The Domain Pulse evening event at Hamburg's Fish Auction Hall that brought to a close the first day of the conference meant there were quite a few stragglers at day two's commencement. But by the afternoon everyone had arrived in time to hear an update on this year's Registrar Atlas Survey, presented by Thomas Rickert.
The Registrar Atlas surveys registrars and resellers in Germany, and in 2012 takes in Austria, Switzerland and The Netherlands, and has some surprising preliminary findings relating to DNSSEC adoption and new generic Top Level Domains. The final results for the survey will be presented at the World Hosting Day in Germany in March.
One of the worrying findings to date is a surprising reluctance for the registrars and resellers to offer Domain Name System Security Extension (DNSSEC). In Germany, 17 per cent of respondents offered DNSSEC in 2011 and 44 per cent said they expected to offer it within the next 12 months while 28 per cent were not planning to.
But in 2012, unexpectedly these numbers had declined. Of those that have responded, the number offering DNSSEC had declined to 12 per cent, 25 per cent said they expected to offer it in the next 12 months while 25 per cent have not planned to.
The trend, Rickert explained, is significant. And if the results are confirmed in the final results it would show momentum to adopt DNSSEC has stalled, and is even going backwards. So a question has to be asked is can momentum be created to start moving forward.
While the German results are of concern, worryingly 41 per cent of respondents in Austria do not even plan to implement DNSSEC.
DNSSEC is critical, giving internet users, both providers of services and end-users, much more secure transactions and interactions online. And it allows users to be certain that data has not been modified in transit.
Part of the failure Rickert believes is that the industry, particularly registrars and registries, have not created a demand for DNSSEC. And while many internet users are concerned about the security of their data online, they are unaware of DNSSEC and its role.
But DNSSEC is not the only area where registrars are showing a lack of interest in promoting new services. Preliminary results for the Registrar Atlas also show that registrars are going to be reluctant to promote new gTLDs.
Of the respondents replying to the survey, just over one in five (22%) of German registrars and resellers planned to offer registration services promoting new gTLDs when they come online, with the first gTLDs probably offering registrations in 2013. Figures for Austria and Switzerland are too small to be significant to date, with no figures available for The Netherlands, but the figures indicate less than one in five registrars and resellers in those countries are preparing to offer registrations in new gTLDs.
For new gTLD registries, it appears it could be challenging to get shelf space in registrars and it cannot be expected that registrars will be proactive in seeking out new gTLDs to sell their domain names.
However as noted, the Registrar Atlas is far from complete and registrars and resellers, not just in Germany, but also Austria, Switzerland and The Netherlands are encouraged to complete the wide-ranging survey that covers much more than DNSSEC and new gTLDs.
The survey is conducted by the German internet association eco in conjunction with nic.at (Austria), SWITCH (Switzerland) and SIDN (Netherlands).
To complete the survey, registrars and resellers should go to eco-umfrage.de and click on the appropriate link.
This article was updated to reflect that the current survey is not only the first survey in which registrars and resellers in The Netherlands has participated in, but also Austria and Switzerland.