It has been a year of change for the domain industry, with products and services within the New generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) space continuing to expand in both breadth and complexity.
We have seen developments in the launches of TLDs (such as .SPORT in January and .NEW in October), new blocking products including AdultBlock and AdultBlock+, as well as consolidation of TLDs like in April when registry operator Donuts acquired .CONTACT. We also saw the release of premium names in the .FUN and .MOE TLDs and the release of reserved names in .SHOP.
A year of forward steps
One of the most notable things we have seen over 2019 has been the developments around tackling DNS abuse, which has seen several significant and positive steps.
In October, some of the largest domain names registries and registrars collaborated to issue a Framework to Address DNS Abuse. This described several forms of DNS abuse – from phishing, pharming, malware, and botnets to child abuse material, illegal distribution of opioids, human trafficking, and specific and credible incitements to violence – with the intention of stimulating the conversation about their roles in addressing this abuse. MarkMonitor is encouraging registries and registrars to extrapolate their anti-abuse practices to address other consumer harms such as fake auto parts or counterfeit medical devices. This initiative should help to reinforce user trust in the internet and is only to be applauded and encouraged.
DNS abuse was also a hot topic at the ICANN meeting in Montreal, Canada, in November, which included a Government Advisor Committee (GAC) cross-community discussion on the issue.
We encourage all ICANN stakeholders to embrace the solid foundation that responsible and proactive registries and registrars have created and to join us in seeking ways to build upon this foundation to maintain the security, stability, trust and safety of the internet.
Growth of .Brand
A .Brand is an entire TLD, a piece of internet infrastructure, that allows the Registry Operator (in this case the brand-holder) access to nearly any domain name within that domain space.
.Brand growth continued through late 2019 with the financial industry being the first .Brand vertical to approach 6,000 domain registrations. The German company DVAG (Deutsche Vermögensberatung Aktiengesellschaft) also remained the leader in .Brand registrations with nearly 3,500 .DVAG domains.
Looking to the future
It was a busy year last year for the domain sector and we can only expect to see similar growth in 2020 with the launch of new TLDs such as .GAY. MarkMonitor will continue to work closely with Registry Operators and other domain ecosystem providers to ensure we enable our clients to stay one step ahead of the latest trends and developments in the New gTLD space.
For a more in-depth look at DNS abuse as well as other developments in the past year, download the latest MarkMonitor report: Q4 2019: New gTLD report.