OpenSRS: Reseller Friendly since 1999
 

Announcing the new Pick Your Own ccTLD Promotion

Service Guy - Flags

Starting today you can choose a special discounted price for new registrations on a ccTLD of your choice for the remainder of the year. Pass the savings on to your customers, enjoy the extra margin or choose something in between.

We’ve assembled a list of 22 ccTLDs from all over the world so you’re sure to find something you like. Have a look and complete the form to let us know your selection. The request will be processed within 2-3 business days and won’t expire until December 31, 2013.

Get started: Choose your own ccTLD promotion!

Why your clients need to know about the Trademark Clearinghouse

You’ve heard us talk about new TLDs quite a bit in the recent past, and we promise that there’s even more to come. While the launch of the first new extension is probably still a few months away, there is one thing you should start talking about to your customers now – the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH).

As we have mentioned in an earlier post, the TMCH will be the central repository of trademark data, to be used by each and every new top-level domain to protect trademark holders at launch. But why is the TMCH relevant to you and your clients? It’s a domain add-on service you can make money on, and it can make the life of your business customers a lot easier.

What is the TMCH?

Trademark Clearinghouse logoTo explain this and better understand the benefits of the TMCH, let me give some more background on what it actually does. Any registered trademark of at least national effect in any country in the world can go into the Clearinghouse, with a few funny exceptions – no dots (.) and no existing TLDs (e.g. mytradmark.org) are allowed.

Once submitted, the TMCH will check with the relevant trademark register if the trademark exists and if it really belongs to the holder who submitted it. If the application is approved, it’s inserted to the TMCH database, which is the entry ticket to two great priority services: Sunrise and Claims Notices.

Sunrise

What’s so great about Sunrise – isn’t it super complicated and a big mess after all? Well, it might have been in the past. The TMCH however makes Sunrise phases what they really should be – an easy, standardized and cost-effective way to secure your trademark as a domain name ahead of everyone else in any new TLD you want.

And that is really everyone – any new TLD to come will be required to launch with a Sunrise phase for trademarks that are in the TMCH. The intellectual property community has been fighting for this over years and years, and they succeeded – if you own a trademark, you stand first in line at launch.

Claims Notices

Claims Notices is another unique service available through the TMCH. It kicks in after the Sunrise phase of each new TLD, and does two things.

First, whenever somebody tries to register a domain that matches a trademark in the TMCH, that person will receive a notice and acknowledge this fact before it’s possible to complete the registration.

Second, if that person continues the registration anyway, a second notice will be sent to the trademark holder, making him aware that this registrant potentially infringes on his trademark. That service comes at no additional cost, and it’s available during the first 90 days of each new TLD’s public launch phase.

No other third-party domain monitoring service can step in and warn registrants before they even unintentionally infringe on a mark.

Who is the TMCH For?

While I truely believe that the TMCH is a great service, it will be most interesting to your SMB and corporate customers. The potential customer base is huge, it’s not only the handful of globally known brands. In the US alone, there are currently over 1.8 million registered trademarks, with over 400,000 new filings in 2012. Germany has close to 800,000 registered marks, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) reports a total number of over 3 million internationally valid trademarks.

This is large base of potential customers, and if you have any business customers, it is very likely at least some of them will have a trademark. You don’t want to send those high-value customers somewhere else.

So the TMCH is a great service that has a lot of value for what trademark owners usually consider a discount price – expect the TMCH charge from us to be at around $200 per year. The one drawback is – most businesses are not aware yet that new TLDs and the TMCH are coming. You will need to tell them about it, and we recommend to start doing that rather now to give your customers plenty of time to make up their minds.

Over the next couple of months, we’ll provide you with non-branded education materials that you can use to convey the message to your clients. We’ll keep you posted.

A New OpenSRS Status Site is Coming Soon

Within the next month or two we’ll be re-launching OpenSRS Status with a new look, and a bit of a different way of doing things.

Since we launched the site in 2008, our aim with OpenSRS Status has been to provide a one-stop site offering real-time information about the status of the various systems and services that our resellers rely on. Having a real-time status site wasn’t common back in 2008 and the transparency around our services was (and continues to be) something that sets us apart from our competitors and other Internet service providers.

The new OpenSRS Status site will be found at the same address as the current site – http://opensrsstatus.com. OpenSRS Status will continue to be completely off-network so it stays online even if catastrophe strikes our network infrastructure.

What’s New

Responsive designOnce the new site launches (planned for early July), you’ll notice a cleaner look-and-feel, along with improvements to how incidents are displayed. Here’s some of the new features:

  • A new, simplified dashboard – only open or recently resolved incidents are shown, along with any maintenance that is currently underway. You’ll be able to tell at a glance whether everything is working well, or whether there’s something happening that you need to know about. Incidents will stay up on the homepage for three days after the incident is resolved and will be archived (but still viewable) after that for reference.
  • More descriptive post titles – we’ve done away with the ‘online’, ‘degraded’ and ‘offline’ post titles. Instead, you’ll see that an incident is either ‘open’ or ‘resolved’ and post titles will provide specific information about what the impact is. For example, instead of “Email Cluster A is Degraded”, it will be “Intermittent issues with logging in for some users on Email Cluster A”. Better information, at a glance.
  • A single page and URL per incident – any updates on an incident will show up on the same page as the original incident post. You can check on the status of any open or resolved incident (including viewing any time-stamped updates) at one permanent URL. This makes it easier for you to track an incident from start to finish.
  • Better/simpler categorization of TLDs services – with hundreds of TLDs and more on the way, we’re categorizing them – gTLDs in one group, and ccTLDs grouped geographically by continent, instead of breaking each TLD out separately.

New OpenSRS Status site

Less Noise

We also took a look at some of the things we’ve done with OpenSRS Status since 2008 with an eye towards simplifying things to remove some of the noise.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to stop posting real-time registry maintenance notices. We’ll continue to provide advance notice of any planned registry maintenance in the Help & Support Portal and you’ll note that we’ve added a Google Calendar version complete with the ability to subscribe via .ics starting today. Note: we’re waiting on a settings change to take effect to make that calendar fully public.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of these maintenance windows are transparent to resellers and users thanks to OpenSRS’ queuing mechanisms that queue orders when registries are offline or in maintenance and process them once the systems reconnect.

Also note that we’ll continue to provide real-time notifications for maintenance that impacts our own systems and for maintenance planned by our Trust Service partners and goMobi that sometimes do have an impact during the maintenance period.

Changes to Notification Options

Back when we launched the first OpenSRS Status site in 2008, posting updates to Twitter was an experimental feature. Twitter itself was pretty new, but even back then we suspected that a lot of resellers would want to get status information that way. Today well over 500 followers are getting real-time updates via Twitter and the use of Twitter for this type of application is common. With the new site, @OpenSRSStatus on Twitter becomes the preferred notification method.

Once the new site launches, email subscriptions for OpenSRS Status will no longer be provided. We know some resellers view email as the preferred method of receiving notifications but the current system used to subscribe and send emails isn’t up to the task anymore. In fact, as we’ve added new services and TLDs over the last couple of years, there hasn’t been a way to subscribe to or send out email notifications.

We looked at building out a new system or working with a third-party solution to handle subscriptions and sending of email notifications. In the end, no suitable option was found and we couldn’t make a case for allocating the resources to build and maintain what is a fairly complex system that not many resellers were making use of.

We’ll continue to provide full RSS feeds (both a master feed of all services, and individual feeds for service categories).

Other Notification Options

For those resellers who want email notifications, we suggest either setting up an RSS-to-email script on your own infrastructure, or you can use a service like IFTTT.com or Zapier.com which can take an RSS feed and parse it into an email that can be sent to the address of your choice. IFTTT.com can take any RSS feed and do a myriad of different things with it – send an SMS or an email, or even call you on the phone.

You might also consider using Twitter’s built-in SMS or push notifications as a solution to provide real-time updates.

Launching in July

We’re planning to cut over to the new status site in early July. We’ll let you know the exact date a week or two in advance and we’ll provide a list of the RSS feeds prior to the cutover so you can pre-configure any RSS feed readers or scripts prior to the re-launch.

Email notifications for status events will continue to work until the cutover to the new site, at which point they will no longer be sent.

In advance of the cutover to the new site, starting June 1, 2013, we’ll no longer provide real-time notifications for registry maintenance via the current site. You can view all upcoming registry maintenance windows at the Help & Support Portal including the new calendar view and .ICS subscription option. We post them as soon as we get notice from our registry and other service partners.

Meet our Reseller: HostingSolutions.it

hostingsolutions_logoWe’re back with another reseller profile. This time we take a look at one of Italy’s leading hosts, Hosting Solutions.

They’ve offered a range of hosting services in the Italian market since 1999. Like many OpenSRS resellers, they provide top-notch customer support combined with quality hosting, all at a fair price. It’s a solid formula for success.

Thanks to Alessio Fanfano from Hosting Solutions for taking the time to tell us about the business.

Read the article.

An Update on New TLDs

new top-level domainsEarlier this year, we set up an informational page detailing our position and outlook on the topic of new TLDs. Since then, and particularly since the conclusion of ICANN’s 46th international meeting last month in Beijing, we have received many inquiries from resellers about our plans for this exciting development. As a result, I thought it would be a good time to address some of the frequently asked questions we are receiving.

What do the current launch timelines look like for new TLDs?

We believe the most optimistic view currently puts the first TLDs live and launching their sunrise phases in the third quarter of 2013.

Most applicants are currently being evaluated by ICANN. Exactly when a specific extension will become available depends on several factors:

  1. Draw number: in December 2012, ICANN conducted a lottery draw to determine the priority by which each application would be evaluated. Lower numbers were to be evaluated first, and that process is now underway.
  2. Objections and contentions: extensions with multiple applicants, third party objections or intervention from ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee can expect to take longer to work through the evaluation process.
  3. Desired launch date: Once a new TLD has been approved by ICANN, it does not necessarily have to launch immediately. An approved applicant may elect to launch their extension at a later date once approved.

The net result of this is we expect extensions with no objections and only one application to launch first; many of these are Internationalized Domain Names and geographic/regional domain names.

What extensions are you planning to carry, anyway?

Unfortunately, it’s still a little bit too early to tell. That said, there are some high-level things we can say at this point:

  • We are actively evaluating each extension to determine which would offer the greatest business potential for our reseller network.
  • We will engineer to every requirement and protocol so that you can manage them all exactly the same way whenever possible using our API and control panel.
  • We will give you as much notice as possible regarding the launch of the TMCH, the extensions we plan to launch, and what kind of launch support to expect.

We will relay more details about what extensions will be going live when as we get them.

What about the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH)?

The TMCH will be an important part of the launch process. Every extension will be required to offer a sunrise period; if you are thinking of securing any names during this phase, want to protect any trademarks your company may have, or want to do the same for your customers, you’ll want to start thinking about the TMCH.

The purpose of the TMCH is to accept and validate records of registered trademarks, to add them to a central trademark database, and to subsequently a) allow them to be registered during the sunrise phase, and b) notify potential registrants during the general availability phase that the name is a registered trademark (and inform the trademark holder).

All trademark holders will be able to provide their trademark details to the TMCH via OpenSRS and its resellers. As a result, we expect to support the sunrise and landrush phases for many extensions.

While we’re not quite at the starting line for launching new TLDs yet, we’re getting close. Expect many updates in the coming months about the launch of new gTLDs. Stay tuned.

Ting First Customer Bonus

PrintIf you’ve been thinking about promoting Ting to your customers, now is a great time to start because we’ve added a new bonus. When you sign up your first customer to Ting using your Offers referral URL code, your OpenSRS account will be credited a bonus $50.

But I know some of you are thinking, “Darn, I just signed up my first customer to Ting last week.” Don’t despair, the computer code behind the bonus is going all the way back to March 1, 2013.

Please note, regardless of when your first customer signs up, the bonuses will be applied at the beginning of each month when the process runs.

If you haven’t experienced Ting yet, or are unsure of network coverage in your area, but would like to before recommending it to customers, sign up for the Taste of Ting trial and we’ll get you set up. We have a bit of a waiting list, but we’re working our way through it as quickly as possible.

.PW Now Available

OpenSRS is pleased to announce general availability for .PW domains to all of our resellers. Pricing is $10/year for new, renew and transfer.

whd-2012

.PW is the namespace for individuals and businesses who want a professional presence on the web. There are no restrictions, so anyone can own a .PW domain name. .PW domains are affordable, available, secure and reputable.

Why .PW?

When you get online, you want to project a professional image. Whether you’re a business or an individual, you want the world to know that you are a part of a reputed network – the Professional Web. .PW gives you all this and more:

  • It’s Open – Anyone can register a .PW name
  • It’s Available – A completely new namespace, with unlimited domain options
  • It’s Affordable – Get a quality name at a reasonable price
  • It’s Secure – Best industry practices: UDRP, Trademark friendly

Ting co-op print ads

tingprint

It has come to my attention that not every reseller visits our Marketing Resources every day. So I wanted to quickly highlight some co-op print ads we created to help those of you that promote Ting.

We have three versions, highlighting different benefits. Each come in two layouts – a standard magazine and a half-page horizontal newspaper. Each focus on the significant savings that businesses and families could realize by switching to Ting.

There is a blank area for your “Authorized Reseller” logo and a call to action that should be customized to include your unique URL. We provide PDFs for easy viewing, EPS files and the Ting font file.

Enjoy! Please let us know if you find these useful and if there is anything else we can do to help.

See you at WorldHostingDays.global 2013

WorldHostingDays.global
WorldHostingDays.global 2013 happens next week at Europa-Park, in Germany. OpenSRS will be at WHD.global again this year and we’re looking forward to meeting many of our resellers face-to-face.

If you are attending the show this year, you’ll want to take note of a couple of events that you won’t want to miss.

  • Monday, March 18th, 18:00-20:00: We are hosting a cocktail reception along with our friends from the .CO registry. Drop by the Commedia dell’ Arte in the lobby of the Hotel Colosseo to enjoy a drink or two and start off the week with some good, relaxed conversation. No need to RSVP – Thorsten and the rest of the OpenSRS team will be there between 18:00 and 20:00.
  • Wednesday, March 19th at 17:15 (in La Sala Bianca): Adam Eisner, Director of Product Management, OpenSRS, will be presenting How New TLDs and New Rules Will Change the Domain Game. Make sure you mark your calendar for this session. Adam will be talking about New gTLDs and what impact the coming expansion of the domain name space will have on your business.
  • All week: OpenSRS will be exhibiting in the hosting.FAIR throughout the week. Look for us at booth A16 and come by to say hi. See the hosting.FAIR floorplan.

If you have any questions, or if you want to schedule a meeting, email sales.emea@opensrs.com.

Safe travels to all attending and we hope to see you there next week!

The Internet Infrastructure Coalition

imagesIf you’ve spent any time reading us or drinking with us, you have almost certainly heard a member of the Tucows herd singing the praises of the Open Internet and vowing to either enlighten or destroy its enemies. It’s sort of our thing. We are thrilled and humbled by what can be achieved when billions of people have access to information and a vehicle to communicate, collaborate and co-create. We are increasingly wary of large corporations that are willing to compromise consumer experiences and impede progress to protect their market shares. We are similarly concerned about politicians that legislate on the Internet without truly understanding the world they are affecting.

So we were thrilled when some friends approached us about an organization called the Internet Infrastructure Coalition (i2Coalition). The i2Coalition launched about six months ago to provide a voice in Washington, D.C for the folks who “power” the Internet – principally web hosting companies and services, like ours, that support their efforts. After the SOPA and PIPA fight over a year ago, industry experts recognized the need for continued leadership in the ongoing public policy debate about the Internet. Tucows proudly joined with more than 40 other industry allies to be a founding member of the i2Coalition to help educate Congress and protect Internet freedoms.

The i2Coalition has experienced a great deal of success since its official launch last September. The i2Coalition recently hosted Internet Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, where they educated lawmakers and opinion leaders about the Internet and how it works. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), as well as Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), joined the i2Coalition at an educational event focusing on just how the Internet works.

Since its launch, the i2Coalition has been a leading voice in many domestic and global policy discussions, including cybersecurity, privacy, and patent reform as well as continuing to work with lawmakers to promote how the nuts and bolts of the Internet work.

The i2Coalition stands ready for the next legislative battle and is recruiting allies to join the fight.  They’re kicking off a membership drive with a webinar “12 Reasons to Join the i2Coalition: What You Get and Why It Matters” on Tuesday, March 26 from 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM CDT. Sign up to learn about membership or visit www.i2coalition.com/join to become a member today.

We think the i2Coalition is doing great work to represent and protect many of your interests in Washington, D.C. We also think many of you would have great ideas and expertise to bring to this initiative. Please check out their website, attend the webinar and consider supporting their efforts.

goMobi Update Coming March 12

Note: goMobi has pushed back this release to March 21.

gomobi_iphone-rOn March 12 March 21, 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: Find Us feature – adds “Verify Map Location” in the dashboard when adding your location to the site
  • New feature: New sharing options – business social network LinkedIn has been added
  • New feature: Added the ability to add any 3rd-party source code to features that have a WYSIWYG editor
  • New feature: New Site Cookie notification feature (for EU privacy compliance)
  • Usability improvement: ‘Create Page’ character restriction removed so users can create pages with more content
  • Usability improvement: Activated features will be displayed at top of Features list for easier editing

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.

Help & Support Portal Updates

With the new OpenSRS Help & Support Portal now fully up and running for a few months now, I thought it would be good to show you some of the places where we are sharing important information with you.

Announcements

  • Upcoming Maintenance: we’ll post things like registry maintenance announcements and planned OpenSRS maintenance here. We’ll continue to provide realtime updates via OpenSRS Status.
  • Release Notes and Change Logs: Starting on February 28, 2013, we’ll be posting a changelog for OpenSRS Services. This posting will detail the changes made to OpenSRS services, the API and Control Panels in the last month. Going forward, this log will be posted on the last Thursday of the month. You’ll also find release notes for things like goMobi, SiteLock and other services that are provided by third-party vendors when available.
  • Service Bulletins: In the event of unplanned outages or other disruptions of service, we endeavour to provide a summary of the reasons behind the disruption and what we are doing to prevent a reoccurrence. You’ll find those bulletins within a day or two of the conclusion of the outage or interruption. We do our best to be as open and transparent about any issues as possible and we invite your comments if you have any.

Services Knowledge Base

OpenSRS Help & SupportThose visiting the portal on a regular basis will note that we’ve been steadily adding articles to the Services Knowledge Base. It is our intention to continue to add content here to help answer some of the questions that you might have without requiring you to open a ticket.

The search function in the new portal is pretty effective and if you create tickets directly in the portal, you’ll be given suggestions for articles that may hold the answer to your question.

Over the last couple of months we’ve created dozens and dozens of new articles in the various categories. You’ll also note that we’ve moved content related to specific policies and documentation for certain ccTLDs to the Services Knowledge Base in the Domains category.

Community Forums

Last but not least, we’re seeing increased activity in our Community Forums since moving from the old forum software into the new, unified portal. Feel free to drop in and ask any questions that you might have there. Unlike our previous forums which were primarily user-to-user, our support staff are monitoring things fairly closely and are happy to step in and answer your questions there.

Holiday Hours for Family Day, Monday, February 18, 2013

Our Toronto office will be closed on Monday, February 18th, 2013, for the annual Family Day holiday here in Ontario. This is a mid-winter holiday celebrated in most Canadian Provinces. The idea is to give people a long weekend break in February, and a day off work and school to spend time doing stuff as a family.

Most of us will be doing just that (including Payments and Compliance), but some staff will still be in the office to help you out if you need it. Reseller Support will be available as usual (by phone and live chat between 8am and 8pm EST, and via email) despite the holiday.

We wish a happy Family Day to our resellers in Canada, and also a happy President’s Day to our friends south of the border.

New gTLDs and OpenSRS

By now you’ve heard about the new gTLD program in the works at ICANN; concerning the text right of the dot. It has been in the works for quite a while now and looks like it will be another year or two before all the dust settles on the initial 2,000+ applications. So far we haven’t really talked about it, unlike some of the other registrars, because frankly there isn’t a whole lot of actionable news yet to share. We have however been following the developments quite closely, and like the rest of our domain business we’re going to bring our resellers as many of the new public gTLDs as possible.

In the meantime, we’ve set up a new page on the site explaining our position and outlook, along with a high-level overview of the roll-out timeline. We’ll be updating the page as new major developments come out, and when we get closer to actually having a new gTLD in the OpenSRS platform we’ll make sure you know about it in advance. We also invite you to hop into our community forum and ask us and the community any questions you have about the new gTLDs.

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