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07|31|2007 02:46 pm EDT

GoDaddy and Afilias created joint venture in order to bid for .US tld

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Editorial, ICANN / Policy, News, Registries

.us logoGoDaddy and Afilias just announced a joint venture, The Domain Name Alliance Registry, LLC, which submitted a proposal for running the .US ccTLD yesterday in response to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s request for quotation.

“Today, the usTLD ranks 9th among the world’s country code domains, despite America’s leadership of the Internet and the most robust domain growth market in history. Now is the time to change usTLD leadership and put it on a growth track,� said Roland LaPlante, Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer for Afilias. Added Warren Adelman, Go Daddy’s President and Chief Operating Officer, “We believe Alliance Registry pools the strengths of its partners, Go Daddy and Afilias, to offer usTLD superior technology, enhanced marketing, and focused administration to improve this critical national resource.�

Key improvements according to the press release would be:

  1. Reduced pricing for usTLD registrations to make them more affordable and deliver greater value to the usTLD community
  2. Greater volume, growth, and usage of the usTLD stimulated by registry enhancements and marketing programs that have been proven to work by Alliance Registry’s joint owners
  3. Enhanced Locality space support to enable every city and town in America to have its own dedicated space within the usTLD (e.g. anytown.us)
  4. World class stability and security of the registry platform and DNS services supporting the domain
  5. Expanded administration services to facilitate oversight and provide better counsel for the DoC
  6. Enhancing kids.us so it becomes the feature-rich, safe online environment for America’s children it was envisioned to be

Especially point #3 caught my attention here, since I am not sure if this means that cities would be given specific rights to their own .US domain before anyone else.

Since it’s re-launch in 2002 the .US domain has experienced significant slower growth compared to other ccTLDs. Mostly this is probably since .COM has become the equivalent to a US based site to most US Internet users. GoDaddy is the largest domain name registrar today and Afilias operates the .INFO and .ORG TLDs amongst others and is owned by several registrars.

State of the domain: usTLD (from the Alliance Registry Site)

usTLD overall registration volume is weak

Despite a promising start, the volume performance of usTLD has failed to move usTLD into the vanguard of country codes worldwide. The .us domain ranks 9th of all country codes in number of registrations, behind domains from the Netherlands (.NL), China (.CN), and Argentina (.AR). This situation exists despite the fact that the base of Internet users in these individual countries is significantly smaller then the U.S. Also, while it takes time to develop a domain, it is interesting to note that .EU, which conducted its public launch in April, 2006, currently has nearly twice as many registrations as usTLD, which had a 4 year head start.

Top Ten ccTLDS

usTLD registration volume trend is lagging leaders

When viewed relative to the leading ccTLDs (Germany and the UK) shown below, usTLD appears flat, whereas the leaders are not only significantly larger, but growing faster as well.

US registrations vs. DE & UK

usTLD market share declining

usTLD market share has been declining in the face of an overall domain market that has been growing briskly, tracing to 1) Internet expansion worldwide; 2) increasing functionality of the Internet (e.g. e-commerce); and 3) increasing availability and awareness of domain ownership options. Within its segment (ccTLDs), usTLD has been on a long term share decline trend, as shown below:

US market share

[Press Release, Background Information]

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7 Comments

[…] Frank has the full story […]

Antony

August 3, 2007 @ 3:58 am EDT

Is Tokelau (.TK) really the 6th largest ccTLD, behind China but ahead of Italy?

Frank Michlick

August 3, 2007 @ 7:11 am EDT

.TK has been giving away free domain names for a long time and has been very popular, especially with the hacker, wares, cracker and phishing community, so I could imagine that the TLD has grown quite a bit.

[…] Afilias and Godaddy have partnered recently with their bid to run the .US registry. However, the contract was awarded to Neustar instead. […]

Geoff JV Dodd

March 3, 2008 @ 3:34 am EDT

Yes, .tk is widely accepted as a TLD. Many legitimate sites are there. The bid for .us was thwarted. Neustar won. GD.

Pinky Brand

March 3, 2008 @ 9:35 pm EDT

“Yes, .tk is widely accepted as a TLD. Many legitimate sites are there. The bid for .us was thwarted. Neustar won. GD”

I am curious to understand “what widely accepted as a TLD” really means for .TK.

Last November I inquired about .TK’s registration volume claims. I wanted to know if the active registrations are paid for and registered to multiple organizations vs. a concentration among a smattering of registrants. The response from one of the registry’s founders to a friend of mine was: “Normally we have FREE domains and PAID domains. The FREE domains (more than 1.7 million active domains are currently registered) are all owned by us.”

So while it may be true there are ~1.7 million active registrations, it is difficult to gauge exactly how many were actively registered by an obvious party PAYING FOR IT vs. being registered to the registry operator.

I randomly checked their Whois database and noticed that several well-known marks that are registered in other ccTLDs are also now registered in .TK. However, in many cases the registrant is not who you would think it would be—it is simply listed as a “FREE Dot TK domain name” registered to “BV Dot TK / Dot TK administrator” (the registry operator). Moreover (a few months ago when I checked) some obvious marks registered as free names within .TK were resolving to an active web site that did not seem to be in any way connected to content you would normally expect to see in connection with the mark. In some cases the content linked to other .TK web sites that contain questionable content IMHO.

Heck, I could take over a South Pacific ccTLD and register a load of names to myself as the registry operator and end up as one of the largest ccTLDs in the world also, but that does not mean it’s “widely accepted.”

I do not mean to question the validity of honesty of any legitamate .TK sites, and wish them all the best; but I believe if ZOOKNIC were to provide an additional PAID registration report that it would be a better reflection of what’s really going on in a specific TLD. This is another area in the domain name industry that would seem to call out for transparency, just like periodicals report paid and unpaid circulation statistics.

Geoff Dodd

March 4, 2008 @ 1:21 am EDT

Pinky,

Thanks for enlightening me. I see your point very clearly as I had 3 ‘free’ domains at Dot.tk and they were owned by Dot.tk until I paid for them! Recently I’ve noticed that StumbleUpon social bookmarking site refuses to include them and marks them down as Bad URLs. Google has been tough too. The .tk domain has apparently had some abuse by hackers and malware proliferaters. GD.

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