November 2009


Yesterday, we’ve extended our list of extensions and now we have lowered the price for another extension, namely (Guatemala). The price for this domain has been reduced by 50%. One of the reasons for this reduction was our amount of domain names. Moreover the registration of domain name has been further automated.

Everyone who wishes to do so, can register a domain name under the extension. The only restriction is that names under this extension need to be registered per 2 years.

A while ago, we already posted a message telling you that Russia was the first country which would make use of the decision of ICANN to allow non Latin characters in extension. Russia decided to introduce the .РФ extension. The sunrise for this new domain starts tomorrow and will end on March 10th 2010.

During this sunrise, owners of both national and international registered trademarks, will be given the opportunity to register their trademark under the .РФ extension. The only restriction is that the trademark  needs to include Russia. The sunrise will be followed by a landrush and a go-live.

Café.eu, couturiè, leç and à-volonté.eu, these are only a few examples of domain names you’ll be able to register pretty soon. On December 10th, the landrush for .eu IDN domain names begins (Internationalised Domain Names). These domain names make sure that names which contain non Latin characters can also be registered. A few examples of those characters are: é, è ,ü, î, ç.

Attention: there won’t be a sunrise period for .eu IDN domain names. From December 10th everyone who wishes to do so, can register an .eu IDN name. So make sure, you’ve made your choice out of the many new possible .eu combinations and pre-register your .eu IDN name right now.

However a pre-registration doesn’t constitute a guarantee of registration.

There seems to be lots of confusion regarding the launch of the first domain name extension in Arabic script. The Egypt government put out a press release stating that they would apply with ICANN for the TLD .مصر (.masr or .misr, which is Egypt in Arab) on 16/11/2009. This has clearly been seen by some press agencies as if from today domain name registration under this first extension in Arabic script would be possible.

What is happening today, is however only the Egypt government asking ICANN if they may launch this new domain name extension. It can be assumed that ICANN will actually agree to this since they announced on their annual meeting in Korea last month that they are wanting to open the possibility for non-Latin character domain name extensions. But that certainly doesn’t make the launch happen today.

From all the information we where able to gather, there actually hasn’t been anything else decided regarding this new extension, expect for that fact that they want to launch it at some point in the future. It has not been decided yet what the restrictions would be (registrations under have reasonably strict rules), if there will first be a sunrise for trade mark holders, there even isn’t decided yet if the Egyptian Universities Network (now responsible for will also manage .مصر.

So: much ado about nothing. It will still take some time before these registrations are possible.

A while ago, we already posted a message about the announcement ICANN made at their yearly convention. They’ve decided that it is possible from now on to use non Latin charachters as an extension. This means that Chinese, Cyrillic, Arabic,.. characters can now be used as an extension. The Eastern World was very pleased with this decision.

Russia seems to be the first country which is actually going to offer this possibility. The Russian registry has just announced the release of the .РФ extension. This release will follow the traditional pattern and will start with a sunrise period which is followed by a landrush and a go-live.

On November 25th, the sunrise period for this new extension begins. This phase will end on March 10 2010. During this sunrise, owners of both national and international registered trademarks, will be given the opportunity to register their trademark under the .РФ extension. The only restriction is that the trademark  needs to include Russia.

Nominet (the registry) has just released its annual ‘Domain name industry’ report. The report contains some interesting findings and results.

One of the first things the report mentions is that in September 2009, 187.6 million domain names were registered worldwide. This is an increase of 8% compared to September 2008, meaning that between September 2008 and September 2009 13.5 million new names were registered.

Further the report reveals that the registration of gTLDs (generic extensions such as .com, .net, .org, ..) increased by 6%, while registrations of ccTLDs (country extensions such as .be, .nl, .fr ,…) increased by 10%.

If we take a closer look into the ccTLDs, we notice it that the .cn extension (China) lost its leadership position. During 2007 and 2008 the number of .cn domain names increased from 2 million to 13 million but in 2009 but it all fell down a bit. This made the .de extension (Germany) able to become the leading ccTLD.

Nominet also compiled a list of the 20 most registered ccTLDs. All these ccTLDs, except China, grew between September 2008 and September 2009. The findings also reveal that the registrations of extensions within the top 20 rose by 9.5% last year, records from outside the top 20 ccTLDs grew by 15%.

These top 20 also makes it very clear that the market penetration of domain names is best represented in Western Europe. The Netherlands are doing the best job on this with 1 domain per 5 inhabitants, but also Denmark, Switzerland, Germany and the United Kingdom are doing great with 1 domain per 10 inhabitants. In Belgium, the penetration 1 per 9 inhabitants. Worldwide there are 28 domain names per 1000 inhabitants, where in 2007 we talked only about 23 domain names per 1000 inhabitants. So the domain name market is still growing significantly.

Furthermore, the report also zooms in on what names do well in the UK itself. They took a look at which names the Brithish people registered primarily between 2005 and 2009. A remarcable conclusion is that the .com domain doesn’t do so well. Where in 2005 a growth of 38% was measured for this domain, it only grw by 5% during 2009. The domain itself does pretty well. Moreover the findings also shows that 69% of names are renewed.

If we take into consideration the entire report, we can conclude that ccTLDs are becoming more and more important. They have a larger growth than the generic extensions, they are renewed often and they have a good market penetration.

SnapNames has recently discovered that it was defrauded by one of its own employees. SnapNames is a company which organises auctions for domain names. One of their employees has set up an account in the SnapNames system under a false name and under this name bid in auctions which were provided by SnapNames.

The bids of this employee approximately affected 5% of the auctions organized SnapNames. Moreover the company also discovered that when the employee won an auction, he/she secretly arranged to refund from SnapNames to the fictitious account a portion of the winning bid amount.

Although the employee has not often won an auction, there are many other auctions where the price of the offered domain name was influenced by his / her bids. This means that the actual winner of the auction had to pay a higher price for the offered domain name than had the employee not participated in the auction.

When SnapNames discovered what their employee was doing, he/she was immediately dismissed. Moreover, the company also decided to compensate all the customers who had to pay more for their domain name due to the bids of the employee.

SnapNames will check which amount the customer would have paid if their employee wouldn’t have bid and refund the the difference along with an interest rate of 5.22%  to the customer in question. To settle these repayments, SnapNames has retained Rust Consulting, an independent third party. The company also said it will make extra efforts to avoid such practices in the future. For instance: suspicious behaviour during auctions will be better monitored, all their employees have signed a new internal policy regarding domain name registrations and financial transactions will be better controlled.

ICANN recently announced at  its annual meeting, which was held in Korea this year, that Chinese, Arabic, Korean and some other non-Latin characters can be used as an extension to register a domain name. It is absolutely a possibility that soon. “中国” (. cn) will be used as a domain name extension.

CINIC, the Chinese registry, is very pleased by this new initiative of ICANN. ‘This is a great way to open up the Internet to multiple languages and characters,’ says Lin Q, the Deputy Director of CINIC.

It was already possible to use non Latin characters, to register for example a .com name. Using non Latin characters as an extension is however a completely new fact.