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Facets of gTLD Registry Technical Operations - Registry Services

At Cloud Registry, we believe in empowering our partners by providing them with intuitive tools, industry knowledge, and insights into the business. It is part of our Flexibility · Visibility · Control value proposition. That’s why we make it a point that information sharing and education are a large part of our consultation with clients. Encouraged by the positive feedback we have received from clients — seasoned industry players and newcomers to the industry alike — we would like to share our experience with the wider ICANN community with this series of blog posts.


Registry Services

In this instalment, we will explore the core functions of a registry. Being the registry operator for a TLD means offering services in conjunction with the TLD. While the registry can offer a variety of services, ICANN provides guidance on what constitute registry services:

A. those services that are both:

  1. operations of the registry critical to the following tasks: the receipt of data from registrars concerning registrations of domain names and name servers; provision to registrars of status information relating to the zone servers for the TLD; dissemination of TLD zone files; operation of the registry zone servers; and dissemination of contact and other information concerning domain name server registrations in the TLD as required by the Registry Agreement; and 
  2. provided by the Registry Operator as of the Effective Date of the Registry Agreement, as the case may be;

B. other products or services that the Registry Operator is required to provide because of the establishment of a Consensus Policy (as defined above);

C. any other products or services that only a registry operator is capable of providing, by reason of its designation as the registry operator; 

D. and material changes to any Registry Service within the scope of (A), (B) or (C) above. (Definition comes from .NET Agreement, as specified by the ICANN Board on 8 November 2005, http://www.icann.org/minutes/resolutions-08nov05.htm).


The guidebook cites some customary services:

  1. Receipt of data from registrars concerning registration of domain names and name servers.
  2. Dissemination of TLD zone files.
  3. Dissemination of contact or other information concerning domain name registrations (Whois service).
  4. Internationalized Domain Names, where offered.
  5. DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC). 

which roughly translates to EPP, DNS, Whois, IDN and DNSSEC — the core well-known services.


Mapping it out

It helps to think about the registry in two parts: provisioning and publication.

Customary Service Categories  1, 4, 5 2, 3 



IDN rules

DNSSEC signing



Zone File Access

Bulk Registration Data Access


Or, thinking in terms of an Input/output paradigm, the “Provisioning” subsystem, as we call it at Cloud Registry, encompasses the “input” and “processing” part of the equation; the “Publication” subsystem correponds to the “output” of a registry.


Why Should Applicants Care?

While all TLDs essentially perform the same core functions of accepting registrations and publishing info onto the DNS and Whois, etc., this is one of the main areas in which a gTLD applicant can distinguish itself from the competition.

Registry services are mostly covered by Question 23 of the Applicant Guidebook. Being a non-scoring question, applicants may defer to their technical operator to provide a boilerplate response. While likely to be safe, this will lead to a very unimaginative registry.

At the other end of the spectrum, applicants should be mindful of the Registry Services Review and not trigger an extended evaluation by RSTEP, which will incur additional costs and delay to the application approval process.


What about Critical Registry Functions?

Some have expressed confusion between registry services and the “five critical functions of a registry” stated in the guidebook: DNS, SRS, Whois, data escrow, DNSSEC. It’s important to note that critical registry functions is a tangential topic that is mostly related to continuity and registrant protection in the event of a potential continuity threat.


Examples of Other Registry Services

Following are some examples of registry services beyond the basics:

  • name reservation and correponding release / allocation plan
  • registry lock service
  • grace periods
  • registrant verification or nexus requirements
  • enhanced rights protection mechanisms
  • any non-standard form of access to registry data offered to other parties such as law enforcements


The registry services offered by a TLD is a defining attribute, and should be one of the key strategies for any would-be applicant.

New gTLDs Launching in 3 Days

If you have been following the recent tumulltuous developments on ICANN’s New gTLD Program, you will find comfort in the latest blog post from ICANN’s CEO, Rod Beckstrom, confirming that the program will launch on schedule and as planned.


In other words, ICANN will begin accepting applications for new gTLD’s on January 12th, 2012.

There’s still time, but not a whole lot

The application window is open for three months ending April 12th, 2012. However, the final date for registering an account on the TLD Application System is March 29th, 2012.

While many providers (including ourselves) have the capability to provide you with a “standard” set of answers for your gTLD application, it is far from the ideal way to spend that $185,000 application fee. If anything the domain industry has learnt over the past two new gTLD rounds, is that the cookie-cutter approach doesn’t work. As an applicant, you need to think long and hard about your unique value propositions, your market and its stakeholders, as well as your business and marketing strategies.


We are flexible enough to support you

Given that we espouse the values of being creative and innovative with new gTLDs, it is no coincidence that Cloud Registry was founded with the core value of being flexible. Being flexible means that our software and processes can perfectly complement your strategies on day dot, with the elasticity to grow and evolve with your needs into the future. Our platform and services are truly built for the 2012 New gTLD round, and proven through production use by ccTLDs that are operated on the Cloud Registry platform.


Let us help you

Get in touch now.


Photo credit: NASA/KSC - Space Shuttle Discovery launches from pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.