MarkMonitor recently completed a survey of our corporate client base in an effort to uncover important domain name trends relating to defensive domain name registrations, New gTLDs, and Whois accuracy.
Not surprisingly, the survey revealed that over 90% of corporate portfolios currently consist of defensive registrations.
The survey also revealed that New gTLDs are of significant concern to large corporations. Fifty-five percent of the respondents stated that New gTLDs will create opportunities for brand harm or confusion. And just over half stated that their online policing efforts will need to increase. Interestingly enough, about 75% of the respondents do not expect to use new gTLDs for core websites and over a third are not sure what to do with their domain portfolios in response to new gTLDs.
When asked about the accuracy of Whois (domain name ownership information), 4 out of 5 respondents stated that they encounter fraudulent or inaccurate information at least monthly and one in four stated that they encounter fraudulent or inaccurate information more than once a day. Additionally, the survey revealed that 85% of those who consult Whois more than once a day encounter fraudulent or inaccurate information every day and only 15% are usually able to obtain correct information for sites with fraudulent/inaccurate Whois data.
While the results of the survey were in no way surprising, they are concerning and raise a number of important questions such as:
- Will the practice of defensive registrations continue in light of new gTLDs, or are New gTLDs the straw that broke that camel’s back?
- Just how much cyber-squatting will we see in the new gTLDs when registries launch at the end of next year or in early 2014?
- Will ICANN ever be able to make meaningful changes to improve accuracy of Whois?
These are tough questions, but fortunately some of the answers will become clearer in the coming months and years.