OpenSRS: Reseller Friendly since 1999
 

Holiday Hours for Good Friday, April 6th, 2012

Our Toronto office will be closed on Friday, April 6, 2012, for Good Friday. While most OpenSRS staff will be off that day, Reseller Support will continue to be available 24/7 to assist you.

Here are the hours by department:

Department Dates and Hours
Technical Support Regular hours
Payments Email support: payments@opensrs.org
Compliance Closed Apr. 6
Service Bureau Closed Apr. 6

Please note that during this closure, there will be no orders or requests processed for the following TLD’s: (.at, .ch, .li, .dk, .com.mx).

Change is Coming, Are You Informed?

Last week at WHD.global, Thorsten Einig, our Managing Director for Europe, gave a presentation titled, “Change Means Opportunity – Key Domain Trends for Hosters in 2012″.

In the session, Thorsten mapped out some of the trends and changes coming to the domain industry in 2012, and provided some key insights and ideas for hosting companies looking to take advantage.

2012 is going to be a year of big change in our industry. The introduction of new generic Top-level Domains will have major impacts on everyone across the Internet, including hosters. Make sure you are well informed about what’s going on, and armed with a plan so you’ll be able to find the opportunity in a time of change.

Below you’ll find Thorsten’s slides from the session. If you have any questions, feel free to ask away in the comments – we’re happy to share our knowledge and insights gleaned from 15 years at the forefront of the domains industry.

WHD.global Session Notes – “Hosting after Megaupload.com: Risks, Opportunities and Chances”

Many of us OpenSRSers are in Rust, Germany this week for the WHD.global show. To give you a flavour of what this conference is all about, I’ve attended a few sessions and will provide some notes here.

Today I took in a very interesting session at WHD.global talking about the recent Megaupload case and the impacts on hosting companies.

The presenter was David Snead, an American attorney specializing in Internet business law and advice.

David took some time to explain the Megaupload case, and the indictment, specifically around what Megaupload is alleged to have done. You can read a very good article about the case from the New York Times, so I won’t go into details here.

David summarized the key learnings for hosting companies as it pertains to being the hosting providers for businesses like Megaupload.com. It’s very important, obviously, for hosters to ensure they are properly protected from any legal implications that might come as a result of being the provider to a company like Megaupload.com.

There are a number of key points for hosters:

  1. Understand jurisdiction: David points out that governments often try to extend jurisdiction outside traditional borders. In the case of Megaupload, the servers were in the USA, data travelled through other countries and employees of the company were found in seven different countries.
  2. Boot bad users: David suggests that hosters not be shy about firing bad customers. Once the hoster is aware that a customer is doing something that is outside of what the law allows (or even close), it’s important that the hoster act to remove that customer, or potentially face legal issues themselves.
  3. Have Terms of Service that work: the basis of being able to ensure customers are not participating in illegal activities is to have an effective and functional terms of service that is enforceable.
  4. Understand culture and how that plays into enforcement: David suggests that it is critical to understand the cultural customs and laws outside of the hoster’s own country and in any areas where the hosting company might reach. That means they need to be aware of things like gambling customs in certain countries and US states, anti-government and free-speech issues in some places, and of course intellectual property and copyright issues in many countries.

As you can see, there is a lot to consider here for hosters. The most important thing is that hosting companies make themselves aware of the current situation as it pertains to legal issues, and also that they seek out legal help and advice when required.

Exciting New Developments in ccTLDs

It’s been a busy few months for ccTLDs at OpenSRS. With so much happening, we thought it would be a good time to provide an update on all the good news.

.FR domains: fully automated and available to EU residents

One of the fastest-growing ccTLDs in our offering over the past several months has been .FR, the ccTLD for France. As a result, we have just wrapped up a major overhaul of our integration that will make the extension much easier to sell.

A number of improvements are now live, including:

  • Full provisioning automation: Fulfillment time for .FR orders no longer takes several business days. Instead, names are registered immediately.
  • Automated data collection: When placing an order, it is no longer necessary to provide relevant additional information in the order notes. Instead, these are now all added via the order form directly.
  • Expanded registrant eligibility: now any person or company based in the .European Union can register a .FR name, making it a viable extension for any person or business in Europe.

These, along with some additional changes to .FR, are now live both in the test and live environments. Please be sure to consult our documentation for additional information.

Now live: dozens of new extensions that are easy to integrate

Late last year we announced the availability of many new ccTLDs via our acquisition of EPAG Domainservices GmbH. Since the announcement, we’ve been hard at work iterating on our offering and adding new features, including:

More automated ccTLDs, more information

We’ve refactored many of the extensions we rolled out last year to no longer be asynchronous. Instead, the vast majority of our extensions now return immediate responses, instead of having to regularly check an order’s status. You can find out which extensions are fully automated using our new, handy ccTLD guide.

Even more extensions: .TW, .AG, .CO.IM

Taiwan, Antigua and Barbuda, and .CO.IM (a new addition to the several extensions we offer for the Isle of Man) are all new to OpenSRS this month. Like the other dozens of extensions we’ve introduced thus far, there are no additional data requirements.

Positioning a litany of ccTLDs

With the massive expansion of our ccTLD portfolio beginning late last year, we’ve now introduced 113 new second and third-level extensions – all from the same interface and API. We realize all these extensions aren’t for everyone, so here’s a look at how we recommend you approach them both internally and to your customers.

New European markets

The introduction of our new ccTLDs led to a number of new, popular European extensions. We recommend taking a look at .PL (Poland), .PT (Portugal), and .UA (Ukraine) at the very least.

The Americas

One of the regions we get asked to expand upon most these days is Central and South America. We’re pleased to now carry several popular extensions from the region, including .PE (Peru), .PR (Puerto Rico), and .UY (Uruguay).

“Specialty” extensions

Historically, we’ve categorized extensions like .CO, .ME and .TV as “specialty” extensions – ones that have purposes beyond only serving their regional markets because of their unique branding and usage abilities. We’ve now added several names which we believe fit into this category, as they have great potential as unique extensions and do not have any additional residency or data requirements:

  • .IM (Isle of Man), .SO (Somalia), .LA (Laos), .AM (Armenia), .FM (Micronesia).

Other new regions

Several other regions and extensions also feature prominently in our list of ccTLDs, including .JP (Japan), .MY (Malaysia), .IL (Israel), .ZA (South Africa) and .NU (Niue). All of these have already proven popular among OpenSRS resellers and are worth checking out.

You can see a full list of all our new extensions by geographic region here.

Although there have been a lot of developments regarding ccTLDs recently, we believe this is only the tip of the iceberg! Keep an eye on this blog throughout the year as we continue to add more extensions to OpenSRS.

Facebook: a friend or foe to hosters?

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of guest posts by Phil Shih, founder of Structure Research.

There is little doubt that Facebook has at least in some way become a competitive threat to hosting companies. People use Facebook as both a publishing and communication medium and it has become central to their daily lives. Even just a few years ago people may have chosen to publish a blog or personal website. Or they may have signed up for an account on Flickr and shared their photos there. In some cases – like Flickr – they would have used a free service. But in many cases they would have spent money on a domain name and some Web hosting. Fast-forward to 2012 and its clear more people are opting to use Facebook as a replacement for hosting a Web site. The larger consumer market, as a result, has become much more difficult to target.

But individuals are not the only demographic using Facebook. Businesses have been drawn to the power of the social network and have launched company pages there. Facebook has so much momentum we are even beginning to see the facebook.com/companywebsite URL more often than the traditional Web address in advertisements. With the amount of traffic going to Facebook it is simply good business to have a presence there. Ignoring Facebook is tantamount to shutting a business off from a significant piece of the market.

Will Facebook replace the traditional domain + website model?

So is Facebook going to do the same in the business market? Is it going to replace traditional Web sites and further impact the hosting business?

The short answer is no and this is at the heart of why we believe that Facebook is actually more a friend than foe. That is right. The social network that is stealing business away from you is still a friend to be embraced.

Let me explain. The notion of Web presence has changed. It is not just about a Web site anymore. Web presence is multi-faceted. It is about a Web site, a Facebook page and a Twitter feed. People go to all three places and in no particular order. This does not mean that standard Web presence is losing value. Far from it. In fact, all three are important and they complement rather than replace each other. But in the business arena Facebook pages are reinforcing the value of the Web site rather than replacing them. They are driving traffic to each other and extending a company’s reach to a wider audience and with greater speed. At the end of the day the real issue is how to integrate all three and find synergies between them.

Opportunities for hosters

And this is where hosters can jump in. Hosting is no longer just about providing a domain name and space on a server. It is about helping customers solve problems in the realm of Internet technology. With Facebook and Twitter, online presence has become much more complicated and that is great news for hosters. They have an opportunity to step in and add value by sorting through and making sense of that complexity. Hosters can build out social media Web presence for customers. They can help set up services where they create and manage Facebook pages and align content and messaging with the traditional Web site (that is of course still hosted with them!). Over time we fully expect hosters to take advantage of APIs and build automated tools for managing multiple Web presences from a single platform – owned and monetized by the hoster.

There is no denying that Facebook is in some ways a competitive threat. But the good news is hosters can offset the negative impact by moving up-market and focusing on the business space where Facebook is a just another part of the complexity that is the modern Web presence. Bring Facebook in and make it a part of the hosting value chain and you will see how it can be turned from a foe to a friend.

Leap Day Domain Registrations Explained

Tomorrow is a leap day – February 29 – an extra day that shows up in February ever four years (well, sort of. Years that are evenly divisible by 100 are not leap years, unless they are also evenly divisible by 400, in which case they are leap years).

That has some implications for domain registrations. Sadly, it does not mean you get four years for the price of one.

Rather, most registries have policies defined to account for registrations that happen on leap days.

In most cases, domains registered on February 29 will expire the following year on February 28. A few registries use March 1 instead.

That begs the question – is it possible for a domain to expire on February 29? The answer is yes depending on the specific extension and registry policies.

For example, if you register a .COM domain on February 29, 2012 for a four year term, you’d expect the domain to expire on February 29, 2016. However, the registry policy states that .COM domains registered on February 29 will always expire on February 28.

Does that mean that there will be no expiring .COM domains on February 29? A quick check around seems to suggest that the answer is yes. Anyone have a more definitive answer?

You can consult documentation for a list of which registry uses which dates for expiry. Check page 72 of the Reseller’s Guide to Domain Name Registration and Management. You’ll note that .BZ, .IN and .WS do in fact allow four year registrations done on leap days to expire on leap days (assuming there is one four years after the registration).

Crystal Peterson from .CO Internet has said in a blog post today that a four year .CO domain registration done on March 1, 2012, would lead to a domain with an expiry of February 29, 2016. Anyone care to test that hypothesis tomorrow?

The good news? OpenSRS has all the logic built in to properly account for and handle leap year registrations for all TLDs and services.

Enjoy the extra day!

Bulk Tools Now Live in New OpenSRS Control Panel

If you’ve logged in to the new OpenSRS Control panel in the last couple of days, you’ve likely noticed a big change. There’s now a “bulk action” menu in the top right corner of the panel that allows you to easily perform bulk changes and modifications to the domains in your reseller account.

If you’re familiar with the bulk domain name tools we already offer through the existing Reseller Web Interface (RWI), some of the features will be familiar to you. Simply select the names you wish to modify, then select the action, and you can perform all the changes currently available today through the existing RWI. There are, however, some great changes and upgrades:

Ability to modify domains based on search parameters

One of the big changes we made when we launched the new control panel was to add powerful search and filter tools. You can now use these tools to select the names you wish to modify. For example, if you want to renew all expired names in your account, you can now do this by searching for expired names, selecting them in the result set.

Real-time progress bar

You can now easily follow the progress of your bulk change request using the control panel’s real-time progress bar. From this screen, you’ll be able to track progress of a job, view the estimated time to completion, and even start/stop existing jobs. It makes managing and tracking the progress of a bulk change simple.

Handy export tool for most services

We’ve also introduced a new tool that allows you to export any result set to .CSV format. Simply run a search, select the results and click “export to .CSV”. You’ll then be able to download the results of your search in file format. The export tool is now available for Domains, Trust Service, Publishing and Offers.

We hope you take a moment to check these new features out, and hope you find them useful!

OpenSRS Joins Parallels Domain Name Network

This morning at the Parallels Summit in Orlando, we announced that we’re joining the Parallels Domain Name Network (DNN).

This means that service providers who use Parallels can now easily sign up to become an OpenSRS Reseller and start selling domain names, SSL certificates and more through Parallels products.

If you are at Parallels Summit, drop by our booth in the expo hall and we can tell you more.

Here’s the full text of the release:

TORONTO and ORLANDO, FL, Feb. 15, 2012 – Tucows Inc. (NYSE: TCX) (AMEX: TCX) (TSX: TC), a global Internet services company dedicated to making simple useful services that unlock the power of the Internet, today announced that its OpenSRS wholesale services division has joined the Parallels Domain Name Network (DNN), allowing Parallels partners to quickly and easily signup to sell OpenSRS services.

Service providers using Parallels Automation, Parallels Business Automation Standard and Parallels Plesk Billing can now become OpenSRS resellers through the Parallels DNN at no charge. OpenSRS has now been integrated into Parallels billing applications with new, fully-supported plugins that enable resellers to sell and manage over 100 different domain name extensions, SSL digital certificates from five leading brands, and mobile websites.

“Joining the Parallels DNN is the logical extension of the work we’ve done over the last few months to integrate OpenSRS across Parallels software portfolio,” said Dave Woroch, EVP Sales, Tucows. “We’re excited that service providers using Parallels can now quickly become OpenSRS Resellers and take advantage of our industry-leading customer service and extensive lineup of products and services.”

The announcement was made at Parallels Summit 2012, the leading global annual gathering of the hosting and cloud industry. OpenSRS is a Gold Sponsor. Visit OpenSRS at booth #300 on the show floor to learn more about the full range of OpenSRS wholesale Internet services, and to see Parallels plugins for Parallels Business Automation, Parallels Business Automation Standard, and Parallels Plesk Billing in action.

Learn more at http://parallels.com/dnn

About Tucows

Tucows is a global Internet services company. OpenSRS (http://opensrs.com) manages over eleven million domain names and millions of email boxes through a reseller network of over 12,000 web hosts and ISPs. Hover (http://hover.com) is the easiest way for individuals and small businesses to manage their domain names and email addresses. Ting (http://ting.com) is a mobile phone service provider dedicated to bringing clarity and control to US mobile phone users. YummyNames (http://yummynames.com) owns premium domain names that generate revenue through advertising or resale. More information can be found on Tucows’ corporate website (http://tucows.com).

Tucows, OpenSRS, Hover, and YummyNames are registered trademark of Tucows Inc. or its subsidiaries.

For further information:
Le Quan Truong
Director of Marketing, OpenSRS
(416) 538-5450
ltruong@tucows.com

Holiday Hours for Family Day, Monday February 20

Our Toronto office will be closed on Monday, February 20, 2012, for the Province of Ontario’s Family Day holiday. Family day is a fairly new holiday in Ontario – we first celebrated it in 2008. It’s designed to give us all a 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, but some staff will still be in the office to help you out if you need it. As usual, Reseller Support continues to be available 24/7 to assist you.

Here are the hours by department:

Department Dates and Hours
Technical Support Regular hours
Payments Email support: payments@opensrs.org
Compliance Closed Feb. 20
Service Bureau Closed Feb. 20

Please note that during this closure, there will be no orders or requests processed for the following TLD’s: (.at, .fr, .ch, .li, .dk, .com.mx).

.XXX Failed Sunrise Domains Will Be Made Available Feb. 14

logo for the .XXX domain extensionThe ICM Registry, operator of the .XXX domain extension, has let us know that on February 14th, 2012, all failed Sunrise A and B applications will start to become available for registration starting at 16:00 UTC.

If you have customers who applied for domains during either Sunrise A or B that failed validation, you might wish to let them know in case they are still interested in obtaining any of those domain(s) for registration.

These domains would simple show as available after 16:00 UTC, and will be available for registration on a first-come, first-serve basis like any other unregistered .XXX domain is now.

ICM Registry says they will not provide a list of the names that are being made available.

The Ting mobile reseller opportunity

We announced some exciting news today, the public launch of Ting, our US mobile service. We have talked about Ting in the past, both here and other places so if you have no idea what I am talking about maybe take a quick look here first.

Ting logoI wanted to let you know some more about this and especially about how this fits in with OpenSRS and resellers.

Tucows has always been, at its core, focused on being the best supplier of Internet services to service providers around the world. We have approached Ting with that thinking in mind.

We have just completed a closed beta with a couple hundred participants. Over 80% of them were resellers. The closed beta was a great success in that we all learned a lot and there was a great spirit in the group with resellers bringing themselves to the beta as customers BUT keeping well aware that they may be offering the service to their customers one day. This made for a really productive process.

Over the next couple of months, we are going to continue refine the retail Ting experience – from purchase path to fulfillment to customer support. Meanwhile, we would like to start speaking with you now about the reseller opportunity. We would like you to help us design the best wholesale offering possible. We are also looking for a handful of you to participate in a reseller beta and be the first to offer Ting to your customers.

It is worth noting that the primary reason that Sprint has been so supportive of us in bringing this to market is that they share our view that you guys are fantastic distribution partners and together we bring an approach to the market that recognizes that mobile has moved from a phone and voice business to being about small computers connecting to a mobile data network.

Some of you have heard me say that this looks and smells to me just like the early days of the ISP business, which many of us lived through. And that means opportunity.

We have set up a simple form on the site for you to fill out if you are interested in partnering with us on Ting. We will follow up shortly with more information.

Please also indicate if you might be interested in a special discount on Ting for yourselves or your employees. We figure the best way to get you and your team excited about offering this to your customers is to get you to experience the service yourselves. It is also a great way to thank you for all the rest of the business you do with OpenSRS.

It is a big day for us here. We well know that Ting will not succeed to the extent it can without your partnership.

Hosting Trends for 2012 – Free Webinar!

NOTE: If you missed the live webinar, we now have a recording available for viewing at any time. Click here to view.

Staying on top of where the hosting industry is headed is key in ensuring that you are able to react quickly and be successful.

Arming you with great information about the current state of the industry and where it’s going int he future is all part of what we do. If you’ve attended events like HostingCon, WorldHostingDays or Parallels Summit, you’ll know that we often offer sessions designed to share that knowledge we’ve gained with you.

Free Exclusive Webinar!

Coming up on February 2, 2012, we’re hosting a free webinar that we know you won’t want to miss.

We’ve arranged for Phil Shih, founder and managing director of Structure Research to provide a one-hour session titled, “A Look Ahead – Trends in Hosting for 2012.”

Phil Shih

Phil Shih, Founder and Managing Director, Structure Research

Phil is a well-known speaker in the hosting industry. He has in-depth knowledge of where things are, and where they are headed based on his over ten years of looking at the hosting space. Phil was a long-time senior staff writer for The WHIR, and an analyst for Tier1 Research.

This webinar is just a start – we’re very excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Phil to bring you exclusive content like this throughout the year.

More to Come

As mentioned, the webinar is just the first of a number of many initiatives we have planned, some with Phil and some with other great partners – watch for blog posts and more great webinars coming up to help you stay current.

From day one, back in 1999, we’re always been very much focused on making sure that you have the products and services you need to succeed. That means having things like a huge range of ccTLDs and gTLDs, or partnering with multiple trust providers so you can always offer the right SSL or trust product for every customer.

Further extending and broadening that focus to include information and intelligence is just one more thing that makes us the best choice for companies looking for a wholesale Internet services partner.

Watch On Demand

Click here to view the recording. Like all of our webinars, it’s free.

Help and Advice on Implementing New ccTLDs from OpenSRS

Last week we hosted a webinar for Resellers to get you up to speed on the expansion of our ccTLD lineup that we did in December.

Broadcasting live from the OpenSRS Webinar Broadcast Studios (aka Meeting Room 2)

If you missed the news about that launch, you can check out this post from Adam Eisner – we added dozens and dozens of new ccTLDs to the list of extensions you can sell through your OpenSRS reseller account.

Why ccTLDs? Which Ones Should I Offer? What are the Key Differences?

In the webinar, Adam talked about how we ended up adding all these new cTLDs, including some very open and transparent discussion about why we chose the ones we did.

He also provided some great advice on how you should approach bringing new ccTLDs to your customer base – that included thinking about your location, and the markets you serve.

Plus, he took a few minutes to fully explain some of the differences between these new ccTLDs and the rest of the TLDs we offer.

The webinar runs about 30 minutes with some questions and answers. As with all of our webinars, we recorded it (video and audio) so you can watch it when it’s convenient for you. You can access the recording here.

Another Great Webinar in February!

While we’re talking about webinars, we do have another one already lined up and on the schedule for the first week of February. We’re super excited to have Phil Shih from Structure Research in to provide a look at the hosting industry in 2012. This is exclusive to OpenSRS and promises to be an excellent session.

Find out more about that here, and of course, registration is free.

Join the CIRA Nomination Committee

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is seeking interested individuals from across Canada to apply to fill six open positions on its Nomination Committee. CIRA is the body that operates the .CA registry on behalf of Canadians.

Professional Canadians with committee experience and/or an interest in technology or the Internet are encouraged to apply.

According to CIRA, “the CIRA Nomination Committee plays a critical role in soliciting and selecting qualified candidates for the Nomination Committee Slate of CIRA’s Board of Directors Election. Its focus is to help build a Board of Directors that represents a wide range of views and interests, and ultimately contributing to the strategic direction of .CA and Canadian Internet policy.”

Applications will be accepted from January 3 to January 20, 2012. Visit http://www.ciraelections.ca for more information.

Being Your Customers’ Trusted Provider

Your customers choose you for a variety of reasons – maybe it’s a higher level of customer support, or specific high quality services you offer. Maybe it’s because they know and trust you, or because you are a part of their local community.

There is a real opportunity to be the trusted provider for your customers – and the provider they trust for everything they need, whether that’s domain registrations, hosting, email or whatever else you might offer them.

Do your customers know that you want all of their business, and do you go out of your way to help them move it to you?

Don’t Forget About Domain Transfers

One of the realities of getting started as an OpenSRS Reseller is that a lot of people already have a domain name. That reality makes your life easier because you don’t need to explain to them that having a domain name for their business is important.

Your customers and potential customers already know the value of a good domain and that opens the door for you to start selling things like a mobile website, hosting, web design, email and trust services to them.

But make sure you don’t overlook that domain when you bring the customer on board. Help the customer transfer their domains to you in any way you can so that you are able to offer a complete, end-to-end set of services.

Pro tip: Our retail division actually offers a concierge service that takes care of transfers for their customers. It’s something the customer is often happy to pay for, and it ensures that the transfer is taken care of successfully. Consider offering transfer concierge services to existing customers to get them to move their existing domains to you.

Helpful Resources

We provide a bunch of step-by-step guides that you can use to help those customers get their domains transferred to you. Transfers can sometimes be tricky and it’s important that you help the customer through the process so they don’t get frustrated and give up. You can grab the guides here.

Our Marketing Resource Center is full of helpful resources for domains, trust, email and publishing there for your use. Check it out.

Having the right information is a great help in making sure you get all the business that your customers want to entrust you with.

Thanks to Flickr user TerryJohnston for the photo, released under a Creative Commons license.

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