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Analyzing Data for Business and Security Signals

Domain name registries and registrars play a critical role in the functioning of the internet, serving as gatekeepers to the DNS. As such, they have an important responsibility to ensure the security and stability of the DNS but also to promote the use of a domain name in a meaningful way for the end user.

To be more efficient in achieving these goals, the domain name industry has started to become more open to the idea of leveraging their own internal data to gain insights about their current business.

Various DNS records, information on SSL certificates, tracking website technologies etc., if approached correctly—sliced and diced, if you will—can unfold a story of the customer base revealing insights on healthy profile user and pointing in the direction of growth opportunities.

Especially if analysis happens regularly over a period of time. Data becomes increasingly valuable over time precisely because end-user stories become clearer as a result. Continuous crawling helps operators to unfold the story of their customer base, making the value of their current offering clearer.

When gaps in the zone/DUM are identified, potential business opportunities come to light which should trigger actions that commonly would fall into three broad tasks:

  • securing the zone / DUM
  • growing the zone / DUM
  • increasing renewal rate or reducing churn

So, what signals from data operators should pay attention to in regard to these tasks?

Growing the zone

Signals could include, but not limited to, keywords found in the content of a website, content language used, the geo-location identified from an IP address, SSL information, WHOIS fields that are not masked, and with access to historical data for any one domain name, they get you closer to a better understanding of your customer. Signals maybe have no significant meaning in the moment or independently, but when analyzed collectively and over time, they provide a broad insight.

For example, one of the valuable signals that can nudge you in the direction of growth opportunities is redirects. Do you know how many domains have redirects? Where do they forward users? Why are they being redirected? How many redirects point to domains in other TLDs? Questions you get to ask when you have data insights in front of you. It is an overlooked signal, especially when the benchmark for growth is the volume of domains v. usage/quality.

Knowing all this, you’ll be one step closer to creating a more targeted campaign with tailored messaging. By monitoring campaign performance over time, analyzing and segmenting incremental new registrations that come through different campaigns over a period of time, you get to assess your marketing approach; campaigns launched, identifying channel partners that use and converted the data into new business, learning from them through your partnership engagement, and getting to tell your story through facts and figures. Through the process of segmenting new registrations received through the campaign and analyzing the data, registries and registrars can gain valuable insights into the campaign’s effectiveness and conduct marketing A/B tests.

Understanding the usage of domain names and continuous monitoring of your zone/DUM helps to tell you the story of your customers’ intent behind the use of the domain names. This can have a significant impact on your business in ways that increase efficiency in your business operationally, reduce costs and eventually invest your efforts more efficiently. There is accountability in this approach. If you can measure, you can grow, simply put.

Information becomes insights, and insights enable accountability. It empowers your respective cross-functional teams to become increasingly data-friendly, enabling them to ask questions that matter to your business, putting meaning back into the work they do with a vision in sight. Information can be translated into trends, from signals that matter to your business, enabling you to stay on top and potentially ahead of trends. There is simply no downside to the value of data. These trends could range from how the web is changing technologically to understanding better what products you should explore adding to your suite of services, new channels to think about or partnerships to explore.

Securing the zone

Registries are often more focused on the security of their zone files, as they should be, because they have invested a significant amount of time and money into the launch of TLD and protecting the use of the TLD is essential to build trust with the community and the channel. Securing zones helps to create a trusted TLD, leading to higher renewal rates, attracting the right end users, paving the way for increased efficiencies and a reduction in operational costs for you and your channel of resellers when time is not spent on mitigating attacks and addressing unhappy end users.

What are the important that registries should pay attention to in this area?

A good place to start is SSL certificates. It is important to see not only how many domains have a certificate but also what type of certificate—the free or an extended validation? Educating end users on the type of SSL certs is helpful for them to make an informed choice. In addition, SSL certs are a low-hanging fruit in terms of an up-sell or a cross-sell opportunity if you are of their expiration dates.

Other security signals can include specific TXT records associated with the domain name that is designed to be a counteraction for domain spoofing, such as SPF, DKIM or DMARC. This way, you lay the foundation to manage and protect your zone.

Increasing renewals - reducing churn

One of the more challenging tasks for Registries and registrars is the ability to get close to predicting renewals. Typically, registries experience a renewal rate of around 60% in the first year, which increases to approximately 80-85% in the subsequent years. You can impact your renewal rates in a positive way, leveraging data.

Crawling your zone / DUM will help identify where the churn risks are. Registries can empower registrars to take action to address these risks in a way that provides opportunities for both. Registrars are in the business of making money so by removing blind spots of where they are up-selling products/services of their own, they get to close the revenue gaps and Registries get to better predict renewal rates early in the domain name registration lifecycle.

By closely looking at domain data, it is possible to identify churn risks early in the domain name life cycle stage. For instance, it is helpful to evaluate the HTTP responses and monitor the parking status of domain names by looking at NS records. Inactive, parked, undeveloped websites prone to non-renewals.

Another valuable factor is the presence of attached products/solutions such as email, website builders, SSLs, CRMs, libraries, video players, cart functionality and so on.

It is possible to increase the renewal rate by thinking outside the box and offering services like email or CMSs with every registration. Emails are sticky and increase the chances of renewals for a domain name.

Instead of conclusion - The need for sharing signals with the channel

Registries, registrars, resellers—all have their own unique mission within the domain management ecosystem, and data can be leveraged to achieve these respective goals. Registries can share insights that matter with their channel and customize reports to meet the respective goals for their channel partners. This can lead to a healthy zone.

An engaged channel will do more for your TLD, and signals from data can be a great starting point to show them where their revenue gaps are, leading to a better renewal rate and a healthier ecosystem. It is a win-win strategy for all involved and, more importantly, the end-users’ experience.

Where do you begin? Start with curiosity and an open mind.

By Volodymyr Holovash, Marketing Manager at DomainCrawler

Founded in 2021, DomainCrawler combines industry expertise, a global approach, and up-to-date innovative solutions. With one of the most comprehensive and frequently updated databases in the world.

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