OpenSRS: Reseller Friendly since 1999
 

Announcing Comodo and Trustwave SSL products, plus Lower Pricing on GeoTrust and thawte

Today we’re announcing a number of changes to the OpenSRS Trust Service to make it easier for you to sell SSL and trust products to your customers.

Here’s a portion of the official news release:

TORONTO, Mar. 16 – Tucows Inc. (NYSE AMEX:TCX) (TSX:TC), a global provider of domain names, email and other Internet services, announced today that its wholesale Internet services division, OpenSRS, has added Comodo® and Trustwave® Internet security products to the OpenSRS Trust Service. The addition of these two brands further extends and enhances the choice in trust and security products available to its over 11,000 resellers worldwide.

Along with adding new providers, OpenSRS also announced lower wholesale pricing on a number of GeoTrust® and thawte® brand SSL Digital Certificates. This cost decrease allows OpenSRS Resellers to better compete on price in an evolving market for online security and trust. Read the full release…

In short, here’s what we’re doing today:

New Vendors – Comodo and Trustwave!



Starting today, we now offer SSL products from two new vendors – Comodo and Trustwave – bringing you and your customers much more choice in SSL products. Adding these two vendors alongside our existing products from VeriSign, GeoTrust and thawte means there are now well over 20 different SSL products available across five vendors and at different feature and price points– all available to you through your single OpenSRS account.

Lower Pricing on some GeoTrust and thawte SSL Products


We’re also announcing new lower pricing on some SSL products from GeoTrust and thawte. This better pricing will help you out in what is becoming an increasingly competitive market for trust and SSL. Price charts on OpenSRS.com have been updated with the new, lower pricing, where indicated.

More Information

We’ve updated our Trust Service webpages with all the new information including updated product grids for all five brands. You’ll also find marketing materials including logos and other information for our new vendors, Comodo and Trustwave, along with existing materials for VeriSign, GeoTrust and thawte.

As mentioned, everything is already live in your OpenSRS Reseller account. Just log in to the Reseller Web Interface, then look for the Trust Manager link. Documentation has also been updated to reflect the addition of the new vendors and products.

New Control Panels Sneak Preview

Be careful! This is no ordinary blog post. You’re going to need some headphones with the volume turned way up and you’re going to want to be sitting down before you look at what we have to show you.

This is a post about our control panels. People say they’re ugly. This hurt our feelings at first, until we realized that over the past ten years, we’ve added more and more functionality to the control panels, without giving much thought around around how our resellers use them.

Sure, they’re powerful and since we cater to wholesale customers, they have a lot of functionality around the management of bulk domains. But feedback from newer resellers was the learning curve to the system was especially high.

We also learned through our reseller satisfaction surveys, that the design of our current control panels have been the majority of the complaints.

So that’s what we’ve been working on.

These quick video intros and previews are snapshots from our current development environment. That means some things might look different once the control panels are officially released. But we’re coming down the home stretch now and we just couldn’t wait to show them to you.

We believe these control panels, once released will go a long way in helping our resellers streamline how they register, renew, transfer, and manage their customers’ domain names and I couldn’t be happier to share them with you today.

Introducing… your new Domain control panel:

Read the rest of this entry »

International Pi Day Celebration: No Squares Allowed!

Just a reminder folks that March 14th is fast approaching. Do you have plans to celebrate?

We’re not talking about Einstein’s birthday (although I bet he’d be happy to know you remembered). We’re talking about International Pi Day, which happens every March 14 (3.14, get it?)

Pi Day has been celebrated by math enthusiasts and other geeks all over the world since 1988.

For the past few since we’ve been celebrating International Pi Day at OpenSRS, staffers, realizing the date is near will begin to salivate in what some experts have told us is a typical pavlovian response in reaction to the knowledge that a delivery of delicious pies will soon arrive to aid in the celebration!

This year Pi Day falls on Monday and as we gear up for the festivities, we wanted to ask you what plans you have to celebrate. If you’ve been a little pre-occupied, then this post can serve as an important reminder, because everybody likes pie!

If you’re having trouble thinking about how best to celebrate Pi Day, may we suggest a quick visit to your friendly neighbourhood app store for some reasonably priced Pi apps that might help put you in the Pi celebration mood? And if the mood still doesn’t strike (or if you’re using a Blackberry), give walking in circles a try. It worked for us!

Here’s wishing you  a safe and Happy Pi Day!

iPhone and iPad Pi apps

  • Pi App: Unleash your inner nerd by testing how many digits of Pi you know!
  • Pi Cubed: Pi Cubed is a visual math application designed for a touch-based interface. Pi Cubed lets you construct, typeset, and instantly evaluate mathematical expressions using an interactive menu system.
  • Pi Search HD: Quickly and easily look for phone numbers, birthdays, lottery numbers, names and more, in the infinite numbers of Pi.
  • piClock: piClock scrolls through a ribbon of digits from the number pi to find the current time and date.

Pi Apps for Android

  • SpeedPi: How fast is your Android? Find out now using Speed Pi!
  • Pi (3.14159…): How many digits of Pi can you memorize?
  • Pimorize Pi Memorizer: Test your ability to remember the digits of Pi. Helps memorizing pi. Also shows days remaining until PI Day.
  • Pi Trainer: Learn pi or test your memory with Pi Trainer by piday.org. Pi Trainer is a simple game produced by piday.org as a tool to spread the knowledge of Pi.

Pi Apps for Blackberry

  • Sadly, we couldn’t find any Pi apps for the Blackberry. The app store also told us we should be running Windows to properly use the store. Not sure what that’s about. Sorry Blackberry fans, we tried!

More Pi Resources

.TV Marketing and Promotional Videos for Resellers

Did you know that we have a series of excellent promotional videos for you that will help you explain the value of .TV domains to your customers? We worked closely with VeriSign, the .TV domain registry operator, to create these great videos that explain why .TV domains are the best choice for hosting video content online. They’re available to download and use for all OpenSRS Resellers.

Six Videos in All

There are six videos all together, including four interview-style videos with some interesting people who are using their .TV domains to do some really innovative things with web video. The other two videos in the series are tutorials – the first helps explain the unique value of .TV domains in identifying sites with video content, while the second provides some great tips and techniques for your customers to consider so they can put their .TV domains to good use.

As you’d expect, these are unbranded, white-label videos that are ready to be used in your marketing efforts around .TV domains.

Visit the Marketing section of the Resource Center to see what’s available and download the full set. Look for the .TV Marketing Videos section.

Here’s a sample video to give you a sense of the content you’ll find:

Get .TV Domains at a Great Price

Keep in mind that we also have a .TV domain pricing promo going on right now. Last year we lowered the cost for new .TV domains to $19.00/year through the end of May, 2011 (regular price is $35/year, and that discount is paid through a monthly rebate). But in addition to that promotion, we also rolled out an opt-in promo that allows you to save even more. Sign up and do some promotion around .TV domains – and these videos are a perfect way to do just that – and you’ll get new .TV domain registrations for just $12/year!

Click here for full terms and conditions and to signup for this promo.

Domains Industry News Round-up

It has been a busy start to the year across the domain name industry. A couple of registries have already reached significant milestones this year, and the industry as a whole continues to grow at a steady rate.

.COM.AU and .ORG Hit Milestones

On the ccTLD-front, AusRegistry reported that they reached two million .com.au domains under management this week. There are some pretty tight rules surrounding the registration of .com.au domain names, so the figure represents an impressive milestone for Australia. Given it’s relatively small population, it’s clear that Australians see value in .com.au domain names and that the extension provides a sense of trust for both those using .com.au domains and also for Internet users in the country.

Public Interest Registry (PIR) who operate the .org registry also hit a milestone, announcing recently that they had surpassed nine million domains under management. They also noted that growth in 2010 was 10.3% for the extension. The .org domain has added more than five million domains since 2005 and is the third largest generic top-level domain (gTLD) in the world.

VeriSign Domain Industry Brief

February also saw the release of the latest issue of the VeriSign Domain Industry Brief. This quarterly report looks at all sectors of the domain world and identifies interesting trends and stats in gTLDs and ccTLDs, and provides a good evaluation of the health of the industry as a whole.

The latest brief showed continued growth in domains under management with 205.3 million domain registrations across all TLDs. That’s a year-over-year growth rate of about 6.3%. In ccTLDs, a total of 80.1 million domains are registered representing a year-over-year growth rate of 0.3%. Its important to note that growth in ccTLDs was affected by a contraction in the number of .cn domains under management as a result of significant restrictions placed on new and current .cn registrations by the Chinese government.

Strong growth seen in .org and across a number of ccTLDs

Of the 205.3 million total domains registered, 105.2 million are .com or .net, showing that those two gTLD extensions still command some impressive numbers despite the rise in ccTLDs over the past few years. On the ccTLD side, .de leads the way, outpacing even .net to stand as the second largest registry in the world. Second amongst ccTLDs is .uk, followed by .cn and then .nl, .eu and .ru.

Growth wise, a number of larger ccTLDs experienced better than industry-average growth this year, including Poland (.pl), Australia (.au), Canada (.ca) and Switzerland (.ch).

How to Take Advantage

While these numbers and reports make for some interesting reading, it’s also important to note that they can be a great help in identifying potential growth markets, and in evaluating your own businesses. ccTLDs with above average growth rates are often indicative of countries where the Internet industry as a whole is seeing expansion. You don’t have to look far to see opportunities in places like Poland, or in Central America and Mexico in particular. Currently the top 10 ccTLDs represent 61% of all ccTLDs registered, but as countries and economies emerge, expect to see that number drop as the Internet penetrates new, growing markets.

To evaluate your own business, look at industry renewal and growth rates. Renewal rates for .com and .net rose slightly to about 73% in Q4, 2010. Is that in line with what you see in your business? Keep in mind that your rates should probably exceed that as the renewal rates for domains “in use” or attached to hosting tend to be higher than the overall average.

All in all, it has been another good year for the industry as a whole. Based on early news from registries like .au and .org, 2011 is looking solid as well.

Introducing VeriSign Partner Grab and Go – Easy SSL Marketing

We’re really pleased to be the first wholesale registrar to offer the VeriSign Partner Progam’s Grab and Go SSL marketing content to our reseller base. Grab and Go is a great new service that makes it easy for you to build and maintain your SSL and trust marketing webpages.

There’s a variety of content modules to choose from – including VeriSign, GeoTrust and thawte product brands. Based on iframes, it’s easy to use: look at the modules you want, and cut and paste the code to your desired template page. The iframe content is dynamically served (or populated), so it’s always kept up-to-date on your site without any action required on your part. It’s a great way to make sure that you always have the “latest and greatest” marketing materials on your site to sell more SSL.

Get Started Today!

Get started with VeriSign Partner Grab and Go, provided by OpenSRS, by visiting the Grab and Go website. You’ll learn more about how the content modules work, and how to get them installed in your own site so you can either maximize your existing SSL and trust sales, or get started with selling SSL.

See it in Person at Parallels Summit 2011

And if you are at the Parallels Summit in Orlando, FL this week, be sure to drop by the OpenSRS booth in the Expo Hall (Booth 102). Both OpenSRS and VeriSign Partner Program people will be there at the show. We can demonstrate how Grab and Go works, and talk to you about the opportunities available for selling SSL and trust products to your customers.

Meet Our Reseller: Hostnet

Hostnet offers hosting and domain services in the Netherlands

Like many hosting companies, Hostnet started small. But thanks to a continued focus on the needs of its customers and a long-standing commitment to innovative technology and superior customer support, Hostnet has grown to become one of the leading providers of hosting and domain services in the Netherlands.

The company was started in 1998 by a pair of students providing web-design services. Soon, they realized that they needed a more recurring revenue model upon which they could grow their business.

Providing hosting and domain (domeinnaam in dutch) registrations was the natural extension that served the needs both of existing customers and allowed them to expand their customer base.

“Hostnet started out as a small ISP, offering web-design and SEO services to go with them,” says Merijn de Brabander, Business Manager, Hostnet. “It only made sense to add hosting services and domain registrations, and at that point things really took off for the company.”

Hostnet: Hosting is a growing market.

It was about five years ago that Hostnet completely shifted the focus to hosting and business services and they have been growing quickly ever since. The company now boasts nearly 60 employees working out of an office overlooking the IJ river in Amsterdam serving hundreds of thousands of customers who run the gamut from individuals to small and mid-sized businesses.

Hostnet is regarded as a leader in the Dutch hosting space, offering a one-stop shop where customers can get online, create brand awareness and grow their business or personal online presence. Hostnet offers low-cost domains, hosting and other solutions aimed at Small and Medium Business including email, Hosted Exchange and SSL certificates. For Large and Enterprise customers Hostnet offers high performance hosting services like Virtual Private Servers and Dedicated Servers.

Hostnet and OpenSRS Long-time Partnership

Hostnet has been an OpenSRS domain reseller since 2000 and uses OpenSRS to power domain registrations and management for a large part of their domain portfolio with the exception of the larger european domain registrations (Hostnet are themselves a .nl, .eu and .be accredited registrar).

De Brabander says the partnership with OpenSRS has played a key role in the company’s growth.

“Working with OpenSRS for the last ten years has contributed to the improvement our services,” he says. “Also, we were very excited to hear that Thorsten Einig has joined OpenSRS and we look forward to an even closer relationship with OpenSRS.” [editors note: Thorsten Einig joined OpenSRS in October, 2010 as the Managing Director for Europe and is based in Amsterdam].

Hostnet Premium Hosting Support

With a customer base of small and mid-sized businesses, support is an important consideration. Hostnet offers a full helpdesk site with tutorials, FAQs and other resources to help their customers use the hosting an domain services. And they have a full customer support team to provide the enhanced level of customer support that their business base requires.

De Brabander says the company knows providing top-notch support is a must. “We try to stay on top of the customer support by constantly adding easy-to-use features to our website and our hosting and domain services, as well as improving the communications skills of our employees,” he says.

Ensuring the company is stocked with top talent is another way it stays in the lead in a very competitive environment. Hostnet recruits from nearby Delft University of Technology, one of the best engineering and technical schools in the country.

The company’s commitment to its employees starts the day they walk in the door. New employees will find a bicycle waiting for them on their first day–bikes being a common mode of transportation in the Netherlands.

Discussing New TLDs at .nxt conference

Last week, I joined close to 200 other attendees at the inaugural .nxt conference in San Francisco. The conference, which was sponsored in part by OpenSRS, brought together industry leaders to discuss the impact of ICANN’s new Top Level Domains (TLD) program, which will likely see hundreds of new domain name extensions introduced to the Internet.

The conference featured a wide range of keynote speakers and sessions. Among the highlights was an update on the new TLD process from ICANN SVP Kurt Pritz (pictured below), a keynote by .CO registry CEO Juan Diego Calle on the runaway success of their re-launch, and an executive roundtable discussion (which included our CEO, Elliot Noss) on a wide variety of topics related to new TLDs.


In between the keynotes and excellent hallway conversations, I also attended some great sessions. And at the end of the two-day conference, I went home with several key takeaways:

  • Registrars are keen to carry new TLDs, but will be discerning about which they choose to sell. In the “Working With Registrars” session, I appeared on a panel with representatives from Go Daddy, VeriSign, Oversee and Network Solutions to discuss the opportunities and challenges new TLD operators faced when promoting their extension to registrars. It quickly became apparent that registrars were most interested in offering TLDs that had a compelling value proposition, would be easy to implement, and would be accompanied by strong marketing support.
  • People are still holding their cards very close to their chest. Obviously, lots of bids have already surfaced (here’s a partial list of potential applicants). However, some attendees were still hesitant to reveal details about their application. To me, this indicated we may have only seen a small fraction of interested applicants thus far.
  • The launch of new TLDs is not a matter of if, but when. Barring an eleventh-hour turnaround, the new TLD program will be approved and more forward. The next question is: when will it happen? Latest estimates have new TLDs fully operational by 2013, but that’s not a timeline set in stone. More details should emerge following ICANN’s upcoming international meeting in San Francisco.

The conference was a great opportunity to discuss one of the biggest Internet developments in recent years with some of the industry’s leaders. Once ICANN approves the new TLD program, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the announcement of the next .nxt conference.

Thanks to .net conference organizer Kieren McCarthy for the photos of the show and for putting them out under a Creative Commons License.

Holiday Hours: Family Day, Monday February 21

serviceguy-familyday-smallHappy Family Day from the OpenSRS team!

We’ll be closed this Monday for Ontario’s Family Day holiday. We’re looking forward to spending some quality time with our loved ones.

Our Technical Support team continues to be available 24/7 to assist you.

Please note that during this closure, there will be:

  • No orders or requests processed for the following TLD’s: (.at, .fr, .nl, .ch, .li, .dk, .com.mx)
  • No special processing for .ca (registrant transfers, conflicting and municipal registrations) or .eu/.be (redemptions).

Here are the hours by department:

Department Dates and Hours
Technical Support Regular hours
Payments Email support: payments@opensrs.org
Compliance Closed Feb. 21
Service Bureau Closed Feb. 21

StopBadware: Request for Comments Part II

A short while ago, I wrote about our friends at StopBadware and their initiative to draft a document that covers best practices when dealing with malware of all kinds.

The support received been fantastic and they’re now on the second draft of the RFC. This is an important issue that affects all of us. If you have something to say, StopBadware would really appreciate your feedback before this Friday (Feb 11).

From the StopBadware blog:

About two weeks ago, we put out an initial request for comments on a public draft of our new best practices. This RFC was met with insightful, eminently practical advice from our expert working group and the security community. After incorporating some of the suggestions from these groups, we have a second draft of the Practices ready for review and comment. The second public draft of StopBadware’s Best Practices for Web Hosting Providers: Responding to Malware Reports is available here in doc andpdf format.

This is intended to be the last draft of the Practices; we’ll be accepting comments until Friday, February 11, 2011. The final best practices document will be publicly available within a few weeks.  Thanks to all those from our community and the security industry who have given us such dedicated thought and creativity during the course of this project!

You can join our mailing list here.

About StopBadware

StopBadware originated at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society in 2006. In 2010, they spun off as a non-profit organization with the support of Google, PayPal, and Mozilla. Their board of directors, chaired by PayPal Chief Information Security Officer Michael Barrett, also includes Vint Cerf (Google), Esther Dyson (EDventure), Paul Mockapetris (Nominum), Mike Shaver (Mozilla), and our executive director, Maxim Weinstein.

goMobi Updated to Version 1.3 with Better Full Website Features

gomobi_iphone

Version 1.3 of goMobi has just been released and is now live for all users of the service.

Included in this update are a number of new features that will be of interest to resellers and end-users, along with a series of bug fixes and backend changes that won’t be visible, but will improve the experience overall.

Here’s the rundown of the changes that will be visible to users:

Better handling of full website transcoding

Currently the “Full Website” feature is hidden in the Control Panel unless a source domain is either provided when provisioning the site, or added via the “Advanced Features” section.

As part of the goMobi v1.3 release, goMobi is making the full website feature visible all of the time to users within the goMobi Control Panel. This allows site owners to enter or change their source domain (the desktop site URL) without having to know to visit the Advanced Feature section.

The site owner also now has the ability to transcode their desktop website and display it in a mobile friendly version for their site visitors. That feature is enabled via a checkbox in the Full Website section of the Control Panel.

Here’s what that feature looks like now:

full website

This “Enable content adaption for mobile phones” check box is checked by default. This means that the desktop site will be transcoded into a mobile friendly version (using dotMobi’s Instant Mobilizer technology, and formatted for the specific device being used to browse the site).

New full website interstitial page

In addition, when site visitors to the goMobi version of the site click on the “Full Website”” feature, an interstitial page is now displayed to offer visitors the choice between a mobile-friendly, transcoded version of the full website, or the standard desktop version:

interstitial

This gives more options to users on devices with different capabilities. For example, users of larger tablet devices, iPads or even those with Android or iPhones will have the option to see the desktop site as opposed to the mobile version. Visit our own goMobi-powered mobile site to see the new features in action.

Updates to goMobi are automatic

There’s nothing resellers need to do to enable v1.3 for all users. Software updates to the goMobi service are performed by goMobi.

WHOIS Privacy Now Available for .CO Domains

Effective today, it’s now possible to add WHOIS privacy to .CO domains.

At launch WHOIS privacy was not permitted on .CO domain names. Recently that policy was amended to permit the use of WHOIS privacy for .CO registrations.

Included Free

As with all other domain extensions that support the use of WHOIS privacy, there’s no cost to enable our Contact Privacy service on .CO domains through OpenSRS.

Adding Contact Privacy to a .CO domain is done in the same way as all other domain extensions that support it, including via the Reseller Web Interface and using the OpenSRS API. Support for WHOIS Privacy in OpenSRS Storefront will be added shortly.

goMobi Updated to Version 1.3 with Better Full Website Features

Version 1.3 of goMobi has just been released and is now live for all users of the service. Included in this update are a number of new features that will be of interest to resellers and end-users, along with a series of bug fixes and backend changes that won’t be visible, but will improve the experience overall.

Here’s the rundown of the changes that will be visible to users:

Better handling of full website transcoding

Currently the “Full Website” feature is hidden in the Control Panel unless a source domain is either provided when provisioning the site, or added via the “Advanced Features” section.

As part of the goMobi v1.3 release, goMobi is making the full website feature visible all of the time to users within the goMobi Control Panel. This allows site owners to enter or change their source domain (the desktop site URL) without having to know to visit the Advanced Feature section.

The site owner also now has the ability to transcode their desktop website and display it in a mobile friendly version for their site visitors. That feature is enabled via a checkbox in the Full Website section of the Control Panel.

Here’s what that feature looks like now:

This “Enable content” adaption for mobile phones”check box is checked by default. This means that the desktop site will be transcoded into a mobile friendly version (using dotMobi’s Instant Mobilizer technology, and formatted for the specific device being used to browse the site).

New full website interstitial page

In addition, when site visitors to the goMobi version of the site click on the “Full Website”” feature, an interstitial page is now displayed to offer visitors the choice between a mobile-friendly, transcoded version of the full website, or the standard desktop version:

This gives more options to users on devices with different capabilities. For example, users of larger tablet devices, iPads or even those with Android or iPhones will have the option to see the desktop site as opposed to the mobile version.

Updates to goMobi are automatic

There’s nothing resellers need to do to enable v1.3 for all users. Software updates to the goMobi project are performed by goMobi.

WHOIS Privacy Now Available for .CO Domains

Effective today, it’s now possible to add WHOIS privacy to .CO domains.

At launch WHOIS privacy was not permitted on .CO domain names. Recently that policy was amended to permit the use of WHOIS privacy for .CO registrations.

Included Free

As with all other domain extensions that support the use of WHOIS privacy, there’s no cost to enable our Contact Privacy service on .CO domains through OpenSRS.

Adding Contact Privacy to a .CO domain is done in the same way as all other domain extensions that support it, including via the Reseller Web Interface and using the OpenSRS API. Support for WHOIS Privacy in OpenSRS Storefront will be added shortly.

A "super" .co Promo to Announce

We’ve got a “super” pricing promotion on .CO domains to share with you.

.CO domains will be made available at a wholesale cost of USD$13.00 from 00:00 EST on Sunday, February 6, 2011 through 23:59 EST on Saturday, February 12, 2011.

But you’ll need to move pretty quickly on this one – to be included, you must signup for this promo by 8:00 A.M. EST (13:00 UTC) on Friday, February 4, 2011.

Here’s the full details of the promotion (please read carefully):

The promotional price of USD $13.00 applies to new one-year registrations or the first year of new multi-year registrations only. Renewals and transfers are not eligible.

To be eligible for the promotional pricing on .co domains, you must do the following for the duration of the promotion period:

  • Promote .co on your homepage with either a text notice or graphical banner or image
  • Place .co in the first or second position in the TLD drop-down (if applicable) on your domain search
  • Return .co domains in the first or second position in your search results
  • Price .co domains at no more than $19.99 USD

We will be verifying compliance with all the terms of this promotion at various times during the promotional period.

Resellers who are not in compliance with all of the terms when random checks are performed will be deemed ineligible for the promotion without warning.

To sign up for this promo, click here.

Thanks for your continued support of OpenSRS and happy selling.

The OpenSRS Team

Become a Reseller

Sign Up Now