News and Updates

Trust Has Eroded Within the Cybercriminal Underground Causing a Switch to Ecommerce Platforms

Domain industry news - 3 hours 36 min ago

Popular underground goods and services / Trend Micro, May 26, 2020

New data released today indicates that trust has eroded among criminal interactions, causing a switch to ecommerce platforms and communication using Discord, which both increase user anonymization. "Determined efforts by law enforcement appear to be having an impact on the cybercrime underground," says Trend Micro Research that conducted the study. "This research helps us inform businesses early about emerging threats, such as Deepfake ransomware, AI bots, Access-as-a-Service and highly targeted SIM-swapping," says Ed Cabrera, Trend Micro's chief cybersecurity officer. A layered, risk-based response is vital for mitigating the risk posed by these and other increasingly popular threats." The study also found commoditization has driven prices down for many items such as crypting services which has dropped from US$1,000 to just $20 per month, and the price of generic botnets dropping from $200 to $5 per day. "Pricing for other items, including ransomware, Remote Access Trojans (RATs), online account credentials and spam services, remained stable, which indicates continued demand."

Other scenarios expected in the underground economy within the next three years:

  • Deepfake ransomware will be the evolution of sextortion
  • More cybercrime will hit Africa in the next three to five years
  • Cybercriminals will find a scalable business model that takes advantage of the IoT’s wide attack surface
  • Smart contracts in escrow offered in underground forums
  • SIM card hijacking will increase and target high-level executives

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More under: Cybercrime, Cybersecurity

Categories: News and Updates

When It Comes to Domain Name Rights Protection, scapegoat.sucks

Domain industry news - 5 hours 35 min ago

It is not surprising that the phase 1 review of domain name rights protection mechanisms is delayed, but it is a bit of a surprise that in responding to a question posed in 2020, business executives and their lawyers replied with answers first offered and rejected five years earlier.

In that time before COVID-19, the launch of the Vox Populi Registry and its dotSucks domain names drew quite a lot of attention. After all, unlike .com, .net and other legacy top-level domains that came before it, dotSucks did not hint at its meaning. And unlike many other new top-level domains, it was not limited to a practice or industry. It does not mince words.

The run-up to the launch of the registry saw a flurry of stories that ran the gamut from, "(slaps his forehead) Why didn't I think of that?" to "Why, that's outrageous." In fact, the registry's business model was the first to focus on the value of a domain name. Facebook.com might cost $8 or $10 a year to renew, but its value to the social media company is almost incalculable. Vox Pop did the math.

In order to make the point, we talked about setting registration prices as high as $25,000. All part of a pre-launch marketing campaign to make the case for targeted value rather than mass market low price. We weren't interested in flooding the Internet with names, just working with registrants who saw the value in them.

There were already companies hip to use of colloquial language to make their marketing points. One of my favorites was Jolly Rancher, which ran a national ad campaign during the NFL season under the cover of "Being a Rookie Sucks." And Lagunitas Brewing Company who set their consumer complaint email address at dowesuck@lagunitas.com.

This is still our approach. It is why we have become sponsors and, I hope, solid citizens within groups like INTA, the International Trademark Attorneys' organization. And why we don't ever see Vox Populi Registry show up on those lists of registries whose names are used for fraudulent or malicious purposes. It is yet another aspect of our value.

In the current review of rights protection mechanisms, the question that triggered the nostalgic outburst was Sunrise question 2 (b): "To the extent, you have identified abuses of the Sunrise Period, if any, please describe them and specify any documentation to substantiate the identified abuse."

On the spreadsheet created by ICANN to make it easy to find and compare the many comments for each individual question, the answers to Sunrise question 2 (b) can be found, with some irony, in a column labeled BS. I am not making that up, but, whether by accident or design, I am taking it as subliminal commentary.

And just what kind of BS is in column BS?

We see again the criticism of "price gouging" by Vox Populi Registry. We hear again that its pricing is "discriminatory," that it is "pricing higher that cost recovery" and that the Sunrise list of the registry was populated by using data from the Trademark Clearinghouse.

None of that was true in 2015. None of it is true in 2020.

Ultimately, it is disappointing that five years in, with a wealth of market data showing the value of owning your mistakes, speaking the language of the customers you seek and meeting the expectations of those who want to be heard, some business executives and their lawyers continue to criticize without basis. That.Sucks.

For anyone still unsure of the value of the dotSucks platform, I recommend a couple of minutes from Jerry Seinfeld's new comedy performance, "23 Hours to Kill", on Netflix. Begin at about the six-minute mark of the show. The gist is this: "Sucks and great are pretty close. They're not that different."

That has been our point all along.

Written by John Berard, Founder, Credible Context & CEO, Vox Populi Registry

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More under: Domain Management, Domain Names, Brand Protection, New TLDs

Categories: News and Updates

Reviewing 4-character domains sold in April

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2020-05-26 20:36

Would these domains make good upgrades for Chinese companies?

 

One of my interests is to find end users in China for .com domains as upgrades. In this article, I’ll look at some 4-character domains sold in April that could be valuable to companies in China. This methodology might help you when you think about selling domains to Chinese companies.

Note that I always check both .cn and .com.cn in my end user research. This is because even though .cn has about 9 times the registration volume of .com.cn, there are still many companies using .com.cn.

FFP2.com sold for $6,492. FFP2 .com.cn forwards to 9175QX .com, which looks like a betting portal with lots of flashy links. In this case, FFP2.com is unlikely a potential upgrade for FFP2.com.cn.

QS88.com sold for $3,159 and is already listed on the LVMI.com marketplace with a BIN price of 80,000 yuan (or about $12,000). QS may be an acronym for Quan Sheng (全胜=total victory), Qiao Shou (巧手=skillful hands), and Qing Song (轻松=effortless). 8 rhymes with Fa (发=making a fortune).

JS52.com sold for $2,247. JS52 .cn links to JS123-1 .com which is a betting site. In this case, JS52.com is unlikely a potential upgrade for JS52 .cn.

XJ33.com sold for $1,230 and is already listed with a BIN price of 28,880 yuan (about $4,300). XJ33 .cn appears to be a betting site but the brand may be Bet365, so XJ33.com is unlikely a potential upgrade for XJ33 .cn.

383K.com sold for $1,100. 383K .com.cn forwards to YA022 .com which looks like a lottery site, so 383K.com is unlikely a potential upgrade for 383K .com.cn.

ZZ22.com sold for $1,051. ZZ22.cn is a manufacturer of electronic devices such as inductors, electronic transformers, and filters. However, its brand is Fu He (富合) which apparently is unrelated to ZZ22.cn. Therefore, ZZ22.com is unlikely a potential upgrade for ZZ22.cn.

In these examples, I could not find any genuine end users in China for the .com domains as upgrades. However, it still should be helpful by showing that a developed .cn or .com.cn does not guarantee that there are desired end users for your .com domains. Further research is needed.

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Categories: News and Updates

Seattle business guilty of reverse domain name hijacking

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2020-05-26 16:48

Panelist calls the complaint “patently deficient.”

UDRP panelists usually don’t find reverse domain name hijacking if a Complainant represents themselves. But World Intellectual Property Organization panelist Scott Blackmer decided it was warranted in a recent case.

Structure Cellars, which operates a wine tasting room in Seattle, filed a complaint against HouseofPagne.com (short for Champagne).

The registrant of the domain says she registered it and pitched the Complainant on an idea for a business. The two didn’t end up partnering on the venture. There’s a bit of he said, she said and there might be a legitimate dispute outside of the scope of UDRP.

But that dispute doesn’t warrant a cybersquatting dispute.

Blackmer noted that, even without counsel, the Complainant should have realized it was filing a bad case:

Here, the Complaint is patently deficient. The Complainant has trademark applications, not registrations, and it would need proof to establish common law rights. The Complaint does not address the obvious problem that the Complainant’s business was launched months after the Respondent registered the Domain Name. It should have been clear that if (sic) would be necessary to establish the relationship between the parties, but no evidence was submitted on this point. The Complainant is not represented by legal counsel, but these are common-sense rather than highly technical issues, and the Center’s forms, Rules, and Overview provide accessible guidance on these points. The Respondent, who is also not represented by counsel, certainly grasped their implication when completing the Center’s form Response…

…The Complainant may have a business dispute with the Respondent, but the Complainant should not have pursued a remedy designed only to protect trademark rights when it was not prepared to prove that it has such rights and that the Respondent registered and used the Domain Name in contemplation of the Complainant’s trademark rights. This is so fundamental to the Policy that it must be considered irresponsible to ignore.

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Categories: News and Updates

One Word Domains – DNW Podcast #287

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2020-05-26 15:30

A tool to find one-word domains and thoughts about the state of the domain business.

This week I have a guest interview and some thoughts about the domain industry. For the guest segment, I speak with Steven Tey, a student who created OneWord.Domains to help people discover one-word domains that are available for registration. In addition to speaking with Steven, I give my take on the current state of the domain market, discuss domain name liquidation platforms, and share my frustrations with GoDaddy.

Also: Patents, reverse domain name hijacking, domain name surge

Sponsor: Donuts

Subscribe via Apple Podcasts to listen to the Domain Name Wire podcast on your iPhone or iPad, or click play above or download to begin listening. (Listen to previous podcasts here.)

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Categories: News and Updates

GoDaddy’s bold color choice has benefits

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2020-05-26 14:36

The color alone screams “GoDaddy” to me.

GoDaddy’s (NYSE: GDDY) new logo gave a lot of people pause last year. Is it a heart? Two eggs? An upside-down AirBnB logo? Part of the reproductive system?

But the boldest thing might have been the color. The bright aqua color stands out. It’s vivid. It’s bright. It can make your eyes hurt if you stare at it too long.

And yet.

And yet, the unique color choice means that when you see the color, you might associate it with GoDaddy. It’s not the popular green, red, and blue colors that make up so many other logos.

I was reminded of this the other day when I was on Facebook using a laptop. It’s a busy page, yet an ad in the column caught my eye:

It caught my eye because of the jarring color. I immediately thought “GoDaddy” before reading the ad.

Color alone is rarely unique enough to provide brand impressions. I’d argue GoDaddy’s aqua color does just that.

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Categories: News and Updates

Public and Private Infrastructure Investment Alternatives

Domain industry news - Tue, 2020-05-26 00:49

Electrifying rural South Dakota – A poster promoting membership in rural electric cooperatives. Ca. 1940. Courtesy of the Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

"The strategic goal of infrastructure is not to derive economic benefit from the asset itself but to generate economic benefit by maximizing the use of the asset."
Steve Song

Eric Yuan, CEO of the Zoom teleconferencing service, stated that the average number of daily meeting recipients increased from 10 million in December 2019 to 200 million in March 2020 in a webinar last month. I've been teaching 21 students using Zoom as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the audio and video are smooth, and switching between speakers is seamless. Offhand, I cannot think of any technology that has scaled so well so fast.

When I teach, I use transport offered by Charter, Amazon, and others to reach Zoom's application on a server in an Amazon data center in Virginia. (Zoom has servers in 16 data centers around the world). Zoom's rapid expansion would not have been possible without the transport and application-service infrastructure provided by private investment.

It is a remarkable success story, but imperfect.

Two of my students have been unable to participate in our Zoom meetings because they cannot afford fixed Internet access at home, the campus labs are closed, and data caps limit their participation with mobile phones. I can afford home connectivity, but Charter is the only broadband provider on my block, so I must pay whatever they decide to charge me. That is the situation in Los Angeles, and there are rural areas in the US and many locations in other nations where broadband connectivity is not available at any price. Amazon has competition but their dominant infrastructure position provides them with opportunities to be "be evil" if they are not monitored).

The Federal government funded the research, development, and procurement that led to the Internet then turned to private companies like Amazon and Charter to create the infrastructure Zoom and others use. The COVID-19 pandemic, with its attendant substitution of communication for transportation, highlights the fact that Internet access is as much a necessity today as access to sidewalks, roads, and highways.

Can publically-owned infrastructure fill the Internet infrastructure gap?

Singapore ISP equity, June 2000 (Source)

We have some municipal broadband in the US, but it is roadblocked or outlawed in 22 states, and the states with restrictions have higher Internet prices on the average than the others. Public Internet infrastructure planning and investment are found in other nations as well. For example, Stockholm has provided municipal fiber as a service for over 25 years and around the same time, the Singapore government decided Internet infrastructure was strategic and therefore took equity positions in the nascent Internet service providers. (Internet service in Sweden and Singapore costs less than half of what I pay in Los Angeles today.)

China seems to follow a semi-public strategy of funding private companies and allowing them to compete against each other while retaining political control rather than equity. They followed this strategy in developing terrestrial Internet infrastructure and applications and are doing the same with satellite broadband. Community networks, where the users own and operate the network, are another form of quasi-government ownership.

I don't mean to imply that public ownership is inherently superior to private ownership. Public ownership may lead to cronyism and bureaucracy. For example, Cuba has a bureaucratic government-monopoly Internet service provider and Cuban infrastructure and access lag behind other Latin American and Caribbean nations, content is controlled and they recently confiscated SNET, a large and successful community network (that was not connected to the Internet).

There is no simple, optimal public/private policy and whatever we do needs to be continuously monitored and adjusted as people learn to game the system, but the proposal for the creation of a National Investment Authority (NIA) by Cornell University law professors Saule Omarova and Robert C. Hockett is a good place to begin the discussion.

The NIA would bail out citizens and critical organizations during a crisis like COVID-19 and invest in socially valuable collective goods like rural broadband, renewable energy, affordable housing, and clean water during stable times. An independent NIA governing board would set development goals and strategy, but would not make investment decisions. Those would be made by a National Infrastructure Bank (NIB) and a National Capital Management Corporation (NCMC).

The NIB would buy and securitize bonds that municipalities and other public and private actors issue, and the NCMC would seek investors in a collection of socially valuable investment funds the way a privately owned asset management/venture capital firm like Blackrock does.

But, why would a private investor invest in an NCMC fund that was focused on long-term social return instead of a fund of a private asset management firm that seeks to maximize financial return? The government would guarantee an attractive, relatively short term return on investments in NCMC funds. It would convert the expected long-term return to society into a reasonable short-term return to private investors.

The public foots the bill for bailouts today and the NIA would give us a seat at the investment-decision table. It would face political hurdles, but so did the New Deal at the time of an earlier crisis. If the NIA sounds interesting, check out this short article, podcast interview (with transcript), or this detailed paper.

Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University

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More under: Access Providers, Broadband, Coronavirus

Categories: News and Updates

Emerging Communications Technologies

Domain industry news - Mon, 2020-05-25 23:20

A "New IP" framework was proposed to the ITU last year. This framework envisages a resurgence of a network-centric view of communications architectures where network-managed control mechanisms moderate application behaviors.

It's not the first time that we've seen proposals to rethink the underlying architecture of the Internet's technology (for example, there were the "Clean Slate" efforts in the US research community a decade or so ago) and it certainly won't be the last. However, this New IP framework is very prescriptive in terms of bounding application behaviors, and it seems to ignore the most basic lesson of the past three decades of evolution: communications services are no longer a command economy and these days the sector operates as a conventional market-based economy, and this market for diverse services is expressed in the diversity of application behaviors.

What this market-based economy implies is that ultimately what shapes the future of the communications sector, what shapes the services that are provided, and even the technologies used to generate such services are the result of consumer choices. Consumers are often fickle, entranced by passing fads, and can be both conservative and adventurous at the same time. But whatever you may think of the sanity of consumer markets, it's their money that drives this industry. Like any other consumer-focused services market, what consumers want, they get.

However, it's more than simple consumer preferences. This change in the economic nature of the sector also implies changes in investors and investment, changes in operators, changes in the collective expectations of the sector, and the way these expectations are phrased. It's really not up to some crusty international committee to dictate future consumer preferences. Time and time again, these committees with their lofty titles, such as "the Focus Group on Technologies for Network 2030," have been distinguished by their innate ability to see their considered prognostications comprehensively contradicted by reality! Their forebears in similar committees missed computer mainframes, then they failed to see the personal computer revolution, and were then totally surprised by the smartphone. It's clear that no matter what the network will look like some ten years from now, what it won't be is what this 2030 Focus Group pondering a new IP is envisaging!

I don't claim any particular ability to do any better in the area of divination of the future, and I'm not going to try. But in this process of evolution, the technical seeds of the near-term future are already visible today. What I would like to do here is describe what I think are the critically important technical seeds any why.

This is my somewhat arbitrary personal choice of technologies that I think will play a prominent role on the Internet over the next decade.

The foundation technology of the Internet, and indeed of the larger digital communication environment, is the concept of packetization, replacing the previous model of circuit emulation.

IP advocated a radical change to the previous incumbency of telephony. Rather than an active time switched network with passive edge devices, the IP architecture advocated a largely passive network where the network's internal elements simply switched packets. The functionality of the service response was intended to be pushed out to the devices at the edge of the network. The respective roles of networks and devices were inverted in the transition to the Internet.

But change is hard, and for some decades, many industry actors with interests in the provision of networks and network services strived to reverse this inversion of the network service model. Network operators tried hard to introduce network-based service responses while handling packet-based payloads. We saw the efforts to develop network-based Quality of Service approaches that attempted to support differential service responses for different classes of packet flows within a single network platform. I think some twenty years later, we can call this effort a Grand Failure. Then there was virtual circuit emulation in MPLS, and more recent variants of loose source routing (SR) approaches. It always strikes me as odd that these approaches require orchestration across all active elements in a network where the basic functionality of traffic segmentation can be offered at far lower cost through ingress traffic grooming. But, cynically, I guess that the way to sell more fancy routers is to distribute complexity across the entire network. I would hesitate to categorize any of these technologies as emerging, as they seem to be more like regressive measures in many ways, motivated more by a desire to "value-add" to an otherwise undistinguished commodity service of packet transmission. The longevity of some of these efforts to create network-based services is a testament to network operators' level of resistance to accepting their role as a commodity utility rather than any inherent value in the architectural concept of circuit-based network segmentation.

At the same time, we've made some astonishing progress in other aspects of networking. We've been creating widely dispersed fault-tolerant systems that don't rely on centralized command and control. Any student of the inter-domain routing protocol BGP, which has been quietly supporting the Internet for some three decades now, could not fail to be impressed by the almost prescient design of a distributed system for managing a complex network that is now up to nine orders of magnitude larger than the network of the early 1990s for which it was originally devised. We've created a new kind of network that is open and accessible. It was impossible to develop new applications for the telephone network, yet on the Internet, that's what happens all the time. From the vibrant world of apps down to the very basics of digital transmission, the world of networking is in a state of constant flux, and new technologies are emerging at a dizzying rate.

What can we observe about emerging technologies that will play a critical role in the coming years? Here's is my personal selection of recent technical innovations that I would classify into the set of emerging technologies that will exercise a massive influence over the coming ten years.

Optical Coherence

For many decades the optical world used the equivalent of a torch. There was either light passing down the cable or there wasn't. This "on-off keying" (OOK) simple approach to optical encoding was continuously refined to support optical speeds of up to 10Gbps, which is no mean feat of technology, but at that point, it was running into some apparently hard limitations of the digital signal processes that OOK is using.

But there is still headroom in the fiber for more signal. We are now turning to Optical Coherence and have unleashed a second wave of innovation in this space. Exploiting Optical Coherence is a repeat of a technique that has been thoroughly exercised in other domains. We used phase-amplitude keying to tune analogue baseband voice circuit modems to produce 56Kbps of signal while operating across a 3Khz bandwidth carrier. Similar approaches were used in the radio world where we now see 4G systems supporting data speeds of up to 200Mbps.

The approach relies on the use of phase-amplitude and polarisation keying to wring out a data capacity close to the theoretical Shannon limit. Optical systems of 100Gpbs per wavelength are now a commodity in the optical marketplace, and 400G systems are coming on stream. We will likely see Terabit optical systems in the coming years using high-density phase-amplitude modulation coupled with custom-trained digital signal processing. As with other optical systems, it's also likely that we'll see the price per unit of bandwidth on these systems plummet as the production volumes increase. In today's world, communications capacity is an abundant resource, and that abundance gives us a fresh perspective on network architectures.

5G

What about radio systems? Is 5G an "emerging technology"?

It's my opinion that that 5G is not all that different from 4G. The real change was shifting from circuit tunneling using PPP sessions to a native IP packet forwarding system, and that was the major change from 3G to 4G. 5G looks much the same as 4G, and the fundamental difference is the upward shift in radio frequencies for 5G. Initial 5G deployments use 3.8Ghz carriers, but the intention is to head into the millimeter-wave band of 24Ghz to 84Ghz. This is a mixed blessing in that higher carrier frequencies can assign larger frequency blocks and therefore increase carrying capacity of the radio network, but at the same time, the higher frequencies use shorter wavelengths, and these millimeter-sized shorter wavelengths behave more like light than radio. At higher frequencies, the radio signal is readily obstructed by buildings, walls, trees and other larger objects, and to compensate for this, any service deployment requires a significantly higher population of base stations to achieve the same coverage. Beyond the hype, it's not clear if there is a sound sustainable economic model of millimeter-wave band 5G services.

For those reasons, I'm going to put 5G at the bottom of the list of important emerging technologies. Radio and mobile services will remain incredibly important services on the Internet, but 5G represents no radical change in the manner of use of these systems beyond the well-established 4G technology.

IPv6

It seems odd to consider IPv6 as an "emerging technology" in 2020. The first specification of IPv6, RFC1883, was published in 1995, which makes it a 25-year-old technology. But it does seem that after many years of indecision and even outright denial, the IPv4 exhaustion issues are finally driving deployment decisions, and these days one-quarter of the Internet's user devices use IPv6. This number will inexorably rise.

It's hard to say how long it will take for the other three quarters, but the conclusion looks pretty inevitable. If the definition of "emerging" is one of large-scale increases in adoption in the coming years, then IPv6 certainly appears to fit that characterization, despite its already quite venerable age!

I just hope that we will work out a better answer to the ongoing issues with IPv6 Extension Headers, particularly in relation to packet fragmentation before we get to the point of having to rely on IPv6-only service environments.

BBR

Google's Bottleneck Bandwidth and Round-trip time TCP control algorithm (BBR) is a revolutionary control algorithm that is in my mind equal in importance to TCP itself. This transport algorithm redefines the relationship between end hosts, network buffers, and speed and allows end systems to efficiently consume available network capacity at multi-gigabit speeds without being hampered by poorly designed active packet switching elements.

Loss-based congestion control algorithms have served us well in the past, but these days, as we contemplate end-to-end speeds of hundreds of gigabits per second, such conservative loss-based system control algorithms are impractical. BBR implements an entirely new perspective on both flow control and speed management that attempts to stabilize the flow rate at the same rate as a fair share of available network capacity. This is a technology to watch.

QUIC

There has been a longstanding tension between applications and networks. In the end-to-end world of TCP, the network's resources are shared across the set of active clients in a manner determined by the clients themselves. This has always been an anathema to network operators, who would prefer to actively manage their network's resources and provide deterministic service outcomes to customers. To achieve this, it's common to see various forms of policy-based rate policers in networks, where the 'signature' of the packet headers can indicate the application generating the traffic, which, in turn, generates a policy response. Such measures require visibility on the inner contents of each IP packet, which is conventionally the case with TCP.

QUIC is a form of encapsulation that uses a visible outer wrapping of UDP packets and encrypts the inner TCP and content payload. Not only does this approach hides the TCP flow control parameters from the network and the network's policy engines, but it also lifts the control of the data flow algorithm away from the common host operating system platform and places it into the hands of each application. This gives greater control to the application so that the application can adjust its behavior independently of the platform it is running.

In addition, it removes the requirement of a "one size that is equally uncomfortable for all" model of data flow control used in operating system platform-based TCP applications. With QUIC the application itself can tailor its flow control behaviors to optimize the behavior of the application within the parameters of the current state of the network path.

This shift of control from the platform to the application will likely continue. Applications want greater agility and greater levels of control over their own behaviors and services. By using a basic UDP substrate, the host platform's TCP implementation is bypassed, and the application can then operate in a way that is under the complete control of the application.

Resolverless DNS

I was going to say "DNS over HTTPS" (DoH), but I'm not sure that DoH itself is a particularly novel technology, so I'm not sure it fits into this category of "emerging technologies." We've used HTTPS as a firewall-tunneling and communication privacy-enhancing technology for almost as long as firewalls, and privacy concerns have existed, and software tools that tunnel IP packets in HTTPS sessions are readily available and have been for at least a couple of decades. There is nothing novel there. Putting the DNS into HTTPs is just a minor change to the model of using HTTPS as a universal tunneling substrate.

However, HTTPS itself offers some additional capabilities that plain old DNS over TLS, the secure channel part of HTTPS, cannot intrinsically offer. I'm referring to "server push" technologies on the web. For example, a web page might refer to a custom style page to determine the intended visual setting of the page. Rather than having the client perform another round of DNS resolution and connection establishment to get this style page, the server can push this resource to the client and the page that uses it. From the perspective of HTTP, DNS requests and responses look like any other data object transactions, and pushing a DNS response without a triggering DNS query is, in HTTP terms, little different from, say, pushing a stylesheet.

However, this is a profound step of significant proportions in terms of the naming architecture of the Internet. What if the names were only accessible within the context of a particular web environment, and inaccessible using any other tool, including conventional DNS queries? The Internet can be defined as a single coherent namespace. We can communicate with each other by sending references to resources, i.e., names, and this makes sense only when the resources I refer to by using a particular name are the same resources that you will refer to when you use the same name. It does not matter what application is used and what might be the context of the query for that name, the DNS resolution result is the same. However, when content pushes resolved names to clients, it is simple for content to create its own context and environment that is uniquely different from any other name context. There is no longer one coherent namespace but many fragmented potentially overlapping namespaces and no clear way to disambiguate potentially conflicting uses of names.

The driver behind many emerging technologies is speed, convenience and tailing the environment to match each user. From this perspective, resolverless DNS is pretty much inevitable. However, the downside is that the Internet loses its common coherence, and it's unclear whether this particular technology will have a positive impact on the Internet or a highly destructive one. I guess that we will see in the coming few years!

Quantum Networking

In 1936, long before we built the first of the modern-day programable computers, British mathematician devised a thought experiment of a universal computing machine, and more importantly, he classified problems into "computable" problems where a solution was achievable in finite time, and "uncomputable" problems, where a machine will never halt. In some ways, we knew even before the first physical computer that there existed a class of problems that were never going to be solved with a computer. Peter Shor performed a similar feat in 1994, devising an algorithm that performs prime factorization in finite time in a yet-to-be-built quantum computer. The capabilities (and limitations) of this novel form of mechanical processing were being mapped out long before any such machine had been built. Quantum Computers are an emerging, potentially disruptive technology in the computing world.

There is also a related emerging technology, Quantum Networking, where quantum bits (qubits) are passed between quantum networks. Like many others, I have no particular insight as to whether quantum networking will be an esoteric diversion in the evolution of digital networks or whether it will become the conventional mainstream foundation for tomorrow's digital services. It's just too early to tell.

Architectural Evolution

Why do we still see constant technical evolution? Why aren't we prepared to say: "Well, that's job done? Let's all head to the pub!" I suspect that the pressures to continue to alter the technical platforms of the Internet come from the evolution of the architecture of the Internet.

One view of the purpose of the original model of the Internet was to connect clients to service. Now we could have each service run a dedicated access network, and a client would need to use a specific network to access a specific service, but after trying this in a small way, the 1980s general reaction was to recoil in horror! So we used the Internet as the universal connection network. As long as all services and servers were connected to this common network when a client connected, they could access any service.

In the 1990s, this was a revolutionary step, but as the number of users grew, they outpaced the server model's growth capability, and the situation became unsustainable. Popular services were a bit like the digital equivalent of a black hole in the network. We needed a different solution, and we came up with content distribution networks (CDNs). CDNs use a dedicated network service to maintain a set of equivalent points of service delivery all over the Internet. Rather than using a single global network to access any connected service, all the client needs is an access network that connects them to the local aggregate CDN access point. The more we use locally accessible services, the less we use, the broader network.

What does this mean for technologies?

One implication is the weakening of the incentives to maintain a single consistent, connected Internet. If the majority of digitally delivered services desired by users can be obtained through a purely local access framework, then who is left to pay for the considerably higher costs of common global transit to access the small residual set of remote-access only services? Do local-only services need access to globally unique infrastructure elements.

NATs are an extreme example of a case in point that local-only services are quite functional with local-only addresses, and the proliferation of local user names leads to a similar conclusion. It is difficult to conclude that the pressures for Internet fragmentation increase with the rise of content distribution networks. However, if one looks at fragmentation in the same way as entropy in the physical world, then it requires constant effort to resist fragmentation. Without the constant application of effort to maintain a global system of unique identifiers, we appear to move towards networks that only exhibit local scope.

Another implication is the rise of specific service scoping in applications. An example of this can be seen in the first deployments of QUIC. QUIC was exclusively used by Google's Chrome browser when accessing Google web servers. The transport protocol, which was conventionally was placed into the operating system as a common service for applications was lifted up into the application. The old design considerations that supported the use of a common set of operating system functions over the use of tailored application functionality no longer apply. With the deployment of more capable end systems and faster networks, we can construct highly customized applications. Browsers already support many of the functions that we used to associate only with operating systems, and many applications appear to be following this lead. It's not just a case of wanting finer levels of control over the end-user experience, although that is an important consideration, but also a case of each application shielding its behavior and interactions with the user from other applications, from the host operating system platform and from the network.

If the money that drives the Internet is the money derived from knowledge of the end user's habits and desires, which certainly appears to be the case for Google, Amazon, Facebook and Netflix, and many others, then it would be folly for these applications to expose their knowledge to any third party. Instead of applications that rely on a rich set of services provided by the operating system and the network, we are seeing the rise of the paranoid application as the new technology model. These paranoid applications not only minimize their points of external reliance, but they also attempt to minimize the visibility of their behaviors as well.

Change as a Way of Life

The pressure of these emerging technologies competing with the incumbent services and infrastructure on the Internet is perhaps the most encouraging sign that the Internet is still alive and is still quite some time away from a slide into obsolescence and irrelevance. We are still changing the basic transmission elements, changing the underlying transport protocols, changing the name and addressing infrastructure, and change the models of service delivery.

And that's about the best signal we could have: the Internet is by no means a solved problem and poses many important technology challenges.

Where does this leave the New IP proposal?

In my view, it's going nowhere useful. I think it heads to the same fate as a long list of predecessors as yet another rather useless effort to adorn the network with more useless knobs and levers in an increasingly desperate attempt to add value to the network that no users are prepared to pay for.

The optical world and the efforts of the mobile sector are transforming communications into an abundant undistinguished commodity, and such efforts to ration it out in various ways, or adding unnecessary adornments are misguided efforts. The network is no longer managing applications. There is little left of any form of cooperation between the network and the application, as the failure of ECN attests. Applications are now hiding their control mechanisms from the network and making fewer and fewer assumptions about the characteristics of the network, as we see with QUIC and BBR.

So, if all this is a Darwinian process of evolutionary change, then it seems that the evolutionary attention currently lives in user space as applications on our devices. Networks are just there to carry packets.

Written by Geoff Huston, Author & Chief Scientist at APNIC

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More under: Internet Protocol, IP Addressing, IPv6, Networks, Wireless

Categories: News and Updates

Help Science Fight COVID-19

Domain industry news - Mon, 2020-05-25 17:53

Many organizations and individuals are socially committed and voluntarily help the weak, the poor, and the sick. Others consider how they can contribute. Supporting organizations and individuals by starting an aid project, donating money, or providing human resources, can make a crucial difference.

The corona crisis is a challenge for many, if not all. Scientists around the world are experimenting with cures and vaccines, and they need help. However, you don't have to be a virologist to help science fight COVID-19. All you need is a computer and a free program called Folding@Home. It is not entirely new, but the interest resumed due to the current pandemic. Stanford University initiated the project in 2000 and has been researching cancer, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's. Since 2019, the University of St. Louis School of Medicine has led the project. It is a non-profit project, and the generated results are not for sale. Researchers worldwide can access these data sets on request.

The software utilizes the home computer for a vast experiment. Researchers simulate how viruses attack the human organism. Viruses use specific proteins, and there are innumerable ways in which these proteins can change their shape. It is like a massive bunch of keys, where you have to find the right keys. Because hardly any computer would be able to try each key, everyone can help with their PC.

By now, users provide more than 2.4 exaflops of computing power — exceeding the combined computing power of the 500 fastest supercomputers on Earth. Individual PCs can thus jointly simulate how active ingredients interact with the virus's spike protein, which is needed for docking to human host cells. These simulations limit physical tests to dozens of hundreds instead of thousands in search of a suitable active ingredient. Despite all efforts and the latest findings on COVID-19, many questions remain unanswered in finding effective drugs and vaccines. Therefore, more computing power will help.

More than 2.7 million users and over 250,000 teams worldwide have already registered. Some use their home computer, others their servers in a data center, and yet others have set up dedicated hardware. It is an illustrious circle: large organizations like Amazon, AMD, Apple, CERN, Google, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Microsoft, Nvidia, Petrobras, and VMware joined, but also smaller companies, such as domain name registrars and hosting companies.

Anyone using Windows, macOS, or Linux can download a client that runs in the background. The client supports single and multi-core CPUs as well as GPUs from Nvidia and AMD. The client downloads work units containing protein data. Work units are a fraction of the simulation between states in a Markov state model. After processing the work unit, the client returns the result to Folding@Home, which then credits the user in return. This cycle repeats automatically. All work units have deadlines, and when a user misses a deadline, work units are redistributed.

It is a fallacy to believe that help from large companies suffices. The variations in the search for new cures, drugs, and vaccines will take a lot of time and effort. In total, more than 200 scientific publications were published as a direct result of Folding@Home. It is still a long way, and a straightforward principle applies — the more, the merrier. Join in now!

Written by Tobias Sattler, CTO united-domains

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More under: Cloud Computing, Coronavirus, Data Center, Networks

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Workforce.com: The danger of not owning the “best” domain for your company

Domain Name Wire - Sat, 2020-05-23 15:59

Confusion when someone buys the better domain.

Workforce Software provides workforce management software using the domain name WorkforceSoftware.com.

For decades, the shorter Workforce.com domain was used by Workforce Magazine to deliver human resources news.

But last year, a competitor to Workforce Software acquired the publisher of Workforce Magazine. It then changed the use of Workforce.com from human resources news to promoting its own workforce management software, rebranded as Workforce.com.

Suddenly, Workforce Software had a big problem: confusion.

It didn’t have the best domain for its business, and now a competitor was using the best domain.

Workforce Software filed a cybersquatting complaint under UDRP against Workforce.com and lost.

The confusion is real. For about a minute while researching this case, I wondered if Workforce Software had acquired Workforce.com at the last minute. Take a look at their logos in the image. They both have lowercase logos with a blue icon in them. The icons are fairly similar but flipped.

This is not a case of cybersquatting, though. It’s another example of not owning the best domain for your company and having it come back to haunt you.

I usually tell people that if the better domain is currently in use in a non-confusing way, you’ll be OK registering the second-best domain. I urge caution when the best domain is just a parked page that might be sold to someone else.

But in this case, even though Workforce.com was being used in a non-infringing way, it was sold.

It reminds me of a similar issue a friend ran into. He registered a domain in the form exampleSoftware .com, just like this domain. Then someone bought example .com to market a sex toy. His friends called him up, saying they didn’t realize he had gotten into that business.

It will be interesting to see if Workforce Software takes this issue to the courts. While it’s not cybersquatting under UDRP, there might be a trademark issue. Then again, Workforce is a very generic word to use as a brand for workforce management software.

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Is Teleworking Here to Stay?

Domain industry news - Fri, 2020-05-22 19:34

Travis County, TX says it plans to have large part of its workforce continue working from home permanently. (KXAN / MAY 13, 2020)

Broadband networks are stretched thin today due to the large numbers of adults and students working from home. There are many stories on the web that indicate that a lot of employees are not going to be going back to the office when the pandemic is over.

Here are two stories about a trend towards more teleworking from the dozens that a Google search uncovered. The government in Travis County, TX says that as many as 3,000 of their 5,000 employees might be asked to work from home at the end of the pandemic. This is a large county that includes Austin and the surrounding suburbs. There are about 2,000 employees who can't work from home, including law enforcement, medical examiners, and offices that work with the public like the County Clerk's office — but the government will consider sending everybody else home to work. The County says that productivity has gone up since employees went home, and the County is pleased with the noticeable difference in air pollution from fewer commuters.

An article in Marketwatch had interviews with the CEOs of six tech companies and all thought that a significant portion of the workforce would never be brought back to the office after the end of the pandemic. For example, Stewart Butterfield of Slack recently told investors that he would expect 20% to 40% of the company's workforce to remain at home. The other CEOs voiced similar opinions. They also said their companies are also likely to permanently dial-back on travel and attendance at conferences. The CEOs were excited about the options created by being able to hire talented employees from across the country.

There are some obvious impacts if companies everywhere adopt this kind of thinking. It bodes poorly for expensive office space in downtown areas. There would be a big downturn in all of the businesses that serve commuters, like restaurants and parking garages, if a significant portion of workers never returns to the big city centers. There would be a drop in transit revenues and road tolls.

It also has long-term implications for broadband. While the big ISPs are all telling the world that their networks are handling the increased traffic that's pouring into and out of neighborhoods today, those working at home know better. By now, everybody has experienced video calls where some callers are pixelating or disappearing in the middle of a call. Everybody probably also has friends who are telling them the stories of wresting with poor broadband outside of cities — where only one family member at a time can use the broadband.

ISPs have seen a one-time spike in usage that may never fully go away. Most of the increased usage comes from people doing office work or schoolwork over the broadband network that would formerly have been done inside of a school or office server environment. People are teleconferencing now for conversations that would have happened in a conference room or cubicle.

One of the most likely outcomes of people working from home is going to be a big outcry from folks demanding faster upload connection speeds. Many of the problems experienced from working at home during COVID-19 come from the miserly upload speeds that broadband technologies other than fiber provide to a home. Cable companies, in particular, are likely to increase upload speeds — something they've purposefully kept small in order to provide as much download speed as possible. But there is a world of difference between a 100/5 Mbps connection and a 90/15 Mbps connection.

ISPs are also going to have to get used to a different demand curve. Residential broadband networks have always been busiest in the evenings when everybody is at home using the Internet for videos and gaming. During COVID we've seen some interesting shifts in broadband usage by time of day. Daytime usage is up significantly, while evening usage has not grown, and many ISPs say evening usage has decreased. The busy hour in a neighborhood may no longer be 8:00 PM.

This also means that we need to get used to the idea of Zoom and Go-to-Meeting because a lot of the people we deal with will be working from home. There are likely to be many societal changes that evolve from this pandemic, but it doesn't take a crystal ball to see that working from home is going to be a lot more prevalent than before.

Written by Doug Dawson, President at CCG Consulting

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More under: Access Providers, Broadband, Coronavirus, Telecom

Categories: News and Updates

More and more companies are using new TLDs

Domain Name Wire - Fri, 2020-05-22 16:41

Registration numbers games are masking actual use.

Big companies might prefer .com. Most people might choose .com. But there’s another trend I’ve seen over the past year that shouldn’t be overlooked: more and more companies using new top level domains.

It’s a shame that some new TLD operators played games with registration numbers when new TLDs launched. The inevitable decline in registration numbers when those domains dropped is masking what I believe to be a steady increase in end users registering and using new TLDs.

I see this a lot at my PodcastGuests.com service. People choose domains like .show and .live for their podcast websites. I spoke to a podcast company the other day that uses a .audio domain. When I searched for virtual event companies this month, I saw domains ending in .events and .live.

What was once a once-a-month occurrence became once-a-week to now once-a-day.

So much has been lost in the debate over .com vs. new TLDs. .Com stalwarts said new TLDs didn’t have a place in the ecosystem. New TLD promoters said the domains were better than .com.

Neither is correct in 2020. The answer is somewhere in the middle.

Consider the millions of domain registrations this year. A business looks for its ideal domain. If it’s in the U.S., the registrant likely starts by looking for .com. If they don’t find what they want, they might consider an aftermarket domain. A subset of people decides to use a new TLD instead.

Thus, there is a growth curve for new TLDs. It’s not a hockey stick like some people predicted. But it’s there. Actual use by actual end users will increase over time. Slow and steady, but up and to the right.

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Categories: News and Updates

The preference for .com

Domain Name Wire - Fri, 2020-05-22 13:11

No matter where you look, big companies tend to favor .com.

The other day I read an article about domains used by corporate users around the world. It just shows how important .com is as a global extension.

Yakup Hasan Küçük at Dofo recently analyzed the top 1,000 companies in the Crunchbase database. These companies come from the U.S., India, U.K., and many other countries. Küçük published his findings in the article “Domain Names of Crunchbase Top 1000 Companies“. This is what he found.

“When we look at their domain extension preferences, .com is the most preferred with 85% (850). The popular extension among startups, .io, follows .com with 31 domain names. .co is the third most popular with 19 domain names.”

This reminds me of my study of the top 100 internet companies in China in the last two years (2018 and 2019).

Note that Küçük’s study consists of companies in various fields but mine is about internet companies only. Even though direct comparison is not possible, I think these studies are still valuable in showing us the importance of .com.

Study Share of .com Crunchbase Top 1000 85% China Top 100 (internet) 2018 86% China Top 100 (internet) 2019 84%

As you can see, most top companies own .com domains and there is strong demand for them in China as well. If you own a .com domain, it may be perfect as an upgrade for a company in China. Therefore, end user research is very helpful. Some simple steps may go a long way. Read “Three steps to Chinese end user research” for details.

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Can Domains Win a War With Covid-19? A Dozen Leading Brokers Weigh in On Business Conditions Now and What Happens Next

DN Journal - Fri, 2020-05-22 13:08
A new Cover Story is out at DNJournal.com. With the Covid-19 pandemic upending all kinds of businesses could domains be an exception to the rule?
Categories: News and Updates

Domain Investor/Developer/Blogger Morgan Linton Goes Deep in New Interview with GGRG's Giuseppe Graziano

DN Journal - Thu, 2020-05-21 23:31
Giuseppe Graziano is continuing his new series of in-depth domain industry interviews with the release of interview #3 with the multi-talented Morgan Linton.
Categories: News and Updates

Your domain name can hurt your credibility

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2020-05-21 20:01

It’s OK to not have the best domain. But at least choose a decent one.

We talk a lot about how a great domain name gives a company instant credibility.

As an example, entrepreneur Jason Calacanis recently said:

When people see a great domain name like robinhood.com or calm.com, this inspires people because it’s hard to get those domain names. It’s hard to have the one-word domain name and it makes you look like you have a serious brand.

I’d argue the inverse is also true: if you have a horrible brand, your business loses credibility.

There are plenty of good domains out there that businesses can acquire for a few thousand dollars. These are respectable, professional domains. They won’t give their users instant credibility like Calm.com and Inside.com do, but they also don’t look bad.

Then there are domains that make a company look fly-by-night.

I recently evaluated online event platforms (for something unrelated to domains). It’s imperative to choose an online event platform that won’t disappear the night before your event.

A lot of virtual event platforms are, not surprisingly, new. Some have chosen bad domains that make them hard to trust.

Consider Run The World. By all accounts, it has some great customers. It just raised $10 million.

Its domain name is RunTheWorld.today.

I don’t have a problem with companies using new top level domains. It can make sense. But taking a long name like this and tacking on two more syllables?

Other choices make more sense, like .live or .events.

I certainly scrutinized the company more given its domain choice. The social proof from its investors and customers was much more important given the domain.

Some other options are Crowdcast, which uses Crowdcast.io. That’s a pretty good company name. There’s also Hopin.to. I don’t love the fact that it’s on Tonga’s top level domain, but at least it plays well with the company name.

None of these companies need to use the domain events.com. But a bit more effort would go a long way.

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GoDaddy files customer support-related patent applications

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2020-05-21 17:05

Patents cover a better way to provide support.

GoDaddy (NYSE: GDDY) has filed a couple of patent applications (pdf, pdf) for an improved customer service experience. Whether or not you think it should be patentable, I sure wish companies would adopt this idea.

The patents have two main elements to them:

1. When someone is within their account at GoDaddy and needs to contact support, they can use a one-time passcode to validate with the customer service representative. The screen may display this one-time code or it could be texted or emailed to the customer. Ideally, they wouldn’t need to provide other supporting information to validate their identity to the representative.

2. When the user provides that code, the customer service representative will see the history of what the customer has been doing on the site prior to the support call. The patent gives an example of someone building a website and calling in for support.

My typical experience when calling a company for support goes something like this:

1. Enter my account number on the IVR

2. Answer an IVR question about what I’m calling about

3. Get transferred to live rep

4. Live rep asks me my account information AGAIN and what I’m calling about AGAIN

So GoDaddy’s system is an improvement, especially when you’re doing something like building a website.

As a GoDaddy customer, what I’d love to see is better logging. For example, why have the last three times I’ve added domains through the Domain Listing Service has the listing failed? I don’t even get an email from the company saying the process didn’t complete.

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Reviewing 4-letter domains sold in April

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2020-05-21 13:40

Some of these four letter domains could have value in China.

Here are some 4-letter domains sold in April as reported by Namebio. I’ll try to look at them from a Chinese perspective, which hopefully will help you when researching Chinese buyers for your domains.

MDRP.com sold for $4,000. MDRP.cn is for sale at 5,888 yuan or about $883. The .com is more than 4X the price of the .cn. MDRP can be an acronym for Mo Deng Ru Pin (摩登乳品=modern milk products) and many more Pinyin phrases.

CSSM.com sold for $1,800. CSSM.com.cn is an online magazine organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology, and CSSM is the acronym for “China Soft Science Magazine”. In this case, the domain matches the name of the magazine. CSSM can also be an acronym for Chang Su Shang Mao (畅速商贸=smooth and fast trades) and many more Pinyin phrases.

NLLW.com sold for $1,050. When you see a Chinese site filled with contents, do not immediately assume you have found an end user who should upgrade to your domain. The contents may not be genuine. In the case of NLLW.com.cn, it appears to be an education-related site but the message at the bottom of the page indicates the contents are taken from other online sources and the domain is actually for sale.

GMTS.com sold for $1,055. GMTS.cn appears to be a developed site but I could not see any contents. The HTML source of the page gives mixed signals: the page description is about sports games but most of the content is about electronic parts. So, I would not assume that this is a genuine end user.

GMTS .com.cn is a simple site titled “Lottery Industry Supervision Bureau”. However, it has only a menu filled with links to games and betting sites built on .co domains such as A668 .co, M668 .co, and C668 .co. The “668” here rhymes with Lu Lu Fa (路路发=make a fortune in every path you take), so it is quite appropriate for betting sites. Again, I would not assume this is a genuine end user.

MYPX.com sold for $3,605. MYPX.cn is a developed site by Xin Fang Xiang (新方向) to provide training for women interested in developing a career in child care. The domain and the company name do not seem to match, so I would not assume MYPX.com is a natural upgrade for the MYPX.cn owner. MYPX can also be an acronym for Mei Yu Pi Xie (美誉皮鞋=reputable shoes) and many more Pinyin phrases.

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COVID Domain Registrations Surged in March

Domain industry news - Wed, 2020-05-20 17:19

The Internet and the domain name system (DNS) have become the mainstay of the new COVID sheltered world. Afilias looked at registrations in the unrestricted domain name space, with a special focus on the popular .INFO, .PRO, .MOBI and .IO domain name extensions. The data shows that the number of website and domain registrations related to COVID and Coronavirus in these extensions is flattening after a surge in March.

Afilias has processed more than a million registrations in 2020, and the .info top-level domain (TLD) has proven to be the most popular extension to register names related to the COVID pandemic (e.g. "covid," "virus," etc.). Close to 5,000 new .info registrations are related to the ongoing pandemic and are being used to provide valuable information related to the illness.

Some examples include:
  • worldometers.info: Up to date global stats on the pandemic and a host of other topics. Traffic to Worldometers.info has surged, propelling it nearly a hundred-fold from 6,142 to the 74th most trafficked site on the Internet today
  • CoronaVirusPakistan.info: Live updates on the status of the pandemic in Pakistan
  • Covid19Daily.info: Country-level stats on COVID cases

About 10% of all registered names are registered to provide information about the pandemic specific to a geographic region - CoronaVirusHaiti.info, CovidPH.info, and so on.

Covid-related Registrations Surged Ahead of Pandemic spread

As shown below, COVID-related registrations in the .info TLD peaked in mid-March, just as global awareness of COVID exploded worldwide. As the coronavirus spread rapidly all over the world, informational websites using the names registered in March soon became local go-to resources for a world that needed concise information.

Weekly COVID Related Registrations: Afilias TLDs
Based on 4,792 registrations with COVID-related names registered across 25 Afilias TLDs

Daily New Case Counts Worldwide

Daily New Case Counts Worldwide / Source: worldometers.info

Top COVID-19 related searches in the US

Top COVID-19 related searches in the US, Jan-Apr 2020 / Source: Google

"COVID" is the most popular descriptor

Website owners showed that their registrations of .info names were dominated by three terms - COVID, Virus and Coronavirus, together accounting for over 80% of all names registered. Of these, COVID is the most popular descriptor, with over 40% of all names, including the term "COVID" in the name. Surprisingly, 15% of names were long and used a hyphen, including names such as (covid19-ma.info) and (covid-19map.info).

"COVID" and "VIRUS" Are Most Used Descriptors
Based on 4,792 registrations with COVID-related names registered across 25 Afilias TLDs

Most COVID registrations were for real use, not for scams

Over 80% of all registrants only registered one name — a striking statistic that indicates "real" use rather than malicious intent. Over 40% of all names registered in our TLDs were by registrants registering only one name. A large number of names (about 33%) were by registrants whose identity was shielded, thereby not allowing an analysis of whether most shielded names were similar to the 40% who bought only one name. 

The dearth of registrants buying hundreds of names is consistent with the absence of scams being perpetrated using these names. Separate abuse analysis shows that fewer than 20 of these names (~0.4%) were involved in domain abuse, resulting in rapid remediation. Our practice of proactively screening every incoming registration seems to have discouraged criminals from attempting to abuse names in these top-level domains.

COVID Registrants Bought Single Names
Based on 4,792 registrations with COVID-related names registered across 25 Afilias TLDs

COVID names average 12-14 characters

COVID names are about the normal length for domain names, with the distribution curve peaking at 13 characters as shown below.  The shortest name is 5 characters, and the longest is 60 characters (www.coronavirus-children-families-helping-n-disasters-nterrorism.info)!

COVID Names Peak at 13 Characters
Based on 4,792 registrations with COVID-related names registered across 25 Afilias TLDs

Websites like the examples in the .info top-level domain shown above illustrate the value of addresses that are both dedicated to information in times of crisis and carefully monitored to discourage potential abuse. Trend analysis of registration data can also provide perspective on the progress of the subject area (in this case, the Covid-19 pandemic).

Let us hope that the current post-peak decline in Covid-related registrations presages the decline of the pandemic itself.

Written by Ram Mohan, Chief Operating Officer at Afilias

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More under: Coronavirus, Cybersecurity, Domain Management, DNS, Domain Names, New TLDs

Categories: News and Updates

New site shows available one-word domain names

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2020-05-20 16:22

There aren’t many available, it turns out.

OneWord.Domains shows available one word domain names.

A new website helps people find available one-word domain names—and proves just how rare they are in popular top level domains.

Steven Tey, a data science student at the Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute, launched OneWord.Domains to show available one-word domains in a handful of popular extensions.

The site currently shows domains in .ai, .app, .co, .com and .io.

While the site certainly identifies some great domains, there is a big problem: many of the domains have registry premiums.

For example, Million.co is an excellent domain and is available for registration. But it has a registry premium on it and will set you back a few thousand dollars to add it to your portfolio.

You can register .io and .ai domains that are on the site at regular rates, but you’ll notice a dearth of good names.

In many ways, rather than helping you find good domains to register, the site is another reminder of how difficult it is to find great domains to register. Maybe a two-word domains site would be more helpful.

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