“In 2013 we witnessed numerous incidents that emphasised the importance of people being able to use the internet securely and to have confidence in its availability. Over the last year, therefore, SIDN has continued to invest in the security and availability of the .nl domain,” said Roelof Meijer, SIDN’s CEO. “We became the first registry in the world to introduce a local anycast service, helping to make .nl more secure against DDoS attacks. In collaboration with our partners in the Abuse Information Exchange, we also set up the AbuseHub: a system that enables information about botnet infections to be shared quickly. SIDN has additionally taken on responsibility for administration of the system.”
.nl domain leads the way on DNSSEC
In 2013, the number of .nl domain names secured with DNSSEC rose from 1.3 million to almost 1.7 million – far more than in any other top-level domain in the world. DNSSEC is an extension to the DNS, which ensures that an internet user can't be redirected to a fake or malicious website despite entering the correct address of the site they want to visit. For internet users to benefit from the added security offered by DNSSEC, signed domain names also have to be validated by internet service providers. Validation services have yet to really take off, however. In the years ahead, SIDN will therefore continue to invest in the acceptance, use and further development of DNSSEC.
Development of the .nl domain
The .nl domain grew from 5,115,652 domain names at the end 2012 to 5,338,364 by the close of 2013. Net growth in the Dutch domain was therefore 272,712 names – 13 per cent down on growth in 2012. The reduced net growth was the product of almost a million new domain name registrations, combined with an increasing number of cancellations. The .nl domain was not alone in experiencing slower growth in 2013: almost all country-code domains in the world showed a similar pattern. A flatter growth curve was particularly evident in West European countries, where national domains are well established.
Economy influences growth of .nl
Roelof Meijer: “The declining growth of the major West European country-code domains was due primarily to the poor economic conditions. There is a strong link between levels of trade and demand for domain names. Outside Western Europe, and particularly in the emerging economies, domain name growth remained higher. The national domains of the so-called BRICS countries expanded by more than 25 per cent in 2013, for example. Furthermore, there is simply less scope for growth in Western Europe, because the number of registered domain names per head of the population is much higher than elsewhere.”
Forecast for 2014
“Numerous new gTLDs will come on line in 2014. The arrival of the new gTLDs may be expected to permanently change the domain name landscape. SIDN regards the introduction of the new domains as an opportunity. We will be acting as registry service provider for .amsterdam, for example. At the same time, we expect growth in the .nl domain to slow further in 2014,” commented Roelof Meijer. “SIDN therefore wants to work with the Registrars’ Association to promote the use of domain names, with a view to reducing the number of cancellations. We will also be continuing to invest in the security of the .nl domain. In addition, SIDN will be focusing on a number of new activities in 2014, including a role in so-called trust frameworks for digital identities. Trust frameworks help to make use of the internet more secure and more privacy-friendly. We believe that there are opportunities for us to perform a supervisory role within such a framework. Finally, the SIDN Fund will come into being in 2014. The SIDN Fund will contribute to and help to fund initiatives that increase the social and economic value of the internet.