Feb 082018
Mail TLD

The ongoing saga of the applications for the new gTLDs .CORP, .HOME and .MAIL has been resolved. During its February 4, 2018 meeting, the ICANN Board directed the organisation’s CEO to prevent these new Internet suffixes from proceeding and to refund the applicants.

The strings are considered a potential security risk due to the frequency of their use as domains in private networks. They have been on hold since the end of the 2012 new gTLD application round.

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Oct 182017

A relentless drive to find new ways to improve is one of the core character traits of the team behind EURid, the manager (registry) of Europe’s Top Level Domain DotEU.

One way EURid strives to achieve this is through its Strategic Committee.

I’m very proud to have been selected by the EURid Board to join this committee. And I’m delighted to learn that Sandra Hoferichter, with whom I have worked on both the ICANN Nominating Committee and EuroDIG (the European Dialogue on Internet Governance), is also a new member of EURid’s Strategic Committee.

I look forward to helping EURid make DotEU an even stronger symbol of Europe’s online identity.

Jul 172017

Registries wanting to sell their wares to Chinese registrants are once again facing a tightening of the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT)’s regulations.

A few days ago, on July 6, the Ministry published a notice excluding registries that do not hold a license from MIIT from operating in China. The notice warns that from August, MIIT will ramp up its efforts to ensure that registries comply with the regulation through a new “enforcement initiative”.

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May 272017
sncf oui

In what can only be seen as a major coup for new gTLDs, the French national railway’s ecommerce website is set to ditch the .COM web address it’s used for the last 17 years in favour of its own Dot Brand.

French media are reporting that SNCF’s www.voyages-sncf.com will become www.oui.sncf in November 2017.

Oui (“yes” in French) is the base for the new branding the French railway company is to launch across its high-speed rail services starting this July.

Voyages-sncf.com is the number one ecommerce website in France, with a total of 86 million tickets sold in 2016. At peak volume last year, an incredible 240,000 tickets were sold daily through the site. Predicted 2020 revenue stands at 5 Billion euros!

May 092017

auDA, the Australian regulator of the country’s Internet suffix .AU, has appointed Bruce Tonkin to lead its “registry transformation” project.

Tonkin has just ended a 9-year stint on the ICANN Board. He was also previously Chief Strategy Officer for the Australian registrar Melbourne IT.

Before initiating its registry transformation project, auDA had been in exclusive negotiations with current back-end registry services AusRegistry to continue operating the .AU registry beyond its current contract term.

Those negotiations were ended by auDA on April 24, 2017. A tender process will now be conducted to allow auDA to build and operate its own dedicated .AU registry.

Apr 252017
Mathieu Weill Afnic

Il occupe le poste de directeur général de l’Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération depuis 2005. Mieux connue sous l’acronyme Afnic, cette association gère le .FR, l’extension Internet française.

Mathieu Weill ne sera plus DG de l’Afnic à compter du 1er mai. Aucune raison n’a été donnée pour ce départ, sauf à indiquer par communiqué que l’intéressé est “appelé à d’autres fonctions”.

C’est Pierre Bonis, l’actuel directeur général adjoint, qui assurera l’intérim. Le temps pour le conseil d’administration de l’association de lancer un appel à candidature pour trouver le remplaçant de Mathieu Weill.

Apr 202017

ICANN’s Global Domains Division (GDD) has started organising summits to enable domain industry members who have contracts with ICANN (registries and registrars) to discuss business issues away from the traditional policy-focussed ICANN meetings.

The 2016 summit was held in Amsterdam and drew in over 400 participants (from 49 countries). Much lower than the typical attendance at an ICANN meeting, which can run to over 3,000 people, but not surprising given the narrow focus of these GDD Summits.

The idea is to concentrate on business discussions. How domains are bought and sold, how contracted parties interact with ICANN and its staff, what new trends are emerging for the industry, what major issues the industry is facing…

The next summit is happening from May 9 to 11 in the Spanish capital of Madrid. Over 350 attendees have already registered. 6 ICANN Board members are also planning to attend, plus the ICANN CEO Göran Marby, and a preliminary agenda has now been published.

Apr 192017

So DotAfrica is finally about to launch. Years of being embroiled in legal disputes would make anyone impatient to start earning revenue. But sending out marketing emails based on the argument that people should register their trademarks before someone else does? Really?

For a registry, this seems so 2012. Surely now that new gTLDs are with us, registrants are looking for value in specific strings rather than trying to register in every single one for protection? A task that not only seems Herculean and mega expensive, but also slightly passé thanks to the new mechanisms like the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) and the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) which came with the new gTLD program.

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Mar 032017
dot com

D’après la société en charge de la gestion du .COM, Donald Trump y a fait un vrai tabac sur le dernier trimestre de 2016. Les statistiques d’enregistrement des noms de domaine portant sur le dernier trimestre plein, celles du T4 2016, viennent d’être publiées.

Sur les noms de domaine de langue anglaise enregistrés en .COM d’octobre à décembre 2016, le mot clef le plus souvent demandé est “donald”. Devant un sacré trio : “cannabis”, “marijuana” et “weed” ! Trump est aussi en vedette à l’autre bout de ce top 10. Le 10ème terme le plus enregistré sur cette période est en effet “Donald”.

8,8 millions de .COM et .NET enregistrés au T4 2016

Le .COM totalise 126,9 millions de noms au 31 décembre 2016 et reste donc l’extension la plus utilisée de l’Internet.

Et de loin. Le numéro 2 affiche 21,1 millions de noms enregistrés. Ce score déjà plus qu’honorable est à mettre au crédit de la Chine, qui devance l’archipel de Tokelau. Sur Internet, ce dernier rit de sa petite taille en défiant les géants de ce monde avec une politique de distribution gratuite des noms de domaine se terminant en .TK lui ayant permis de revendiquer 18,7 millions de noms à la fin 2016.

L’Allemagne est au 4ème rang, avec 16,1 millions de noms, devant le .NET (15,3 millions) et le .UK (10,6 millions).

Avec un peu plus de 3 millions de noms, la France est loin derrière. Elle ne figure ni dans ce top 10 couvrant l’intégralité des extensions disponibles sur le Net, ni dans celui des extensions nationales dites “points pays”. Sur ce classement là, les dix premiers sont la Chine, le .TK, l’Allemagne, le .UK, la Russie, la Hollande, le Brésil, le .EU européen, l’Australie et l’Italie.

Sur le .COM (avec le .NET) il y a eu 8,8 millions enregistrements au quatrième trimestre 2016, ce qui met en exergue l’impressionnant volume de noms contenant soit “trump” soit “donald” qui se sont mis à exister sur Internet durant cette période.

Feb 222017
New gTLDs

Let’s be clear: right now, any statements on when (or even if) a follow-up round of new gTLD applications might happen are pure conjecture.

The first round closed on April 12, 2012. Since then, the pressure has been increasing for ICANN to actually live up to the guidebook premise of launching “subsequent gTLD application rounds as quickly as possible” with ” the next application round to begin within one year of the close of the application submission period for the initial round.”

But that deadline is clearly not going to be met.


ICANN no longer expects to complete reviewing the first round – a prerequisite for initiating a follow-up – before some time around 2020. Work has begun on imagining what a second round might look like, but that also seems a long way away from completion.

Reviews and classes

So to try and get a second round out of the gate, imaginations have been working overtime. What if only certain categories of applicants, say cities and brands, were allowed in? The logic being that by restricting applicant types, evaluating them would be easier. And not all the reviews, for all the TLD types applied for in 2012, would need to be completed before any new calls for applications go out.

For cities and geographic terms (dubbed “Geo TLDs”), where the applicant needs to show support from the local government or authorities, the initial gating process could be somewhat easier.

As for brands, there were many non-believers in 2012. Then Amazon, Axa, Barclays, BMW, Canon, Google and many others were revealed as applicants. And now those that didn’t then, certainly want to now. They are lobbying hard to get their shot as quickly as possible.

So when could that be? Those who understand ICANN know the organisation is notoriously slow at getting anything done… unless you do one of a couple of things. Get governments to push, or add symbolism to the mix. ICANN insiders who would see a second round asap are trying door number 2, by suggesting that launching a subsequent application window exactly 7 years after the first, i.e. on January 12, 2019, would satisfy the program’s initial intent for a (relatively) quick follow-up to round 1 whilst being a nice nod to history at the same time.

In the weird alternative logic universe of ICANN, that actually makes sense! Doesn’t make it any more likely to actually happen though…