Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Some new gTLD contacts...are gone

A "new gTLD contact" is a contact that you find in any new gTLD application: there is a primary and secondary contact.

I checked new gTLD applications to investigate about a question that I have: are primary or secondary contacts still in place? This question is important to me because they are the local point of contact to operate the new domain name extension.

Method used
I proceeded as follow:
  1. I checked all new gTLD applications from a specific category from the Jovenet Consulting new gTLD reports;
  2. I searched for either primary or secondary contact (full name and email);
  3. I went to LinkedIn and checked if this contact still worked in the company (or if she is still linked to it).
In some cases, it is the Registrar or service provider in charge of operating the TLD which is used as primary and/or as secondary contact. This is a good choice when a .BRAND new gTLD doesn't want to have to take care of this. Some backend registry service providers also offer this as an option for generic TLDs, as well as other mandatory services to operate a new gTLD.

In other cases, the person's name and surname hadn't changed and had left the company or had changed position with an email still getting through to "someone". This is not so important as long as someone is in charge of reading these emails but I'd suggest to change this to the person in charge within the company.

I also found Gmails addresses used as primary contacts. That: I don't understand it. I am the first person to say that Gmail is a great and very well secured service but I'd certainly not use an email that does not match the domain of the registry's project, nor an email on which I don't have full control of.

I even  found an email using a domain names available for registration. This means that no email are going through and returning with an error. It also means that a third party registering that domain name could set up a "catch all" and receive all emails sent.

What to think about all this?
A new gTLD is a serious responsibility: like a domain name, it is not supposed to end after a website has been launched (unless maybe when your company's name is Whatever Engineering and you'd consider redirecting your ".com" to truly use your ".engineering" domain name).

Operating the emails of primary and secondary contacts have consequences : in the end, they are the same story as operating a domain name when only one person knows about the complete story. Don't forget about what can happen when it's time to pay or talk to ICANN: what if you miss that email? Same when planning to sell your TLD: this is probably where I would send my offer.

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