Category Archives: Domains

.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.

Acquisition Costs v Sale Price

On an almost daily basis, I get email from potential customers looking to buy the domains I hold in my portfolio for pennies or close to standard registration fee, who are then shocked by the counter offers they receive. Domain Names are very much like Car Number plates, when you see your name on a car or number plate dealers site, do you expect it to cost the same as the first person who bought it? There is only 1, and possibly dozens or 100s of people who want that one name, so cash is the great decider.

I thought I’d talk a little bit about costs involved with drop catching, and the significant costs involved.

Nominet Membership
Firstly you need membership to Nominet, which costs £400+vat and then £100+vat per year, additionally you will need DAC membership is £25+vat per year on top again.

You require all of these to gain access to the basic systems which you will need to run a drop catching script.

Once you have your Nominet account, you have 3 main options…

Catching Software
Option 1: You can buy a script at around £10,000 for what is considered the best available to the public. There are cheaper ones often in slower high level languages, but when you’re talking in millisecond speeds, you need as fast a language as you can get. Lower level languages have a steeper learning curve, and thus cost more to have developed.

Option 2: Alternatively you can code your own script and spend months, years honing the intricacies of low level network programming, working out which language is faster for the specific job etc. Those who code their own software are often the fastest and most successful but have many years experience, generally they have been drop catching for 5, 10 or more years.

Additionally with Option 1 and 2, you will need Suitable Dedicated Server hosting. Any old server won’t be “fit for purpose”, you one which is close to the nominet servers, and in general you are looking at £300+ per month, I just checked a reliable provider and the yearly price was £3,651.60 inc basic support. If you are competent with Linux server management, you can save some money there. Server management can be £150-300 per month depending on who, where and how much “support” you need. The support is generally to install software, update software, patch security issues, fix faults, etc.

Option 3: Lastly, you can lease or rent a “catch system”, these can be as high as £1,000 a month for the top catchers, who are usually self coders (Option 2), but the average is around £400 per month for the best chance systems. As with script purchases, there are other options available, I’m working on averages and easy for the context of this post.

Drop Lists and Metrics
In addition to Option 1, 2 and 3, you will need access to “Drop Lists”, which are lists of domains due to drop on specific days and often you need “Metrics” which is information such as how many back links a domain has, what domain authority it has, things like that. Metrics are a whole other category, and not for this post.

Some basic drop lists are free, others are up to £15 per month. Metrics Data can be upto £4o per month but includes drop lists. Again cheaper limited options do exist, DCE.co.uk is once such example.

Drop Lists take some time to go through, and it takes a degree of skill to know what is of value, and what is trash. This again isn’t for this post.

Registration Fees
On top of this are the nominet registration costs, which are £5+.

Sales and Stock
Like all businesses, we have to hold stock, 100s or 1,000s or domain names, at £5ish per year. Sales are not regular, and we expect to sell around 5-10% of our stock per year, which means they need to sell at enough to cover our costs, pay our bills, buy new stock (which is from previous owners, auctions and catching) and pay wages on top.

In Summery
The bottom line is, it isn’t cheap to operate in this niche. I hope this goes some way to explain why drop caught domains are not sold for the price they are purchased for. Its not the domain you are paying for, its the time and costs taken to obtain, the skill learned to recognise it and the money invested up to this point.

Drop Catching IS a business, and as such it has overheads. Above are just a few such overheads. Remember this when you’re looking buy.

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