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Here's a look at upcoming, ongoing and past events at Gandi.

Pascal at Holberton
Gandi CTO Pascal Bouchareine at Holberton School (also pictured: DNS gods)

The Root Zone.

We like DNS.

That’s why we’re collaborating with Cloudflare on a new Meetup. We’re looking to talk about anything and everything related to DNS and hopefully in the process inspire some new ideas for this backbone system of the Internet.

We also hope to educate the general public on issues as low-level as record types and as complex as DNSSEC.

We’re inviting Network Administrators, Ops, DevOps, Systems Engineers, Internet Enthusiasts, and anyone else who’s interested.

This event is put together by Gandi and Cloudflare and the location will alternate between our San Francisco offices.

The Root Zone.

Our first event will be at the CloudFlare office on April 12 at 6:00 PM. We’ll be hearing from Dr. Paul Mockapetris, the original founder of the Domain Name System (aka DNS).

Paul also built the first ever SMTP server, ran networking at ARPA, served as the chair of the IETF, and is an honored member of the Internet Hall of Fame.

Check the meetup page for more information and updates.

Gandi talks to Holberton School

This past month, CTO and Gandi US VP Pascal Boucheraine visited Holberton School for a couple of talks. One was about DNS, the other was just about Gandi in general.

Holberton <3 @gandibar
Aww thanks Holberton School

Holberton, for those who aren’t aware, isn’t a coding bootcamp or online courses but an alternative to college. It’s based on peer learning and project-based learning and it aims to produce the best of the next generation of full-stack software engineers.

Even cooler, Holberton is all about increasing diversity. They have an automated, software-driven admissions process that has produced a 40% ratio of female students, among other diversity benchmarks.

Pascal Explains things

And the admissions process for their next class of students in October, which is open to everyone 18+ regardless of education and experience, has just opened up. If you're interested, you should apply.

We're looking forward to when we can team up with them again.

Until then, remember to first ask the DNS gods.

UX Speed Dating: User Testing Night

Every third Wednesday we host a User Testing Night at our San Franciso office with the UX Speed Dating meet up group. This is a monthly event, formatted like a speed dating event, where tech professionals get to present a user test to three users for in-person responses.

This month’s event will be April 20 at 6:00 PM PDT.

Check out the specific rules and see the Meetup page or the UX Speed dating site for details.

A few of the notable strings added to the root this month (that is, newly-added TLDs) provide a glimpse into some of the factors that ICANN considers when it decides to approve or not approve new gTLD applications.


.tunes — February 25

Amazon’s application for .tunes prevailed against a Community Objection from the American Association of Independent Music. The Community Objection process allows “communities” to file a formal objection with ICANN against a certain application.

In this case, AAIM filed an objection because it felt that it was anti-competitive for Amazon to manage the .tunes TLD.

ICANN’s experts, though, didn’t buy it. To begin with, ICANN found that AAIM couldn’t legitimately claim to represent the entire “tunes” community. In fact, they took issue with the idea that “tunes” is specific enough to qualify as a community.

They also dismissed AAIM’s claims that Amazon would abuse its market power or support pirate networks as “purely speculative.”


.passagens and .vuelos — March 2

Passagens is Portuguese for fare or ticket and vuelos is Spanish and Portuguese for flights. In both cases, the application for these TLDs came from Despegar Online SRL, which describes itself as “a branch of the largest online travel agency in Latin America.”

Altogether, Despegar applied for five new TLDs. In addition to these two, they also applied for .hoteles (Spanish for hotels), .hoteis (Portuguese for hotels) and .hotel. All of their applications were met with a GAC objection. Of these, .hoteles was added last June.

Not only can industry groups and other “communities” file objections but so can ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), which is how world governments provide input into the process.

The objection claimed Despegar’s application was anti-competitive. When a TLD applicant gets a GAC objection, the GAC recommends certain actions to mitigate that. For both .passagens and .vuelos, Despegar was required to “specify transparent criteria for third party access to the TLD.”


.gmbh — March 9

For those who are not familiar, GmbH is a German abbreviation for Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung, which is more or less the German equivalent of an LLC. ICANN received numerous applications for this TLD but in the end, Donuts prevailed.

Interestingly, a community TLD application was received for this TLD from TLDDOT GmbH. A Community TLD is a type of TLD ICANN created to allow certain “closely related” communities to opt to manage their own TLDs.

In this case, TLDDOT was created specifically to represent the business community in German-speaking countries. Ultimately, the community TLD application was withdrawn.

However, in the end Donuts was required to add a PIC to their application. A PIC is a Public Interest Commitment. These are ways for ICANN to amend an application to make sure that a registry uses a TLD the way it thinks it should. In this case, the PIC was primarily to make sure that Donuts had a process for limiting registrants to companies who are in fact GmbHs.


.stream — March 18

There were two competing applications for this TLD. Last year Famous Four Media beat out Hughes Satellite System Corporation for this TLD when it was put up for auction. Because .stream is obviously oriented towards video streaming services, ICANN required a PIC for this application as well.

This time it wasn’t to ensure registrants were part of a community, as was the case with .gmbh, but to address concerns that .stream would become a hotbed for illegal streaming.

The PIC for .stream includes provisions for an Acceptable Use Policy allowing the registry to quickly lock down and revoke registration of any abusers. It also includes a “Rights Protection Mechanism,” which commits Famous Four Media to make abuse prevention one of it’s “core objectives.”

You can keep track of future developments on this page from ICANN.

Remember: these are new TLDs on the cutting edge of having been added by ICANN. As such, any discussion of one of these TLDs should not be interpreted as meaning any of these extensions will be imminently available on Gandi (though we, of course, try to offer all the extensions we possibly can).

“This domain name is categorized as ‘Premium’ at the registry.”

Maybe you’ve seen something like this message before at Gandi or another registrar. If you have, you may also have wondered what makes these domains special and why they cost extra.

The concept of a “Premium” domain applies primarily to the field of new gTLDs. Within the space of a little over a year, around 900 new extensions have been added to the once relatively narrow band of “classic” TLDs (you know, like .com, .net, .org …). The result has been a steady multiplication of the number of available domain names.

One consequence of this flourishing domain name market has been that it is now possible to replicate the same name across hundreds of extensions (think of how many Google must own). It’s now also possible to choose an extension that matches a special area of interest or a particular commercial market. Take .beer or .archi, which primarily focus on beer and architecture (all you need in life, really).

It’s important to note, however, that each extension is not created equal. They are each managed by a different registry. Some large registries like Donuts manage hundreds of extensions. Other registries like dotStrategy were created specifically to manage a single extension. In this case .buzz.

Not every domain name is equal either. Some domain names have a much higher probability of being popular (or have a higher market value if you prefer). Kind of like search engine keywords.

Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) keeps a database of registered trademarks. Obviously, terms stored there are likely to generate higher demand. In general, though, we are talking about easily-recognizable and memorizable domain names. Or ones that have optimum SEO.

Some are generic. Others, like englishmuffins.cooking, teahupoo.surf (it’s a famous Tahitian wave), or royals.london are especially valuable only in conjunction with particular extensions. The domain name romance.bets isn’t terribly attractive, but romance.online is quite the catch.

The registries of these new extensions, then, have a set of unique challenges. How can they ensure an orderly roll-out of these high-value domain names? This doesn’t just mean managing competing purchases (generally domains are registered on a first-come-first-served basis). It also includes keeping out domain squatters, especially on domains corresponding to brand names.

Most of these registries are also commercial entities. They’re also motivated to take advantage of the high demand in these domain names.

One solution to the problem is to auction off domains to the highest bidder during the Landrush phase or Early Access Period.

The other option is to make certain domains “Premium” . But it’s not actually a uniform solution. Some registries make all their Premium domains open to all (again, generally first-come-first-served). Others have eligibility requirements. These can range from a statement of motivation and the registrant’s “good faith" to a complete business plan.

There are also several ways of pricing Premium domains. Some registries have complicated hierarchies of Premium domains. Afilias ( .blue, .vote, .rich, and .porn among others), for example, has eight categories of Premium domains.

Approaches to pricing can vary too. Large registries often prefer a finely tuned machine that hones in on that sweet spot on the supply-and-demand curve that gives optimal ROI. Small registries might release their extensions in the GoLive phase without designating any domains as Premium. Then, when they have the budget to do some research on the topic, they add domains to their premium list.

Likewise, compiling lists of Premium domains varies widely as well. To determine what domains are likely to be popular, registries sometimes monitor social media (like in the case of United TLD, the registry for .ninja domains). They might use search-engine history and traffic or even sales history of the classic TLDs like .com. One thing that’s relatively consistent, though, is that the secret sauce and the list itself is rarely made public.

So, what it all means is sometimes when you’re looking for a domain, you might find that it’s Premium. But “Premium” doesn’t always mean “prohibitively expensive.” For example, sql.agency and pop.solutions are two premium domains under $50.

And, it’s important to note, your domain might not be Premium at all. If you’re a small business and your company name isn’t super generic and isn’t another brand name, it probably isn't.

Or maybe, if you find out you can’t register a particular domain, your domain is actually “reserved.” It’s important to make the distinction.

A Premium domain would likely be at the top of the list of domains a registry would like to see registered. A registry’s list of reserved domains however are the ones they don’t want to open up to the public.

This can be for moral and political reasons to potential liability or even vanity. The domain rob.sucks, for example, is a reserved domain because the CEO of the .sucks registry is Rob Hall.

So be sure to note whether the domain you want is actually “reserved,” or if it’s “Premium.”

Which brings us back to:

“This domain name is categorized as ‘Premium’ at the registry.”

What should you do with this message? If you can register it online, then you should see the Premium price right next to. But sometimes you’ll need to contact our Customer care team to find out what the Premium price is. You may also want to ask if the extension has particular eligibility requirements. If you don’t want to pay the Premium price, try a different iteration of your domain name. If a domain name sounds like it’s Premium, it probably is.

The miracle of domain name registration is a magical and sometimes obscure process, but according to our research, the registration and management of a domain name has been found to adhere to a few very precise rules which may seem complicated for some.

We’ve already presented this information, at length, in our extensive wiki.

But it seems these processes remain a puzzle.

Well, now we are beginning to demystify the processes that lay beneath the surface through a series of graphics describing exactly those complicated processes.

This month, we are delving into the life and death of a domain name: from the moment it is first registered and blinks into existence, to its renewal, and then to the mysterious afterlife that lies beyond expiration.

This is how a domain is born, grows old and expires, and then what happens next.


Lifecycle of a Domain

Since .com and .net domains are the most common extensions, we decided it was most useful to show the lifecycle as it applies to these two extensions. Most domain names lead a life much like .com and .net domains, the differences largely being in the length of late-renewal periods and restoration, which can change by registry. You can find more specific information on an individual TLD’s info page.

Following the launch of Gandi's Asia office in July 2014, Gandi.net is now expanding into the Asian market. 

We have hired and trained a local Taiwan customer service team, who immediately got to work and translated the entire Gandi.net web site to Traditional and Simplified Chinese. This team is multi-lingual, and offers support for all our customers, worldwide, from the Taiwan time zone, extending our support hours to 24x6+.

Gandi now has direct timely support and services for our customers in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. Anyone needing localized support services for domain name portfolios from the Asian zone can use Gandi, and pay for the services in New Taiwan Dollars (TWD), in Taiwan and Chinese Yuan (CNY) in China.

We are also expanding our technical footprint, with a mini-pop (a network Point-of-Presence) installed in Tokyo since February of this year. Using anycast technology, this enhancement keeps DNS traffic in Asia, and boosts performance of DNS queries by 30% in the region.

We are adding domains to the new organization too. The TLDs .TW and .CN, which Gandi was only able to offer via an intermediary, are now offered direct to all our customers, thanks to our presence in Asia and our direct accreditation. 

If you happen to be in the region, get in touch with our team! We are regulars at the Taipei Hackerspace meetups , and at conferences such as Pycon APAC, held from the 5th to 8th June.

You can also find Gandi Asia on Twitter: 


As usual, the customer care team is available to your questions, comments and suggestions. You can reach us at feedback@gandi.net


This year, as you probably know, will see the arrival of the first set of new top-level domain name (TLD) extensions. Over 500 new registries are forming, which collectively will service over 1500 of these additional extensions. This huge expansion in the name space of domains will not be possible without creating some branding conflicts, and this is where the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) comes in. 


What is the TMCH?

The Trademark Clearinghouse is an institution that provides centralized brand management.

ICANN has anticipated the need for a single point of contact for all trade and service mark registrations, and has created the TMCH for this purpose. It is managed by IBM, who is taking care of the technical side, and Deloitte, who will handle the validation of registered trademarks. Together, they will enable the the holders of valid, registered trademarks to gain priority in the registration of domains that are comprised of these marks. Companies registering with TMCH can defensively register domains (during the sunrise period for a given TLD) or be notified of registrations that match registered trademarks during the 90-day window following the sunrise.


Who can register a trademark?

Domain names containing registered trademarks can be registered any natural or legal person with proven rights to a given brand, either regional, national or international. We have found that there are limitations to the use of a trademark as a domain name, however. For example, brands containing a period (.) or special marks can't be parsed by the DNS system and will not be accepted. Spaces and other punctuation marks included in a brand may be replaced by a dash, and if the mark contains the @ or & characters they can be translated into the language corresponding to the jurisdiction of the brand (e.g. "at" and "and" in English).


How can Gandi help?

Gandi Corporate Services can manage the registration of your mark, and send you any alerts you may get.

If you want to become a Gandi Corporate Services customer, you can! To use the TMCH service, just subscribe for a one-year term by sending your request to tmch@gandi.net or corporate-team@gandi.net.


Once you are subscribed, we will help you register your trademarks in the TMCH and monitor alerts regarding potential infringing registrations. Our prices for this service are as follows:


  • Registration of a brand for one year: $250 (including the $145 fee assessed by TMCH), and $250 for renewal (which is useful in protecting your mark for as-yet-unreleased extensions).
  • Registration of a brand for three years: $690 (including the $435 TMCH fee)
  • Registration of a brand for five years: $1090 (including $725 TMCH fee)


ICANN estimates that the first extensions will be openly available by June, so a 3-year or even 5-year registration makes sense, especially considering that the rate of introduction may be as high as 1000 new extensions a year. We offer volume pricing for large customers.


If you are interested in our offer or want specific details, please contact us at tmch@gandi.net.

 As you know by now, the biggest news of 2013 will be the arrival of the first round of new extensions. More than 500 new registries will emerge to manage a set of nearly 1,500 new TLDs. Obviously, the idea is to multiply the number of available names, and this can only multiply the difficulties when it comes to protecting your trademark. This is where the sp (TMCH) comes into play.

What is it?
To put it simply, the Trademark Clearinghouse is an institution which will focus on centralizing management of trademark-related issues.
More specifically, ICANN has requested the creation of a unique service to manage trademark registrations. This service will be managed by two heavyweights in their respective fields: IBM will handle the technical aspects; Deloitte, the validation procedures. Together, their role will be to verify the rights of registered trademark holders and to facilitate priority registrations during defensive registration periods (Sunrise) or to alert markholders by email when a domain name identical to their trademark has been registered within a 90-day window after the end of a Sunrise period.

Who can sign up?
Any natural or legal person with documented rights to a given national or regional brand (EU and international) is eligible. There are several restrictions on the use of a trademark as a domain name. For example, brands which contain periods or intellectual property rights which cannot be handled by the DNS (e.g. patents and designs) will not be accepted. It will be possible to replace spaces and other punctuation marks contained in trademarks with dashes, and translated versions of symbols such as & and @ can be used, in the language of the trademark jurisdiction (e.g. "and" and "at" for English-language brands)

What can Gandi offer?
We are pleased to offer trademark-based registration management and early-warning notifications through Gandi Corporate Services.

If you are not a Gandi Corporate customer, you only need to subscribe for at least one month on this page: https://www.gandi.net/corporate/souscrire

Gandi Corporate offers complete support for trademark registrations under TMCH and for monitoring for domains registered which violate your intellectual property rights (Claims Services) available at the following rates:

One-year registration (per brand): 190 euros (including TMCH fees of $145) and 190 euros per renewal (for protection under extensions that have not been released yet)
Three-year registration (per brand): 520 euros (including TMCH fees of $435)
Five-year registration (per brand): 830 euros (including TMCH fees of $725)

Knowing that the first extensions will be available by June (according to ICANN estimates) and that the rest will follow over the following 20 to 22 months, it seems smart to take a 3-year package (or 5 years if you want to be ready for the second wave of new extensions!).
Lastly, for bulk purchases, contact us for volume pricing.

If you are interested in our offer or if just want more specific details, we invite you to contact us at tmch@gandi.net.

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