Thursday, December 13, 2018

2 new Sunrise Periods: .DEV and .INC

The Trademark Clearinghouse just announced two new Sunrise Periods:
  1. The .DEV new gTLD, a secure domain (by Google) for developers and technology:
    1. Sunrise Period START: Wednesday, 16 January, 2019 - 16:00
    2. Sunrise Period END: Tuesday, 19 February, 2019 - 16:00
  2. The .INC new gTLD, for businesses:
    1. Sunrise Period START: Wednesday, 16 January, 2019 - 16:00
    2. Sunrise Period END: Tuesday, 20 February, 2019 - 16:00

Check the Trademark Clearinghouse calendar for more.

NB: the .FAN new gTLD opens to all today.

Monday, December 10, 2018

How city name new gTLDs are growing

There are 38 cities worldwide to have applied for their own domain name extension, some submitted more than one application to shorten their string and one city submitted two applications for the same name but in two different languages. This is an analysis of the November/December 2018 report with volumes of domain names registered for each city extensions. I strongly suggest to check the full report to have access to all volumes of domain names registered in the end of this publication:
  • There are 44 new gTLDs dedicated to cities in total;
  • Four cities submitted two applications:
    • One for the exact city name and the other for a shortened name:
      • The city of Barcelona went for .BARCELONA and .BCN
      • The city of Istanbul went for .ISTANBUL and .IST
    • One for the ASCII version of its name and the other for its IDN version:
      • The city of Moscow went for .MOSCOW and .МОСКВА (IDN)
    • One for its name in french and the other in the language of its country:
      • The city of Koeln went for .COLOGNE and .KOELN
  • There are:
    • Four applications for USA city names only;
    • Six applications for Japanese cities;
    • and Seventeen European applications.
  • The .ABUDHABI started to create domain names in July and is one an interesting (and positive) learning curve. It now has 512 domains registered.
  • Two city new gTLDs with more than 1,000 registrations kept growing month after month since January 2018: .TOKYO and .BOSTON (it means that volumes of domain names registered from a month to the other kept increasing);
  • The .LONDON new gTLD lost more than 10,000 registrations in one month;
  • Since January 2018;
    • The .TOKYO new gTLD gained 30,000 new domain name registrations;
    • The .NYC gained a little more than 200, the same as .BRUSSELS;
    • The .TAIPEI lost half of its initial volume of domains registered.
  • On the list of 44 extensions, 15 city names in total have more domain names registered in November the 30th than what they had in January: that's not even half.
  • The .TOURS Top-Level domain was not created by the French city of Tours but it remains the name of a city. It is possible that there are many more in the full list of new gTLDs;
  • Three extensions kept loosing registrations (almost) all year long: .MELBOURNE - .SYDNEY and .TAIPEI
  • The .CITY and .TOWN Top-Level Domains have lost registrations since January 2018.
  • Three cities have registered one single domain name since they were delegated: .BCN (for Barcelona) - .HELSINKY and .BUDAPEST
  • The first geographic TLD to have terminated its application is recent, it is the .DOHA Top-Level Domain for the city of the same name (November 2018).
Read the full report (also available in French).

Friday, December 7, 2018

New gTLD registrations: a 7.5 % increase

According to the Verisign report, total new gTLD (ngTLD) domain name registrations were approximately 23.4 million at the end of the third quarter of 2018, an increase of approximately 1.6 million domain name registrations, or 7.5 percent, compared to the second quarter of 2018. ngTLDs increased by approximately 2.3 million
domain name registrations, or 10.9 percent, year over year.

I strongly recommend to read the 2 sections after in the report:
Thank you so much Verisign for demonstrating that the use of new domain names is increasing ;-)

Download the Verisign report (PDF download).

Thursday, December 6, 2018

New gTLD registration volumes on the rise?

New gTLD reports are monthly captures of domain name registration volumes according to specific groups, businesses or industries. On the last day of each month, we capture these registration numbers so our readers can see if these increase or decrease. This method is a good way to see if these domain names meet adoption by consumers or not.these are the figures from November the 30th:
  1. New gTLDs related to POLITICS (.gop - .vote - .republican - .democrat - etc...);
  2. Multiple Registries : registries operating five and more domain name extensions;
  3. New gTLDs related to the MUSIC community (.music - .band - .hiphop - etc...);
  4. New gTLDs related to LUXURY (.rich - .yachts - .chanel - etc...);
  5. New gTLDs related to CATERING (.restaurant - .kitchen - .bar - etc...);
  6. New gTLDs related to PHOTOGRAPHY (.photo - .film - .gallery - etc...);
  7. New gTLDs related to CITIES : these are city names only (.paris - .tokyo - etc...);
  8. New gTLDs related to COMPANIES : new domain name extensions that we believe a company should keep its eyes on;
  9. New gTLDs related to the LAW and LEGAL matters (.legal - .attorney - .lawyer - etc...);
  10. New gTLDs related to FINANCE (.credit - .capital - .finance - etc...);
  11. New gTLDs related to a COLOR (.orange - .pink - .green - etc...);
  12. New gTLDs related to SPORT (.hockey - .basketball - .ski - etc...);
  13. New gTLDs related to ALCOHOL (.beer - .wine - .vodka - etc...);
  14. New gTLDs related to REAL ESTATE (.realestate - .realtor - .villas - etc...);
  15. Singular VS Plural versions of a new gTLD : these are domain name extensions which exist in their singular and plural version (ie: .gift and .gifts);
  16. FRENCH new gTLD applications : applications submitted by French companies only;
  17. New gTLDs related to RELIGION (.catholic - .bible - .church - etc...);
  18. New gTLDs related to CARS (.taxi - .auto - .car - etc...);
  19. New gTLDs related to HEALTH (.health - .doctor - .hospital - etc...);
  20. New gTLDs related to ADULTS (no comment).

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

New gTLDs: IDN Homographic Attacks

I already wrote about the increasing problem of IDN homograph attacks and made a parallel with .BRAND new gTLDs; but this is a "must watch" interview with ICANN’s Andrew McConachie, Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) Chair and Rod Rasmussen discussing the use of Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) homographic attacks.

This problem is not a new one, but the number of these increasing with new gTLDs. Banks and other sensitive businesses can considerably reduce the risk of these attacks when operating their own domain name extension: not because they will be able to better control the Top-Level Domain, but just because they will be able to control who registers domain names.

Friday, November 30, 2018

The .AMAZON new gTLD negotiation

Let's just be factual about the .AMAZON negotiation between ICANN (and its representatives) and the Secretary General of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO):
  1. Things were doing "better" after Amazon had offered "Kindles" and other services to the South American Government: the status of the .AMAZON new gTLD had even been changed to "Evaluation Complete": not "delegated" but "completed". In simple words: it was not a definite "no" but a "probably yes";
  2. On the 26 of November, the ACTO wrote to the ICANN (PDF download) expressing concern on how the situation is being solved and the letter says:
    1. You don't answer our questions;
    2. We've not been consulted or have endorsed your proposal;
    3. Let's postpone our meeting (in a previous letter dated 22 of November).
  3. The ICANN CEO wrote to the GAC (PDF download) with a "Unfortunately, at this time, we regret to inform you that this facilitation process has been unsuccessful. The facilitation has not been able to reach its desired conclusion." there's then 4 pages of detailed explanation of the .AMAZON history.
I personally thought that we had a go for the .AMAZON new gTLD (and a few Kindles for the South American Government). Seems not...yet.

Now, can you read between the lines?

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Using a domain name won't hurt business when your Instagram account has been disabled

I am discovering the strange world of Instagram and Twitter users who had their account disabled for whatever reason...and the consequences of having distributed an Instagram URL that does not exist anymore. One will notice that this...doesn't happen when using a personalized domain name as single signature.

A business destroyed in seconds
Twitter, Instagram and probably a few more social networks are very powerful tools: they are famous and many use them. For example, I don't publish daily photos for my work on Instagram but I use Twitter. If that account was disabled for whatever reason, it would irritate me. Of course, my business does not rely on Twitter but some online businesses like modeling do rely...on Instagram. I am referring here to models, professional gamers and other cosplay who run their business using a Twitter or an Instagram account, sometimes both, adding to this other publication platforms with long URLs.

When you have thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands followers, you don't want your account to be disabled:
"If your Instagram account was disabled, you’ll see a message telling you when you try to log in. Accounts that don't follow our Community Guidelines or Terms of Use may be disabled without warning."
The message above was extracted from a help page on Instagram entitled: "What can I do if my account has been disabled?" and that's precisely the kind of situation that a long time Instagram user does not want to have to go through: if the URL can't be recovered, the focal point to gather with you and your thousands of followers is just...LOST for two reasons:
  1. The Instagram account you distributed the URL to your thousands of followers does not belong to you, it belongs to Instagram;
  2. Your Instagram followers WON'T have access to your disabled account: how will you tell them about your next newly created account? How will they know where to go to follow you again?
Can't happen with a domain name
Advertising multiple social networks in signatures is common: I do it too. I use Twitter, LinkedIn, I use another URL for my newsletter, and another one for may company; but I wonder if it makes sense to distribute so many information to my readers: why not use just one instead, and one that belongs to me?

Social network users should capitalize on a domain name instead of a free Instagram URL (and a lot of other long social networks long URLs). The reason for this is that in special circumstances such as the one explained above (having your account disabled for whatever reason), followers can keep the link with a user and all of the social networks on which he, or she, is present.

The example below is a good one, I searched for a cosplay model on Instagram and I found this cosplay artist. Can you tell me who is able to remember all of these details and long URLs if that account was to be disabled by Instagram? This model could use a domain name such as in its signatures as a single point of reference for all of its activities to avoid any incident: a follower can remember a short domain name, it certainly won't remember all of the details below when an Instagram account is disabled.

The domain name is often purchased at a very small price, it can be shortened to the maximum and it is easily memorable. The difference between advertising long social network addresses and using a domain name where to list all social networks addresses is simple: the domain name belongs to you, whatever happens, an Instagram, Facebook or Twitter URL doesn't.

Would a social network member need to start a new Instagram account, its existing followers would know where to go to find him again. Would they remember a long Instagram URL? I doubt it.

How to
Redirecting a domain name to the Instagram URL is a first step but using a single page where to list all of the social network URLs can help be even better. Some apps exist for this and using a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) platform can also be an option. They sometimes comes for free at retail registrars. No coding should be required to do this.

Don't sign with your Instagram address, sign with your domain name.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Communication agencies: no ".BRAND" approach?

I strongly believe that .BRAND new gTLDs are an ultra strong branding and communication tool, so as a lonely wolf having my business often ending at agencies with no idea of the real benefit to operate a .BRAND domain name extension, I decided to approach famous communication agencies with that following speech:
Hey: "a .BRAND new gTLD is the strongest branding tool that Internet ever invented: what's your approach when talking to your clients about it?"
(of course, I adapted the level of speech)
Some answers received
I simplified the answers received from some of these agencies with bullet-points:
  • If the subject of creating a personalized domain name extension is something that most have heard about, it is a question that came to them from their clients, not as a suggestion by them.
  • When the subject is on the table, it does not go farther than creating the .BRAND new gTLD through a partner. Basically:
    • The agency says it has knowledge but uses a third party service provider for this;
    • The service offered is to submit an application, no more ("let's see when the TLD will been delegated");
    • One agency tells her client she has knowledge to offering such service, basing her speech on how the .BRAND Top-Level Domain (live today) has evolved long after it was delegated. Today's result is absolutely not what was in the initial offer;
  • If offering to create the .BRAND new gTLD, and I mean by this securing a client and offering to do the follow-up up to the next applicant guidebook, with a lot of "bla, bla", there is no offer to create scenarios to use the extension...when precisely "this" should be the service offered today by a communication agency;
  • Generally speaking, the first person I spoke to didn't understand what I was talking about in terms of branding so I had to explain a lot. In that case, it generated a lot of interest...but Round two is far away...
Familiar with but no offer
Many agencies are familiar with the subject of .BRAND new gTLDs but none that I met with have an internal offer. Basically, it is something that they will consider but still, there is no written content about it: no program, no documentation, no product sheet presenting what a .BRAND domain name extension is, no reference to it in what "communication consultants" talk about when referring to a communication strategy.

I also pinged two consultants from prestigious communication agencies via LinkedIn and asked the question is such "tool" was considered in the branding or communication strategy that they refer to in their profile. They should be my clients.

10 years after
I must be living in a different world because we're almost 10 years after the first round of the ICANN new gTLD program and there are many .BRAND new gTLDs to have launched and operating their own domain name extension. In the financial sector for example, All Finanz, Credit Union, BNP Paribas, Bradesco, Barclays, Discover, Bloomberg and a lot more in other industries are truly using their own domain names, and if the trademarks keep registering more of them, it means that very few are taking the advantage when a lot more could (I am referring here to the .BRAND applicants which are not using the product they acquired years ago).

All communication agencies offer more or less the same and none really differentiates from others. I still don't understand why they are not using this fantastic product to promote their name, offering something different.

Register your Trademark using an agent.