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GlobalBlock blocking 2.5 million domains

Kevin Murphy, March 15, 2024, Domain Services

GoDaddy-led brand protection project GlobalBlock says it is already blocking over 2.5 million domains, just a couple of weeks after its formal launch.

The GlobalBlock web site reports that 2,569,815 domains are currently being blocked across 559 extensions (a mix of ccTLDs, gTLDs, third-level domains and blockchain names), for an average of just under 4,600 per extension.

It’s difficult to extrapolate much useful information about rapid market demand for the service from this one number, for a variety of reasons.

First, the more-expensive GlobalBlock+ service can block well north of 10,000 domains, mostly homographic variants of a trademark, for a single fee, which could mean as few as just a couple hundred customers have signed up so far at the most pessimistic interpretation.

Second, GlobalBlock offered pricing incentives to existing customers of GoDaddy’s AdultBlock and Identity Digital’s Domain Protected Marks List, both of which are over a decade old, in the months-long run-up to launch.

The vanilla, single-brand GlobalBlock service retails for about $6,000 per year, with GlobalBlock+ going for closer to $9,000.

GoDaddy’s GlobalBlock supports blockchain names

Kevin Murphy, February 29, 2024, Domain Services

GoDaddy’s Brand Safety Alliance has finally released the list of TLDs supported by its new GlobalBlock brand protection service, and it’s notable for including a couple dozen extensions that aren’t real TLDs at all.

Formally announcing its launch today, the company said GlobalBlock will initially allow trademark owners and others to block their marks and variants in about 600 “extensions” and published the list on its web site.

The term “extension”, as opposed to “TLD”, is important, as the headline number seems to count zones where names are registerable at the third level — so .bar.pro and .cpa.pro and .com.cx and .net.cx, for examples, are individually counted.

I count a total of 457 TLDs on the currently published list, of which 27 are distinct ccTLDs.

But I also about 20 strings that aren’t real TLDs. As well as pseudo-gTLD .it.com, a lot of supported extensions appear to on blockchain naming systems such as Unstoppable Domains (proving, once again, that Unstoppable chose entirely the wrong brand for its service).

The blockchain TLDs currently listed are: .altimist, .anime, .binanceus, .bitcoin, .blockchain, .crypto, .dao, .go, .hi, .klever, .kresus, .manga, .nft, .polygon, .pudgy, .unstoppable, .wallet, .x and .zil.

About 270 of the real gTLDs on the list belong to Identity Digital, with GoDaddy Registry accounting for about 35.

Google Registry has 28 gTLDs on the list, seven of which aren’t even publicly available yet, such as .search and .map. This in either incredibly cheeky — selling blocks in TLDs in which cybersquatting is literally impossible — or a sign that Google plans to release more of its dormant gTLD inventory soon.

Other registries with multi-TLD representation on the list include Global Registry Services, GMO Registry, Internet Naming Co, ZACR and Nominet (though, while .wales and .cymru are currently listed, .uk is not).

Notable by their absence are portfolio registries Radix, XYZ and ShortDot.

UPDATE: This story was updated several hours after publication to remove the reference to Handshake. Unstoppable Domains is the only blockchain naming system to so far be in the GlobalBlock ecosystem.

Dueling domain blocking services to launch at ICANN 79

Kevin Murphy, February 26, 2024, Domain Services

Norwegian startup NameBlock is set to launch its suite of brand protection and domain security services later this week, with a somewhat different take on the market to its primary competitor.

Recently appointed CEO Pinky Brand tells me the company plans to formally launch March 1, the day before the ICANN 79 public meeting begins in Puerto Rico.

The company is coming out with two services to begin with — BrandLock, which allows trademark owners to block their marks across multiple TLDs, and AbuseShield, which blocks hundreds of variant domains that are considered at the most risk of abuse.

BrandLock is perhaps most directly comparable to the DPML service offered by Identity Digital, GoDaddy’s AdultBlock, and the multi-registry GlobalBlock service that is also due to formally launch in San Juan next week.

The service requires the buyer to own a verified trademark, and the exact match of that mark will be blocked over a multitude of ccTLDs and gTLDs. Brand said reseller partners may choose to bundle different TLDs thematically or offer them as one-offs.

He said he expects it to retail for $40 to $50 per domain per year, so presumably makes the most sense for the more-expensive TLDs or for buyers who have other reasons to want a block rather than a defensive registration.

The value proposition seems a lot clearer for AbuseShield, which is notable for not requiring a trademark to get protection — it’s more of a security pitch than a brand-protection story.

Under AbuseShield, when a registrant buys a name in a participating TLD, they will be given the option to pay to block a couple hundred potentially abusive variant domains in that same TLD, for a far lower cost than they’d pay to defensively register them individually.

Using data from NameBlock’s majority shareholder iQ Global, the company identifies homographic variants and common “abuse prefixes” — strings such as “login” and “https” — to compile a list of domains to be blocked. A feature called VariantCatcher will automatically block already-registered risky domains at the registry when they expire, for no extra cost.

“We want to make the abuse prevention market much, much wider than it has been before,” Brand said. “You’d pay $89 to $129 a year the block the 100 to 250 variations that we know are most likely to be used by someone to do you harm.”

At first, the service will be available through NameBlock resellers, currently those registrars focused on corporate services, but the company plans to make an API available in a few months that will let retail registrars offer the service as an up-sell in their storefront.

At launch, NameBlock has around 15 resellers, such as MarkMonitor, CSC, 101Domain, Encirca and Gandi, Brand said. Registries for about a dozen TLDs will be on board, but Brand said he expects this to grow to 40 to 50 in a couple months.

CoCCA which makes registry software used by 57 ccTLDs, has already announced its support for NameBlock’s services.

Elsewhere at ICANN 79, you’ll find the Brand Safety Alliance, a GoDaddy-led initiative purveying the new GlobalBlock service, which is more of brand-protection play

As I’ve previously blogged, because portfolio registries GoDaddy and Identity Digital are involved, GlobalBlock can provide blocking coverage in hundreds of TLDs — over 560 at the current count — with prices starting at about $6,000 a year retail.

While GlobalBlock and NameBlock are certainly operating in the same space, there appears to be enough variation between the two services that the market might be able to support both.

First GlobalBlock prices revealed — they ain’t cheap

Kevin Murphy, February 15, 2024, Domain Services

Trademarks owners, organizations and celebrities could find themselves paying the thick end of ten grand for the “peace of mind” offered by the new GoDaddy-led GlobalBlock trademark protection service.

101domain, which often has some of the least-expensive pricing, has become the first registrar to publish its prices for the domain-blocking service, which entered beta this week.

The base GlobalBlock service, which offers single-string blocking in 560 gTLDs and ccTLDs, is going for $5,999 per year, according to the 101domain storefront. The GlobalBlock+ version, which covers potentially tens of thousands of variants and typos, starts at $8,999 a year.

None of the other 20 approved GlobalBlock resellers I checked are currently publishing prices.

Some simple division shows us that the basic service works out to roughly $10.71 per domain per year — a bit more than Verisign will charge for a wholesale .com when its prices go up later this year — but the average per-domain cost should go down as more registries sign up to GlobalBlock.

With the GlobalBlock+ service offering to block 50,000 domains or more, the per-domain price obviously shrinks to pennies.

GlobalBlock is offered by the Brand Safety Alliance, a GoDaddy initiative, but it has support from the likes of Identity Digital, which has hundreds of gTLDs in its stable. Dozens of gTLD registry operators have recently asked ICANN’s permission to offer GlobalBlock and rival offering NameBlock.

The BSA has previously said it expects to launch with over 650 TLDs on board. A calculator on its web site suggests 511 are currently operational, but it has not yet named the participating TLDs.

GoDaddy project unveils brand-blocking calculator

Kevin Murphy, February 12, 2024, Domain Services

GlobalBlock, an ambitious brand-protection initiative led by GoDaddy, has revealed a blocking calculator on its web site, showing potential clients how many thousands of domains they can expect to block for a single annual fee.

The calculator takes the user’s trademark as input (you can enter any string) and tells them how many domains are eligible to be blocked with the GlobalBlock service, which includes exact-match names in hundreds of TLDs, and GlobalBlock+, which includes variants.

The first value seems to top out at 511 right now, suggesting there are currently 511 TLDs live in the system.

The GlobalBlock+ result seems to depend to a large extent on how many potentially confusing homographs (such as ASCII letters that look like Cyrillic or Greek letters) your trademark contains. The string “facebook” shows 58,765 blocks, for example, while “google” returns 63,875.

GlobalBlock, a service of the GoDaddy-owned Brand Safety Alliance, had previously said it expects to launch this week with over 650 supported TLDs. Several gTLD registries are still waiting for ICANN approval to participate via the Registry Service Evaluation Process.

What’s not currently available is pricing. GlobalBlock is selling via “agents”, usually registrars, and while some registrars have already started marketing the service with press releases or blog posts, nobody seems to have put a dollar value on the service yet.

GoDaddy service to let you block domains in over 650 TLDs

Kevin Murphy, December 11, 2023, Domain Services

GlobalBlock, a domain blocking service introduced to little fanfare by GoDaddy Registry and Identity Digital in June, is planning to launch next month with support from over 650 gTLDs and ccTLDs.

Built on the successes of GoDaddy’s AdultBlock and Identity Digital’s DPML, the new service was supposed to launch last week under the banner of the Brand Safety Alliance, but was delayed until January.

GlobalBlock enables trademark owners to pay one fee to block their marks across all participating TLDs, saving money on defensive registrations. Company names and celebrity names are also covered. A premium version, GlobalBlock+ also covers typos and IDN homographs.

It’s not just gTLD registries that have signed up. Nominet is participating, as is CoCCA. BSA is promising some pretty obscure ccTLDs will be part of the service.

In what appears to be a game-changing innovation, a feature of the service called Priority Autocatch seems set to stop cybersquatters and phishers from drop-catching domains that match strings protected by the block list.

Say you’re Facebook and you see some scumbag has registered fac├ębook.ninja, if you’re subscribed to GlobalBlock+, the AutoCatch feature will see the domain removed from the available pool when it expires, rather than dropping so a second ne’er-do-well can register it.

GlobalBlock appears to be the reason no fewer than 35 registries covering over 300 gTLDs have recently asked ICANN for permission to launch a “Label Blocking Service” via the Registry Service Evaluation Process.

There’s money in blocking services. GoDaddy is making millions from AdultBlock. Some research I’ve been doing recently suggests some registries might be making more from blocks and defensive registrations than they are from regular domain sales.

For registries with small TLD portfolios, blocking services generally offer a poor value proposition. Services like DPML, which covers hundreds of TLDs, or AdultBlock, which covers all the porny ones, have been successful.

The BSA is offering brand owners a lot of carrots to get them to sign up early.

First, if you already have an AdultBlock or DPML subscription, your marks are already pre-validated. GoDaddy is also offering a 50% discount on AdultBlock until January 30; AdultBlock and DPML subscribers get 10% off GlobalBlock until April 30.

BSA says that pricing for GlobalBlock and the initial list of TLDs will be released in early January. Wholesale pricing will go up probably every six months as new TLDs are added, but customers will only pay the increased price upon renewal while benefiting from the added blocks.

General availability pricing begins February 15.