Domain industry predictions for 2018
Domain industry predictions for 2018
As we are getting into the flow of the new year, I decided to write down what 2018 will bring in the domain industry. Last year marked my 10-year anniversary since I started working in this amazing field, so I thought it is a good moment to share my expectations based on my experience, business plans, and personal views.
Registry and registrar activities
We will see a couple of new industry mergers – registries and registrars, and perhaps more new TLDs going into EBERO mode because of failing to pay their fees. Some smaller but potentially viable TLDs will be acquired by larger companies.
If registries would like to have commercial success with registrars, they have to change their marketing models – many seem to rely on pricing promotions, and no interaction with end customers. This will have to change – TLDs will have to engage directly with registrars.
Registries and registrars should find ways to jointly promote the idea about new TLDs since there is still a large percentage of people who are not aware of them.
Smaller registrars with outstanding customer service will grow, as they position themselves in the niche between big corporate registrars and resellers. One great example is INWX, and I enjoy working with them.
The WHOIS protocol which is the de-facto phonebook for domain names will be significantly changed in May 2018, after the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force. Contact details will be hidden from the general public, which will present an additional burden for people that would like to identify the domain owner or software products that rely on WHOIS to function properly.
Access to contact details will be provided only upon request by the law enforcement agencies. This will make the operational costs for registrars and registries much higher as they will have to assess manually each request.
ICANN aims to agree on a compliance model by the end of January, which means that sometime in February, the domain industry players will have somewhat a clearer guidance about GDPR and WHOIS.
Companies will continue to gradually improve their systems to accept any new TLDs, including the IDN ones. It is a slow process and I do not believe that we will see a groundbreaking change in 2018.
The IDN email services will also grow slowly, with most new users coming from India and China. In the Cyrillic language group and in the Arabic-language countries the need for such services is not so high and the growth rate will be very low. In Russia, there is a working commercial service and the expectation is that a similar service will be launched in Bulgaria soon.
Events like MERGE, NamesCon, CloudFest, ICANN GDD and Domaining Europe will continue to shape themselves as the major global gatherings for business stakeholders, while the three annual ICANN conferences will be more and more focused on policy development and less on business.
The importance of small local events will keep raising as well, and we will see a couple of new events being organized in various parts of the world.
No groundbreaking changes besides the WHOIS modification are expected for 2018. In the background, extensive work will be done by major registries and registrars on various projects such as the Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP), IDN email, Universal Acceptance, DNSSEC automation, and data analytics.
On a personal note, we at the DotSensei team will focus on domain names and brand analysis, monitoring and abuse prevention in 2018. This is our core expertise as demonstrated by our main products: DoctorTLD, DoctorBrand, and Onoma. In addition to this, we will also explore the novel opportunities for big data processing over quantum processors, something that promises to give much faster results for handling large amounts of information than classical processors.
Iliya Bazlyankov, Co-Founder & CEO