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Re: [ga] Alternative Domain Name Distribution Models

  • To: "Prophet Partners Inc." <Domains@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Re: [ga] Alternative Domain Name Distribution Models
  • From: Karl Auerbach <karl@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2007 13:55:05 -0700

Prophet Partners Inc. wrote:

Giving away a product for free or at cost does not mean that there is no opportunity to make money.

I agree. Particularly if the registry fee structure is not inflated by a factor of roughly 300x over actual costs, as they appear to be in ICANN's existing general TLDs.

There are very definite opportunities for making money.

One, which is more available to a registry than a registrar, is simple data mining of the DNS query packets that arrive at the servers. Since the query packets usually contain the full domain name being requested, not merely the root/TLD part, there is ample opportunity to apply simple statistical analysis to derive a very valuable real-time stream of "what's hot and what's not" on the internet at any given moment. And the registry can increase the number of queries it receives, and thus improve its statistical accuracy, by cranking down the TTL's on the responses it gives.

And, of course, certain national governments are probably quite willing to pay money to receive that kind of data, as long as nobody mentions that they are getting it. (There is probably a profit to be made in correlating with other data sources and providing modified, or simply slow, DNS responses [with very low TTL values] to query sources that are considered "enemies".)

And there is opportunity for specialized services, such as localized servers to give better response to communities willing to pay (although any smart community could do the same for not a lot of money simply by going through their own caching server.) But there is also the opportunity for localized processing, like tuning the response so that the address RR records returned point to places topologically near the query source. (Not always a good strategy if the queries are coming from an intermediary resolver that isn't close to the actual user.)

There is also a potential market for names of short duration - a few weeks or months - or of very long duration. ICANN's mandate of name rental for 1 to 10 years in one year increments is completely arbitrary.

And in my .ewe TLD the business model is for inexpensive registrations that cover storage, network, and server costs for an estimated 100 year period with a pay-for-service model in which there is a service fee for updating name server records and the like.

And as you mention, using domain names as a loss leader to get people to buy SSL certificates and other goodies seems to be working well.

But ICANN, like a puritan patriarch, seems excessively intent on imposing its own view of how domain name businesses should operate.


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