• Archive for September, 2009

    “To .BE or not to .BE” – ccTLD of Belgium

    September 20, 2009 // No Comments »

    It has been a while since I last posted something on ccTLDs.  I decided this time to write about .BE, the official ccTLD of Belgium, operated by DNS.BE.

    Brief History of .BE:

    • The first .BE Domain was registered in 1989
    • Until 1994, only 129 names had been registered
    • In February of 1999, the non-profit association, DNS Belgium was formed (articles of association) to assume operational responsibility for the .BE registry. The actual transfer took place on January 1, 2000
    • Initially registering a .BE domain was extremely restrictive, only organizations could register .BE domains and the name had to correspond to a company name, trademark or well known brand.
    • In June 2000, the board of .BE decided to open up the registry to anyone worldwide, which officially took place Dec. 11, 2000.
    • The effect of opening up the registry produced tremendous results.  Prior to the liberalization, DNS.BE managed only 40,000 domains.  After only 3 weeks of opening up, registrations jumped to 89,718, more than double, and by the end of March the registry was managing nearly 125,000 domains.
    • On July 1, 2001, the registry dramatically reduced the price for registrars (Agents) down to 10.00 EUR per domain from 25.00 EUR. A year later the price was brought down further to 6.00 EUR per domain.
    • On October 15, 2001, DNS.BE permitted transfers, thus allowing .BE domains to be traded freely.
    • Today, DNS.BE manages nearly 1 Mill. domains (947,070 Domains – reported as of Sept. 20, 2009)

    Though the chart above gives the indication that the registry has reached maturity, the ups and downs are likely attributable to various promotions.  Some such promotions lowered the price a lot increasing the registration numbers, but my suspicion is that in the end, this just lead to poor renewal rates; thus, the fluctuating registrations.

    If I recall correctly from one of numerous .BE Registrar Meetings I have attended in the past, then companies dominate the registrant user base for .BE mainly due to past registry policy.  Over 80% of all registrations are from businesses and only 20% are from individuals.  It would be extremely interesting to see the results of a whois-scan to see the latest makeup of organizations vs. individuals.

    Registration Rules and Facts:

    • .BE Domains can be registered for 1 Year
    • Registration System is real-time
    • Min./Max. Characters: 3 and 63
    • Numbers (digits) are permitted
    • Hyphens (“-”) are permitted, however not at the beginning or directly in front of the TLD

    Trade Feature of .BE:

    Unlike gTLDs, .BE Domains require a special command be sent to the registry for change of ownership, called a TRADE.  A TRADE is like a classic domain transfer – registrar however remains the same – , meaning upon successfully processing of a TRADE, the registrant information is changed and the registration period starts from new.  The registry charges an annual fee for this feature and registrars naturally bill for this on their end.    This same feature is also used within dot EU, which is basically a mirror of the DNS.BE System. This “TRADE” feature is unique to .BE and .EU.  I am sure many registrars worldwide would prefer to see .BE and .EU get rid of this feature and give the registrars more control over their customers.

    HEXONET offers .BE Domains at very affordable prices.  In the event you are interested in registering large volumes of .BE Domains, please reach out to the Sales Department at HEXONET at sales@hexonet.net for negotiated pricing.

    Source: http://www.dns.be

    Posted in Domains, General, HEXONET

    Unforgettable trip to Victoria, B.C.

    September 13, 2009 // No Comments »

    This past weekend, I took my wife to Victoria, Vancouver Island as she had never been there even though she has now lived in B.C for about 1 1/2 years.

    I left work a bit earlier on Friday (this is the advantage of being on the West Coast.  You can leave work at 2 or 3 p.m. and it doesn’t really matter as the East Coast has already gone home).  Luck was with us as we just made the ferry at 2:00 p.m. to Swartz Bay.  What an amazing ferry ride over.  Blue sky and calm seas as far as you could see.  I was a bit disappointed, as I had hoped to see some Orcas…  We did however see some seals playing while the ferry navigated between the Islands.

    Saturday morning was spent strolling around downtown Victoria.  What a beautiful city with such British flair. During breakfast we decided to join a Whale Watching tour as I have always hoped to see Orcas in the wild.  We left Victoria harbour at 3.15 p.m. on a ship that was fully packed!  Before departing they took a head count of 74 people!  Wow!  I immediately started running the numbers, …. holy cow.

    74 people X 95.00 CAD$ (tax excl.) per person = 7,030 CAD$.

    3 fully booked tours a day 7,030 CAD$ * 3 = 21,090 CAD$

    … nice business.

    We were hitting the waves for more than 1 1/2 hours before we slowed down.  Our guide had spotted some Orcas.  Actually a pod of Orcas, approx 15 whales.  Our guide switched off the engines as the Orcas were swimming directly towards us.  I was speechless.  What amazing mammals!  They swam as close as 15 m. passed us.  We got some really nice shots.

    I remember visiting Sea World in Florida as a kid.  It’s one thing seeing an Orca in a tank and quite another seeing them in the wild.  What an unforgettable experience, it was worth every single penny.  After hanging out with the whales, we headed back to the Victoria harbour.  It was already getting late and the temperatures had dropped quite a bit.  We grabbed ourselves hot chocolates and listened to some wild stories the captain had to tell.  We had so much fun standing on upper level while the others huddled downstairs for warmth.  On the way back the waves started picking up and the boat started hitting the waves pretty heavily.  I was a bit concerned for my wife, but she was having a blast, thoroughly enjoying herself and laughed every single time we hit a wave!

    We finally got back to the harbour around 7.30 p.m. and both of us were frozen, but happy!  A quick hot dinner, a stop at the liquor store for a bottle of Merlot and off to the hotel.  We hardly finished 1/2 a glass of wine when both of us passed out.  We must have had spent the last of our energy staying warm on the boat.

    Anyone who visits Vancouver should stay a few days longer and take the time to visit Victoria.

    Posted in Travel

    Next TLDs in line are those managed by ICB – .AC, .IO, .SH and .TM

    September 4, 2009 // No Comments »

    Instead of introducing just one TLD this time, I thought I would introduce four (4) that are run by the same back-end provider ICB Plc.

    • .AC – The ccTLD of Acension Island, located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and South America.
    • .IO – The ccTLD of Indian Ocent Territory, located south of India
    • .SH – The ccTLD of Saint Helena, located south of Ascension Island
    • .TM – The ccTLD of Turkmenistan, located to the North of Afghanistan and South of Uzbekistan.

    Some basic facts about registering these TLDs:

    • All the above domains listed have no restrictions and can be registered by anyone worldwide.
    • Min. characters 3, max. characters63
    • Transfers can be done, however it would be desired that the respective registries upgrade to an “authorization code” system
    • Registry System is real-time, as are whois- and nameserver updates

    The only TLDs of the above that really stands out is .TM, as anybody interested in registering this TLDs has to register it for 10 years upfront.

    Unfortunately no stats are available for any of the above listed TLDs.

    Posted in Domains, General, HEXONET