.info

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.info.JPG
Status: Active
Manager: Afilias
Registry Provider: Afilias
Date Implemented: May 11, 2001
Type: gTLD

.info is a generic top level-domain name (gTLD) in the Domain Name System (DNS), managed and operated by Afilias. It was the first unrestricted TLD following .com to be approved, with its official opening for public registration having started on October 1, 2001.[1] As of December, 2010, .info was the largest new gTLD, and the 7th largest TLD in the world, with about 6.8 million registrations.[2] Afilias' Roland LaPlante has noted that "there are as many .info domains registereed as all other new TLDs combined."[3]

Afilias' contract to act as the registry for .info was extended for six months after it expired on Dec. 31, 2012.[4] The contract is held by ICANN, and was renewed in August 2013.[5]

History

By 1990, the .com TLD had already reached as many as 20 million registered domains, therefore making it difficult for registrants to find short, simple and easy to remember domain names. In order to alleviate the situation, ICANN began requesting online proposals for new TLDs from registry stakeholders on August 5, 2000.[6] By October 2000, ICANN had received 44 proposed domains, and in November of the same year, during the annual meeting, the Board of Directors approved 7 new TLDs: .aero, .biz, .coop, .info, .museum, .name and .pro.[7]

ICANN approved Afilias's application to be the registry operator of .info on May 11, 2001.[8] The United States Department of Commerce (DOC) entered .info into the Domain Name System (DNS) root zone on June 27.

Criticism

In October, 2011, the Australian parliament blocked its member's access to .info domains. The move was made to defensively protect against what they see as a higher rate of malware in the .info extension.[9] One commentator notes that the possibly higher rate of spam and malware could be attributed to the cheap price that .info domains were introduced for, which effectively made them the most cost-effective space for spammers and hackers.[10]

Sunrise Period

The so-called Sunrise Period, starting on July 25, 2001 and ending on August 27, 2001, was a period of time during which trademark and servicemark holders were able to reserve their brand names for registration with .info. To be able to ensure fairness, Afilias implemented registration via four queues with randomized round robin system. After the close of the Sunrise Period, a quiet testing and evaluation was conducted. On August 28, entities were given the opportunity to challenge the domain names that were registered during the Sunrise Period.[11]

Land Rush Period

Afilias cancelled 17,000 inappropriately registered .info names in the .info domain during the Sunrise Period and turned it over to the public. Authorized .info registrars were provided with the lists of the canceled names that are available for registration during the Land Rush 2 Period. The Land Rush Period started on June 2002, one of the processes conducted by Afilias to protect intellectual property.[12]

Auctions

In May 2013, Sedo announced a forthcoming auction of .info domains, done in conjunction with Afilias. .info was originally launched in 2001 and so the .info auction of 100 assorted names is notable.[13]

Significant Milestones

In November 2002, .info reached 1 million registrations. Afilias identified that the one millionth name registered was los-angeles-real-estate-search.info, which was registered through leading registrar GoDaddy Software, Inc.[14]

In March 2004, the first .info IDN solution was launched using German script. The Institut für Deutsche Sprache, Mannheim (The German Language Institute in Mannheim, Germany) worked with Afilias to develop an appropriate solution for addressing the needs of registrants in Germany and its surrounding areas using umlaut characters in compliance with ICANN IDN standards.[15]

In 2006, .info expanded to offer IDN solutions in eight additional language scripts, including: Polish (PL), Swedish (SV), Danish (DA), Hungarian (HU), Icelandic (IS), Latvian (LV), Lithuanian (LT), and Korean (KO). During the same year, Afilias also announced the .info Award, a competition to find the best .info website and offered EUR 18,000 as the prize. AGEV - Arbeitsgemeinschaft Eingetragener Verein (Working Committee for Registered Clubs and Associations) won the award.[16]

In 2008 Afilias implemented the .info Anti-Abuse Policy, prohibiting phishing, e-mail spam and other types of spam, the willful distribution of malware, the use of botnets and fast-flux hosting, the distribution of child pornography, illegal access to other computers or networks, and other illegal or fraudulent activities. Any website caught breaking the policy is to be reported to the proper authorities, and Afilias emphasized that it holds the option to remove the offending website from the .info domain space.

The .info Site Rater feature was launched in 2009, allowing directory visitors to rate their favorite websites on a scale of 1 to 5. The top rated sites were showcased on a special “Top 10 .info page."

Based on the 2010 .info annual report, the .info TLD was leading new TLD at the time with 6.8 million registrants. It is now offered by 360 registrars. North America (58%) comprises the largest .info registrants, followed by Europe (27%) and Asia Pacific (12%). The 2010 report marked the domain's 10 year anniversary, and it noted that it was more than double the size of any other new TLD at the time. Of it's total registrations, about 70%, or 5 million, resolve to .info sites. It also noted that it had successfully deployed DNSSEC across the domain.[17]

Between 2012 and 2013, the .info TLD had a net loss of 914,310 domain registrations, which amounted to an 11% decline compared with 2011 domains. 2012 ended with 7,402,557 .info domains, still making it the leader in new gTLD total registrations despite the loss. Afilias attributed the decline to the implementation of an anti-abuse policy that took down registrations it considered as spam.[18]

.info Awards

Afilias holds an annual contest to award the owners of particularly inspired websites using the .info suffix. For the 2011 contest, the first prize winner was given $10,000 while second and third place were given $5,000 and $3,000 respectively. They are not necessarily looking for the best developed site, but sites that are intuitive and clearly provide information on their particular topic.[19]

References

  1. Afilias.info
  2. Afilias Releases info Domain 2010 Annual Report, info.info
  3. Press Release, May 29, Sedo.com Retrieved 29 May 2013
  4. Info and Biz Contracts Extended After Expiring, DomainIncite.comPublished & Retrieved 9 Jan 2013
  5. Registry Agreements, ICANN.org Retrieved 09 Oct 2013
  6. IANA Report
  7. .info History
  8. .info Registry Agreement
  9. Parliament Quietly Blocks Info Domains, ITNews.com.au
  10. Australian Parliament Blocks Access to Info, DomainNameWire.com
  11. Sunrise Period
  12. Land Rush
  13. Sedo.com Retrieved 29 May 2013
  14. Press Release
  15. Afilias Press Release
  16. Afilias Press Release
  17. Afilias Releases Info Domain 2010 Annual Report
  18. Afilias blames security crackdown for massive drop in .info domains, Domain Incite Retrieved 13 Sept 2013
  19. And Winners 2011 Info Awards are, Afilias.info