Registrar Scorecard yields great results
Our continuous push to make the .nl zone as stable and secure as possible scored some big successes in 2018. A lot of progress was achieved with the Registrar Scorecard (RSC), our incentive programme for registrars. Through the RSC, we promoted the adoption of internet standards and the active use of domain names. The percentage of domain names with StartTLS support shot up to almost 62 per cent in the space of just six months, while the number supporting DMARC passed 400,000. Both standards help make e-mail more secure. The number of DNSSEC-enabled domain names continued to grow as well, hitting 3,119,613 by the end of the year. That means more than 53 per cent of the .nl zone now supports DNSSEC. Over the course of 2018, RSC incentives totalling more than 1.5 million euros were paid to registrars.
Incentives focus on quality and active use of the .nl zone
Under the RSC banner, we offer several incentives, all designed to enhance the quality of the .nl zone by promoting the adoption of internet standards and the active use of domain names.
E-mail security standards
Since 1 July 2018, we've been encouraging the adoption of standards that help to make mail traffic more secure. One way we do that is by paying incentives to registrars who use DMARC and StartTLS. That indirectly promotes the use of DKIM and/or SPF as well, because they're needed for DMARC. In the six months after the incentive came in, StartTLS-enabled domain names went from 3.2 million to 3.6 million. DMARC support shot up from 36,000 to 470,000 and DKIM support from 365,000 to 1,097,000. The number of domains supporting SPF rose by 400,000 to end the year at 2.6 million. Eye-catching figures for such a short period.
IPv6 is the successor to IPv4, the established internet addressing protocol. A new protocol is needed for the simple reason that the internet is now so big that there just aren't enough IPv4 addresses to give every connected device a unique ID. The shortage has been causing problems for a while. Migration to IPv6 has to happen, and we want to support it. So we pay an incentive for every domain name with IPv6 connectivity. The policy helped push the number of IPv6-enabled names up to 1.7 million in 2018. This year, we intend to further energise adoption by running an SIDN Academy training day devoted to IPv6.
DNSSEC is an extension to the Domain Name System (DNS). It makes the internet safer and more reliable by addressing a number of vulnerabilities in the internet's signposting system, the DNS. We've been successfully promoting DNSSEC adoption for about seven years. In 2018, the number of signed domain names continued to grow. By the end of the year, 3,119,613 .nl domains -- more than half of the zone -- were DNSSEC-enabled.
Active use of domain names leads to fewer cancellations. So we support registrars who encourage active use by their registrants. For registrars, active use also means more opportunity for selling extra services, such as e-mail and hosting. We think it's important to maintain the size of the .nl zone as well. In 2018, we offered registrars an incentive for active use combined with portfolio growth. The system is being tweaked for 2019, with active use now incentivised on a standalone basis. Nearly 30 per cent of the zone is now actively used.
What is the Registrar Scorecard?
Introduced in 2015, the Registrar Scorecard is an incentive scheme, through which we reward registrars for contributing to the quality of the .nl zone. More than 370 registrars now take part. Because they include some big players, about 86 per cent of the .nl zone is now under the RSC umbrella, and that figure is expected to rise. As well as paying financial incentives, the RSC gives registrars performance feedback. Every member has access to a personalised dashboard where they can see how they are doing on each aspect. The dashboard provides at-a-glance performance data and payout forecasts. Stats on abuse prevention and registration data quality are made available too. Although incentives are no longer paid for performance in those areas, many registrars like to have the info for monitoring purposes.
The Registrar Scorecard works in two ways. It enables us to team up with registrars in strengthening the position of the .nl domain, and it gives registrars valuable portfolio status data plus the chance to boost their