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Posts Tagged ‘OpenSRS Domain Service’

Planning for new gTLDs

The list of new gTLDs available at OpenSRS keeps growing and in an attempt to help you plan your marketing and sales efforts we have launched a new template for the “Weekly new gTLD announcement”. The weekly email now gives resellers a 5-week outlook and it incorporates important information such as dates, timing and pricing. The weekly email is the best option to stay up to date. If you are not a subscriber, we highly encourage you to sign up. You can also use our New TLD pricing page for more information.

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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.

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.

.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.

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.

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!

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.

.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

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.

Q1 2013 Domain Promotions

Q1 2013 Promotions2013 is here, and that means new domain promotions to tell you about. We’re streamlining our promotions program this year to make things easier for you.

We’ll be announcing promotions quarterly, and each promotion will usually run the duration of that quarter. We’ll do our best get the word out about upcoming promotions a few weeks before the start of the next quarter (sometimes we get the news from our registry partners at the last minute).

Q1 2013 Promotions

We’re running promotions on .INFO, .MOBI, .PRO, .CO and .ME this quarter.

Like most of our promotions, you must sign up to qualify for the discounts. 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 Q1 2013 promotions and to sign up for those you wish to participate in.

Happy selling!

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