Category Archives: Domains

Stand and Deliver, Your Domain or Your Life!

This is certainly a first and maybe a sign of the times when the world of olde meets the modern world. A man armed with a gun, forced himself into some ones home who owned a particularly valuable domain name. The raider held the domainer at gun point, forced him to log in to his registrars control panel before attempting to make him transfer the domain name to a unknown third party. 

"Gunpoint

Long ago, Stand and Deliver, Your Money or Your Life was a staple of notorious highwayman Dick Turpin. I guess in modern times money could be gold, flashy car, mobile phones and these days recent additions include BitCoins and crypto-currency. Now it it seems common criminals have recognise the growing value in premium domain names.

Sherman Hopkins, 43 broke in to a house in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in the USA armed with a Gun. Instead of stealing Jewellery, Flat screen TV or a car. Instead Hopkins held 26 year old, ex-godaddy employee Ethan Deyo at gunpoint and attempted to steal an as yet not revealed by the police domain. 

A report in TheRegister says a reverse domain search revealed no valuable domains but did uncover the potential for domains to be protected by privacy which means someone, some how knew they owned a valuable domain protected by a privacy service. My guess is, this unknown third party is the someone who some how knew, it will be interesting to see what this domain is when its finally released. I mean this a domain that someone valued high enough to break and enter, hold at gun point and kidnap a man to obtain. 

Sherman Hopkins will be spending a long time in prison, for First Degree Robbery, First Degree Burglary and First Degree Kidnapping and won’t be a pretty prison either given the rap sheet. 

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Buying Drop Lists

Previously, I talked about Zone File AccessDAC Connections, then started a Quadrology of Articles; Part 1: What You Need To Build A Drop List, Part 2: Building A Drop List, Part 3: Maintaining A Drop List and Part 4: Accessing Drop Lists

Now I am going to cover the easiest, cheapest and least painful (on the pocket) method of obtaining drop lists.  I’m not going to discus if the lists are cherry picked or filtered or anything else, since its futile. All I’m going to say is, depending on how the list were built covers how complete it is, which accounts for missing names. I’ll cover how older lists were made briefly later on. 

Generally beyond a week will cost anywhere from £10-50 per month depending on the metrics (data points provided) and how far into the future the lists go. £10-15 per month will get 7-30 days, £15-25 will get you 30-60 days, £40+ per month will get you 60+ days. I’m not aware of anyone who is offering unrestricted access to complete zone files, most people who have this have built their own.

I am aware of 1 or 2 people who offer a PRSS style look up, where you give them a keyword and they return X many records which match. Prices are usually £2-3 per query, using my guide you could build your own system even without Dac Access. 

Free Drop Lists

Domain Lore Droplist

Domain Lore Droplist

This is by far the easiest option, but also the most limiting option. It really depends what you require from the drop lists.

The main limitation with free drop lists is the date range, I believe the longest publicly accessible range is 10 days, but I haven’t seen it with my own eyes. Most I have seen are 7 days, some are 7  Days + Today. Domain Lore and Caught are the first 2 in this group which comes to mind.

Domain Lore use the old PRSS Generated Zone file from 2006-ish, which were around 2 million names out of a current 11 million. The upside is, it contains the early names which are arguably the better names. It’s also shorter at around 700 per day.

It doesn’t include .UK at all, extremely limited .org.uk and .me.uk, the former will become more critical as we draw closer to 2019.  Domain Lore includes some metrics, and has some sort functions. 

Caught, I’m not sure where their data comes from, but likely built up over the years. Again I’ll cover the method I suspect here in the building part later on. Neither of the above have paid options or offer a complete drop lists at last I checked.

Domain View Quick Drops

Domain View Quick Drops

DomainView, which currently uses the Nominet zone file, and previously used the .com zonefile and word lists. They offer pretty complete metrics. Rob the developer is always open to suggestions for new metrics to add. They even go as far as showing you what has been booked with their public catching service within the scope of your membership. 

They offer 2 days (Today/Tomorrow) of drop lists, but no metrics at all for free. The lists are often in excess of 4000-5000 names, and include .uk, co.uk, org.uk, me.uk and net.uk, I haven’t noticed any plc/ltd/sch.uk domains. The list is updated with hourly sweeps to remove dropped domains so it shortens through the day. More than 2 days are available for a price, but thats the next section.

ExpiredDomains.net offers some basic metrics and but its limited. 

Paid Drop Lists

There are various paid services, the main 2 I’m aware of DomainView and Dropped.UK, I’m sure there are more than that, but that’s all I’m aware of. There were a few others such as DCE but they closed down.

Domain View Subs

Domain View Subs

DomainView (60 days, Zonefiles, Parking, Backorder Credits, Upto £15) offers a variety of subscription options beyond the 2 free days. These are 7, 14, 30 and 60 days ranging from £5-15 which include various other things. These extras include zonefile downloads (not .uk), backorder credits, parking system access and more.

The Current Metrics are… 

Main Domain Back Ordered, .UK BackOrdered, Domain Name, Length of Doamin, Register Year, Domain Keywords, Google Searches, Google Cost Per Click (CPC), Alexa Links, Alexa Rank, Google Page Rank, Registered in Other Extensions, Taken in .com, Taken in .net, Taken in .org, Taken in .us, Taken in .info, Taken in .biz, Taken in .mobi, Taken in .xxx, Majestic Backlinks, Majestic Referring Domains, Majestic .EDU Backlinks, Majestic Referring EDU Domains, Majestic .GOV Backlinks, Majestic GOV Referers, Majestic Trust Flow, Majestic Citation Flow, Moz Domain Authority, Moz Page Authority, Moz Backlinks, Moz Rank, Times in Archive.org, First Archive.org Date, IPS Tag, Scheduled Drop Date.

Some of the more interesting features is, they show you what domains have been booked by their backorder system and you can also catch under multiple names. 

Dropped.uk Paid Droplist

Dropped.uk Paid Droplist

Dropped (61 Days, Backorder Credits, upto £20), I’m not 100% sure what metrics Dropped.UK offer, beyond a few basics. They are a more expensive option than domain view.

I should really use the free trial to see what metrics they offer just for the sake of this post but really they should show what you get rather than harvesting contact data.

Dropped do have a few nice catches to their tag, but it seems they book certain names for themselves, which I’m not keen on. They are not the only catching company which does this, and this isn’t really within the remit of this article. 

I’m sure there are other droplist services but I think I have covered the main free lists and paid lists, and some good options there. 

If you know of any others do use the comments and I’ll update this post, same for any corrections or new information. 

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

.Tel Standardises Domain Use But Nukes Existing Sites

.tel Logo

.tel Logo

There is mini earth quake about to hit the .Tel world, Telnic (.Tel Registry) is removing the restrictions placed on how the .tel domains can be used. More importantly how they are hosted. Currently, all .Tel domain names must point towards a pseudo-website created on Telnic’s platform.

I say platform but its actually just data stored within DNS, so its limited, it has been enhanced since its launch, but its not quite complete.

An example would be Justin.Tel which is using a fairly advanced template. 

I have a few .TEL domains, mostly pronouns and not really keywords or usable names. The one I still use is Morley.TEL. I use it for my family and my own mobile phone email addresses since it originally included contact details on sub domains. steven.morley.tel / mother.morley.tel along with matching email addresses. I moved from the original registrar over to the current one and it wiped out the sites and I never bothered to rebuild. 

I didn’t rebuild because its not effective to use such names. Much like when I owned steve.co and morley.co, almost without exception everyone asks me if I mean morleyco.com or morley.co.uk or something else. I remember buying a 6-series Samsung TV to use for output when editing video in Adobe Premier. I gave the email to John Lewis for a purchase over the phone while stood outside Currys, and they listed it as morleytel.com on the invoice. Perfect example of what happens.

.Tel Game Changer

The .Tel game anger is due on 17th March 2017, at this point .Tel owners will be able to use their .tel domains just like any other domain by pointing to any hosting account, using normal pop/imap mail even google apps / wordpress if they so wish. 

Telnic are retaining the option for customers to create the standard and familiar contact pages instead of buying and using your own hosting. Its not all good news though, this massive overhaul means the current system is being resigned to the scrap heap and all existing sites will be erased from existence. 

There are going to be tools to export existing data and recreated it on the new platform, but its not going to be as flexible as the existing platform. The big change will be, the new system will not support sub-domains. Many people have built directory sites on .tel which suited it perfectly. Many of these used sub-domains RepairMen for example, which now face moving to a hosted platform to recreate the sites which will be a huge task. 

Its Not All Doom and Gloom

Its not all gloom for those people, the new platform will go live on 13th February allowing people a shade over a month to test the new platform, work out their next step or source and prepare hosting. Its not perfect but its a bonus and hopefully should be a smooth transition.It

Customer Support will now be provided by Telnic directly too, this is a big one. Its hard work getting support from your registrar on .Tels, most don’t have a clue. The only thing harder than help with .Tels is getting .uk support from GoDaddy. You near enough have to tell them UK really exists, its not like Narnia, and We’re an ally, member of Nato and a country with nearly 11 million domains registered.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Tata Group Want to Get .TATA ccTLD

Tata - Oasis Sagrado by Tomas Paz

Tata – Oasis Sagrado by Tomas Paz

This is an interesting story, I have heard of companies being bought to acquire domains, cars to get number plates, people hired to consult to obtain twitter handles but this is a little different. Its not the first time a cash injection has “helped” a country or nation to hand control of its ccTLD over to a private entity, nor is it even the first time someones bought a school to get a domain name but its still unique.

Tuvalu .TV ccTLD

I think the first were the tiny island Tuvalu who “leased” the rights for .TV (Country Code TLD) to a Verisign Company (dotTV) in return for a $50,000,000 advanced payment followed by $1,000,000 a year in a 12 yr deal.  Some other sources omit the $50m and suggest its just $1m a year for 12 years. The details are somewhat varied, what is clear is, they gain 10% of their countries total income from .TV domains and its sorely needed. There were lots of discontent from the government of Tuvalu over the deal, more information here. According to Wikipedia, this has been resolved and they are now paid approx $1,000,000 per quarter. Which would account for close to 25% of their GDP.

.BAR cityTLD

.Bar .Rest .Cafe Logos

.Bar .Rest .Cafe Logos

A few years ago a company called Punto 2012 successfully invested $100,000 in a small Montenegreo city in return for said country releasing its hold on the .BAR ccTLD. Which is now available for bobs.bar or newyork.bar domains to be registered like any other.

As of the time of this article there were 6,256 domains in the .BAR registry, with an average sale price of £50/$65 a pop, giving it $407,000 per year in registrations according to NameStat. The $100k is being paid yearly at a rate of $10,000 a pop to fund a school until 2024. I would assume come 2024, this number could either sky rocket or plunge depending on the success of .BAR. Currently I would say its going to increase somewhat perhaps fund multiple schools.  More from Register.BAR here.

Something along these lines were done in 2014, before .BAR. GoDaddy who using the Laos country code extension which is .LA rebranded it as “.LosAngeles” for LA based businesses.

.TATA cTLD and The TATA Group

The .TATA TLD is a little different to the other examples. The Tata Group are a private corp with $108,000,000,000 revenue, yeah 108 BILLION, so very deep pockets. They are not looking to assume control over .tata an then start selling first/second level domain under it like .TV and .BAR have. Instead its going to be I assume much like .BARCLAYS or .BBC used for company emails and websites.

Tata Logo

Tata Logo

Looking at the list of TATA Associated Companies, its extensive even in the UK with Jaguar, Land Rover, Tetleys Tea, Fiat and Daewoo all in the list. dotTATA as far as I know is is Moroccan, and presumably a quite poor area, so I suspect a huge chunk of change shall change hands in exchange for the release of .TATA, perhaps even bigger than .TV  depending how badly Tata Group want it.

What else is interesting is, that TATA apparently produced a letter of release from Morocco in 2014 only for the Moroccan Digital Minster to basically discredit the claim. I get the feeling this will cost them dearly, on the assumption it were not genuine.

Its been suggested that much like Punto 2012, they invest… erm sponsor…erm build and sponsor some (a tonne of) schools in Morocco, and this would certainly open up lots of doorways.

Personally, if it were me and I’d be signing my homes peoples right to own a .town/city I’d want to wrangle as much money as possible. If my people were able to register their names still like in the case of .BAR or .LA, I’d just want a cheaper wholesale rate for residents or something as well as a bung.

I had a google search of Tata, Morocco and its a stunning place, one particular Oasis (pictured above) looks so beautiful. Thomas Paz who’s image I borrowed, has some amazing photos all over Morocco, seems he’s a cyclist. Check them out on Tomas Paz’s Wikiloc page.

It may just set a precedent for all the deep pocketed companies to simply buy it from the poorer countries/cities. If the countries/cities are happy and the deal is renegotiated/tendered from time to time, I guess its all good.

 

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Nominet Zone File Released

The ZoneFile (ZF) from Nominet has been released, it also appears nominet have gone for “zonefile 2.0” by including domain names without name servers assigned, in the form of a database dump in addition to the zone files for all the Nominet controlled second level extensions (.net|org|me|plc|ltd|co.uk).

Nominet Zone Files

Nominet Zone Files

I believe the zone access is available to Nominet Members only, and like other zone files it includes only the domains, and name servers. You can access it by going to your account, and then under “Account Settings” there is an option to sign up to zone file file access. You have to agree to about 29593 pages of small print, but as a member you would already be aware of the basic rules so they need only a speed read.

Historic Records

What is interesting is, Nominet appear to keeping historic copies, its not know exactly how many days, weeks or even indefinitely worth of records. Which means Diffs and other comparisons between snapshots can be made.

The other main use for this data is if you wished to build a drop list from it, or some other application you would need to be a member with DAC access, not to mention able to write the relatively simple application to query the dac, and build a database.

Such an app is as simple as preparing and opening a socket, connect to Nominets DAC (Domain Availability Checker), send your string, read the reply, parse the domains 1 by 1 within the quota (432,000 per day, would take approx 25 days to scan whole zone), then write the result to the database, then search said database.

There are a bunch of rules surrounding data retention and distribution; I think these rules maybe due for a review given the release of the NZF. For now there are kind of controlling rules.

 

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Nominet to Release Zone File in May 2016

Nominet (the body which operates the .UK family of domain names) has decided to finally release a zone file for the .UK registry in line with most other registries. This appears to be a continuation of Nominets moves to align with ICANN.

For those who don’t know what a zone file is, its a list of every registered domain name under the .TLD (Top Level Domain) which in this case is .UK, so it should include third level .co.uk, .org.uk, .met.uk, .ltd.uk, .plc.uk, .net.uk and finally the second level .uk.

Why so important ?
Well, if you are a copyright holder, and want to see if people are abusing your copyright, a zone file allows you to quickly search for your string and spot any offenders.

More useful in my context and likely yours, is that it makes Drop Lists (a list of each days soon to be released domains) complete. The last time a Zone File were available, were around 2004/2005 which contains approx 2,000,000 names and averages around 800-1,400 drops per day.

Currently, I believe the largest databases out there are around 8.5 million names, which leaves a short fall of 2,000,000 names unaccounted.  On the 8.5m lists, there are around 3,000-4,000 domains per day released, so the amount missing could be 10,000 extra per week. Don’t think these are all heading to drop lists, lots will be renewed.

It could be easier than ever to find the perfect domain name from may onwards

Its not clear yet…
Its not 100% clear, what exactly Nominet are classing as the zone file. Historically, they have protected the zone file data as their IP (Intellectual Property), so its not clear how much they will release.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.