OpenSRS: Reseller Friendly since 1999
 

.CA compliance changes

On March 6, CIRA, the .CA registry operator, will change their data validation rules. Please keep in mind that on this date, CIRA will become more strict about owner data submitted when a domain is registered or modified.

Going forward, the following information MUST be provided for a registrant contact every time a .CA name is registered or updated:

- First Name
- Last Name
- Email
- Phone
- Street
- City
- Province/State (Mandatory when Canada or US is selected, otherwise optional)
- Country
- Postal Code (Mandatory when Canada or US is selected, otherwise optional)

Historically, the registry has not made all fields mandatory. Please ensure you are submitting complete and full information when a name is registered or updated; otherwise, your order will fail with an error message stating a required field has not been entered.

Please note this change does not have any impact on administrative or technical contacts.

Mass Surveillance – The Day we Fight Back

Being able to conduct our private online affairs privately is important.

If you don’t need any further convincing, jump down to find out why online privacy matters to us, what we’re doing to help protect it and how you can help.

Perhaps our opening statement seems weird and anachronistic, seeing as we live in a world where people are increasing both the amount of information they share, and the speed at which they share it.

Here’s why we think online privacy is important.

Privacy gives us the space as individuals to find and define our sense of self, and for organizations and companies to innovate and experiment.

Mass surveillance strips us all of the opportunity to choose what information we share, when, where and with whom. The choice between what’s public and what’s private is now in the hands of those that control the data.

Over the past eight months, the details of various national mass surveillance programs have been brought to light. We find the broad and unmitigated power that’s being entrusted to bodies like the National Security Agency (NSA) truly frightening.

We are pretty upset about it. We think you should be pretty upset about it too.

These mass surveillance programs undermine trust in our governments and in the corporations that provide access to and services on the Internet. Most importantly, it undermines trust in the Internet itself. It is the Internet that brings us together and allows us to share in each other’s experiences.

Why it matters to us

For OpenSRS: There is a crisis of faith in the organizations that govern the Internet. That, consequently, undermines how our business operates. The policies and procedures that are part of running the Internet infrastructure businesses depend on requires global trust in the organizations that develop and enforce them. Perhaps these organizations, like the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), are too closely connected to the US government, but can they become more global without benefitting those that would seek to control, censor and undermine the Internet?

For Ting: We’ve tried very hard to build a unique service. We’re open and transparent in our pricing and in how we interact with our customers. After years of gouging and poor customer service, it’s no wonder that there is a general lack of trust in mobile service providers. Now, though, it’s also clear that some companies have been providing warrantless, wholesale data access to surveillance programs. Customers are now concerned that we’re providing their phone records and meta-data to these programs without notification or due process. Though we haven’t received any law enforcement requests for user information, these concerns are understandable.

What we’re doing about it

We’re trying to raise awareness through this post and by participating in The Day we Fight Back. We’re also raising money for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

  • Hover will be donating $1 for every domain transferred to Hover on February 11.
  • Ting will be donating $1 up to $10,000 for everyone that shares this post from the Ting blog using the sharing tools there.

What you can do about it

Here’s the great bit. Just over a year ago, citizens joined together online to defeat some rather heinous digital communications legislation. We know that individual voices matter, and we’ve seen the change they can bring.

If you’re American: Use the banner at the bottom of this post to contact your legislator and let them know that mass surveillance is unacceptable.

If you’re Canadian: Sign the petition hosted by OpenMedia. Or you can find and contact your member of parliament. Now is an excellent time to ask for increased oversight of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE).

Global citizens: Visit The Day We Fight Back and tweet, Facebook, or G+ your support for ending programs of mass surveillance.



CIRA’s Community Investment Program

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has recently launched a new Community Investment Program designed to provide funding to community groups, not-for-profits, and academic institutions for projects that enhance the Internet for the benefit of all Canadians.

If  you are pursuing an interesting initiative that requires funding you can apply to have your initiative considered.

When and how?
Apply through CIRA’s website. The deadline for applications is 2 p.m. ET February 28, 2014.

How much?
The typical grant will be approximately $25,000 – $50,000 although some may be larger and some smaller. Grants will not exceed $100,000.

Who can apply?

  • Registered charities.
  • Not-for-profit organizations and community groups.
  • Academics and researchers.
  • Individuals whose applications have been sponsored by one of the above eligible 
organizations/institutions.

The information about applicant eligibility and the application process is available on CIRA’s website.

Update on the registrant verification process

With the launch of registrant verification, we are continually making improvements to simplify and streamline this new ICANN requirement. We are introducing some new features and fixes to the registrant verification process to make it easier to manage. Our goal is to make this process as seamless as possible by providing you with all the tools you need to reach out to your end users proactively.

The following changes will be in effect by January 31st:

  • The domain suspension email is editable under “Message Templates”. It allows you to customize the message to better explain to your clients why this happened and what they can do to bring their site back online;
  • The ability to edit the domain verification confirmation page will be available in RWI only;
  • The ability to disable emails sent to the additional contact holders listed on a domain that requires verification will be available in UCP and RWI;
  • New verification emails will be sent out immediately after the registration allowing the resellers to incorporate the verification process into their domain purchase flows;
  • Suspended domains will not resolve but they will not have their DNS modified. This allows us to turn the domains back on immediately after it has been verified;
  • In UCP, some additional information will be included with each domain such as how many days left until suspension and the date the first verification email was sent out;
  • All resellers will receive a daily csv file report on all domains currently in the verification process.

Important notice

URLs used to verify contact information have been simplified. We are using domainadmin.com. This is a legitimate domain name owned by OpenSRS.

We have received some feedback since we started implementing this ICANN mandated verification process and we understand that it may appear disruptive to resellers and registrants. We will ensure that resellers have enough time to adapt to this new process. From what we see in our current data, you should not expect to see a large number of domains being suspended in the coming days.

Registrant verification is a new requirement in the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) that requires all registrars to verify the registrant’s contact name and email address during a new registration, transfers in or contact updates, if not previously verified.

Visit the registrant verification FAQs for more information.

Domain promotions for Q1 2014

We are happy to announce the promotions for the first quarter of the year*.

We do require that you sign up for each of the promotions again this quarter to ensure that you continue to receive the promotional pricing on these extensions.

How promotions work

We pay out in the form of a rebate, deposited into your reseller account at the beginning of each 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 promote the domains to your customers. The promotion can take the form of a banner ad on your homepage, an email campaign, a blog post, you could also highlight the specific extension in your search results.

*Rebates will be applied to .INFO, .CO and .ME domains sold between January 1st and March 31, 2014. Sign-up required.

Registrant verification announcement

New regulations and procedures as per ICANN’s 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement are now live. Here’s some important information you need to know:

Validating a registrant’s email address

  •  Effective immediately, the registrant contact needs to be validated upon the purchase or transfer of a domain name, or if the registrant’s first name, last name or email address have been modified. OpenSRS sends an email that, like our other features, has white label/branding capabilities.
  • Reminder emails will be re-sent on days 5, 10 and 13 within the 15-day validation window; messages on days 10 and 13 of this process are sent to the Admin, Tech and Billing contacts as well. These reminders can be disabled.
  • The same process takes place if a WHOIS Data Reminder Policy (WDRP) notice, 30 day expiration notice or 5 day expiration notice bounce. It’s therefore crucial to ensure the WHOIS data your customer provides is correct.
  • Failing to receive a response within 15 days requires us to suspend the name. As a result, the name will be placed on ClientHold, rendering the domain name inactive.
  • This process applies to all gTLDs. There is no impact to existing names as long as they are not modified, and WDRP/expiration notices do not bounce.

As a result of these changes, we have introduced a number of features:

  • White label/branding capabilities for all registrant validation and reminder emails;
  • The ability to resend validation e-mails through the control panel and API (send_registrant_verification_email);
  • Additional information within a new API call regarding a name’s validation status (get_registrant_verification_status);
  • The ability to filter names by validation status in the new control panel;
  • The ability to send optional reminder e-mails 5, 10 and 13 days after the validation process is triggered.

You can also consult our registrant validation FAQ, located in our knowledge base.

Important: Increased data validation

The 2013 RAA requires registrars to ensure email addresses, postal addresses and phone numbers are formatted properly as per specific RFCs and ITU specifications. As a result, please ensure contact data sent is valid (for example, phone numbers formatted properly and postal/zip codes corresponding to the correct country) in order to avoid any ordering issues.

 

How do we choose what new gTLDs to support?

You have probably noticed an increased amount of activity and communication around the new gTLDs coming to market through OpenSRS. We are all very excited about the possibilities that the new TLDs bring but you may be wondering how we choose which ones to support. There is a thought process behind it and we thought it would be appropriate to share with you some of the internal guidelines we use in the selection process.

To help guide our evaluation, we consider several factors when looking at each new TLD and create a scorecard.This is not something we fill in for every gTLD, and it is not meant to be taken literally, but it helps tremendously as we look at options.

There are 7 indicators we look at and each one is rated on a scale of 0 (poor) to 10 (ideal).

1)    Size of market

2)    Semantic appeal

3)    Affordability

4)    Openness

5)    Predictability

6)    Ease of integration

7)    Support

I’ll explain each of these in a bit more detail. To make it easier we’ll use .CLUB as an example. This is an uncontested gTLD and we believe it to be one of the best ones available in the first half of 2014. Sunrise starts in mid-January and it rated quite high across all indicators.

1) Size of market

Is the target market broad based, large, and does it offer a good opportunity for our resellers or is it more of a niche gTLD with a smaller target market?

.CLUB: There are millions of clubs all over the world. And there are many different kinds of clubs from sports to golf to night clubs. We’ve identified this as one of the most commonly searched terms in the domain registration process.

2) Semantic appeal

Is the gTLD short and concise? Is there clarity in its intended use? Does it have meaning and is it understood in multiple languages and cultures? Would users consider it a good signpost on the Internet?

.CLUB: The gTLD is 4 letters long, it’s very clear on its intended use and it has clear meaning in many countries around the globe.

3) Affordability

How expensive will it be to register a domain? We think domains should be affordable. In recent years we’ve seen some prices increase. We would like to see them come down with new gTLDs being priced below what a typical .COM would cost, not double or triple the cost.

.CLUB: The price for .CLUB will be $10 which is very competitive when compared to .COM.

4) Openness

Is the gTLD broadly available and accessible to all users or will there be restricted use of the domain, limitations on the content of the website or proprietary platforms? Are there restrictions on who can register and use the domain? is there additional data required to successfully registry a domain? And finally, is there good availability of domains or is choice limited?

.CLUB: There are absolutely no restrictions, anyone can register and use the domain.

5) Predictability

Do we expect the Registry to operate with standard and predictable policies? Will pricing be transparent, consistent and predictable over time? As we review the Registry Registrar Agreement (RRA) do we have concerns with what might happen to policies, practices and the business model?

.CLUB: There is nothing unusual about their policies and we expect no change over time. Pricing to registrars is expected to be consistent and limited to a maximum increase of just 15% over the first 5 years of registry operation.

6) Ease of integration

Will it be easy or difficult to integrate to the Registry? Are we working with a known system? Does it follow industry standards or are we dealing with a one of a kind system for a single gTLD? What happens with the domain life cycle, is this typical or have they created their own? Can we implement their pricing policies?

.CLUB: The Registry backend has been outsourced to Neustar. We’ve very familiar with this system and are working with Neustar for .BIZ, .US, .CO, .TEL and .XXX.

7) Support

Does the Registry have plans to develop marketing programs and create awareness, educate the market, and assist the registrars in building the business or are they simply putting their gTLD into the market and expecting registrants to buy?

.CLUB: We hosted the .CLUB team in our Toronto office in December. They conducted lunch and learn sessions for our support, engineering and sales & marketing teams. We’ve received good support so far. We expect brand awareness campaigns to happen in 2014 which will help with awareness and education.

In conclusion we can say that as the domain name world expands dramatically, we want to make sure you have as much information as possible about how we are dealing with the addition of hundreds of new gTLDs over the coming months. New gTLDs 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 working with all of you on making this a big success.

OpenSRS joins the SedoMLS network

OpenSRS has partnered with Sedo joining its SedoMLS network. If you aren’t familiar with it, SedoMLS is the world’s largest domain distribution network, placing more domain names in front of potential buyers than any other domain sales channel. By partnering with OpenSRS, Sedo is also expanding its distribution of both premium and new gTLD inventory to our reseller channel, further growing the reach of its inventory.

This is big news for OpenSRS given that we will now be able to automatically distribute more than 17 million premium domain name extensions to our resellers. Sedo’s gTLD inventory includes .CLUB, .SINGLE and more than 400 other new gTLD extensions. Domains registered through OpenSRS can also be listed for sale on the SedoMLS network.

EURid Holiday promotion

On November 25th, EURid launched their Holiday promotion. .eu domain holders have a chance to to win one of three prizes:

First prize:

A one week “natural reset” package in full-board accommodation for two people, including transport, at the Saturnia SPA in Tuscany (Italy) in March 2014.

Second prize:

A five-day package in full-board accommodation for two people, including transport, at a leading luxury resort in the Algarve (Portugal) in April 2014.

Third prize:

A weekend escape in full-board accommodation for two people, including transport, in June 2014 in one of the following European cities of your choice: Paris, London or Prague.

Two steps to win

  1. Your customers are eligible when they register a .eu domain name between now and December 23rd, 2013 (23:59 CET)
  2. Once the domain is registered, they simply need to visit christmas2013.eurid.eu, answer two simple questions and enter the competition using the .eu domain name registered.

 

The winners will be selected and contacted on December 24th, 2013 at 09:00 CET.

For full details, view the contest rules.

10th Anniversary Telecommunications Forum, February 24-25, 2014 in Ottawa, Canada

Tucows CEO Elliot Noss has been invited to speak at the 10th Anniversary Telecommunications Forum on February 24-25, 2014 in Ottawa. He’ll be delivering a lunchtime keynote presentation on February 25 titled, “The Dire State of Networks in Canada, and How We Can Take Advantage of It.”

His presentation is likely to get the attention of a few carriers, some policy makers and industry players and a whole lot of potential customers.

We’ve had great success in the US market with Ting, and we’d love to help push for change in the Canadian market as well.

We’ve secured a 10% discount off the regular conference fee. Use discount code #19382 when you register.

Visit http://www.insightinfo.com/tele/ for more information and to register for the event.

 

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.

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