Why Is Neustar Allowing Nicaragua To Use A .US Doman for Their Offical Visitor Site?

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 11.47.51 PMI saw a full page ad in a travel magazine a few weeks ago for the website VisitNicaragua.us.

It was a very nice full color ad which promoted the country as a great tourist destination.

The domain name is registered to the Nicaraguan Tourism Board and whose registered address on the whois records is in Nicaragua

My first thought that it is stupid domain for the official travel site of a country to use domain name in  the ccTLD of other country.

After all .US is the ccTLD for the United States and as a foreign country why wouldn’t you use the extension of your own country or a relevant gTLD for you site?   For example the domain name VisitNicaragua.travel is unregistered as the time of publication.

Then is realized that Neustar which operates the .US registry under a license from the United States Government is suppose to enforce the nexus requirement for owning a .US domain name.

Under .US nexus requirements .US domains may be registered only by the following qualified entities:

  • Any United States citizen or resident,
  • Any United States entity, such as organizations or corporations,
  • Any foreign entity or organization with a bona fide presence in the United States

The domain name was registered over 3 years ago in April 2014 and is use as the official tourism site for the country seems to be backed by a big ad spend.

In other words VisitNicaragua.us is not a mom and pop site that no one is every going to notice.

Now theoretically the site could fall into the third category: Any foreign entity or organization with a bona fide presence in the United States

However the address on the whois record is does not indicate a US presence:

Nicaraguan  Tourism Board
Registrant Address1:                         Hotel Crowne Plaza, 1c Sur, 1c. Oeste.
Registrant Address2:                         Address (continued)
Registrant City:                             Managua
Registrant State/Province:                   Managua
Registrant Postal Code:                      999999999
Registrant Country:                          Nicaragua
Registrant Country Code:                     NI
Registrant Phone Number:                     +505.22545191

You would think that if a foreign company tries to qualify for a .US domain name needing a bona fide presence in the United States they would place an address on the whois record that would proof the  bona fide presence.

Neustar is the same company that is going to operate the .NYC extension and announced a very strict nexus policy for registrants of .NYC new gTLD domain names:
1. Registrants in .nyc must be either:

a. A natural person whose primary place of domicile is a valid physical address in the City of New York (“Nexus Category 1”); or

b. An entity or organization that has a physical street address in the City of New York (“Nexus Category 2”).

2. The existence of a P.O. Box address in the City of New York shall not qualify for purposes of meeting the Nexus Policy.

3. Registrants must agree in their Agreement with their Registrar and/or Reseller, as applicable, that they are in compliance with all relevant Federal, New York State and New York City laws, including the tax requirements for conducting business via the Internet.

4. Registrants must remain in compliance with the applicable Nexus Category for the entire period of such domain name’s registration by the registrant.

5. Registrars shall require that all registrants certify that they satisfy the Nexus Policy.

6. Registrants may not license, sub-delegate or otherwise transfer .nyc domain names to third parties that otherwise fail to meet the requirements of this Nexus Policy.””

Representative of Neustar are even on the record say not privacy or proxy services will be allowed for .NYC domain name registrants .

Neustar promises that they will not only verify that the Nexus requirements are met on .NYC registration but will continuous monitor registrations to make sure the nexus requirements are continued to be met and have threaten to simply take domain names away from registrants that don’t meet the nexus requirements.

It will be interesting to see what happens if say the city of Boston launches its official tourism site on a .NYC domain and takes out a full page ad in the New York Times to advertise the website.


Flashback: If A .US Domain At Best Is Only Worth 1% of a .Com and 25% Of A .CA Why Bother?

Four years ago Michael asked, If A .US Domain At Best Is Only Worth 1% of a .Com and 25% Of A .CA Why Bother?

I’m sure this will piss off a whole group of folks who invest in .US domains, but looking through the Snapnames.com .US domain auction closing tomorrow , July 8th at 3:15pm, I couldn’t help but notice that Slots.Us is at auction with a reserve of $58,830 or roughly 1% of what the .com just sold for, or just over 25% of what Slots.ca just sold for.

Candy.US is another domain for sale in this auction with a reserve price of just over $14K.

We all know the Domain King sold Candy.com for $3M, making the .US domain available for just 1/2 of 1% of the .com price.

And neither slots.us or candy.us may sell.

So when your looking at other lower priced .US domains, what exactly is the upside?

The fact that an identical .Ca domain sold for 4x what the owner of Slots.Us would be happy selling his domain for says a lot about the extension especially considering the population of the United States is about 10X more than Canada.

It’s certainly not a “new” extension and if it couldn’t make it in the universe of competing with 21 TLD’s and a less than 200 ccTLD’s how it is going to bloom once there are 500 TLD’s and 200 ccTLD’s?

So for all of you .US investors tell me what is upside to this extension?

That post garnered a lot of replies (106) and a lot of debate on what the value and the future of .US looked like. In this new domain world with hundreds of new extensions coming online, what is your opinion of .US now ?

US Gives NeuStar New Contract To Run .US Domain Extention For Up To 5 Years

The Department of Commerce has re-awarded the contract to operate the .US domain extensions for three years with two additional one-year extension options to Neustar Inc. (NYSE:NSR).

The .US Top Level Domain (TLD), is the official country code domain of the United States (ccTLD)

“Neustar has successfully administered this critical domain since 2001, when the Department of Commerce first selected the company to build and manage the new domain.”

“The .US domain represents Main Street America, helping American small businesses and individuals to create and expand their online presence. Neustar manages this critical domain and oversees the growing network of registrars who sell the .US domain names.”

“Since becoming the administrator of the .US TLD, Neustar has created an extensive enforcement program to ensure a safe and secure environment for the .US Internet community. Neustar also launched the “Kickstart America” campaign to raise awareness of the .US domain. In 2013, Neustar initiated the .US National Road Racing Championships through a three-year partnership with USA Track & Field.”

“In 2014, Neustar plans to launch a new multi-stakeholder council including members representing localities, registrars, small businesses and non-profit organizations as well as entities involved with STEM education and cybersecurity. The .US TLD Stakeholder Council will provide a vibrant, diverse, and independent forum for future development of the .US TLD, working directly with .US TLD stakeholders and helping Neustar to identify public needs and develop policies, programs, and partnerships to address those needs while continuing to enhance America’s address.”

NameJet.com Holding its 1st Ever .US Domain Name Auction

For the  very first time, NameJet is offering .US domains on our auction platform.

“These exclusive domains are priced to sell at no or low reserves, between now and 10/24/2013.”


US Government Opens Comment Period On .US ccTLD: Contract Expires On 8/31

The United States Department of Commerce’s (Department) National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) which administers the contract for the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the United States, “.US” (usTLD) has opened up the comment period on the contract to run the .US extension.

The current contract expires on August 31, 2013.

Neustar, Inc (NSR) operates the .US extension under the current contract.

“Currently, the usTLD is comprised of approximately 1,786,738 domains.

“The current structure also includes the operations of an estimated 3,666 “delegated managers” in the usTLD within the locality name space.

“Given the expiration date of this contract, NTIA is seeking input from interested parties on the policies and requirements that should govern the usTLD”.”

NTIA will utilize the comments received in response to this Notice in the procurement process leading to the award of a new usTLD contract”.

“Comments due on or before March 4, 2013″

“NTIA is committed to maintaining a stable, secure Internet that is open for economic growth and innovation. One of the many ways that NTIA supports this commitment is through its role in administering the contract for the operation of the usTLD. ”

“The usTLD has historically served as a home for American business, individuals, and localities for the benefit of the nation’s Internet community. The current contract expires on August 31, 2013.

“Given the expiration date of this contract, NTIA is seeking input from interested parties on the policies and requirements that should govern the usTLD. Comments received in response to this Notice will inform the procurement process leading to the award of a new usTLD contract”.

“NTIA’s goal is that the usTLD be attractive to both business and individual users, be open to and encourage innovation, growth and use of the space, and reflect the multistakeholder model of Internet governance. This notice of inquiry (NOI) seeks to meet that goal by requesting public comment on current policies and how they could be updated to better serve the community’s needs. This NOI also seeks views as to how the usTLD can be managed consistent with the multistakeholder model; for example, by developing a mechanism for public input and community engagement in policy development for the usTLD space”.

“Recognizing the value of the continued operation of the usTLD, NTIA initiated a procurement process for the usTLD contract, selecting Neustar, Inc. in 2001, for a term of six years.

“NTIA again initiated a procurement process for the usTLD contract in 2007 and again selected Neustar, Inc.”
“The current contract expires on August 31, 2013.”
“Given the expiration date of the current contract, NTIA is taking this opportunity to solicit comment on ways to enhance the current policies and requirements to encourage continued innovation, growth, and increased use of the usTLD space”.

“In 2007, NTIA issued a Statement of Work (SOW) that outlined several key requirements that govern the usTLD space. 

“For example, to operate in the usTLD space, domain owners must fulfill a U.S. Nexus requirement by providing proof of a bona fide presence or residence within the United States.”

Each registrar in the usTLD space must provide publicly accessible, accurate, and up-to-date WHOIS information for each .us registrant”.

“Also, the Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act of 2002 (Dot Kids Act), Pub. L. No. 107-317, requires the creation and maintenance of a second level domain within the usTLD (kids.us) as a safe place on the Internet for children.”

“NTIA welcomes comments on whether these requirements are still relevant, and if so, how they might be updated.

“In addition, security and stability of the Internet remains a cornerstone of all United States Government (USG) Internet policy concerns. These concerns are reflected in the current contract and SOW through high-level security requirements, including a new requirement for Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) deployment within the usTLD.

“Community feedback and input into the development of policies and processes is an important component to the management and operation of the usTLD and reflects the USG policy supporting the multistakholder model of Internet governance. Input regarding the value of and interest in developing a mechanism that would allow for community input and consultation into policy development processes within the usTLD is encouraged. Policies of the usTLD should, to the extent practicable, be informed by best practices as developed by the global multistakeholder Internet community”.

“Written comments may be submitted by mail to Fiona M. Alexander, Associate Administrator, Office of International Affairs, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Room 4701, Washington, DC 20230. Comments may be submitted electronically to ustldnoi@ntia.doc.gov.”

“All email messages and comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted without change to the NTIA Web site at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/federal-register-notice/2013/comments-ustld-policies-and-requirements-noi. All comments received will be posted without change or redaction, so commenters should not include information they do not wish to be posted (e.g., personal or confidential business information)”.

“For questions about this Notice contact: Elizabeth B. Bacon, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Room 4701, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-2097; email: ebacon@ntia.doc.gov. Please direct media inquiries to the Office of Public Affairs, NTIA, at (202) 482-7002″.

“Comments that contain references, studies, research, or other empirical evidence or data that are not widely published should include copies of the referenced materials with the submitted comments. While commenters are welcome to submit comments regarding the questions below and other issues relating to the effective operation and innovation of the usTLD, this NOI is not seeking comments directly regarding the current contractor’s performance. Specifically, NTIA is seeking input on the following questions:

1. In general, what are your views on the current policies and requirements that govern the usTLD space? Are they still relevant? Are there ways to update the policies and practices currently utilized in the management of the usTLD that would add value to the space? Please be specific in your response.

2. Are there policies and practices developed or employed by other ccTLDs, ccTLD organizations, and the stakeholder community that could be incorporated into the usTLD space to spur innovation, growth, and use of the usTLD or improve the domain name registrant experience? Please be specific in your response.

3. How best could the management of the usTLD be structured to reflect the multistakeholder model of policy development, particularly in developing mechanisms that could engage the usTLD community? Please be specific in your response.

4. An important aspect of the multistakeholder model of policy development is a focus on transparency. Is there additional information related to the administration and performance of the usTLD contract that should be collected or shared publicly in the interest of transparency? Please provide specific information as to why or why not. If yes, please provide specific suggestions in particular on what that information should be and how that information can be made available.5. Please provide your views of the usTLD Nexus policy. Does it enhance, impede, or have no impact on the innovation and growth of the usTLD space? Please be specific in your response.

6. What updates could be made to the current usTLD WHOIS policy and practices that could benefit the usTLD registrants, law enforcement, and the broader user community?

7. How can the kids.us space be improved? Please be specific in your response.

8. What updates could be made to usTLD security policies and practices to better align with TLD best practices and ensure continued security and stability of the usTLD?

Dated: January 25, 2013.

Lawrence E. Strickling,

Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information.