Tucows First Quarter Investment Community Conference Call is Wednesday, May 7, 2008 at 5:00 P.M. (ET)
Tucows plans to report its first quarter fiscal 2008 financial results via news release on Wednesday, May 7, 2008 at approximately 4:00 p.m. (ET). Company management will host a conference call the same day at 5:00 p.m. (ET) to discuss the results and the outlook for the company.
More details and the full news release can be found at our media site.
CIRA leading the way on WHOIS Privacy
After much deliberation and consultation (in other words, in true Canadian fashion), the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has announced that WHOIS Privacy will go into effect on .ca domain names beginning June 10th, 2008.
The CIRA approach to WHOIS privacy is quite interesting and demonstrates a clear desire to protect the privacy of Registrants. There is full information on the new policies at the CIRA website.
In his Law Bytes column in today’s Toronto Star, Michael Geist calls the new policy “a model for domain name registries around the world.”
Geist goes on to suggest that CIRA is now in a global leadership position on the issue of registrant privacy. Geist writes, “With more than a million Canadian domain name registrations, the resolution of the whois issue ensures that the Canadian domain name space is set for continued growth as it now features a “privacy advantage” over other domains struggling to strike a similar compromise.”
What makes the CIRA policy different is that WHOIS privacy is enabled by default for individual domain owners. Registrants have to specifically opt-out with CIRA to have their information displayed. In contrast, the registration information for corporate domain holders is shown by default, however, they can opt-out and hide the information in what CIRA calls special circumstances.
As you would expect, we’ll be fully complying with the new policies. We’ll have more on how things will work from both a Registrar and from the Reseller perspective soon.
Tucows continues fight for domain name portability
Tucows has been an advocate of strong domain name portability policy since the early days of ICANN. We believe that consumer choice is a fundamental element of a healthy market. Without strong domain name portability policies the domain market will never be as strong as it should be.
The debate dates back to the early days of ICANN. Network Solutions, still owned by Verisign, had 100% market share. They were also the only registrar. By the end of the first full year of domain name competition, their market share was almost cut in half, falling to just 52.9% market share. At this time, fewer than 1 in 5 customers were choosing to do business with Network Solutions.
The former monopoly had serious problems to address.
The primary driver of this massive loss of market share was the substantial drop in domain name prices that Tucows introduced into the market in January, 2000. At the time domain, the early competitive registrars and Network Solutions, were selling domain names for $30-$35 each. We sold our first name as an accredited registrar on January 16, 2000 for $10 making us the first competitive registrar to seriously compete with NSI for real market share. NSI has since reduced their prices to closer match the market but they are still viewed by many as a high-price provider.
When faced with these prospects, most business owners react with a competitive response – new pricing, special promotions, enhancing features, etc. Network Solutions reacted by making it as difficult as possible for domain registrants to transfer their business to one of the newly created registrars. Instead of working harder to keep their customers, they were going to make it impossible for their customers to leave.
Tucows advocacy resulted in ICANN adopting a set of domain name portability policies entitled “Inter-Registrar Domain Name Transfer Policy”. In its earliest form, draft versions of this policy proposal were actually modeled on Tucows transfer practices which continued to be viewed as a benchmark for the industry. While the new portability policy had widespread support amongst the community, Network Solutions, Go Daddy and Register.com strongly opposed its adoption.
Network Solutions and GoDaddy reacted by implementing more obstacles for customers who wanted to leave and try a new provider. They claimed these restrictions would enhance “consumer protection” and “security” but the net result was simply that it became a lot harder for registrants to transfer their domain names away to new providers.
These customer hostile policy abuses continue into the present day.
This is why Tucows especially welcomes this clarification from ICANN. This advisory specifically addresses many of these policy abuses and provides greater recourse for our staff to help our customers in resolving domain transfer related issues. Provided that ICANN backs up this advisory with clear enforcement against those ignoring its advice, it should become easier for duly authorized registrants to safely and securely transfer their service to a new provider.
Elliot Noss will keynote ISPCON Spring ’08
Elliot Noss, our President and CEO, will be one of the keynote speakers at ISPCON Spring 2008. ISPCON happens May 13th – 15th at Chicago’s Donald E. Stephen’s (Rosemont) Convention Centre.
On Wednesday, May 14th, at 10 A.M., Elliot will present, “Why YOU and lowfat lattes are Google’s Worst Nightmare.” Here’s the summary:
“Google has an Achille’s Heel. Ruthless efficiency is embedded in their DNA, which is good for machines but bad for human beings. In this keynote session, Elliot Noss, President and CEO of Tucows will talk about how Starbucks is a better role model than Google or how applying this approach can help make a difference in your business as you compete against the biggest fish in the pond.”
As usual, Tucows will exhibiting at ISPCON. In addition, Rohan Jayasekera, Director, Tucows Email Service, will be participating in a panel discussion. That session, “Who Should Be Running Your Email,” is scheduled for the Wednesday, May 14th, but check the ISPCON conference schedule for the official word on times and for information about the other sessions.
ISPCON is less than six weeks away. We’re gearing up for the show, and we’re looking forward to getting the chance to meet potential new, and current customers face-to-face. See you there.
Verisign announces fee increases for .com/.net
According to a press release from Verisign, effective October 1, 2008, the registry fee for .com domain names will rise from $6.42 to $6.86 and the registry fee for .net domain names will increase from $3.85 to $4.23.
This should come as no surprise to those who follow what’s been happening in the domain name industry over the last few years. Just this past October, a similar price increase went into effect, raising the registry fee for a .com from $6.00 to $6.42. Other registries followed suit raising prices across the board for generic top-level domains.
Elliot Noss, Tucows CEO and President called it “a dark day in Internet history.” At the same time, he predicted perfectly what would happen in 2008, saying, “Worse, this now signals a near-annual event that will take place in all major gTLDs. It is simply wrong.” You can read the full text here.
If history is any indication, we can expect other registries to announce similar fee increases.
Rohan Jayasekera Joins The Herd
At the risk of sounding like a stalker, I’ve had my eye on Rohan since I first met him at a BarCamp event here in Toronto a few years ago. I was impressed by Rohan’s deep insights on the topic our little “unconference” group was talking about (although I can’t for the life of me remember what exactly we were discussing) and when I got home I did a quick Google on Rohan and found a peer with an incredibly interesting background.
Rather than gush about exact how great a fit Rohan is, I’ll just point you to his blog post about joining Tucows so you can hear it from the man.
Tucows Email Service gets even more Reseller friendly
One of our primary goals with the Tucows Email Service is to be competitive with the best email services, and to be the best wholesale offering available for service providers.
Just like we do with all of our services, it comes to you as a “white label” service, with no Tucows branding anywhere. This past month we’ve been working on making the webmail interface much more extensible so you can brand it and make it even more like your own.
Here are some highlights of what we’re prepping for release:
- Single sign-on – do your users log into a portal? Do you want them to automatically access the email service without logging in twice? You can do that now with the single sign on feature inside the Tucows Email Service. By passing a token, you can authenticate as that user, without having to know their password. That means seamless logins from your portal and an improved user experience for your customers.
- We’re making the branding tool more flexible – if you put in a logo bigger than our “webmail” logo, it will automatically expand to the size of your logo. The front login page will pick up the logo from webmail, along with your background colour. You can also add your own support links, and customize the window title bar.
- Support for ads – some of our resellers like to have ads in their webmail, or they want to totally overhaul the header and footer of the webmail. In order to meet everyone’s needs, we’re making it very flexible. The header and footer will support images, and iframes hosted on another server (including target urls). We’re also adding the ability to have an ad in the bottom left-hand corner of webmail.
The email team is excited to get this release out. The UI changes to webmail and single sign-on is already in our Test Environment, and the branding enhancements will be promoted to both Test and to Live on March 4th. Existing brands won’t be affected by the update.
Stay tuned – there’s more to come including more branding, more flexibility for service providers and more features for end users!
If you haven’t checked out our webmail yet, try it out! We can provision you a demo account — all you need to do is fill out a quick form here and we’ll set you up.
Tucows Reveals Key Domain Name Portfolio Assets
This morning Tucows released some information about our domain portfolio. The highlights are:
- 150,000 domains in the portfolio as of Feburary 14th, 2008
- Over 1,000 “Gems,” or domain names Tucows considers to have the highest potential value in the portfolio
- 39,000 Surnames that form the basis of our Personal Names Service
- 22,000 Brandable Names and 88,000 Direct Navigation Names
You’ll find much more detail in the news release, including a select listing of some of those “Gem” domain names.
Introducing Tucows Personal Names Service
As a company that powers the services of many large web hosting and ISPs, we are acutely aware of how competitive these areas can be. In fact, one of the most frequently asked questions I receive from our customers is, "how do I make my company stand out?" Historically, the answer has largely been price, service and marketing. While these factors will always be important, I'm extremely excited to introduce a new service that will give Tucows resellers another competitive edge.
It's our Personal Names Service and it’s all about giving people the chance to own their own name.
In 2006, we purchased a Colorado-based company named NetIdentity, which has an extremely successful service offering email and web addresses based on some of the most popular surnames in the world. These names include Smith, Johnson, Brown, Chavez and nearly 40,000 other names. All told, about 66 percent of the population of the United States will find a match for their name in the portfolio.
Today, I'm extremely excited to introduce a wholesale version based on this model, which we're calling our Personal Names Service. This service lets our resellers offer email and web addresses based on our extensive portfolio of surnames. Each name purchased includes:
- An email account, powered by the Tucows Email Service, which includes our easy-to-use AJAX webmail, forwarding and anti-spam/anti-virus.
- A-Record and CNAME control, allowing users to host these domains wherever they like.
- Management for both email and DNS within OpenSRS, our domain name management platform.
Our Resellers are free to offer this service as an extension of their existing offerings, or even introduce a completely new "identity"-based service. I'd strongly encourage our resellers to look seriously at offering this service for a number of reasons:
- It gels well with the existing offerings.
- It's available to Tucows Resellers only, giving them an advantage over many of their competitors.
- With close to 40,000 popular surnames in our database, the majority of their customer’s names will be available.
- It taps into the very real desire for high-quality domain names as consumers seek to secure a personal digital identity.
- It's extremely affordable.
This is a great opportunity to get on board with a trend that will gain huge popularity in 2008. If you're a Tucows reseller, be sure to check out the service. And if you're not a Tucows reseller, sign up today!
Live from ICANN
The Internet co-operated this morning and I was able to get a Skype call going between Toronto and New Delhi, India where Adam Eisner, our Product Manager, Domains, has been participating in the 31st ICANN General Meeting. Adam and I had a brief chat about what’s been going on at the meeting this week including a bit about the experience of being in New Delhi.
Adam has promised a more extensive report on what happened at ICANN once he gets back. Expect that sometime next week.
To listen, either use the embedded player, or you can download an MP3 version.[audio:http://tucowsinc.com/audio/icann_report_96.mp3]
Click the play button to listen.