Alexa Raad

Alexa Raad

Joined on June 22, 2006
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Featured Blogs

What to Know About an ICANN Compliance Audit, and How to Handle One if You Are Selected?

Now that new gTLD registries have been operating for more than a year, a few registries have already experienced going through an audit and a few more are now receiving notifications that they are next in line. For all, the process of going through an ICANN audit is a first. Once you receive the Request for Information (RFI), you will have 15 days to respond, or seek an extension of time. Extensions may be available on a case by case basis. more

Does gTLD Registration Volume Measure Success?

For some time, the measure of success of a TLD was volume of registrations, or strictly speaking, Domains Under Management (DUMs). Who better than .com to validate the truth of that metric? More recently, this same metric has been applied to new gTLDs, especially those who achieve volume quickly, by whatever means necessary. These gTLDs are fawned over, written about, and effectively set up as the standard for other gTLDs to aspire to. But I'd like to challenge that notion. more

The NameSentry Report: Benchmarking Abuse Levels in the Domain Name Industry

On July 10th Architelos released the first NameSentry Report, benchmarking abuse levels in the domain name industry. For some time now, a debate has raged about the potential impact of new gTLDs on Internet safety and security, namely abusive registrations such as phishing, spam, malware, and so on. However, without benchmarking the current state, how can we realistically evaluate if new gTLDs have made any measureable difference in the level of abuse? more

A Navigation Aid or a Brand TLD? (Part 2 of 2)

So what are the characteristics of a "Brand TLD"? Please note that by "Brand TLD", I do not mean gTLDs applied for by brands. I mean TLDs whose registrants tend to use them as their primary site and identity. They have either created themselves as, or have become a brand in the eyes of their registrants. These TLDs tend to be in the minority. more

A Navigation Aid or a Brand TLD? (Part 1 of 2)

Every TLD has domain name registrants who use their domain name either as their primary site, the basis of their online identity, or as a navigational aid to direct traffic to other sites. The dominant purpose determines the long-term financial wellbeing of the registry. The choice to use a domain as a simple pointer to another site versus creating a branded identity online does not just happen. It is almost always the direct result of the registry's own efforts and focus. How does the registry define their customer? more

gTLDs Opponents Create the Very Confusion They Decry

It's ironic and amusing that while a few well-connected opponents of the new gTLD program were testifying before the U.S. Senate committee, I was asked to help educate top executives of one of the largest global ad agencies and their major clients on the brand marketing and advertising implications of the program. It was clear from the start that virtually all these high-powered executives knew about the program they had learned from the eleventh hour negative campaign. more

The Association of National Advertisers Blinders on New TLDs

I read with interest the piece by the Chairman of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), Garry Elliot, in Advertising Age, which was partly prompted by my commentary in the same publication describing why new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) could be an opportunity for some brands. He says: "From all I've seen, no matter how one tries to justify ICANN's process or the benefits it speculates will occur, it is simply impossible to defend the economics of the ICANN proposal. That is the Achilles' heel of this entire exercise. To paraphrase an old saying, 'It's the economics, stupid.'" more

Outsourcing and Registry Operations Present Challenges to New TLD Applicants

After ICANN announced in Singapore approval of the new Top-Level Domain (TLD) program, we heard many prospective applicants say they would start asking registry infrastructure providers to break down their costs into registration and resolution components. The last few TLD launches have shown that although you can achieve some respectable registration volumes for new TLDs, chances are it will take some time for content to be associated with the domain names, and hence, resolutions to pick up. more

Given Comprehensive TLD Applicant Guidebook, How Ready Are Applicants? Notes from the Field - Part 1

One of the benefits of being a third party (i.e., no financial interest in new Top-Level Domains (TLDs) or applying for any) and independent (i.e., self financed and non-exclusive) is that we at Architelos have the natural incentive, not to mention a survival imperative, to try to gain a broad and deep perspective on the market. While no one can accurately predict the future, I'd like to suggest where I think this market is headed and why. These thoughts are based on our observations over the last six months in hopes that both prospective TLD applicants and service providers will benefit. more

New gTLDs: Will Application Developers Be Ready In Time to Secure User Confidence?

Last week I pointed out a potential problem with the user experience, if, as envisioned, a large number of new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) are added to the root at the same time. The problem I was referring to has nothing to do with the new gTLDs themselves. Rather, it's about the lack of any updated procedures and communication campaigns to application and software vendors. The objective would be to alert them in time and equip them to swiftly update their programs... more

The User Experience with New TLDs: How to Avoid the Junk Mail File or ‘User Unknown’

As new Top-Level Domains (TLDs) are launched, the industry mustn't overlook the customer experience. A key question is this: Will the software applications we all use, recognize the new TLDs and know what to do with them in a timely fashion? Think email and even form-fill applications. I speak from experience here. In 2006 when we launched the .MOBI TLD, there were arguably only a handful of .MOBI email addresses in existence. To my dismay, I found that often emails sent only from my .MOBI account were not being received at the other end... more vs. a New TLD: What’s a Brand to Do?

Last week I published an article in Ad Age that the editors titled "Should your company jump on the dot-brand bandwagon?" I received several emails and LinkedIn requests from advertising and PR agencies as well as brand managers. One of the questions I received had to do with my opinion on whether brands that are currently promoting themselves via Facebook, e.g., "Find us on," should consider the new Top-Level Domains (TLDs). more

Top 3 New Requirements to the TLD Evaluation Criteria and What They Mean for Applicants

Three sections of the redlined version of the Draft Evaluation Criteria for new Top-Level Domains (TLDs) caught my attention. It seems ICANN wants to ensure it has information to not only evaluate and score responses, but to conduct a post-launch analysis of the program's success in terms of expanded competition, consumer choice and trust. That additional information means more work by both the applicant and for ICANN. But it's a good move because pre-launch preparation and thought staves off mishaps and misfortunes later. more

Everything You Should Know About a TLD Business Case, But Didn’t Know to Ask

Applying for a new Top-Level Domain (TLD) is an expensive and lengthy process, costing an estimated $500K for application and various legal and professional services. Central to the application is the business case. Even though ICANN requires an albeit simple version, most applicants must have a credible business case, especially if they need to secure internal approval, or more importantly attract and secure outside investment. Given the truth to the maxim "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail," some closer scrutiny of your business plan will pay dividends in the long-term... more

The Three Lessons We Can Learn from gTLDs’ Past

History is a great teacher, we are told. So, on the cusp of an explosion in new top-level domains, what can we learn from the two previous expansions of the Internet's naming space? And what are the pitfalls to avoid? Let's just assume the fundamental and obvious lessons of realistic expectations, a solid business plan and prudent resource management, and instead focus on the little talked about but still critical lessons that will separate the winners and the losers in this race. But first - a caveat! more

Beyond Domains: What Did We Really Learn in 2009?

The beginning of every year is a time for introspection, an appraisal of the year that was, and planning for the year to come. It is also a time to follow tradition and to recap the biggest news of the year. But by now, I am guessing that we have all read our fair share about the people and events who have impacted the last 12 months... if we take a larger vantage point (than our own relatively small domain name industry), these lessons from 2009 -- in my view -- could teach us all and most importantly, really shape the year ahead. more

Advocating for Domain Name Registry-Registrar Separation

.ORG, The Public Interest Registry has, since its inception, advocated for policies designed to reflect the public interest, namely of fair and open competition that benefits not only .ORG, but all Internet users. ICANN is now faced with a critically important decision on whether to remove the trusted and proven safeguards that prevent domain name registrars from owning and operating domain name registries. Because of its concern for end users, support for the success for new Top-Level Domains (TLDs), and strong belief in the benefits of fair competition, .ORG vigorously opposes removing these critical safeguards and strongly supports registry-registrar separation... more

2008: A Historic Year for DNS

As we start the new year, it is worth noting some of the major events and news in 2008 that shaped the industry and fueled considerable discussions. Last year's occurrences made for a very historic year, bearing the seeds of future changes for the DNS and domain name industry. more

How Rise in Nationalism and Industry’s Lack of Foresight Could Mean a Fragmented and Isolated Web

I have been thinking a lot lately on the topic of the free flow of information on the internet -- what kinds of tools are available now and in the future for governments (especially repressive ones) to control content, isolate their people and keep any contrary viewpoints censored. I had an interesting conversation with a Practice Lead from The Institute for the Future (IFTF) is a California based independent, nonprofit research group with 40 years of experience in identifying emerging trends that will transform global society... Turns out they are quite concerned about the fragmentation and control of the Internet as well. But will it be an inevitability? more