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How selling cheap domains ruins your TLD for all users

Selling cheap domains leads to a bunch of abuse.

If you’re going to essentially give away domain names in your top level domain name in order to create an impression of great demand, then you’re killing the extension for legitimate users.

Here’s what @SwiftOnSecurity wrote this week:

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Even the .top registry itself scraped whois to send out spam when it launched the domain name. It also faked that some of its domains were sold in an auction when they weren’t.

There’s a lesson in this for people that want to launch a real website: Don’t go with a dirt cheap domain. You could get thrown in with a bunch of bad apples.

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  1. Rick Schwartz says

    “There’s a lesson in this for people that want to launch a real website: Don’t go with a dirt cheap domain. You could get thrown in with a bunch of bad apples.”

    And many, maybe even most people will apply that logic to all gTLD’s. It’s just a natural reaction.

    There’s a lesson in this for people that want to launch a real website: Don’t go with a gTLD domain. You could get thrown in with a bunch of bad apples.

      • Snoopy says

        When I hear “gtld” the first thing I think of is .com. Find is strange some new tld sites are using the term gtld. Not sure how all this started but half the industry seems confused on the terminology. “Ntld” makes a lot more sense in my view.

    • Ian Ingram says

      Reputable real business or not, at that point it doesn’t even matter…

      Guess what happens when you put a nice fresh, crispy, Golden Delicious apple next to a bunch of rotten ones?

      • Snoopy says

        They are pretty much all doing the same thing .xyz, .club, .science, .vip. Whole lot of 99 cent junk. Sounds like even donuts is going to join the race to the bottom.

  2. Kate says

    You make a good point Andrew, domain users benefit (or suffer) from the *collective reputation* of the TLD.

    If the TLD is perceived to be spammy, then you’ll have a credibility problem by using that TLD.

    .top is not the only culprit, I have never received mail from a .click .link .xyz etc that was legitimate and not spam.

    Sysadmins have a strong incentive to blacklist all those extensions on mailservers to curb spam, as the downside is really minimal or non-existent.

    What is worrying is that some registries seem to be willfully engaging in less than ethical conduct and fueling the spam machine.
    When the registries are spamming, how can you expect that they will in turn enforce good manners on their customers ?

  3. Eric Lyon says

    Excellent point Kate. “Monkey see, Monkey do” applies in this situation. Lead by example they say. I have to concur that if a registry is teaching people to conduct business unethically, they should also be held fully accountable for anything people they taught do with that knowledge (E.g. Their TLD and brand suffer). Especially if the registry is not taking any measures to correct the wrong and combat illegal spam.

  4. New.Life says

    Just checked my main email boxes…
    all spam in the last days: .com .info .org

    I don’t defend .top .xyz etc I have zero of them.

    I like .Life .World .City .Club – They are here to stay!

    • Ron says

      Are you the fool paying $500 annual renewals for domains like water.club etc..? Come on you are going to go broke renewing, sometimes you want something so bad, you actually think it will happen.

      The writing is on the wall, the open ended contract has killed this investment, you can be squeezed out at anytime.

      • New.Life says

        Are you the fool think about it and in this way?
        Cost of renewal Water.Club about $10 😀

        I got – WATER.WORLD

        $440 renewals. …so!?
        I’m the end user for this domain.

        Don’t count other people’s money, count yours!

        If you lose your money I’m so sorry!

        • New.Life says

          I don’t have time for websites right now, next year.
          I have more than 200 premium domains like this.

          I just got SUN.WORLD ($72 renewals)
          sunworld,com owned by Oracle since 1990
          and the domain redirect to oracle,com
          So that Oracle is the end user for 27 years (!)
          And does not yet use the domain.
          Why this question to me? …I got these domains only 2 weeks ago?

        • New.Life says

          I also got SHOPPING.WORLD ($108) 2 weeks ago.
          shoppingworld,com was sold for $25,500 USD
          11 years ago (2006) registered 1995 and not used!
          .COM domains are just stuck somewhere or their owners want huge amounts of money for them.

          No Way! New Life is here! 🙂

          • Kate says

            It is very telling that you are using .com sales (even old sales) as a baseline for your own registrations in new extensions.

            But I just don’t think these names are valuable because the .com sold for that much.

          • Drewbert says

            So let me get this straight…

            A domain investor over-paid for shoppingworld.com in 2006, never developed it (put it in the too hard basket), so you’ve registered shopping.world and you’re waiting for them to ring you and offer you $nnnnn for it?

            Don’t wait up.

  5. Ron says

    I am seeing many GTLD’s being used to sell knock off products, other day I got a email from Oakley, went on the page, all these sunglasses were $19.99, professional webpage, looked as good as the corporate.

    I also got an attempted hack into my icloud account from AppleCompany.Business, I contacted Donuts, nobody even cared to take it down!

    Gtld’s are such a waste, I hope somebody makes money off them, will not be domain investors.

  6. Drewbert says

    TLD’s I currently reject all email from:

    top
    download
    date
    bid
    men
    stream
    xyz
    win
    faith
    gdn

    I haven’t updated the list since November so there’s probably a few more than need to be added.

  7. Matt says

    I talked about this in a NamesCon presentation a couple years back, but it’s worth adding here that nearly all spam classifiers today are machine learning algorithms, and whilst a human might think “oh, it would be unfair to classify an entire TLD as spam; I’m sure there a few good sites in there”, a machine learning algorithm only has to see that classifying all .top as spam improves its accuracy rate from 98.4% to 98.6% and it will happily flush the entire TLD. In addition to email spam classification, machine learning classifiers are also used to identify web spam (ie, you’re more likely to get kicked out of Google), and I wouldn’t be surprised to see something like this pop up as a signal in things like fake news classifiers, phishing protection, and website quality scores.

  8. strategicrevenue.com says

    “This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Even the .top registry itself scraped whois to send out spam when it launched the domain name. It also faked that some of its domains were sold in an auction when they weren’t.”

    That spells D-E-S-P-E-R-A-T-I-O-N—-> There is only a few years to rake-in as much money as possible on all of these new .worthless-es ——> SELL SELL SELL!

  9. Rhamjin says

    New gtld names are going to keep getting registered, keep growing in volume and keep marginalizing the grand-daddys. No way around it no matter what gets said.

    • Drewbert says

      Sad to see their “Introduction to Universal Acceptance” paper only mentions DNSSEC once.

      This would be a great opportunity to get software authors to bake DNSSEC into their apps at the same time as they add UA.

      Ball dropped, unfortunately.

  10. Alex says

    Junk, junk, I own a couple of .tv, I used to owe more than 1000 new TLD, not a good idea, most junk, and a lot of propaganda, and marketing…. .top, .club, .me, .io, .co, .ie, .ca, .shop, .store, .taxi, This, . That…… Just garbage… Don’t fall in to the propaganda crap on buying these extension…..take it from someone who spend the last 5 years analyzing the situation, I’m actually the only holder on planet earth of a unique one word domain portafolio, and it used to be of almost 2000 domains including new TLDs… The squatting is horrible.. Even USPTO is horrible.. I should sue them..

  11. New Gtld Billionaire says

    None of this is new. We’ve seen it with .biz and .info back in the day.

    Every TLD has its place on the Net. The ones mentioned in the article seem to have finally found theirs.

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