Domain Pulse is asking domain name companies and industry figures to give us their highlights and lowlights of 2018, what they’re thinking will be happening in 2019 as well as their view on the EU’s GDPR, the future of domain names and how Brexit is impacting them. The first cab off the rank is EURid, manager of the .eu top level domain.
- What were the highlights, lowlights and challenges of 2018 in the domain name industry for you?
The European Commission’s notice to stakeholders on the potential withdrawal of .eu domain names held by UK based registrants considerably affected the growth of the .eu TLD, as the uncertainties surrounding the new .eu Regulation did. Nonetheless, in 2018 we at EURid managed to consolidate the position of .eu in several Central and Southern European markets, celebrated the renewal of our environmental registration (EMAS) and the fifth anniversary of the Web Awards, which reached almost 10 000 participants, teamed up with the IACC to combat cybercrime, and taught coding to youth through the Codeweek initiative. We also made great strides in our pursuit towards building a trustworthy and secure online space with the continued development of our anti-abuse prediction system and regular review and removal of abusive domain names within the .eu zone.
From the overall domain industry perspective, we believe that the domain name market has almost finished adjusting to the latest gTLD wave. That has contributed to strengthening both the legacy ccTLDs and gTLDs. Thanks to the studies for the IDN World Report that we publish yearly – idnworldreport.eu – we reported a considerable decrease of IDNs at the top and second level on a worldwide scale, a lowlight for the year which we hope changes course in 2019.
2. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – good, bad and/or indifferent to you and the wider industry and why?
We found that the GDPR caused quite the frenzy when it entered into force, but its benefits far outweigh the commotion. Individual privacy is of utmost importance in our world today, especially since we as a society are more connected than ever before. The GDPR falls into our goal of making the Internet a more trustworthy place, and we are therefore very much in favour of it. In terms of its impact on our business, as we had started preparing for it well in advance, we knew that consistent messaging to our stakeholders was essential in order to ensure a smooth introduction of the new privacy rules. We were pleased to be able to achieve that.
3. What are you looking forward to in 2019?
We will continue to work to promote IDNs at the top and second level. We will also work with the European Commission to launch the change of the eligibility criteria for .eu domain names. From the current eligibility based on registrant residency, we will move towards a scenario where EU citizens will be allowed to register and/or keep their .eu domain name no matter where they reside. We will also work to ensure the smooth management of the domain names held by UK based registrants in the case of a hard or soft Brexit. Lastly, we will continue our pursuit towards building a trustworthy and secure online space for all.
4. What challenges and opportunities do you see for the year ahead?
The years ahead will be crucial in determining how businesses and individuals view the importance of domain names for their online presence. The fast evolution of complementary online platforms – such as social media – is showing that, while a few years ago many people began thinking of social media as the alternative to domain names, that notion is changing.
An additional challenge is combatting domain name abuse. This is something that we feel very strongly about, and will continue working to do so for the betterment of our online community.
5. 2019 will mark 5 years since the first new generic top level domains (gTLDs) came online. How do you view them now?
gTLDs serve as a nice online option for consumers and have greatly reshaped the TLD market. We do not see them as competitors, as the .eu TLD has a more geographical customer-base and focus.
6. Are domain names as relevant now for consumers – business, government and individuals – as they have been in the past?
We believe they still are, certainly for the businesses and public institutions. Regarding individuals, we continue to generate awareness of the importance of being online in a safe way, especially when it comes to exchanging data, where domain names can play a crucial role. Particularly when a domain name is set up with the proper security, such as DNSSEC, for example.
The world bases so much online today, so the relevancy of domain names is strong, particularly for businesses, institutions, and consumers alike.
If you’d like to participate in this Domain Pulse series with industry figures, please contact David Goldstein at Domain Pulse by email to david[at]goldsteinreport.com.