By Josh Bourne
2017 proved to be an eventful year with the United States pulling back from ICANN, the advance of opportunistic practices by bad actors, and innovative uses of new gTLDS from some of the biggest global brands.
These three trends should be top of mind as 2018 domain name strategies are considered.
In the aftermath of the United States not renewing its IANA contract, effectively cutting its ties with ICANN in 2016, and standing on even ground with other governments in the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) we have seen increased involvement by other key governments and the proliferation of complex issues plaguing the community.
ICANN60 in Abu Dhabi spotlighted the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP), which regulates the collection, storage and distribution of personal information. The two-year transition period for this regulation comes to a close in May 2018.
Having already seen an impact on how registries and registrars are handling WHOIS requirements, we anticipate this trend to gather more steam and have even farther-reaching implications in 2018.
Additionally, foreign governments continue to push for the protection of country and other geographic names, especially in light of an impending new TLD round. .AMAZON will be top of mind for many looking ahead to 2018 when ICANN will re-review the .AMAZON application and make a determination to either follow GAC advice to reject the application or allow Amazon to proceed.
The next ICANN meeting will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico from March 10-16, 2018. Due to its proximity to the East Coast and other US destinations, it is expected that there will be significant brand participation from North America. GDPR, WHOIS, the second round of new gTLDs, and the protection of geographic names are expected to be major topics.
As the domain name system has evolved over the years, so too have the methods of domain monetization employed by domain speculators, squatters, and trademark infringers.
This year, we have seen an alarming and significant rise in the popularity of a new domain-parking platform that frequently distributes malware.
As domain owners and parking platforms are now able to generate more revenue serving malware than through pay-per-click ads, and with no mediation in sight, this trend is sure to continue gaining momentum and it will be critical for brand owners to be aware of and monitor the situation.
We have started to see a slow and gradual increase in the creative use and deployment of .BRAND TLDs.
While the total number of registrations in new gTLDs has declined over the last six months – likely as a result of large-scale deletions from TLDs like .XYZ that offered discounted registrations in the first year – the number of registrations in .BRANDs steadily increased throughout 2017.
Some of the more meaningful TLDs to be on the lookout for in 2018 include:
- .AWS from Amazon
- .GOOGLE and .GOOG from Google
- .SAP from SAP
- .YANDEX from Yandex
The continued use and adoption of .BRAND TLDs by influential corporates will drive further adoption as we head into 2018. However, it is still a very nascent space and using a .BRAND TLD has far-reaching consequences that must be considered before deploying such a platform.
Given the increasing complexity from a policy and security perspective, it is more important than ever to have a proper domain name strategy in place to guide you through this ever-changing landscape.
From everyone at FairWinds, we wish you a happy New Year!