Domain industry in “new normality”

Today, on September 7, the 13th International conference for ccTLD registrants and registrars of the CIS, Central and Eastern Europe, TLDCON 2020, kicked off at 10 am. For the first time, the conference is being held online, and its audience includes not only domain market experts but also everyone interested in domains and the development of the internet. This time, there is a record number of participants: 257 people representing 23 countries registered for TLDCON. All the main TLDCON traditions continue: it will last two days, Russian and English are its working languages, and the audience can take an active part by asking questions in the streaming chat. The conference is organized by the Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ with support of the Technical Center of Internet (general partner) and MSK-IX.

The conference opened with the plenary session, “2020: The industry in new conditions. How to go on?”. Coordination Center Director Andrei Vorobyev spoke about the changes that had taken place in the domain industry during the switch to remote operations and how the industry had survived the COVID-19 pandemic.

“European experts say the development of online trade resulted in the development of the domain market, too. In Russia, the number of registrations in the .RU ccTLD remained flat during the first six months of 2020, but there was no decrease. Over the last several months we can see a positive trend in the number of registrations, which is similar to the trends we can see in other European ccTLDs. In .РФ, there is a slight drop that is mostly connected with the absence of Universal Acceptance and the impossibility of making full use of IDNs: domains containing letters from national alphabets. A special section of TLDCON 2020 will address this problem.”

ICANN Global Stakeholder Engagement Senior Manager for Eastern Europe and Central Asia Mikhail Anisimov spoke about new cyberthreats generated during the pandemic that demanded an immediate revision of existing approaches in order to counter them. Communications with the ICANN community also had to switch to online. Mikhail Anisimov noted that in this context it was very important to sustain the level of involvement in ICANN’s work that we had seen earlier. Moreover, he shared ICANN’s plan to launch the second round of the New gTLD program (read more in our news section).

“The new gTLD program continues to progress, and for national registries, the shift in user interest towards new domain zones is one of the stress points, along with the growing popularity of social media as the main channel for online sales for small and medium-sized businesses, which cannot but impact the development of the domain market as a whole,” Andrei Vorobyev commented in response to the ICANN representative’s speech.

Katrina Sataki (NIC.LV, Latvia, ccNSO) shared her experience of working online at an international organization. She noted that even before the pandemic a major part of the operations at ccNSO was carried out with online tools such as Zoom, and both the organization and the volunteers working with it managed the new conditions excellently. Leonid Todorov (APTLD) reaffirmed this and shared his experience of organizing remote work at APTLD as well as how Asian-Pacific ccTLDs adjusted to the new situation.

Maxim Burtikov (RIPE NCC), Yelena Voronina (MSK-IX) and Alexei Rogdev (Technical Center of Internet) spoke about how the internet in Russia and all over the world survived the pandemic. Alexei Rogdev said that the TCI restructured its work during the quarantine and described the challenges that all the market participants had to face.

“New processes create new types of attacks, and it gets more difficult to ensure the continuity of DNS operations,” Rogdev noted.

MSK-IX Director Yelena Voronina added that the sharp increase in workload that followed the massive transition to remote work forced providers to take the development of peer-to-peer relations more seriously. Moreover, the number of DNS requests for names related to coronavirus and measures to combat it increased.

“An increase in the number of requests should be planned, taking into account the percentage of internet penetration into society. The more we use the internet the more we need to invest in the development of its infrastructure,” she concluded.
Heads of the regional ccTLDs – Pavel Gusev (KazNIC, Kazakhstan), Sergei Povalishev (, Belarus), and Svetlana Tkachenko (Hostmaster Ltd, Ukraine) also spoke at the plenary session. They discussed the ccTLDs’ response to the pandemic and coronavirus-related quarantine restrictions. Pavel Gusev presented statistics showing a slight decrease in the number of domain names in .KZ during the quarantine. However, the situation remained stable in the Ukrainian and Belorusian ccTLDs, and the registries have quite quickly adapted to the “new normality.”

Representatives of Russian registrars – Alexei Korolyuk (, Andrei Kuzmichyov (RU-CENTER) and Andrei Savelyev (ДОМЕНЫ.РФ) – spoke in detail about how registrars felt when they had to switch to remote work. According to them, the pandemic has catalyzed many changes in registrar operations.

“We have become 20 percent more digital, and this is not the limit,” said Alexei Korolyuk.

TLDCON 2020 continues: join the online streaming at or follow our updates.

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