Greetings, intrepid domain name adventurer! This month in our ongoing infographic series we travel through time and space to a land of magic and mystery, in which previously only the brave have dared venture.

We are here to guide you on your quest through the unforgiving territory between registrars: the no man’s land of domain name transfers.

Before we begin, remember, in this land, the registry is king. The route we’ve mapped is valid in most kingdoms, that is, most generic TLDs (.com, .net, etc.).

However, the laws of the land can vary, depending on the registry.

The journey between the losing registrar and the gaining registrar has four verifications

As in any quest, it’s foolhardy to leave your home castle without being properly prepared for the road ahead. For us, that means unlocking your domain by removing the transfer protection status, and obtaining the authorization code (the Auth code) from your registrar.

Get your domain unlocked from the losing registrar and ask for your authorization code

Once you have properly prepared, launch your volley to the gaining registrar. If that’s Gandi, that means placing the order to transfer your domain.

Next, you will face four challenges, represented here by four towers along the road to transfer.

First is the Auth code verification challenge. If your key, which you obtained from your losing registrar, matches the one from the registry, you may proceed. If not, you are thrown in the dungeon. Well, not really, you just won’t be able to transfer your domain.

Next, you come to a moat which can only be crossed if the drawbridge is lowered. To lower the drawbridge, your domain must be “unlocked.

In other words, it must not have either a clientTransferProhibited or serverTransferProhibited status. Otherwise, you will be fed to the moat monsters. And by that we mean you’ll get an error message.

The gaining registrar checks the authorization code and the domain status

The next tower you come to is home to two little birdies. These carry messages to the registrant email address listed in the whois (either the Owner address or the Admin address provided by your previous registrar) and to the email address provided to your new registrar.

Only when the transfer is confirmed by following the link in both emails (that is, only when both birds fly home) can you proceed. Otherwise, in the words of a great meme wizard: “You. Shall. Not. Pass!”

Emails to the address in the whois and the one provided must be confirmed

At last, at the final tower, a flag is raised notifying the losing registrar of the transfer. This comes in the form of a message sent by the registry. This is the last chance the losing registrar has to prevent the transfer, which they can and should do if appropriate. Generally, this would be in cases of fraud, theft, etc.

A positive confirmation from the registrar allows you to proceed on your quest immediately. Otherwise, if no word comes from the previous registrar within five days, you may also proceed.

If the losing registrar accepts or if five days pass the transfer goes through

After that, congratulations! You’ve made it! Your domain is transferred.

A few other notes: you may want to prepare things at your new registrar a bit before launching the transfer. This includes configuring your DNS settings and even setting up email, hosting, etc.

Also, we would be remiss not to mention, that however arduous the journey, you are never alone when seeking to transfer your domain. If your quest seems too daunting and too dangerous, our Customer Care knights are available for guidance along the way and/or dragon slaying (when applicable). You can reach them using our online contact form.

Finally, for detailed instructions, our sage scribes have compiled a complete guide to domain name transfers in our wiki.


The amazing explosion in modern computing, networking, and cryptography in the past eighty some years all grew out of collaborations between the miltary, academia, and ocassionally business contractors. As the three fields blossomed into new technology that would change the way humanity connects, it created friction between those in the military establishment who wanted to limit these fields to the security interests they represent and those who saw the potential for such technical advances to be used for lofty goals like human rights.

When Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman published “New Directions in Cryptography” in 1976, they noted in the introduction that computer communication would soon be connecting people around the world and that communication between individuals—not militaries or financial institutions—would need to be made secure.

This was their preamble to their solution to the age-old cryptographic riddle of secure distribution of ciphers. The system they went on to describe enables two people who have never met face-to-face to communicate with one another without third-parties listening.

They proposed using mathematical functions to create pairs of keys: one public, one private. A publicly visible key would be used to encrypt a message that only a privately-held key could decrypt.

Diffie and Hellman solved the problem of key exchange, but they left open the problem of implementing it using a one-way function.

This problem intrigued three researchers at MIT: Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adleman.

They spent nearly a year trying to find a solution. Then, in April 1977, the trio spent Passover together, drinking wine and talking. That night Rivest developed a bad case of insomnia.

So he spent the night formalizing what would became the RSA algorithm, named for Rivest, Shamir and Adleman. After the trio verified and refined the system they’d invented, they published it in August 1977 and filed a patent through MIT in December.

Their patent became the basis of RSA Security, the company founded in 1982 by Rivest, Shamir and Adleman to market implementations of their RSA algorithm.

These developments, though, were not exactly welcomed by the military establishment. Cryptographic tools have long figured on the U.S. Munitions List and as early as July 1977, the NSA started signaling that they felt threatened by private developments in cryptography like public-key encryption and RSA.

Meanwhile, the 1980s brought computers and networking out of government and university laboratories and into homes and offices.

A bill in the House of Representatives which would have restricted public use of cryptography prompted Phil Zimmerman, an anti-nuclear protestor in Colorado, to start what he would later call a “human rights project,”: to apply public-key encryption to email communication.

Zimmerman thought the RSA algorithm was just be used for what he called “petri dish cryptography.” So he “borrowed” it to create a scrambling function he named Bass-O-Matic after an SNL skit.

Then in June 1991 he released “Pretty Good Privacy” or PGP version 1 which used the Bass-O-Matic function to encrypt emails.

In the documentation, Zimmerman wrote: “it would be nice if everyone routinely used encryption for all their e-mail, innocent or not, so that no one drew suspicion by asserting their e-mail privacy with encryption,” describing encryption as a “form of solidarity.”

Mere hours after posting it online, PGP went global.

Soon its distribution on the Internet got Zimmerman into trouble, both with US Customs and with RSA Security.

In the first case, because PGP was distributed outside of the US, posting PGP online made Zimmerman guilty of arms trafficking.

His solution to the first problem was unique: print the PGP source code in a hardcopy book through MIT Press, then sell and distribute it with First Amendment protection.

People who wanted a copy of PGP could buy the book, take out the pages and scan them in (or type it by hand).

It wasn’t until later that US courts would extend first amendment protection to all software source code but the US Customs case was eventually dropped.

In the second case, Zimmerman’s use of RSA violated RSA’s patent protection.

This proved harder to beat. PGP 3 abandoned RSA for the unpatented DSA and ElGamal algorithms.

The new PGP Inc. then merged with Viacrypt, who had an RSA license, but patent issues plagued PGP through multiple acquisitions.

In the meantime, another technology was being developed by Netscape using RSA.

Netscape’s case was a different problem than email encryption.

PGP is an application level solution. Netscape needed to provide Transport (or Socket) layer security. The solution that Netscape engineers developed was called Secure Socket Layer or SSL.

Version 1, never made it outside of Netscape. Version 2 was released in 1995 but due to serious security flaws, Netscape began working on version 3.

Netscape engineers Phil Karlton and Alan Freier worked with cryptographer Paul Kocher. While Kocher was a biology major at Stanford, he worked part-time with none other than Martin Hellman. The three soon released SSL version 3.

In 1997, Zimmerman took PGP to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to propose an OpenPGP standard.

Today, the patent on the RSA algorithm has been released and OpenPGP is an official internet standard.

The SSL protocol proposed as an Internet Standard in 1999 and renamed TLS.

Diffie and Hellman’s predictions about the future of networking played out and their revolutionary discovery inspired RSA. The raw potential of this discovery was enough to make the military powers-that-be nervous.

Yet, Phil Zimmerman’s desire to encrypt all email “in solidarity” still hasn’t come about. TLS-level security far outstrips email encryption in terms of adoption but TLS/SSL is far from universal.

Public key encryption continues to be an invaluable human rights tool. The battle between encryption-for-all and the more narrow interests of law enforcement and the military continue to make headlines. Encryption is far from universal and the conflict is far from resolved.


SUMMARY: AT A GLANCE
---------------------------------------------------------------

1. Pay for orders automatically at Gandi
2. Recently-delegated TLDs
3. Gandi events
4. Visualization: Domain name transfer procedure PLUS Transfer price updates!
5. In-depth: More about slamming emails
6. Tech Fundamentals: Public key encryption
7. TLD release calendar
8. Promo roundup

---------------------------------------------------------------

It’s May, which means it’s now full-on springtime in the northern hemisphere. Nature seems like one big information processing system, where the input of so many little packets of code is transmuted into the beautiful output of green sprouts and buds and flowers and debugging is taken literally. Maybe it just means we need to step away from our keyboards more often, but it has us thinking about transformation.

This month, North American customers can now enter their credit or debit card in our payment system to be charged when an order paid through the prepaid account (such as an automatic renewal) is placed. Likewise, we’re also looking at the latest TLDs to be transformed from application to an actual extension in our Recently Delegated TLDs update.

This month we also recap the launch of our The Root Zone. meetup series and look forward to observing some interesting transformations first-hand at the Bay Area Maker Faire, all in our Events section.

Then, we visualize the domain name transfer process. Going In Depth, we launch a more expansive look into slamming email scams and briefly explore the history of Public Key Encryption in this month’s Tech Fundamentals. Finally, of course, we end with a look at TLD releases and current and ongoing promos.

 

Pay for orders automatically at Gandi
---------------------------------------------------------------

It’s been a long time coming, but as of Monday May 9, North American customers can now add credit cards to automatically credit their prepaid accounts. This is welcome news to anyone using our automatic renewal service on any of our products as it’s now possible to add a credit or debit card that we will automatically charge the amount due for an automatically-launched order.

Gandi Prepaid Credit Page

Set up automatic payment from the Prepaid account page under the Billing tab of your account


Read our full announcement | Back to top

Recently-Delegated TLDs
---------------------------------------------------------------

In the past 30 days or so, plenty of new generic TLD applications have come to ultimate fruition by being added to the root zone.

.baby .talk .abudhabi

The list includes a couple of TLDs that may have been the subject of some wheeling and dealing behind the scenes were delegated to the root, as well as an unexpectedly controversial TLD and more.

Which strings were delegated | Back to top

Gandi Events
---------------------------------------------------------------

After much preparation and planning along with Cloudflare, this past month we launched our new The Root Zone. meetup series.

The Root Zone. w/ Dan Kaminsky, May 10, 2016

The second edition taking place just the other day on May 10th. Also this month, we'll be headed to Bay Area Maker Faire for the day on May 20th


Read all event details | Back to top

Visualization: Domain name transfer procedure
---------------------------------------------------------------

This month, we planted the seeds of our expertise in all matters domain-related, and put together a visualization that blossomed into quite a neat little project. We have to admit we had some fun with it. This time around, we looked at the procedure for transferring a domain name between registrars (with special attention to the process to transfer in to Gandi, of course).

The result was a visual guide to a quest fraught with peril: transferring your domain name.

The journey between the losing registrar and the gaining registrar has four verifications

Transfer Quest: Coming to a registrar near you

And, we're happy to announce that to help motivate you along your journey, we have some transfer pricing updates to announce.

Now you can transfer your .com, .info, .net, and .org domains. Now, .com transfers are $8.83, .info transfers are $9.87, .net transfers are $9.23 and .org transfers are $9.96. Happy transfering!

Begin your quest | Back to top

In-depth: More about slamming emails
---------------------------------------------------------------

Last month, we provided a guide on how to spot a slamming email. That launched us into a more expansive look at domain slamming in general, the different forms it comes in, and some additional tips for staying safe out there.

Find out more about slamming | Back to top

Tech Fundamentals: Public key encryption
---------------------------------------------------------------

From the start, public key cryptography was seen as needed by all and a challenge to military authority.

Tech Fundamentals

From Diffie and Hellman through Rivest, Shamir and Adleman, Phil Zimmerman's landmark PGP, we looked at public key cryptography’s flourishing as an invaluable human rights tool and look to the future fruits we hope to see it bear in this month’s Tech Fundamentals.

Read our history of public key encryption | Back to top

TLD release Calendar
---------------------------------------------------------------

Here's a look at TLD releases at Gandi for the month of May 2016:

Tuesday May 3:

.mom (GoLive)

.game (Sunrise)

Monday May 9:

.insurance (Sunrise)

Tuesday May 10:

.ist (GoLive)

.istanbul (GoLive)

Monday May 17:

.vip (GoLive)

.promo (Landrush)

Monday May 23:

.promo (GoLive)

Tuesday May 24:

.game (Landrush and GoLive)

Thursday May 26:

.autos (Landrush )

Stay tuned for updates and, of course, for next month's releases.

Back to top

Promo Roundup
---------------------------------------------------------------

There are plenty of opportunities this month to plant the seeds to be reaped later by taking advantage of new and ongoing promos:

Starting May 1:

.green $47.65 (50% off) per year through June 30

.xyz $2.00 per year through May 30

.me $4.00 per year through May 14

.family $8.00 per year through June 30

.design $31.18   per year (50% off) through June 15

.tech $4.99 per year through May 31

Starting May 3:

.press $5.00 per year through June 3

Starting May 9:

.mx $24.00  per year (50% off) through May 31

Ongoing promotions:

.earth $15.56 per year (50% off) through May 31

.stream $2.00 per year in GoLive

.live $15.57 per year through June 30

.accountant, .bid, .cricket, .date, .download, .faith, .loan, .party, .racing, .review, .science, .trade, .webcam, .win $2.00 per year through December 31

.boutique, .immo, .maison, .sarl, .voyage $10.00 through June 30

.me $14.40 through December 31

.in $7.75 through June 30

.rocks $7.75 and .social $16.25 through May 31

.link $4.21 and .click $3.62 through June 30

.adult, .porn, .sex, .xxx $12.00 through May 31

.co.com $19.99 through May 31

And in addition to these great promos, a few TLDs have upcoming birthdays. To celebrate, we're lowering the price for you to transfer them in to Gandi from now until one month after their birthdays. Here are the TLDs, with their birthdays listed and the limited-time transfer price:

.ninja, May 28, transfers now $13.40 (normally $17.54)

.xyz, June 2, transfers now $9.00 (normally $11.55)

.social, June 4, transfers now $22.20 (normally $29.06)

Happy birthday all you lucky TLDs.

Back to top

 

Well, that's all the output we have this month. Do you have any input for us? Tweet us @gandibar, email us at feedback@gandi.net, on Facebook, G+, or on the #gandi channel on Freenode. \o/

Otherwise, until next time.

 

Sincerely,

Gandi.net


Here's a look at upcoming, ongoing and past events at Gandi.

 

The Root Zone.

Last month, Gandi and Cloudflare presented the first in our joint series The Root Zone. (yes, the dot IS important). In this series, we are talking with some of the great names in DNS.

A big thank you, first of all, goes out to Paul Mockapetris for being our first guest as well as another thank you to Cloudflare for teaming up with us on this series, including providing space for hosting last time.

If you missed it, don't fret, we have two pieces of good news for you. The talk is available on YouTube, courtesy of Cloudflare:

En plus, you can come to this month’s meetup, which will feature Dan Kaminsky!. Those of you unfamiliar with Dan, he discovered his namesake vulnerability in DNS: the Kaminsky Vulnerability.

The Kaminsky Vulnerability allowed attackers to perform cache poisoning. Essentially, a bad actor could respond to a legitimate DNS query and it would look like an authoritative answer and then propagate to all child DNS servers using the same cache, until the TTL was up.

The Root Zone. w/ Dan Kaminsky, May 10, 2016

Ask all your questions and find out more by coming to this month’s The Root Zone., hosted in our San Francisco offices this month on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 6:00 PM PDT.

Keep an eye on the meetup page for more information and updates.

UX Speed Dating: User Testing Night

The third Wednesday of each month, Gandi hosts UX Speed Dating, a meetup for user-experience enthusiasts, whether currently committed to a development cycle or not, can have a fling with another user experience. And by that we mean test it and provide feedback.

Check out the specific rules and see the Meetup page or the UX Speed dating site for details.

Bay Area Maker Faire

Gandi will be at Maker Faire this month. We won’t have a booth but we will be wandering the floor of Maker Faire in San Mateo May 20.

If you’re not familiar with Maker Faire, you’re probably wondering: what’s Maker Faire and what makes a maker? Makers are tinkerers, engineers, artists, teachers, crafters, writers, students and more all focused on, well, making things. It’s DIY on all levels. A Maker Faire is a showcase of everything that all these various types of people have made and learned.

This is a movement we really feel we can get behind. We try to provide our products as a platform for this kind of tinkering, so we’re excited to be attending this year. We’ll be around on Friday (tweet @gandibar if you’re interested in meeting up), but otherwise, the Faire goes on all weekend, so stop by if you get a chance. And who knows, maybe next year Gandi will have a bigger role to play …


Customers in the US and Canada with their domains or hosting set to auto-renew are probably aware that they need to have a sufficient balance on their prepaid accounts in order for an automatic renewal to go through.

This meant either paying for the renewal long ahead of time by crediting your prepaid account at the same time as setting up the automatic renewal, or having to log in and add money to your prepaid account when your service came up for renewal anyway.

If this state of affairs has left you puzzling over what the whole point of automatic renewal was anyway, then we have good news for you.

As of Monday May 9, 2016, Gandi customers in North America may now set up a credit or debit card* to be automatically charged when their prepaid account is depleted.

That means you can now be charged on your card for an automatic renewal without having to log in again.

To take advantage of this feature, you need to have 3D Secure (also called “Verified by Visa” or “MasterCard SecureCode”) set up on your card. Then you can add your card from the Billing tab under your Prepaid Account (click to the “Credit” page).

Gandi Prepaid Credit Page

When you click “Add a card,” you’ll be asked to fill out some information and set the amount to debit, under what conditions.

Gandi Automatic Debit Settings Page

There will be a $1.00 test charge on your card and after that, you’re ready activate the card and charge everything straight to your prepaid account (don’t let it go to your head, though).

For more information on adding* a credit card to your Gandi account, see our wiki page on the subject.

You can, of course, still do things the old-fashioned way. Check out our other payment methods too.

And if you have any problems or any other questions, feel free to contact our Customer care team.

 

* Gandi does not store credit card information. Your card will be stored on file directly with our bank.


SUMMARY: AT A GLANCE
---------------------------------------------------------------

1. Node Version Manager on Simple Hosting
2. How to spot slamming emails
3. Recently-Delegated TLDs
4. Gandi Events
5. In-depth: What’s a premium domain?
6. Visualization: Things you can do with a domain name
7. TLD release Calendar
8. Promo Roundup

---------------------------------------------------------------

If April showers bring May flowers, what do April news items bring? I guess we’ll find out next month.

In any case, this month, we have some great news items with which to shower you. To begin with, on the Simple Hosting front: Node Version Manager (NVM) is now available. We also have a quick reminder about how to tell if the email you received about renewing your domain is really from Gandi or if it’s part of a slamming campaign, and a look at the recently-delegated TLDs.

We also went in depth this month on premium domains and created a visualization about ways to use your domain.

And as always, we end this month’s newsletter with a look at the TLD release calendar for the month of April and a look at new and ongoing promotions.

Pascal at Holberton
Gandi CTO Pascal Bouchareine at Holberton School (also pictured: DNS gods)

 

Node Version Manager on Simple Hosting
---------------------------------------------------------------

Node Version Manager, better known as nvm, is now available on Simple Hosting Node.js. This means you can run any version of Node.js distributed via nvm. You no longer have to limit yourself to the ones pre-installed on your instance.

All you need to do is add a ".nvmrc" file to your project's root directory and deploy your code.

One consequence of this update is that you can now run a parse server to build your own Facebook apps. Read about how to set that up in our wiki.

Read our post for full details on NVM | Back to top

How to spot slamming emails
---------------------------------------------------------------

Over the past month or so, Gandi domain owners have been hit with a wave of slamming emails. These emails pretend to be official notices regarding your domain name registration trying to get you to provide your banking information to a third party.

If you ever get an email like this, remember:

  • Check the sender email address. Gandi reminders come from the address support-renew@gandi.net.
  • Check the recipient address. If you have our anti-spam service activated, your real address will not be available to spammers. Gandi will only contact you at your real address. An email sent to an email address @contact.gandi.net, then, should be suspicious.
  • Check the Messages tab and the Domains page in your Gandi account. If your domain is expired, you’ll see it on your Domains page. If we emailed you, you’ll see it in your Messages tab.
  • Turn on anti-spam in your account management. If your account doesn’t have this feature activated, it’s harder to tell if an email is legitimate.

Find out more about detecting these | Back to top

Recently-Delegated TLDs
---------------------------------------------------------------

A few of the notable strings added to the root this month (that is, newly-added TLDs) provide a glimpse into some of the factors that ICANN considers when it decides to approve or not approve new gTLD applications. In particular, they shed some light on Community TLDs, Community Objections, and Public Interest Commitments.

Which strings were delegated and what they reveal | Back to top

Gandi Events
---------------------------------------------------------------

This past month, our CTO and VP Pascal visited Holberton School a couple of times and we hosted a UX Speed Dating event at our San Francisco office. Coming up this month, we’ll be hosting another UX Speed Dating event on April 20.

The Root Zone. w/ Dr. Paul Mockapetris, April 12, 2016

And on April 12 we’ll be kicking off our new series about DNS The Root Zone. with CloudFlare at 6:00 pm PDT.

Read all event details | Back to top

In-depth: What’s a premium domain?
---------------------------------------------------------------

What's a Premium Domain

“This domain name is categorized as ‘Premium’ at the registry.”

Maybe you’ve seen something like this message before at Gandi or another registrar. If you have, you may also have wondered what makes these domains special and why they cost extra.

This month we went in-depth on this topic.

See what we found out about Premium domains | Back to top

Visualization: Things you can do with a domain name
---------------------------------------------------------------

We are continuing our data visualization series this month with a look at a few of the most common and best uses for domain names.

Websites, email, forwading, and money-making: all the things you can do with a domain name

Check out our post for this image | Back to top

TLD release Calendar
---------------------------------------------------------------

Here's a look at TLD releases at Gandi for the month of April 2016:

Tuesday April 5:

.ist (Landrush)

.istanbul (Landrush)

Wednesday April 6:

.store (Sunrise)

Tuesday April 12:

.gmbh (Sunrise)

.ltd (Sunrise)

Thursday April 14:

.promo (Sunrise)

Thursday April 21:

.tube (Sunrise)

Stay tuned for updates and, of course, for next month's releases.

Next | Back to top

Promo Roundup
---------------------------------------------------------------

We've got some serious, no-fools April promos:

Starting April 1:

.me $4.00 per year through March 14

.live $15.57 per year through June 30

.accountant, .bid, .cricket, .date, .download, .faith, .loan, .party, .racing, .review, .science, .trade, .webcam, .win $2.00 per year through December 31

.site, .website $1.99 through April 30

.mx $16.00 through April 30

.boutique, .immo, .maison, .sarl, .voyage $10.00 through June 30

.mom $1.00 through May 6

 

Ongoing promotions:

.asia 70% off, through March 31

.me $14.40 through December 31

.in $7.75 through June 30

.rocks $7.75 and .social $16.25 through May 31

.link $4.21 and .click $3.62 through June 30

.adult, .porn, .sex, .xxx $12.00 through May 31

.co.com $19.99 through May 31

Back to top

 

That’s all we have in the forecast this month. Stay tuned next month to find out what’s in store for May. See you then!

 

Sincerely,

Gandi.net


The miracle of domain name registration is a magical and sometimes obscure process, but according to our research, the registration and management of a domain name has been found to adhere to a few very precise rules which may seem complicated for some.

Last month we dove into the life and death cycle of a domain name. This month we’re looking into the purpose of that life. Every domain follows its own unique path in life.

These are the things you can do with a domain name.

Things you can do with a Domain Name

We’ve broken it up into four categories: Websites, Email, Forwarding, and Revenue-generating.

Each domain blinks into existence with the dream of becoming a Fully Actualized Domain Name—a mythical beast uniting all these uses—but many, of course, settle happily into their roles as addresses for company websites, URL shorteners, custom emails, or rental properties.

Out of hundreds of millions of domain names in existence and hundreds of millions yet to be born, each domain is special, each can be used in its own unique way. What will you do with yours?


Here's a look at upcoming, ongoing and past events at Gandi.

Pascal at Holberton
Gandi CTO Pascal Bouchareine at Holberton School (also pictured: DNS gods)

The Root Zone.

We like DNS.

That’s why we’re collaborating with Cloudflare on a new Meetup. We’re looking to talk about anything and everything related to DNS and hopefully in the process inspire some new ideas for this backbone system of the Internet.

We also hope to educate the general public on issues as low-level as record types and as complex as DNSSEC.

We’re inviting Network Administrators, Ops, DevOps, Systems Engineers, Internet Enthusiasts, and anyone else who’s interested.

This event is put together by Gandi and Cloudflare and the location will alternate between our San Francisco offices.

The Root Zone.

Our first event will be at the CloudFlare office on April 12 at 6:00 PM. We’ll be hearing from Dr. Paul Mockapetris, the original founder of the Domain Name System (aka DNS).

Paul also built the first ever SMTP server, ran networking at ARPA, served as the chair of the IETF, and is an honored member of the Internet Hall of Fame.

Check the meetup page for more information and updates.

Gandi talks to Holberton School

This past month, CTO and Gandi US VP Pascal Boucheraine visited Holberton School for a couple of talks. One was about DNS, the other was just about Gandi in general.

Holberton <3 @gandibar
Aww thanks Holberton School

Holberton, for those who aren’t aware, isn’t a coding bootcamp or online courses but an alternative to college. It’s based on peer learning and project-based learning and it aims to produce the best of the next generation of full-stack software engineers.

Even cooler, Holberton is all about increasing diversity. They have an automated, software-driven admissions process that has produced a 40% ratio of female students, among other diversity benchmarks.

Pascal Explains things

And the admissions process for their next class of students in October, which is open to everyone 18+ regardless of education and experience, has just opened up. If you're interested, you should apply.

We're looking forward to when we can team up with them again.

Until then, remember to first ask the DNS gods.

UX Speed Dating: User Testing Night

Every third Wednesday we host a User Testing Night at our San Franciso office with the UX Speed Dating meet up group. This is a monthly event, formatted like a speed dating event, where tech professionals get to present a user test to three users for in-person responses.

This month’s event will be April 20 at 6:00 PM PDT.

Check out the specific rules and see the Meetup page or the UX Speed dating site for details.


A few of the notable strings added to the root this month (that is, newly-added TLDs) provide a glimpse into some of the factors that ICANN considers when it decides to approve or not approve new gTLD applications.

 

.tunes — February 25

Amazon’s application for .tunes prevailed against a Community Objection from the American Association of Independent Music. The Community Objection process allows “communities” to file a formal objection with ICANN against a certain application.

In this case, AAIM filed an objection because it felt that it was anti-competitive for Amazon to manage the .tunes TLD.

ICANN’s experts, though, didn’t buy it. To begin with, ICANN found that AAIM couldn’t legitimately claim to represent the entire “tunes” community. In fact, they took issue with the idea that “tunes” is specific enough to qualify as a community.

They also dismissed AAIM’s claims that Amazon would abuse its market power or support pirate networks as “purely speculative.”

 

.passagens and .vuelos — March 2

Passagens is Portuguese for fare or ticket and vuelos is Spanish and Portuguese for flights. In both cases, the application for these TLDs came from Despegar Online SRL, which describes itself as “a branch of the largest online travel agency in Latin America.”

Altogether, Despegar applied for five new TLDs. In addition to these two, they also applied for .hoteles (Spanish for hotels), .hoteis (Portuguese for hotels) and .hotel. All of their applications were met with a GAC objection. Of these, .hoteles was added last June.

Not only can industry groups and other “communities” file objections but so can ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), which is how world governments provide input into the process.

The objection claimed Despegar’s application was anti-competitive. When a TLD applicant gets a GAC objection, the GAC recommends certain actions to mitigate that. For both .passagens and .vuelos, Despegar was required to “specify transparent criteria for third party access to the TLD.”

 

.gmbh — March 9

For those who are not familiar, GmbH is a German abbreviation for Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung, which is more or less the German equivalent of an LLC. ICANN received numerous applications for this TLD but in the end, Donuts prevailed.

Interestingly, a community TLD application was received for this TLD from TLDDOT GmbH. A Community TLD is a type of TLD ICANN created to allow certain “closely related” communities to opt to manage their own TLDs.

In this case, TLDDOT was created specifically to represent the business community in German-speaking countries. Ultimately, the community TLD application was withdrawn.

However, in the end Donuts was required to add a PIC to their application. A PIC is a Public Interest Commitment. These are ways for ICANN to amend an application to make sure that a registry uses a TLD the way it thinks it should. In this case, the PIC was primarily to make sure that Donuts had a process for limiting registrants to companies who are in fact GmbHs.

 

.stream — March 18

There were two competing applications for this TLD. Last year Famous Four Media beat out Hughes Satellite System Corporation for this TLD when it was put up for auction. Because .stream is obviously oriented towards video streaming services, ICANN required a PIC for this application as well.

This time it wasn’t to ensure registrants were part of a community, as was the case with .gmbh, but to address concerns that .stream would become a hotbed for illegal streaming.

The PIC for .stream includes provisions for an Acceptable Use Policy allowing the registry to quickly lock down and revoke registration of any abusers. It also includes a “Rights Protection Mechanism,” which commits Famous Four Media to make abuse prevention one of it’s “core objectives.”

You can keep track of future developments on this page from ICANN.

Remember: these are new TLDs on the cutting edge of having been added by ICANN. As such, any discussion of one of these TLDs should not be interpreted as meaning any of these extensions will be imminently available on Gandi (though we, of course, try to offer all the extensions we possibly can).


“This domain name is categorized as ‘Premium’ at the registry.”

Maybe you’ve seen something like this message before at Gandi or another registrar. If you have, you may also have wondered what makes these domains special and why they cost extra.

The concept of a “Premium” domain applies primarily to the field of new gTLDs. Within the space of a little over a year, around 900 new extensions have been added to the once relatively narrow band of “classic” TLDs (you know, like .com, .net, .org …). The result has been a steady multiplication of the number of available domain names.

One consequence of this flourishing domain name market has been that it is now possible to replicate the same name across hundreds of extensions (think of how many Google must own). It’s now also possible to choose an extension that matches a special area of interest or a particular commercial market. Take .beer or .archi, which primarily focus on beer and architecture (all you need in life, really).

It’s important to note, however, that each extension is not created equal. They are each managed by a different registry. Some large registries like Donuts manage hundreds of extensions. Other registries like dotStrategy were created specifically to manage a single extension. In this case .buzz.

Not every domain name is equal either. Some domain names have a much higher probability of being popular (or have a higher market value if you prefer). Kind of like search engine keywords.

Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) keeps a database of registered trademarks. Obviously, terms stored there are likely to generate higher demand. In general, though, we are talking about easily-recognizable and memorizable domain names. Or ones that have optimum SEO.

Some are generic. Others, like englishmuffins.cooking, teahupoo.surf (it’s a famous Tahitian wave), or royals.london are especially valuable only in conjunction with particular extensions. The domain name romance.bets isn’t terribly attractive, but romance.online is quite the catch.

The registries of these new extensions, then, have a set of unique challenges. How can they ensure an orderly roll-out of these high-value domain names? This doesn’t just mean managing competing purchases (generally domains are registered on a first-come-first-served basis). It also includes keeping out domain squatters, especially on domains corresponding to brand names.

Most of these registries are also commercial entities. They’re also motivated to take advantage of the high demand in these domain names.

One solution to the problem is to auction off domains to the highest bidder during the Landrush phase or Early Access Period.

The other option is to make certain domains “Premium” . But it’s not actually a uniform solution. Some registries make all their Premium domains open to all (again, generally first-come-first-served). Others have eligibility requirements. These can range from a statement of motivation and the registrant’s “good faith" to a complete business plan.

There are also several ways of pricing Premium domains. Some registries have complicated hierarchies of Premium domains. Afilias ( .blue, .vote, .rich, and .porn among others), for example, has eight categories of Premium domains.

Approaches to pricing can vary too. Large registries often prefer a finely tuned machine that hones in on that sweet spot on the supply-and-demand curve that gives optimal ROI. Small registries might release their extensions in the GoLive phase without designating any domains as Premium. Then, when they have the budget to do some research on the topic, they add domains to their premium list.

Likewise, compiling lists of Premium domains varies widely as well. To determine what domains are likely to be popular, registries sometimes monitor social media (like in the case of United TLD, the registry for .ninja domains). They might use search-engine history and traffic or even sales history of the classic TLDs like .com. One thing that’s relatively consistent, though, is that the secret sauce and the list itself is rarely made public.

So, what it all means is sometimes when you’re looking for a domain, you might find that it’s Premium. But “Premium” doesn’t always mean “prohibitively expensive.” For example, sql.agency and pop.solutions are two premium domains under $50.

And, it’s important to note, your domain might not be Premium at all. If you’re a small business and your company name isn’t super generic and isn’t another brand name, it probably isn't.

Or maybe, if you find out you can’t register a particular domain, your domain is actually “reserved.” It’s important to make the distinction.

A Premium domain would likely be at the top of the list of domains a registry would like to see registered. A registry’s list of reserved domains however are the ones they don’t want to open up to the public.

This can be for moral and political reasons to potential liability or even vanity. The domain rob.sucks, for example, is a reserved domain because the CEO of the .sucks registry is Rob Hall.

So be sure to note whether the domain you want is actually “reserved,” or if it’s “Premium.”

Which brings us back to:

“This domain name is categorized as ‘Premium’ at the registry.”

What should you do with this message? If you can register it online, then you should see the Premium price right next to. But sometimes you’ll need to contact our Customer care team to find out what the Premium price is. You may also want to ask if the extension has particular eligibility requirements. If you don’t want to pay the Premium price, try a different iteration of your domain name. If a domain name sounds like it’s Premium, it probably is.


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