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Guest Post: New gTLD Use: Boon or Bane to Cybersecurity?


This is a sponsored guest post. WhoisXML API made a very generous contribution to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as a part of my Pan-Mass Challenge fundraising campaign in exchange for the publication of this article.

The number of Internet users has skyrocketed from 44 million in 1995 to 3.4 billion in 2016. In parallel, over the past 24 years, the number of websites has risen from one—the first website created by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)—to close to two billion of them.

It’s no wonder that the legacy gTLD space—.com, .info, .net, and .org—is becoming saturated. It doesn’t help that purchasing a domain name in this sphere costs much more than acquiring one with a ccTLD or new gTLD extension. A .com domain can cost a company millions of dollars. In comparison, even the most expensive domains sporting a new gTLD only cost thousands even if these actually fit a brand better than a .com or other legacy domain name.

It makes you wonder why companies continue to opt for older TLDs, right? These arguments may shed some light as to why.

Low-Cost Spamming Tool

The Opportunity Cost of Not Owning Your .COM

The valuation of .com type-in traffic (when a user navigates directly to a website by entering the domain name in the browser) has been a matter of debate for some years.

I recently came across an article by Howard Fellman  in which he makes an interesting case for  Why .COM Domain Names Are Better Than Conventional Real Estate in which he states:

Simply put, if you don’t own the .COM, you are helping the guy that does. He will end up with a percentage of your prospective customers, your intended backlinks and your misdirected email.”

While this may not be news amongst the well informed, surely many companies out there wonder to what extent this is true, and whether it justifies or even dictates a .com domain acquisition for their business purposes. The introduction of the new gTLD’s makes that question even more relevant.

Incidentally, in the past 5 months I happen to be witnessing one good example of the .COM type-in traffic effect, while consulting a client and friend of mine.

Her long established site happens to bear the name of a new product recently launched by a high-tech company, and they reached out to inquire about her domain name. She is not eager to sell, and so far she has been keeping her domain.

However, In the meantime, and ever since the launch of that company’s product she has been receiving some of their traffic and, in fact, dozens of direct purchasing inquiries, some of which were for wholesale quantities.

In this case, just from the type-in traffic perspective, 5-figures worth of potential orders are misdirected every month to my client who owns the .com domain name (judging roughly by the ticket size of their product).

Observations like these are enough of an indicator to oblige every serious company to at least investigate the option of a .com acquisition for their business and / or product.

In the specific case described above it would be a sensible ROI decision long overdue.

(NDA pending and therefore more  specific details cannot be disclosed)

Guest Post: Serial Domain Investor Offers Domain Name to Royal Family


This is a guest post from Luc Biggs of Key Domains, the registrant of the  GeorgeAlexanderLouis.com  domain name. Luc discusses why he registered the domain name and what his company plans to do with the domain name.

We have nearly finished completing our little site to donate the domain name GeorgeAlexanderLouis.com  to the Royal Family.

After registering the domain shortly after the announcement (with no clear goal in mind), we decided to test traffic levels (7,500 average visitors/day) and have since verified where the web traffic is coming from (countries & online sources).

As a half-British citizen, I am only happy to donate the domain name to the Royal Family – the website should be finalized within the hour. I have declined all interviews over the past 48 hours (from various newspapers and radio stations) and will continue to decline from further telephone/radio interviews once the site goes LIVE.

The domain has been kept out the hands of true cybersquatters or online identities that criticize or downplay the Royals or their governance.

Handing the parents the exclusive right to their son’s exact-match online identity on a silver platter is a rare opportunity.

Nat Cohen: Why I Support the ICA

This is a guest post about the Internet Commerce Association from domain investor Nat Cohen, President of Telepathy, Inc.

The Lord Giveth and the Lord taketh away.

For the domain industry, the part of the Lord is played by the U.S. Government and ICANN.

In the early days of the Internet, the U.S. Government policy allowed billions of dollars of domains to be registered on a first-come first-served basis for a registration fee per domain of $100 or less.

Those of us who benefited from this “landrush” know how fortunate we’ve been. Even those domainers who weren’t involved in the early days, benefit from the tremendous value inherent in domain names that is still not fully recognized.

But it is a mistake to confuse being lucky with being smart.

Being smart is taking full advantage of the good luck that comes your way and not  taking it for granted. That is why I consider it smart to

Go Daddy Guest Post: How To Protect Your Accounts

Go Daddy CISOThis is a guest post from Go Daddy’s Chief Information Security Officer, Todd Redfoot. In the post, Todd discusses how you can keep your accounts protected and your domain names safe.

Knowing that an outside party accessed one of your accounts can be incredibly frustrating and exhausting. But there are practical steps you can take to protect your accounts and the information you store in them.

7 basic ways you can make sure your accounts stay secure:

  1. Use a strong password. Eight characters is really not sufficient, a strong “passphrase” is the better choice. A creative device to help with generating strong passwords is to use a phrase that has special meaning to you. For example, “I need a strong password to make sure I’m completely secure,” could become the password InaspTmsIc$. Passwords should consist of a minimum of nine (9) characters and contain at least one special character.
  2. Change your password – often.  This can be as simple as setting a reminder on your calendar to change your password at the beginning of every month.
  3. Use a variety of passwords.  You should never use the same password for multiple accounts. It simply makes it easier for hackers to access all  of your accounts. If you find it difficult to remember all these crazy passwords – try a password safe. There are many free ones out there that will safely store all your passwords in an encrypted database on your machine. Make sure you do your research before downloading anything you find on page 1 of a Google search.
  4. Always, always, always log out.  This is particularly true if you’re using a shared computer, such as one at work or in an Internet café. Regardless of the account you’re in, Facebook or Wells Fargo, take this precaution every time.
  5. Make sure your account is up to date.  Some digital spring cleaning can also protect you. Remove expired credit cards you have stored in accounts and make sure your phone number and address are correct. Not only does this make your account secure, it also ensures that companies you do business with can contact you if there’s ever an issue.
  6. Beware of Wi-Fi hotspots.  Sure, they’re convenient. But you shouldn’t use them to access secure accounts. Hackers are known to roam hotspots looking for their next victim.
  7. Protect your PC. Be careful what you download – only use trusted, well-vetted sources – and invest in anti-virus software to keep your computer safe.

When you have done “everything”, what else can you do?

  1. Do the 2-Step.  Two-step authentication adds another layer of security by texting you a validation code to enter whenever you log in or make important account changes. If it’s available to you, take advantage of it. Go Daddy offers two-step authentication in the US and Canada. You can find out more information about it here.
  2. Never share your account with others.  By giving others access to your account, or purchasing products with someone else’s payment method, you are giving them full access to your account details. If you need to delegate management of your resources check to see if you can assign permissions via account management settings. Go Daddy provides “Account Administrator” functionality. This allows management of your resources from separate accounts, limiting direct access to  account details and billing information. Read more here.
  3. Check for keyloggers on your computer.  Your computer might have malicious software, known as keyloggers, installed that records every keystroke you make — including your user names and passwords.   Run anti-virus programs regularly to detect keyloggers. We recommend using your favorite search engine to find software that removes key loggers from your computer.
  4. Don’t fall for a phishing scheme.  Cybercriminals look to create a sense of urgency to trick unsuspecting victims into downloading malicious files. Many attackers try to lure  you into their schemes by sending emails that look legitimate, but include links to fake login pages that closely resemble the legitimate website. Hover over links, check for misspellings (acmebnak instead of acmebank), but don’t click. Go directly to the website and log in as you would normally; any message, important action, etc. will be there if the email is legitimate. Emails from Go Daddy, in most cases, include your first and last name, a clear first indicator of legitimacy.

Protecting you data is as critical as locking your car or your house – don’t give an attacker an easier route by using weak passwords or unsafe networks.

Guest Post: The Introduction of .uk Risks Damaging the UK Economy


This is a guest post from Edwin Hayward, who has been involved in the domain name industry since 1996. He set up the first dedicated domain name news and information website, Internet Goldrush (later sold to the current owner).

Edwin continues to participate actively on several domain discussion forums, and has been invited to be a panelist at various industry tradeshows. He is a director and co-owner of Memorable Domains Ltd, a UK based domain investment company with a portfolio of 7,000 .co.uk domains.

Nominet has proposed allowing the registration of domains directly under .uk (such as example.uk) for the first time.

Currently, there are over 10,000,000 domain names registered in the UK, and 93% of them are .co.uk domains. The internet economy contributes over £121 billion to UK GDP (at 8.3% it’s the highest of any G20 country).

However, Nominet is planning to turn its back on existing domain name registrants and make the .uk domains available to trademark holders first.

This would mean organisations such as Barclays stand to lose “bank.uk”, Kellogg would lose “breakfast.uk” and so on. Basically, Nominet are choosing to ignore the fact that just about every common English word and phrase has been trademarked by someone somewhere.

Generic domain holders on the other hand tend not to trademark their names because by definition they’re descriptive, and you can’t trademark something in the class to which it relates.

So far, Nominet have done a fantastic job of ‘burying the lead’ on this issue. Of the 51 news reports that followed their initial call for a consultation, only 2 mentioned anything about possible effects on existing domain owners, and this only in passing. Instead, Nominet managed to distract attention by making its “pitch” for the new domain space squarely about trust and security.

The proposed price point for .uk registrations is around £20/year wholesale, making them 800% more expensive than existing .co.uk domains. This would bring Nominet an overnight windfall of some £50,000,000 (for context, that’s more than double their 2011 revenue).

UK businesses would be left to pick up the bill, because they will have no choice but to try and secure the matching .uk domain for their existing .co.uk domain at any choice. Nominet has seen to that by packaging .uk with a suite of additional services designed to make “.uk” the most trusted and secure domain extension in the UK.

The flipside of course being that if something’s “more trusted and more secure” then everything else will be seen as “less trusted and less secure” – in other words, Nominet’s going to erode the existing very high trust in .co.uk in pursuit of new revenue generating opportunities.

It’s like washing powder ads, if the new powder “washes whiter” then who’s going to want to keep buying the old one?

Nominet’s proposal ignores best practices that have been established during similar transitions in other countries. In all other cases, the rights of existing domain owners have been acknowledged and they have been given priority over the matching 2LD.

It’s worth noting that Australia has considered and rejected a rollout of registrations directly under .au on a number of occasions, most recently in 2010 and 2007. The 2010 Names Policy Panel noted that “People thought the current 2LD hierarchy is well-known and understood, and introducing direct registrations would cause unnecessary confusion for little public benefit”. This is exactly the same issue facing .co.uk registrants.

I have prepared a detailed position paper on this issue. Packed with stats and data, it illustrates exactly who stands to win and who stands to lose, and it can be downloaded from:  MyDomainNames.co.uk

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