Many of us were expecting radical changes in 2010 to the domain name market. There definitely were some of those – just not the ones I expected. From the seizure of domains names by the US Government to ICANN’s removal of restrictions on Registry / Registrar cross-ownership, 2010 was a year full of surprises.
Below, I’ve compiled what I think were the biggest domain name stories in 2010:
- 10 – Sex.com sells for a staggering $13 million making 2009’s sale of Toys.com for $5.1 million look like chump change.
- 9 – ICANN experiences a number of resignations including Doug Brent (former ICANN Chief Operating Officer), David Giza (former ICANN Head of Compliance) and Tina Dam (former ICANN Sr. Director of Internationalized Domain Names).
- 8 – Landmark domain theft case of P2P.com results in conviction and recommended sentencing of five years in state prison and payment of restitution.
- 7 – China radically amends registration requirements and leading retail registrars discontinue sale of .CN registrations.
- 6 – After years of controversy and threats of litigation, .XXX is seemingly resurrected from the grave with ICANN approval likely to occur in 2011.
- 5 – Worldwide domain name registrations surpass the 200 million mark.
- 4 – US Government seizes domains linked to illegal file sharing and counterfeit goods.
- 3 – As a result of ICANN’s IDN ccTLD Fast Track process, a number of new ccIDNs (Country Code Internationalized Domain Names) have been successfully added to the root including: China (.中国, .中國), Egypt (.مصر), Hong Kong (.香港 ), Russia (.рф), Saudi Arabia (.السعودية), Taiwan (.台湾, .台灣) and the UAE (.امارات).
- 2 – In an unexpected ruling, ICANN announces that it will not restrict cross-ownership between Registries and Registrars.
- 1 – New gTLD launch delayed again due to concerns raised by ICANN’s GAC (Governmental Advisory Committee).
So what can we expect in 2011?
By year’s end, I believe that a number of ccTLD registries will make concerted efforts to improve domain security by implementing additional layers of security including Registry Locking, which already exists for .com, .net and .biz.
Also, with the highly anticipated rollout of DNSSEC for .com in Q1 2011, I expect to see significant uptake in the deployment of it, especially by highly-trafficked sites.
Finally, I certainly hope that the GAC’s outstanding issues relative to new gTLDs are resolved, and that ICANN is able to formally launch their program in a rational, controlled and informed manner. Although there is yet another delay in the process, companies should continue to move down a path of due diligence to determine the right approach – whether it’s to focus solely on defensive measures or to apply for a custom TLD.