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June 11, 2014

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
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.

As Phantom .XYZ Registrations Continue to Pile Up at Network Solutions a Stats Reporting Service Plans to Subtract Artificially Inflated Numbers

Well I had hoped for better in the ongoing .XYZ/Network Solutions registration fiasco but apparently its not going to happen. Network Solutions continues to show contempt for their own customers by stuffing their accounts with .XYZ domains they never asked for (and that could even subject them to some legal risk). Even more disappointing .XYZ's founder, Daniel Negari, claims on one hand the registry had nothing to do with what NetSol is doing while on the other  pretending all of those registrations are real people adopting the extension. Unless 2 + 2 now equals 5, those conflicting positions don't add up.

As of today, the zone files reported by NTLDStats.com shows 80,904 of the 96,246 .xyz registrations (over 84% of them) are registered at NetSol (a registrar that normally has well under 5% of new gTLD registrations). 

Though .XYZ is using the bogus numbers to claim they are #1 in new gTLD circles,

Will stuffing the ballot box prove to be a good use of marketing dollars?

Ballot Box image from Bigstock

they actually aren't even in the Top 10 when the ghosts are eliminated. This has not escaped the attention of the other major new gTLD stats reporting service - NameStat.org. Their founder, Andy Brier, like many others, is offended by the mockery that the .XYZ/NetSol tandem has made of their rankings - effectively trashing any credibility they had as a new gTLD measuring stick (an interesting one, even though it is not the most important one - actual user adoption and development).

Brier said he will address the issue by adding a new feature that will let you toggle between what the zone files numbers are and what the real numbers are (at least as close to that figure as can be reasonably calculated) when the bogus registration air is taken of the balloon.

In the meantime, I remain dumbfounded that Network Solutions and the .XYZ Registry chose to go down this path. With NetSol you have a registrar that is three times more expensive than other registrars making themselves an even less attractive option by telling customers we will decide what domains are put in your account instead of you! (you had to personally request the domains be removed if you didn't want them there - the kind of perversion the colloquialism "bass ackwards" was coined for). 

Fingers crossed image from Bigstock

With .XYZ you have a registry that has proclaimed themselves the next .com but instead are proving themselves not to be an alternate .com but an alternate reality based on fictional numbers of real registrants. Instead of becoming the next .com they are in danger of becoming the next .tk - the ccTLD for the obscure Pacific Ocean territory of Tokelau that gives away its domains for free.  

Is deception really the business plan a registry expects to succeed with? While declaring oneself the winner based on a blatantly stuffed ballot box still happens in places like Syria it is generally regarded as poor form in the rest of the world (and is certainly not a good calling card for any business). 

Of course, new gTLD skeptics are loving this, saying that it proves the new  

extensions are already on the ropes, having so little of value to sell that they have to resort to giving the product away (and not just giving it away, but forcing it upon people who never asked for it) and then trumpeting inflated numbers. As you would expect registries that are doing it the right way hate that they are being unfairly painted with the same brush. I've seen key executives from at least three other new gTLD registries publicly post their dismay over how this is tarnishing the entire new GTLD program. 

So now I guess it will be up to the market to decide what approach it is going to reward. Having expected that the events of the past few days would play out differently than they did, I will decline to speculate on how much further some operators will test their apparent theory that everyone else is stupid but them.

(Posted June 10, 2014)  

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