OpenSRS: Reseller Friendly since 1999
 

New TLDs have arrived. Here’s what you need to know

On December 3rd, the first of many new TLDs will arrive at OpenSRS! We’ll be launching sunrise registrations for 14 new domain extensions and will also begin accepting registrations for the Trademark Clearinghouse.

Sunrise registrations

We’re pleased to announce the upcoming commencement of sunrise for several new extensions:

.BIKE, .CLOTHING, .GURU, .HOLDINGS, .VENTURES, .PLUMBING, .SINGLES, .CAMERA, .LIGHTING, .EQUIPMENT, .ESTATE, GRAPHICS, .GALLERY, .PHOTOGRAPHY.

Here are some important dates to remember:

.BIKE, .CLOTHING, .GURU, .HOLDINGS, .VENTURES, .PLUMBING, .SINGLES:

  • Sunrise opens at OpenSRS: December 3rd, 2013
  • Sunrise closes: January 24th, 2014
  • General availability opens: January 29th, 2014

.CAMERA, .LIGHTING, .EQUIPMENT, .ESTATE, GRAPHICS, .GALLERY, .PHOTOGRAPHY:

  • Sunrise opens at OpenSRS: December 3rd, 2013
  • Sunrise closes: January 31st, 2014
  • General availability opens: February 5th, 2014

We will have additional information concerning general availability in the coming weeks.

Pricing for Sunrise registrations

Pricing for each extension has two parts: a sunrise fee, and a one-year registration fee.

TLD Sunrise fee Registration fee* Total
.HOLDINGS $120 $45 $165
.VENTURES $120 $45 $165
.SINGLES $120 $30 $150
.CLOTHING $120 $30 $150
.GURU $120 $30 $150
.BIKE $120 $30 $150
.PLUMBING $120 $30 $150
.CAMERA $120 $30 $150
.LIGHTING $120 $20 $140
.EQUIPMENT $120 $20 $140
.ESTATE $120 $30 $150
.GRAPHICS $120 $20 $140
.GALLERY $120 $20 $140
.PHOTOGRAPHY $120 $20 $140

*1-year registration fee.

At the time of ordering, the sunrise fee will be charged to your reseller account and the registration fee put on hold. The registration fee will subsequently be charged if the name applied for is successfully registered, and returned if it is not; multiple applications for the same name will go to auction. Please note that the sunrise fee is non-refundable.

Read more about the Sunrise phase.

Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH)

One new development in the sunrise process for new TLDs is the introduction of the TMCH. In order to purchase a domain during the sunrise phase at any registry, a corresponding trademark must be registered in the TMCH first.

Once a trademark is successfully registered, the resulting Signed Mark Data (SMD) file can be used to provide proof of trademark rights for all sunrise orders.

Trademark registrations are available for $220 per year and are available in 1, 3 and 5 year terms. This includes 20 labels, and the Trademark Claims service as well (this notifies trademark holders when a name using their trademark is registered). Additional packages of 20 labels are available for $50 per year, and are also available in 1, 3 and 5 year terms.

Read more about TMCH.

New TLDs represent the single biggest change to domain names in over a decade. We’re extremely excited to introduce these to OpenSRS, and look forward to an exciting 2014 filled with many new extensions and ideas.

New ICANN Working Group Could Have Big Impact on WHOIS Privacy Services

As we have detailed in previous posts, the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), which is the formal contract between ICANN and registrars, contains a number of new provisions around selling and managing domain names. One important component which has not garnered much attention thus far, however, has to do with WHOIS privacy and proxy services.

There is a provision in the new RAA which requires registrars to comply with “any ICANN-adopted Specification or Policy that establishes a Proxy Accredited Program.” In practical terms, this means that by signing the 2013 RAA, registrars agree to follow any accreditation program ICANN should subsequently introduce. Note any such program wouldn’t be developed overnight; a group of volunteers would work together to develop recommendations that would either be accepted or rejected by the ICANN Board.

So what could possibly be in the program? While it’s a bit early to tell, this Working Group Charter outlines a number of important discussion topics:

- Whether registrars should abide by and publish standard service practices;

- The possibility of introducing base guidelines/rules around the relaying and revealing of contact information;

- Performing regular checks to ensure the accuracy of customer contact information;

- Labelling WHOIS entries to indicate when a registration is made through a privacy or proxy service;

- Maintaining dedicated points of contact for abuse;

- Discussing whether standardized processes can be introduced to provide law enforcement with access and data;

- Restricting WHOIS privacy/proxy services for commercial or personal purposes; specifically, the Working Group Charter states, “is the use of privacy/proxy services appropriate when a domain name is registered for commercial purposes?” It also asks, “Should the use of privacy/proxy services be restricted only to registrants who are private individuals using the domain name for non-commercial purposes?”

It’s important to note that while the Working Group Charter has established these topics (and others) as discussion points, there is no guarantee any of the points will be made into policy. It does, however, illustrate some of the concerns the community has with the current state of WHOIS privacy and proxy services, and some of the ideas which have been floated to solve them.

Forming a working group is an early step in the policy making process. It will be many months before we’ll know whether some (or all) of these topics will be formed into policy. Our plan is to participate in the group and provide input; be sure to keep an eye on this blog as the group begins its work.

Reseller Control Panel Improvements

We have some exciting news to share. In the coming weeks and months, you will see numerous improvements to our new OpenSRS control panel.

The first step is to upgrade the existing new control panel. On November 19, you will see several changes:

  • A new look and feel. We’ve introduced a new and improved design, and reduced the amount of real estate occupied by navigation.
  • An improved filtering system. We’ve simplified how filtering works.
  • An overall increase in usage speed.

This launch is the first in a series of releases scheduled in the coming months, including:

  • Rollout of the Trademark Clearinghouse.
  • Introduction of our email service to the same control panel.
  • Improved reseller and user management features.
  • Completion of outstanding features (dashboard, etc.) in order to sunset the existing Reseller Web Interface.

Interested in a sneak peek? Click the screenshot for a better look!

control-panel-update

.NET, Powered by Verisign

net_logoThe world of domains names is about to get really complicated and messy, but in the midst of the change one domain stands ready and willing to help your customer’s get global credibility. As one of the first web domains, .NET is instantly recognizable domain around the globe.

Powered by Verisign, .NET has grown to over 15 million. Its a great alternative to .COM as there are no specific legal or geographic qualification to get a .NET domain name registered. So now is a great time to remind your customers of the value and strength of .NET as a preferred choice.

Download the New Assets
To support your efforts, Verisign has developed new brand assets to help get the word out and establish .NET as the preferred alternative domain extension. Head over to our Marketing Resources page to download the latest logos, banner ads, and videos you can start using right away on your site and marketing materials.

Earn $100 Account Credit
We’ve also set up an extra incentive you can take advantage of today. Download the new .NET assets and incorporate them in your site; then via this form show us a screenshot and we’ll deposit $50 into your OpenSRS account. Go the next step of writing and distributing a pro-.NET asset, such as a blog post or an email to your customers/prospects, and show us what you did for another $50 credit. That is an easy $100 for each and every reseller to take advantage of today.

We’ve Lowered pricing on several Thawte SSL Certificates

thawte_logoWe have some good news to share: we’ve permanently lowered prices for five different Thawte SSL Certificates.

  • SSL 123 – $55 from $59
  • SSL Web Server – $90 from $99
  • Thawte Wildcard – $320 from $390
  • SGC Super – $170 from $249
  • SSL Web Server EV – $120 from $195

As the first International Certificate Authority, Thawte makes an excellent choice to offer to your customers. And since its backed by Symantec you can have faith you’re offering your customers a reliable certificate.

Campaign Resources
Be sure to check out the marketing resources page to assist you in growing your Thawte business.

Recommendations for Securing Names in new gTLDs

Last week’s post regarding pre-registration resonated with a lot of readers, and it also sparked a conversation internally about where pre-registration fits in the bigger picture. We ultimately boiled it down to the needs and intentions of registrants, and some recommendations on what you can do as a reseller.

What pre-registrations really are

What is being marketed as “pre-registration” in the context of new TLDs is generally more an “expression of interest”. It doesn’t give any guarantee to get a domain, but merely says “whenever this new TLD becomes available for everyone, please let me know, because I would be interested in purchasing this name.” They can however help registrants to not miss the launch of their desired extension. It’s just important to note that those “expressions of interest” do not help to secure a specific name.

So, what do you tell clients who want to secure specific names upon the launch of a new gTLD, if pre-registrations don’t help? The answer depends on what kind of name it is.

How to secure your brand or trademark

There’s good news for holders of registered trademarks: you’re among the first in line for every new TLD that launches! But still, to reserve this prime spot in the queue and get a domain ahead of everyone else, you need to do two things:

  1. Submit your trademark record to the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH), and
  2. Apply for the desired domain name during the Sunrise phase of the TLD.

If your brand is registered with the TMCH, it will then be eligible to be registered as a domain name in every registry sunrise phase (some exceptions may apply). There’s a charge for submitting a mark to the TMCH, and a separate charge for every sunrise application. OpenSRS will enable you as a reseller to submit marks to the TMCH and apply for names during sunrise on behalf of your clients.

A nice additional benefit of using the TMCH is the Claims service, which will warn others intending to register your trademark that they are potentially violating your intellectual property. In case they still go ahead and register, the trademark owner will be notified and can take the necessary steps to suspend the name.

While the TMCH and sunrise phases are a good solution for holders of registered marks, what if your brand or product name isn’t a trademark, but you still want to secure the name?

How to secure your “Very Important” Domains

Landrush is your friend. Once a new gTLD has completed their mandatory sunrise launch phase for trademarks, we expect most registries to offer priority registrations during a landrush phase. Landrush means anybody can apply for any name that hasn’t already been taken during sunrise, but for a premium registration fee. Auctions will typically resolve multiple applications for the same name. Some registries will also sell high-value names as premium names, with a specific price tag on each of them.

Although Landrush registrations have a higher cost, you will still be ahead of the crowd waiting for general availability.

But what if this all sounds too expensive, and you just want to try your luck securing a regular name?

Getting a name at the regular price

After the names in highest demand have already been taken during sunrise and landrush, new gTLDs will enter their general availability phase. During this phase, we will conduct real pre-registrations, which is placing a binding order on hold in a queue at a time when the launch date, pricing and requirements are known. OpenSRS will open such pre-registration queues for general availability phases only prior to launch. At launch, those queued orders will be submitted to the registry one after the other, and you might be lucky enough to get a name.

So if you are a reseller and have decided to take “expressions of interest” from your clients, you would contact the client prior to launch with info on launch phases and dates of that TLD, and invite him to place a Sunrise or Landrush application or a binding pre-registration for General Availability.

If you want to get active now, taking expressions of interest is one thing you can do, the other is preparing the brand owners among your client base to submit their marks to the TMCH.

WHMCS Plugins Now out of Beta

OpenSRS is excited to announce the release of six plugins for WHMCS that will allow our resellers to easily sell our products & services and integrate directly with our platform. All of these plugins are available today at no cost and are 100% open source. We hope you’ll start using them and provide feedback so we can continue to improve them.

For a list of all features and to download our plugins, visit http://opensrs.com/site/integration/tools/whmcs

OpenSRS Domains Pro

  • Works alongside other registrar modules
  • Adds .PW to the list of ccTLDs
  • Supports WHMCS Domain Sync
  • Register/Renew/Transfer new domains
  • Enable or disable WHOIS privacy functionality
  • Remove WHOIS privacy service from registrar and billing area
  • Automatic invoice generation for clients who enable whois privacy support is now available via the client area
  • Adds support and fixes the phone # formatting issue that affected WHMCS’ OpenSRS module

OpenSRS SSL

  • You can now manage existing certificates within WHMCS
  • Register/Renew/Terminate for all supported certificates (Comodo, Symantec, GeoTrust, Trustwave, Thawte)
  • Auto configuration via client side interface
  • This module will NOT support SAN/UC certs

TRUSTe

  • Create TRUSTe orders manually and via auto provisioning
  • Terminate TRUSTe orders
  • Auto renew of order upon payment
  • Manage and complete TRUSTe signup process

GeoTrust Anti-Malware Scan

  • Create GeoTrust Anti-Malware Scan orders manually and via auto provisioning
  • Terminate GeoTrust Anti-Malware Scan orders
  • Auto renew of order upon payment
  • Manage and on demand scan of GeoTrust Anti-Malware

SiteLock

  • Support for existing SiteLock accounts
  • Create SiteLock orders manually and via auto provisioning
  • Terminate SiteLock orders
  • Auto renew of order upon payment
  • Upgrade/Downgrade capabilities

GoMobi

  • Support for existing GoMobi purchases
  • Create GoMobi orders manually and via auto provisioning
  • Terminate GoMobi orders
  • Auto renew each month upon payment otherwise product is suspended
  • Suspend and un-suspend service

The Hype of Preregistration – Don’t be fooled

The upcoming launch of new gTLDs has lots of people excited, but there is also a lot of confusion and misperceptions going around. Pre-registration in particular is causing a lot of headaches as it introduces an unofficial step in the process; in reality its just a marketing ploy.

The Trademark Clearinghouse is the one and only ticket to securing your brand during the Sunrise phases; which will be taking place over the next 2-3 years. ICANN still has a long way to go before all the new strings are released; and many of the most popular strings are contested by multiple parties.

Remind your customers we still have a long way to go before all the dust will settle. OpenSRS will be providing resellers with an interface to offer TMCH applications to protect trademarks and brands and give your customers first right of refusal.

Getting Ready for New TLDs and New Rules

If you buy or sell domain names, you’ve probably heard about the upcoming launch of new TLDs. By the middle of next year, we will likely be awash in new extensions ranging from .abudhabi to .webcam. It will be the biggest, most exciting change to the Internet in over a decade.

At Tucows HQ, we are working hard to make sure you’re able to take advantage of the numerous opportunities that new TLDs will bring. But we also want to make sure you’re aware of the important changes that will accompany new TLDs on a policy level.

In June, ICANN’s Board of Directors approved the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA). The RAA is the formal contract between ICANN and registrars, and sets out the obligations of both parties. The approval of the 2013 RAA concluded several years of discussion and negotiation, much of which focused on the concerns of law enforcement agencies and governments.

The 2013 sets out a number of new regulations and procedures that are important to take note of, as they will have a (hopefully small) impact on your business:

  • The email address of a registrant will need to be validated upon the purchase, transfer or modification of a domain name (unless that email address has already been validated). Should any of these three things occur, registrars are required to send an email or SMS requiring an affirmative response. Failing to receive a response within 15 days requires the registrar to either manually contact the registrant, or suspend the name. At OpenSRS, we will be sending an email (which, like our other products, will have white label capabilities). We’ll have more details shortly, but the important thing to note here is this applies to both new and existing domain names.
  • The same validation process will also need to take place if a WHOIS Data Reminder Policy (WDRP) email bounces. It will therefore be of paramount importance to ensure the WHOIS data your customer provides is correct.
  • Related to the point above, registrars will need to ensure the proper formatting and data for each address supplied within a contact. Registrars will need to validate, for example, that a street exists in a city, that the city exists in a state/province, and that the city specified matches the proper postal/zip code. This work and validation will take place on the registrar end. However, it will likely result in stricter validation rules on a platform level.

As you hopefully know, we believe in a free and open Internet, and feel current laws can resolve most issues without legislating the Internet. We voiced our disagreement with these provisions, as we do not feel the benefits will outweigh the effort and business impact, but the RAA was nonetheless ratified. We have since turned our attention to making sure we minimize the impact to your business.

We will keep you updated as we continue to develop the systems and features required to accommodate these new rules.

goMobi update coming August 29

gomobi_iphone-rOn August 29, goMobi plans to release an update to the goMobi mobile website service. Full details on the new features and enhancements to goMobi are available in a PDF provided by goMobi. You can view that document in this article in the Release Notes area of our Help & Support Portal.

Some of the highlights of this release include:

  • New feature: new WYSIWYG editor
  • New feature: drag and drop within features
  • New feature: additional third-party analytics provider
  • New feature: added Vimeo video support, in addition to YouTube
  • Usability improvement: add multiple recipients from site forms
  • Usability improvement: Find Us feature shows nearest location; enlarged location map and addition text field for custom directions.

The update will happen automatically for all goMobi sites. There’s nothing you need to do to enable access to these new features on sites.

Verisign celebrates 15 million .net registrations

Congratulations are in order as Verisign announced .net has surpassed 15 million registrations, putting it in fourth place behind .com. With more than 110 million .com domains registered, .net is proving itself to be a great alternative that works on a global scale.

net info graphic

15 Facts about .net:

  1. Almost 139,000 domains registered in other top-level domains (TLDs) immediately forward to the same name, but as a .net site.
  2. The first domain name to ever exist was a .net. While the first domain name to be registered was the now famous Symbolics.com, it is a lesser known fact that the very first domain name ever to exist was Nordu.net. Nordu.net was created by the registry with the same name as the first Internet rootserver (nic.nordu.net). Symbolics.com later went on to be the first domain name to go through the full registration process.
  3. Due to its unique status .net is not among the six other original generic top-level-domains in RFC920, the document which outlines the original domain name conventions. It was still created on the same day as the others though – 1/1/1985.
  4. Today the .net zone sits at just over 15 million registered domains, roughly 10 times more than in the year 2000 when there were about 1.5 million registered.
  5. The .net zone has doubled in size since 2006.
  6. In 2012, the average character length of .net domain names created was 12 characters.
  7. As social media grows in popularity, a trend of registering domain names and pointing them to social media accounts is emerging; most notably on Facebook. As of March 2013, 6,503 .net domain names pointed to Facebook. This is up from 5,039 in March 2012. That’s almost a 23% annual growth rate.
  8. Approximately half of the 15 million .net domains registered today are registered within the United States.
  9. .net domain names are hosted in more than 200 countries worldwide.
  10. Almost half (48%) of the .net domains registered in India have e-Commerce functionality on their sites.
  11. A single .net domain name can be registered in as many as 350 different native languages thanks to internationalized-domain-names (IDNs). IDNs make the Internet more globally accessible and functional by enabling domain names in non-ASCII characters.
  12. Verisign applied for 3 transliterations of .net in Hangul, Simplified Chinese, and Devanagari last year through ICANN’s new gTLD program.
  13. The percentage of the total base of .net domain names that are registered in Japan (2.51%) is almost twice that of the percentage of the total base of .com domains that are registered in Japan (1.43%).
  14. DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions) adds security to the DNS. Compared to .com, .net has almost double the percentage of DNSSEC enabled domains today.
  15. Today, more that 99.9% of 6+ character .net domain names are available.

Trustwave Premium EV SSL on Sale for July

trustwave_logoFor the month of July, we’re dropping the price on Trustwave’s Premium EV SSL to just $90 per year (from $135). Making it the best-priced EV certificate available from OpenSRS.

The reduced price is already reflected in your account. All you have to do is extend a discount to your customers to get more of them dressed up with a green bar. Here are all of the available benefits of the Trustwave Premium EV SSL certificate:

  • $250,000 Warranty
  • Extended Validation—highest organization validation
  • Green Address Bar in web browsers
  • Up to 256-bit Encryption
  • Free (Unlimited) Reissues for the life of the certificate
  • “Trusted Commerce” dynamic Site Seal
  • 100% Trusted Root Guarantee

Learn more about our Trustwave certificates.

New OpenSRS Status Site Launches on July 2

We are planning to cutover to the newly updated OpenSRS Status website on Tuesday, July 2. It will be at the same URL as the current site – http://opensrsstatus.com.

The new site looks and works better (especially on mobile devices), providing more descriptive updates. You can read about all the improvements and changes in this post.

As promised, for those that use the RSS feeds, here’s a list of the new feeds that you may wish to follow (note that these will be 404 Not Found until the new site launches on Tuesday):

Services RSS feeds:

Control Panels and APIs RSS feeds:

gTLDs and Specialty ccTLDs Registries RSS feeds:

ccTLDs RSS feeds:

Realtime updates will continue to be posted to Twitter. Follow @OpenSRSStatus.

We’ve been running the site internally to work out any kinks or bugs. As a result, there are status updates in the system going back to about the beginning of March, 2013.

We don’t anticipate running into any issues with the new site, but we’ll be looking at how it works in the first few months to ensure that we’re fulfilling the mandate of providing clear, concise and timely updates to you with the new site.

Q3 Domain Promotions

Seasons change and so do our quarterly promotions. A bunch of our Q2 promotions wrap up at the end of June, while a couple stick around to join a pair of great new promos starting a two or three-month run.

Q3 2013 Promotions

.INFO, .MOBI, .TV, .CO and .ME are coming back for Q3 with the same terms.

We do require that you sign up again this quarter to ensure that you continue to receive the promotional pricing on those extensions.

New promotions starting on July 1 include .PW and .ASIA.

  • .PW domains relaunched earlier this year as the extension for the Professional Web. Launch this great new option for your customers with introductory pricing. For resellers signed up for the promotion, the cost is just $5/domain year (regular cost is $10) in July and August.
  • We’re also featuring .ASIA domains this quarter at a great low cost. Sign up and the registry cost for .ASIA domains drops to just $2/domain year. That’s 80% off the usual registry cost of $10 through the end of September.

How Promotions Work

We pay out in the form of a rebate, deposited into your Reseller account at the beginning of the month for transactions processed in the previous month.

We ask that you sign up for each promotion separately because each promotion has different terms and conditions as set out by the registry operator. Usually, that means you agree to do some promotion of domain that is on sale. That can take the form of a banner ad on your homepage, an email blast, a blog post, or even just highlighting the specific extension in your search results.

Visit the Domain Promotions page to see all the Q3 2013 promotions and to sign up for those you wish to participate in and don’t forget about our “Pick Your Own ccTLD Promotion” announced last month. Choose from a list of 20 ccTLDs and receive a discount on those registrations through the end of the year. Learn more.

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