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August 27, 2012

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
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to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

A Rare Look at What the Death of a Domain Extension Looks Like: Government Agency Shuts Down Kids.us

R.I.P. Kids.us. The rarely used extension that was created by an Act of Congress in 2003 with the idea of  providing a safe place for kids on the web is suspending operations effective July 27, 2012   (the domains sold were actually sub-domains of kids.us, for example toys.kids.us). The official announcement


posted at Kids.us, came from the U.S. government agency in charge of the project - the the National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA).

While Kids.us was launched with good intentions most domain pros believe it was doomed from  the start by exceptionally high registration fees (around $250 if I recall correctly), plus content management fees and extremely strict rules governing content and banning outbound links on kids.us sites. It is believed the total number of kids.us registrations were in the low three figures at best.

In their announcement the NTIA cited different reasons for the closure, blaming it on a multitude of new options for kids that arrived over  the past decade, leaving the extension no longer viable (though plainly potential developers never considered it to be viable in the first place given the expense and red tape that choked the extension). 

Image from Bigstock

The NTIA statement said, "Today, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of sites containing high quality content aimed at children under the age of 13. Additionally, parents have a multitude of tools at their disposal including, software applications, web browsers, and parental control features from their Internet Service Providers, hosting providers and third party applications, to help keep their children safe on-line.

As a result of the changed landscape of the Internet and the many other tools that parents now have available to them to protect their children's online experience, effective July 27, 2012, the Department of Commerce suspended the kids.us If you are a registrant or holder of a kids.us name, please contact your registrar for further information about the suspension of this domain. You can also find additional information about the suspension at http://www.ntia.doc.gov."

One kids.us registrar, Encirca.com

provided more information for their kids.us registrants today, saying "EnCirca has immediately suspended the registration and renewal of all kids.us domain names. If you have content on your kids.us domain names, please remove all such content from their sites by no later than September 30, 2012.  Although for the past several years, Neustar (operator of the .US registry) has waived the content management fee to encourage the proliferation of kids.us website, if content is not removed from the websites by that date, Neustar reserves the right to charge each domain name registrant a content management fee on a pro-rated bases starting from October 1st, 2012. By July 27, 2013, Neustar is required to remove all kids.us domain name registrations from the .us zone regardless of the registration expiration date."

The death of a domain extension is something we have rarely witnessed. It is obviously a messy spectacle but one that is likely to be played out more often with ICANN planning to roll out hundreds of new TLDs starting next year. 

(Posted July 13, 2012)  

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