System rewards registrars for the quality of their registrations, not just the quantity.
Many registries measure their success by the total domains in their namespace. They provide incentives for registrars to sell more of their domains by either charging bargain-basement prices for first-year creates or giving rebates based on volume.
Public Interest Registry (PIR), the non-profit behind the .org top level domain, changed tack in 2018. It decided to focus more on quality than volume.
This was partly because low-cost domains often lead to more abuse in a namespace. Spammers, malware distributors and other bad actors don’t want to pay more for domains than they have to. If you’re going to cycle through thousands of domains, why not register the cheapest ones?
In 2019, PIR introduced a new incentive program for registrars called the Quality Performance Index (QPI). It measures registrars on the quality of registrations, not just the quantity, and offers incentives for meeting these new metrics. The metrics include abuse ratings, renewal rates, domain usage, DNSSEC enablement, SSL encryption usage, and the average term life of a domain name registration.
PIR says that QPI has driven the right behavior: abuse is down and participating registrars saw a 4% increase in renewal rates. Participating registrars include heavyweights IONOS and Newfold Digital, among others.
Now, PIR is effectively “open sourcing” its program. This month, it announced that it’s offering its QPI roadmap and toolkit available to other registries at no charge.
Some registries are likely to adopt the best practices. Others are solely focused on the bottom line and are willing to put up with abuse in their namespace if it lines their pockets. The same can be said for some registrars that turn a blind eye to bad actors.