Monday, March 26, 2018


I just learnt today that Stéphane Van Gelder passed away.

My friend Murielle called me.

Many of us in France have worked with and for Stéphane. I personally worked many years with Stephane to launch new gTLDs at INDOM (which was then acquired by another company). He is the person who taught me everything that I did not know about domain names: he actually taught me that Versign was a thin registry and not a thick one: I did not know the difference...

When I joined INDOM, years ago, he also was the first French guy to have delivered .BRAND new gTLD studies when we did not even know when the first round of the ICANN new gTLD program would start. Actually, we were very good at what we did but he was the guy to think years in advance.

Stéphane was a person of precision. I remember the number of times he asked me to re-write things because I would not have seen a mistake in a word or have missed an accent: I remember going to his office at Indom 10 times a day and getting back to mine ultra pissed because I would have I missed a correction in a study.

...I don't really know what to write in such circumstances...

Today is a sad day.
    RIP Stéphane.

    More covers here and here.

    Good news for .BRAND new gTLD applicants

    Google Registrar is now in France and a few other countries. If this can be a good news for registrants (the one to buy domain names) then, what does it have to do with French .BRAND new gTLD applicants?

    Good question
    In fact, the good news relates to Nomulus, the backend registry solution also offered by Google. This information is important because Nomulus actually is the technical solution on which all Google new gTLDs are operated.

    OK, so what?
    .BRAND new gTLD applicants need a backend registry provider but also, a registrar solution to be able to create and setup their personalized domain names. Until very recently, French domain name registrants had no access to Google as a Registrar: a postal address located in the USA was requested prior to registering a domain name using a credit/debit card. This made it impossible to register a name using this registrar. Now, French residents...can register domain names at Google, which also means that .BRAND applicants could also use both solutions to operate their TLD and manage domain names: Nomulus and Google Domains.

    And then?
    Nomulus offers a direct access to Google Domains: in simple words, it means that there already is a footbridge allowing domains created in Nomulus to be managed using Google Domains: such solution using another backend registry wouldn't automatically allow a .BRAND applicant to manage his personalised domains using Google as his Registrar, this would need to be implemented.

    Other backend registries would probably answer that they're already connected to all other major registrars but...this is absolutely not required for a .BRAND new gTLD for which the most limited number of service providers is required to lower the price and go straight to point: register personalized domain names. It is what I would want as a .BRAND new gTLD applicant.

    Come on, it can't be so simple
    As you can imagine, things can't be so simple because using the Nomulus solution is not (yet?) a service offered by Google and also, it requires a strong technical knowledge to operate the tool so unless Google decides to create an offer, which is a question that we already asked "Ben" last year (Ben is the person in charge of the Nomulus backend registry solution at Google), I see a limited number of .BRAND applicants with the capacity to operate their own backend registry solution using #Nomulus. Note that neither Amazon nor Microsoft have developed a backend registry solution to operate Top-Level Domains and none of the two offer a registrar solution to their clients: both use an external backend registry provider to operate their .BRANDs.

    Google is creative and has capacity to offer clients the right solutions and since there is a strong demand for more .BRAND new gTLDs, I am confident that someone has already considered thinking about creating a complete .BRAND offer connected to Google Registrar: we are two years away (and possibly less for .BRAND applications) from the next round so there is still time...and actually, last time we asked Google the question was a year ago.

    Also, Google is the only Registrar to offer his free Backend registry solution, hosted on its own Google Cloud solution: as myself being a fully satisfied French G Suite client (another Google solution recently adopted by the 130,000 employees of Airbus SAS), I only see good to be able to control personalised .BRAND domain names from a single point of entry, as well as all of my other domain names. Note that this would require to transfer domain names to Google Registrar.

    New gTLDs: homograph attacks on the rise?

    The problem with homograph attacks is that the more we talk about them, the mode it gives ideas to frauders.

    Note that it is also - and I believe this strongly - a super fantastic way for security providers to scare their clients reminding them to buy their services because if they don't, the world will collapse ;-)

    Last May, I wrote (in a very limited english that only non-english speakers can understand) a post about it to explain what an homograph attack is.

    This morning, I read a new updated post, written in words that even I understand: it is entitled "Homographs, Attack!": it explains homograph attacks in simple words with cool designs. This is a good read and this is something that operators of large domain name portfolios should read too.

    .BRAND new gTLD Reports are updated once a month: CLICK HERE !