has just been named interim executive director of the Domain Name Association, the trade group formed this year to promote the domain industry.
Pritz will “apply his track record in teambuilding and bringing together diverse skillsets to the knowledgeable and talented members of the Domain Name Industry” the group said.
He will participate in a DNA session later this week here in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where ICANN is currently holding its 48th public meeting.
If you’re in BA, the two-hour session will be held from 3pm on Wednesday at the Alvear ART Hotel, Suipacha 1036.
The DNA opened its doors for membership last month, and currently counts the likes of Google, Donuts, Demand Media and Go Daddy among its top-paying members.

Domain Name Association opens membership

Kevin Murphy, October 11, 2013, Domain Services

The new Domain Name Association, which hopes to represent the interests of the domain name industry as a whole, has opened its doors to new members.
The DNA formed in January, named an interim board in April, and has spent the last several months conducting outreach and establishing its corporate structure, goals and membership rules.
Membership prices range from $1,000 to $50,000, with the make-up of the final board (estimated to be fewer than 20 directors) determined by which companies pay for the more expensive membership tiers.
Paying $50,000 will guarantee you a seat on the board, for example, while paying $5,000 makes your company eligible for, but not guaranteed, one of two reserved seats.
Speaking at the Digital Marketing & gTLD Strategy Congress in London two weeks ago, interim DNA chair Adrian Kinderis made no bones about the fact that the DNA is pay-to-play; it’s “not a democracy”.
It’s a trade group in the usual sense, in other words, borrowing nothing from ICANN’s multistakeholder model.
That said, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade encouraged its creation and ICANN seems to generally support its goal.
That goal is to represent the entire domain name industry — registrars, registries, resellers, etc. Its mission statement is pretty succinct:

Promote the interest of the domain name industry by advocating the use, adoption, and expansion of domain names as the primary tool for users to navigate the Internet.

Promoting new gTLDs is its first priority.
The DNA operates two web sites: for its members and for internet end users.