WHOIS changes for GDPR

The European data protection authorities have expressed concern over the unlimited publication of personal data of domain name registrants in the WHOIS. Typically at the moment when you register a new domain name you are bombarded with marketing calls and emails for a week or more.

Starting this week, you’ll see that the data on WHOIS for domains owned by EEA registrants is getting masked. This masking process is automated, will be ongoing and will be completed across all relevant domains on the platform.

For all existing domain names, if either of the Registrant, Admin, Tech and/or Billing contacts is identified as being from the EU, we will mask the WHOIS output for that domain name with placeholder details in place of the users’ personal information (this service will be referred to as “GDPR WHOIS Protection”).

Here’s an example of how the changes will look on a typical .COM domain name:

gTLD masked WHOIS example
gTLD masked WHOIS example

Some domain extensions are using their own interpretation of the GDPR so there are varying levels of masking in these domains (.UK is such an example).

Nominet WHOIS post GDPR
Nominet WHOIS post GDPR

Also to note that: access to personal data of domain name registrants may be granted when such access is necessary for technical reasons such as for the facilitation of transfers, or for law enforcement when it is legally entitled to such access.

Domains that have a paid-for “Privacy Protection” service will still enjoy this service – it has the important difference that enquiries using the web form/email address given in the Privacy Protection on the WHOIS will be forwarded to the Registrant. This is not the case (nor possible) on the GDPR masked domains.

Domain Names and the London Mayor Elections 2016

Today is the day Londoners elect a new mayor, and we thought it would be interesting to look at the candidates’ choice of domain names, and see if any patterns emerge.

Here are the candidates and their domain names:

London Mayor Elections 2016
Name Domain Name Registration Expiry Registrar
Sian Berry sianberry.london 05/2015 05/2017 Fasthosts
David Furness bnp.org.uk Party site No registrar
George Galloway galloway2016.london 06/2015 06/2016 1&1
Paul Golding britainfirst.org Party site Domain Monster
Zac Goldsmith backzac2016.com 05/2015 05/2017 GoDaddy
Lee Harris lee4mayor.com 02/2016 02/2017 iwantmyname.com
Sadiq Khan sadiq.london 10/2014 10/2016 Minds + Machines
Ankit Love ankitlove.com/london2016 Party site* GoDaddy
Caroline Pidgeon londonlibdems.org.uk Party site 123 Reg
Sophie Walker womensequality.org.uk/sophie_for_london Party site Zen Internet
Peter Whittle peterwhittle.london 08/2015 08/2016 GoDaddy
Prince Zylinski zylinski.london 09/2015 09/2016 1&1
  • *Site is part of candidate’s business website.

Some candidates have not registered a domain specifically for their campaign, so we can’t really draw conclusions from these (unless perhaps they’re just prudent with their cash!).

Popularity of Domain Extension

  1. .LONDON  (5)
  2. .COM (3)
  3. .ORG.UK (3)
  4. .ORG

.LONDON most popular by large margin. We’ve placed .COM above .ORG.UK as all the .org.uk domains were party sites and two of the .com domains were dedicated campaign sites.

All the .London domains were dedicated campaign sites. It seems the new .london domain extension struck a chord with the majority of candidates as a way to express their links with the capital. There are 64,000 .london domains registered.

Registrations of .london graph
Registrations of .london

ntldstats.com reckons 60% of .london domains are ‘parked’, which means are not actively used. 2020Media is a registrar for domain names and can help you choose the best domain for your needs. Contact us if you would like to find out more.

Registration Date Analysis

  1. Oldest domain: 10/2014 (sadiq.london)
  2. Newest domain: 02/2016 (lee4mayor.com)

The oldest registered domain was much older than all the other campaign site domains by a long margin and is the only domain registered in 2014. The most recent domain was registered earlier this year. None of the domains have long registration periods, suggesting that they are single-purpose sites, or are on default 2 year renewal cycles.

Domain Redirects

None of the domains redirect or are aliases for an different underlying domain. This is good news, it means these domains are being properly used. We found that the websites for the candidates found using Google did not always reflect the domain names that the candidates put forward in their manifestos.

Domain Registrar

Our analysis found no great surprises here – the distribution of registrar (the company that manages the domain name) was widely in line with their market share.

Mayoral Candidate Domain Name Conclusions

We found the .LONDON domain names were a popular choice for candidates wishing to become the next Mayor of London. Most domains were registered specifically for the campaign and look unlikely to survive after the election.

We believe choosing the right domain name is an important part of marketing. This includes the extension (the dot whatever), and for this year’s London Mayor elections this has been born out by the choices the candidates have made.

The domains chosen are mostly descriptive, to the point, suggest relevance with the capital, and memorable.

Where candidates have only given their party website addresses, we think this was a missed opportunity for them personally, but may have longer term benefit to the party itself. Possibly this was deliberate – with the Mayoral election effectively a two horse race, generating publicity for the party rather than the candidate may have been the underlying aim of the promoter of the candidate.

Is .ME right for your next project

The .ME domain name has recently reached 1,000,000 registrations, which by any measure is established.

2020Media has had http://2020.me as an alias domain for many years, we feel it’s a good short domain to have.

Here’s an interesting infographic about many facets of the way some of the million strong user-based of .ME domains are being used.

.ME infographic - one milliion domains
.ME infographic – one milliion domains

Important notice regarding phishing emails

Some of our customers may have received an email from abuse@imperialregistrations.com with a download link to an external website along with an USA telephone contact number.  Please be advised that this is a phishing attempt and not sent or authorized by 2020Media.  We have also discovered that a number of domain name registrars have also been affected by this.  These emails are being sent to the registrant email address fetched via the whois record associated with the Domain.

We advise you to delete the email immediately.

If you are unsure of the validity of the emails please check the email headers to determine the source and return path for the email address. If you require any assistance or have any questions regarding the email please contact us via our customer portal – https://pfs.2020media.com/my-messages.html

Here is a sample of what the fraudulent messages look like.

fraudulent suspension notice web


Domain Name Industry Report

Source: French Domain Name Industry Report – AFNIC

New Top Level Domains (nTLDs) accounted for 21% of the net growth of the domain name market in 2014
The recent publication of the ICANN reports for the month of December 2014 enables us to finally take stock of 2014, marked by the launch of the “new TLDs” (or “top-level domains”)  expected since their announcement by ICANN in Paris in June 2008.
We now have all the figures for 2014, so we  can provide an overview of market trends and outline an assessment of the impact of the nTLDs on the 18 “traditional” generic  top-level
domains  (known  as  “legacy  gTLDs”,  i.e. .com,  .net,  .org, .biz,  .info,  etc.)  and  the  countrycode TLDs (or “ccTLDs”).

Key figures

According  to  the  ICANN  reports  compiled  by  the  Afnic  Market  Research  team,  as  at  31/12/2014  there  were  approximately  158.6  million  domain  names  registered  under
gTLDs, of which 3.8 million were nTLDs.
These gTLDs, added to the 134 million ccTLDs counted by Verisign / Zooknic, result  in a total  of  292.6  million  domain  names  at  the  end  of  2014,  of  which  54%  were  gTLDs,
compared with 55% at year-end 2013.

The emergence of nTLDs, therefore, has not been sufficient to allow gTLDs to regain a growth rate higher than that of ccTLDs.

Global growth in the domain name market reached 6.5% in 2014 (Fig. 1), against 7.3% in 2013. However, this average masks contrasting dynamics.
The country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) continued to grow at a rate of 8.5%, that being a marked slowdown, however, compared with the two previous years.
The  .com  dropped  below  5%,  while  all  in  all  gTLDs,  boosted  by  the  nTLDs  introduced  in 2014,  experienced  a  slight  upswing  in  growth.  The  major  losers  appear  to  be  the  legacy gTLDs (except for the .com), which lost 3% in stock after having already lost 1.3% in 2013.