PR: " Downgrades Internet TLD: .COM, .NET from AAA to AA" |
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PR: “ Downgrades Internet TLD: .COM, .NET from AAA to AA”

21 is supposedly “the domain industry’s leading internet domain name benchmarking, rating and appraisal service.”  I don’t recall ever hearing of (or using) before, but I saw an interesting press release the company put out today and want to share it with you.

According to the press release, “has changed its rating for the .com and the .net TLD from AAA to AA. The step has been taken after the release of an official statement by U.S. authorities of its intent to continue seizing .com, .net, .cc, .tv and .name domains and forcibly redirecting .org (and probably .us) domains.”

I don’t really know what this means, but I personally have no worries about my domain names or websites being seized by governmental authorities. My personal opinion is that if you aren’t  counterfeiting  anything, selling counterfeit goods, or helping people do illegal activities that are against US laws, you should be okay. I don’t like the seize first ask questions later way they go about this, but I personally don’t believe this impacts domain values or increases risk for the average domain owner.

Anyway, I thought this press release sounded interesting.  Have you used before, and what do you make of this?

Full press release is below., the domain industry’s leading internet domain name benchmarking, rating and appraisal service, has announced today that it has changed its rating for the .com and the .net TLD from AAA to AA. The step has been taken after the release of an official statement by U.S. authorities of its intent to continue seizing .com, .net, .cc, .tv and .name domains and forcibly redirecting .org (and probably .us) domains. Officially, over 750 domains have been seized in the last few months by the U.S. government, most of them from overseas registrars. The U.S. government claims that illegal activities take place on these domains. However, many of the domains seem to have been seized simply for linking to gambling sites or sites streaming sporting events on the web. considers these seizures a threat to any .com domain and the internet DNS in general, given the fact that seized domains can be resold for the benefit of the U.S. government even more. This increases the threat to any valuable domains within these TLDs. Therefore, we’ve had to rerate the TLD today and to lower its rating by two steps, from AAA to AA. While the technical infrastructure, business and economic environment still deserve the AAA level, the legal situation no longer supports this rating.

About 50 large portfolio owners consult ratings for domain names portfolio risk management and investor reporting. Because .com is still the “king” of TLDs, we do not expect any changes in customer asset allocations. Nonetheless, the step has been taken to make clear that other ccTLDs are not affected and will keep their AAA levels. Note that no generic TLD currently has an AAA rating anymore.

We will watch closely how, in the future, the U.S. and other governments handle this issue. Hopefully, we will be able to upgrade .com again. However, we are pessimistic, as a change in this policy will require a substantial change in US politics and in the governance of TLDs. is a domain appraisal and benchmarking service. It provides automated and manual appraisal of individual domain names and portfolios. Domainindex also provides indices to the domain industry, tracking the value of each TLD and benchmarking the holdings of large portfolio owners with respect to the markets. Additionally, Domainindex provides ratings for 60 TLDs, rating them by economic, legal and technical criteria. Domain ratings are used by large portfolio owners to judge their risk profiles and exposures in the various TLDs.

About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.

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Comments (21)


    I’ve never heard of them before, and I’ve been around this community long enough to know and use virtually every service out there.

    But then again, their press release worked. It got you talking and me tweeting about them – which is what a good press release ought to do.

    March 13th, 2012 at 5:18 pm


    Though Sedo claims that IDNX is the first these guys from been opereating for years.
    And they collected alot of info over the years.

    Their press release, wich i take with a grain of salt, even though i published it also a few hours ago holds some thruth.

    As an investor/developer you need to make sure that you are not violating US law(s).
    That is reallity for you. And this might bring down the price.
    Overall the press release was rather bold. But still…..

    March 13th, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Robert Cline

    I told you all whole

    .com was full of junk

    They must shut down the whole space.

    Upgrade today to a more secure space


    you will be require to anyways.

    March 13th, 2012 at 6:00 pm


    I’ve known the website for about 2 months and their detailed TLD stats (“indices”) are pretty interesting. I recommend having a look at them.

    March 13th, 2012 at 6:35 pm


    HA! Who the heck is domain index?? Sounds like some kind of self serving advertisement rather than a legit PR. Do they think they are Goldman Sachs? Made me laugh.

    March 13th, 2012 at 7:00 pm


    Well it might seem a little over the top but we use their services or rather use the ratings and indices to benchmark our fund/portfolio against the market. Investors are used to this and they want independent risk and performance evaluation.
    We will not change anything in our allocation of mainly .com, however the step is necessary to make people understand that .com is not a safe haven and any domain can be taken from you in the worst case.

    March 13th, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      Elliot Silver

      @ Philip

      I noticed your url and want to know if DDF is related to or associated with

      March 13th, 2012 at 7:22 pm


    Another appraisal site claiming to be an expert on domains.

    March 13th, 2012 at 7:24 pm


    You just gave them the publicity they were hoping for and wanting.

    March 13th, 2012 at 8:16 pm


    The lowdown is that they have no rank or data, but they do have an alexa rating of around 700k which is pretty good actually. Also interesting to note they have an Alexa rank of 98k in India? Odd.

    Also to note, alexa has them with 12 sites linking in, almost all of which are some sites.

    Being that they are an analytical company you think they would have considered these analytics before trying to pretend like they’ve been around for a while. You could simply use their site to do an appraisal on their own domain to see all this info.

    All this said though, the site looks interesting. It looks like it wants to compete with Estibot basically. If you go to the tools section it is strikingly similar. It does have some neat tools available too which seem useful. What doesn’t seem useful is another Automated appraisal site. We definitely don’t need that.

    March 13th, 2012 at 8:39 pm


    We use their service when profiling and appraising domains in bulk for large portfolio owners. Their ratings service is interesting but I use their tools as a key part of my business. Its like a better version of Estibot that has hard facts and data behind the evaluations with expert opinions. The guys behind it have been in the domain business for over a decade so they have experience.

    March 13th, 2012 at 8:44 pm


    One other point – they have relationships to help domain owners sell their domains and to make development partnerships as well… so just calling them an “appraisal site” is inaccurate.

    March 13th, 2012 at 8:46 pm


    i know them for 2 years i think they recently moved from to ..they also have a reverse whois which why i use it mostly.

    March 13th, 2012 at 8:54 pm


    So I’m supposed to take seriously a site that gives .tel a better rating that .com?

    March 13th, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Elliot Silver

    I think my question was answered… at the bottom of the press release, it says this:

    Michael Marcovici, +4369915852848

    Isn’t Michael a principal at DDF?

    March 13th, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Shaun Pilfold

    You can always judge a company by the quality of their shills…

    March 13th, 2012 at 9:51 pm


    I used to find this table the most useful from this site:

    Though for some reason they’ve removed a few tlds from it, mostly without an explanation.

    I thought it was common knowledge that it was somehow connected to too.

    March 14th, 2012 at 3:14 pm


    I used their automated domain appraisal tool and compared it to other websites which offer automated appraisals such as Estibot / Valuate.
    I checked the domain name

    Estibot / Valuate $5
    Domainindex $37,600

    Quite a difference. Not sure what to make of this and how useful this tool is.

    March 15th, 2012 at 4:56 pm


    @Yvonne I would take estibot and every other appraisal site with a grain of salt. The value of anything is determined by what the buyer whats to pay. Thats all there is to it.

    April 14th, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Goran Duskic

    @Elliot Thanks for the CircleID article, and for the url, that shad some light on the topic.

    In my oppinion, it takes something much more to degrade a .com domain… For example if hackers have their websites on .com, should that degrade the .com?

    May 9th, 2012 at 4:13 am

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