NameStarter.com :: domaining business blog // Domaining for Domainers

Archive for the ‘afilias’ Category

5 Reasons for Brands to Get Their Own New TLD

December 9, 2010afilias, Domaining, Domainnamewire, new tld, UncategorizedComments Off on 5 Reasons for Brands to Get Their Own New TLD

By Roland LaPlante

[Roland LaPlante is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Afilias, a domain name registry services and DNS provider. In this guest article he gives five reasons why a brand might want to get its own top level domain name.]

This week at the 39th international ICANN meeting in Cartagena, the ICANN Board is expected to make a decision on the final rules for applicants of new top-level domains (new TLDs). The opportunities that new TLDs can create to enhance an online marketing strategy are important considerations as corporations and marketers now face a timeline in which they must cement the details of their proposal.

New TLDs shouldn’t just be thought of as something specific to generic category names that Internet users will want to register millions of names in. Instead, here are 5 reasons why major brands should consider getting their own new TLD:

1) Personalization

Social media and word-of-mouth marketing is “the new black” as far as marketing is concerned. A new TLD can actually give marketers the opportunity to reinforce their brand with every Web address. Imagine the viral possibilities of an army of fans with blogs, email addresses and Twitter links promoting a .brand in every post.

Indeed, many media organizations have already jumped on the bandwagon of purchasing intuitive domain names with ccTLDs just for custom branding in URL shorteners (e.g.: zd.net, Wpo.st, n.pr). These organizations can instead look at keyword optimization with addresses within their own branded TLD (e.g.: technology.nyt) to enhance user search and provide new advertising vehicles.

2) The Social Network

For a corporation with a short brand name, a natural use of new TLD simply could be as a better URL shortener, entirely under their control. But perhaps a more interesting application of new TLDs would be for the major social networking providers. The ownership of Facebook accounts is a good example; page ownership is tied to a personal identity rather than simply associating the contacts of the owner, like regular domain names. All of the processes built into domain management are ideal for managing the identity ownership of personal or corporate social networking profiles and could provide a more intuitive and proven process.

3) Innovative uses of the DNS

New TLDs also now present corporations with the ability to think beyond the traditional uses of the Internet like simple Web sites or email. Technology-specific applications may make great TLDs, for instance a .mail, a .skype, or .aim. By adding technologies like DNSSEC as well as verification of domain owners, a bank could provide for a more secure online payment system. Luxury brands like BMW could even launch new services such as tying a .bmw email address to a new vehicle purchase and communicating service updates directly to the car.

4) Control and Security

Today, regardless of whether a corporation picks a domain name in a .com, .net or another TLD, they are captive to that registry’s rules. These are rules that tell them when and how to register a domain name, how intellectual property can be protected, and what DNS records are allowed. With their own TLD, a corporation can control the policies of who can get a name, and for what purpose. To block spam, they can decide that no email will be allowed in their TLD. To prevent phishing, they can require verification of each registration. They could even decide that their TLD will only be used for verified internal communications like private e-mail systems or Intranets. A New TLD gives the brand owner the option to decide what customized policies and processes best fit the company’s brand identity and security requirements.

5) New Revenue

The most traditional use of a new TLD has been revenue from second level domain name registrations. If a major brand wants to own an online search category like .books, .sport, .baseball – they may look at applying for a new TLD as a way to tackle this piece of their search strategy in a new way, unavailable before to marketers. If their business has a strong fan base, they can look at revenue from selling personalized fan pages. Organizations with distributors could sell addresses as a preferred status (e.g.: mystore.ebay), or launch new advertising channels on premium names (e.g.: books.amazon or movies.hulu).

The cost of a new TLD may seem high to some, starting at $185,000 just for the application to ICANN. But consider that in 2009 Toys R Us spent $5 million just for the toys.com domain name. New TLDs instead give brand owners the chance to have millions of domains under their control, made for a customized purpose, for less than 10 percent of what Toys R Us spent, and probably for less than one typical TV ad campaign.


© DomainNameWire.com 2010.

Get Certified Parking Stats at DNW Certified Stats.

No related posts.

.Info Has Banner Year in 2010

December 7, 2010.info, afilias, Domaining, Domainnamewire, UncategorizedComments Off on .Info Has Banner Year in 2010

Registered base of .info domain names spikes in 2010.

2010 isn’t over yet, but .info registry Afilias has released its 2010 .Info Annual Report (pdf). (This is likely to coincide with the ICANN meeting in Colombia and media attention around new TLDs.)

Afilias bills .info as the first “new TLD”, and it has easily outpaced its rivals in terms of registrations. At the end of September .info had 6.8 million domain name registrations. Compared to recent years, this is a nice uptick:

.Info is averaging 300,000 new registrations per month in 2010. According to the registry, about 20% of .info domain names are used for real web sites that appear to have original content. North American accounts for 58% of all .info domains registered, while Europe accounts for 27%. .Info is available in 10 IDNs at the second level, but there are fewer than 30,000 registered. German scripts lead the way with 82% of the .info IDNs.

The annual report is fairly interesting. Yet the last example of a .info site in the report provides a stark reminder about the dominance of .com. It mentions MoveYourMoney.info, which was mentioned on the CBS Sunday Morning Show in February. That same day, MoveYourMoney.COM received 27,000 visitors who were surely looking for the .info but typed in .com.


© DomainNameWire.com 2010.

Get Certified Parking Stats at DNW Certified Stats.

Related posts:

  1. .Info Hits 4 Million Registrations
  2. Afilias Accidentally Deletes .Info Domains from RGP
  3. Mortgage.info for $250? There’s a Small Catch.

Tomorrow is a Big Day for New Top Level Domain Names

September 23, 2010afilias, Domaining, Domainnamewire, eNom, new gtlds, Policy & Law, registry/registrar separationComments Off on Tomorrow is a Big Day for New Top Level Domain Names

Big issue on the table at ICANN retreat.

In about 24 hours the ICANN Board of Directors will kick off a retreat. It’s not an official board meeting, but it’s anticipated that the two day retreat will finalize an important issue: registry/registrar separation.

A lot is at stake in this decision. Millions of dollars for the stakeholders.

Until now a registry hasn’t been able to own a registrar and (technically) vice-versa. Afilias is owned by a number of registrars, though.

The question is if this separation should be relaxed.

In one corner are the registrars that would like to introduce new top level domain names. Ideally they would like to be unencumbered. But some of them, including eNom, are willing to go the middle road. The middle ground proposal is dubbed JN2. It basically says a registrar can be a registry but with heavy restrictions until 18 months after the TLD is released.

In the other corner are those that want no integration. They want to limit cross ownership to 2%. In Afilias’ case, it wants to increase cross ownership to 15% because of its existing registrar investors.

You can read about the various proposals and how no consensus has been reached here.

Another issue is private registrars. Should someone who owns a registrar solely to manage their own domains be restricted from releasing a new TLD? That would defeat the purpose of this restriction.

The pressure is on ICANN’s board. Like any good bureaucratic and political organization, odds are they’ll pick the middle of the road. Or punt to someone else.


© DomainNameWire.com 2010.

Get Certified Parking Stats at DNW Certified Stats.

Related posts:

  1. ICANN Board Drops Bomb on Registrars Hoping to Launch New TLDs
  2. After 3,000 Emails, No Consensus on Registry-Registrar Separation
  3. Battle Erupts Between Domain Registries and Registrars

ICANN Green Lights 1 and 2 Letter .Info Domain Names

April 25, 2010.info, afilias, Domain Services, Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on ICANN Green Lights 1 and 2 Letter .Info Domain Names

Here comes 1.info.

The ICANN Board approved a resolution granting Afilias the right to register one and two character .info domain names during its Board meeting last Thursday.

.Info registry Afilias made the request in February. It plans to model the distribution of the short domain names similar to how Neustar handled the release of one and two character .biz domain names:

1. Requests for Proposal, where anyone can submit a proposal for developing a particular name. Afilias will award domains to RFPs that meet its goal of broadening awareness of .info.

2. Auction of any domain not given during the RFP

3. Open registration

Neustar’s release of the short domain names resulted in some good sales, particularly ones that could take advantage of the .biz extension. e.Biz sold for $66,001. Most one character .biz domains sold for about $5,000 to $15,000, whereas the typical two character domain sold for under $1,000.

The biggest lift in Neustar’s case was inking a deal with Overstock to launch O.biz through its RFP process. It will be interesting to see if Afilias is able to get any big name companies to sign on.


© DomainNameWire.com 2009.

Review and rate domain name parking companies at Parking Judge.

Related posts:

  1. One and Two Character .Info Domain Names on the Way
  2. Mortgage.info for $250? There’s a Small Catch.
  3. Single Letter .Biz Domains Closer to Reality

Afilias Tells New TLD Applicants to Limit Their Expectations

April 8, 2010afilias, Domaining, Domainnamewire, new tlds, UncategorizedComments Off on Afilias Tells New TLD Applicants to Limit Their Expectations

How many registrations should a new TLD expect?

A call for new top level domain name applicants to be realistic about how many domains they can sell is coming from an unlikely source: domain name registry Afilias.

In a blog post today, Afilias points out that history tells us new TLDs don’t get substantial registrations:

…Well, here we are in 2010 and the industry has now grown to over 190 million domain names. If you think it was because of new TLDs, you’d be wrong.

COM, NET and ORG have grown by over 80 million names. ccTLDs, like China’s CN and Germany’s .DE, have grown about 45 million names in total. But new TLDs have added less than 15 million names. Indeed, from a market share standpoint, new TLDs have never comprised more than 7% of the market.

As a supporter of new TLDs that will make money serving as a back end registry, Afilias’ comments should carry weight.

Afilias points out that, even though it “may not be realistic to assume millions of registrations”, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a successful and profitable top level domain name. It just means that history tells us millions of registrations for a new TLD are unlikely, at least under the current paradigm.

Keep in mind that new TLDs launched over the past decade had little competition. New ones will face hundreds of competitors. That will make it difficult to rise to the top. I expect a number of competitive measures — including very low registry prices for many of the new TLDs — as new TLDs are rolled out.


© DomainNameWire.com 2009.

Review and rate domain name parking companies at Parking Judge.

Related posts:

  1. Afilias Aquires DotMobi
  2. Tucows Sells Afilias Stake for $7.4 Million
  3. Are GoDaddy and Afilias The Right Combination to Run .us?

ICANN Board Drops Bomb on Registrars Hoping to Launch New TLDs

March 12, 2010afilias, Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, Neustar, new tlds, Policy & Law, VeriSignComments Off on ICANN Board Drops Bomb on Registrars Hoping to Launch New TLDs

Board opts for separation of registrars and registries for new top level domain names.

ICANN’s board resolved today that there will be “strict separation of entities offering registry services and those acting as registrars. No co-ownership will be allowed.”

However, the board left the possibility open for compromise, stating that if the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) comes up with a compromise, it will consider it.

This is bad news for companies such as Demand Media, which owns registrar eNom and hoped to apply for new top level domain names. It’s good news for incumbent registries VeriSign, Neustar, and Afilias.

The issue of registry/registrar separation has been a hot topic since the start of discussions on new top level domain names. The separation of the .com registry from the registrar business opened the door to massive registrar competition. Without it, it’s fair to wonder if behemoths such as Go Daddy, eNom, and Tucows would be around today.

But proponents of allowing integration — including some of these very same registrars that benefited to separation the first time around — argue that was a different time with a different set of circumstances.

Practically speaking, I don’t think prohibiting registrars from being registries will make that much of a difference in new TLDs. It will just create a headache for registrars as they create separate legal and financial structures to side step the prohibition.


© DomainNameWire.com 2009.

Review and rate domain name parking companies at Parking Judge.

Related posts:

  1. Battle Erupts Between Domain Registries and Registrars
  2. ICANN Board to Consider “Expressions of Interest” for New TLDs at December Meeting
  3. Domain Registries Clarify Stance on Registry-Registrar Separation

One and Two Character .Info Domain Names on the Way

February 18, 2010.info, afilias, Domaining, Domainnamewire, one character domains, UncategorizedComments Off on One and Two Character .Info Domain Names on the Way

X.info will be available soon.

.Info registry Afilias is asking ICANN to approve a plan to offer one and two character .info domain names for registration. As with other newer gTLDs, ICANN originally reserved all one and two character domains from being registered.

Afilias is modeling its plan after Neustar’s launch of one and two character .biz domain names. There will be a three step process:

1. Requests for Proposal, where anyone can submit a proposal for developing a particular name. Afilias will award domains to RFPs that meet its goal of broadening awareness of .info.

2. Auction of any domain not given during the RFP

3. Open registration

During Neustar’s one character auction, the top sale was e.biz for $66,001. Many other one character .biz domains sold for $5,000-$15,000. It is still running two character auctions, with most sales under $1,000. The biggest deal to come out of the RFP process was Overstock.com, which picked up O.biz.

ICANN has opened a comment period about Afilias’ proposal, but I see no reason it would be denied in the wake of the .biz release.


© DomainNameWire.com 2009.

Review and rate domain name parking companies at Parking Judge.

Related posts:

  1. Mortgage.info for $250? There’s a Small Catch.
  2. One and Two Character .Biz Domain Names Approved
  3. 1 and 2 Character .Biz Domain Names Face Delays

Mortgage.info for $250? There’s a Small Catch.

November 10, 2009.info, afilias, Domaining, Domainnamewire, UncategorizedComments Off on Mortgage.info for $250? There’s a Small Catch.

Afilias release .info domain names.

.Info registry Afilias is letting go of a number of premium domains that were originally reserved under its sunrise period. People claimed bogus rights to domains such as mortgage.info, miami.info, and Jesus.info. Now these domain names can be yours — if you have a good plan to develop them.

Afilias is accepting applications for each of the domains, and will award domain names to applicants who have a solid plan to develop the domains. The idea is to boost the .info brand, much like what Neustar did with accepting RFPs for one and two character .biz domain names. That effort resulted in a major marketing push by Overstock.com, which has launched a site a O.biz.

This is a great opportunity for people looking to develop domains. Sure, you could pay $250 to apply and get rejected. But is that such a big risk for USA.info, Stocks.info, or Soccer.info?


© DomainNameWire.com 2009.

Review and rate domain name parking companies at Parking Judge.

Related posts:

  1. Afilias Accidentally Deletes .Info Domains from RGP
  2. .Info Hits 4 Million Registrations
  3. Get ready for the great .info drop

Domain Registries Clarify Stance on Registry-Registrar Separation

October 16, 2009afilias, Domain Registrars, Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, Neustar, public interest registryComments Off on Domain Registries Clarify Stance on Registry-Registrar Separation

Afilias, PIR, and Neustar explain their position on a critical change to the domain name sales channel.

Domain registries have a lot to lose if registry/registrar separation ends with the introduction of new top level domain names. Representatives of several registries, including Afilias, Public Interest Registry, and Neustar, have sent a letter (pdf) to ICANN’s board and CEO that says ICANN is misstating the registry constituency’s position on registry/registrar separation.

The three registries say they have no problem with registrars entering the registry market, provided that they don’t sell second level domains for the TLDs they offer registry services for. In explaining the problems of integrated registries and registrars, the companies wrote:

If allowed to go forward, this proposed deregulation will facilitate “insider trading” that will open the door to abusive domain registration practices and higher domain name prices for some registrants. It will provide the affiliated registrar access to sensitive registry data that includes the entire universe of data for potential and existing domain names from all registrars that sell the TLD. A registry has the unique power to see DNS traffic in its domain; with access to this data, an affiliated registrar would be in a unique position to identify potentially high value names and monetize them through auctions, traffic sites or secondary market sales.

Here’s one point that isn’t covered in the letter: a combined registry/registrar can severely undercut other registrar’s pricing. If I run the registry for .web, I can offer .web domains through my own registrar for little more than the fees I pay ICANN on the registry side. That makes it hard for other registrars to compete.

[Update: I was just forwarded a link to a web site the registries have set up to explain registry/registrar separation and what they believe is at stake.]


© DomainNameWire.com 2009.

Review and rate domain name parking companies at Parking Judge.

Related posts:

  1. Battle Erupts Between Domain Registries and Registrars
  2. ICANN Seeks Fix for Registry Failure
  3. ICANN’s Registry Continuity Plan Has a Big Hole