Just recently, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) worked in tandem with TLD Registry Ltd. to create and publish a concise and informative case study of newly-accredited Chinese IDNs, .在线 (Dot Chinese Online) and .中文网 (Dot Chinese Website).
The case study (originally published on ICANN's case study page) includes a brief overview of the background of .在线 and .中文网, and highlights the value and promising potential that these extensions can provide for brands, businesses, individuals, and any other online venture seeking to utilize a language spoken by nearly a quarter of humanity.
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Earlier this week, it was reported that ChopChop's parent company, TLD Registry, has secured one of the most vital pieces to running a successful domain business in China: full accreditation with the state agency of the Chinese government that regulates the Internet from within China - The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
Supplemental to last week's major news, TLD Registry released a video documentary, shown below, which follows CEO Arto Isokoski and VP Pinky Brand from TLD Registry Ltd. as they spread the word in China about their fully Chinese IDN domain extensions .在线 (Dot Chinese Online) and .中文网 and (Dot Chinese Website) to potential registrar partners, IP lawyers, government folks and potential end-users.
The documentary provides some general insight into all the travel, preparation, speeches, meetings, and celebrations that these guys have executed, and endured. You also see some of the incredible contrasts that daily life within China offers to those entrepreneurs that have invested resources into penetrating this lucrative market. There are also cameos from other registry operators known in the industry, such as Jeff Sass and Colin Campbell from .CLUB, who have spent time on the road in China with the TLD Registry folks as marketing partners.
The documentary was produced and edited by 21 year industry veteran Pinky Brand (who used to be in the TV news business in another lifetime) and TLD Registry Ltd. It covers the period March 2014 to January 2017.
*This is a courtesy republishing of the original article and video posted over on TLD Registry's company blog site.
In case you missed the big news announced earlier this week across the domain industry, registry operator TLD Registry Ltd., parent company of ChopChop.domains, is now officially accredited by MIIT in China!
Below is a courtesy republishing of the original blog article announcing the accreditation, posted to TLD Registry's company blog.
As of February 10, 2017, TLD Registry has secured one of the most vital pieces to running a successful domain business in China: full accreditation with the state agency of the Chinese government that regulates the Internet from within China - The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
This is huge news for the company, and the MIIT accreditation means big changes for how .在线 (Dot Chinese Online) and .中文网 and (Dot Chinese Website) are marketed, sold, and used in China.
See below for some quick facts on what the accreditation means for TLD Registry:
What Does This MIIT Accreditation Mean
Becoming accredited with MIIT effectively means that .在线 (Dot Chinese Online) and .中文网 and (Dot Chinese Website), the domain extensions that TLD Registry fully owns and operates, are now legally recognized extensions by the state agency of the Chinese government that regulates the Internet from within China.
What Does “Legally Recognized” Mean?
In China, if an individual or organization wishes to set up and host a website from China’s mainland, they must first acquire an Internet Content Provider (ICP) license from MIIT, which appears in the footer area of the front page of the website:
The ICP license is only issued by Chinese regulators after verifying that the website will be hosted in China, will operate using one of the currently 30 legal domain extensions, as well as other forms of submitted documentation about the website owner and company.
In theory, someone might be able to register a name in a “non-legal” domain extension and attempt to host a website associated with that name from within China, however since the “non-legal” domain extension would not include the ICP license, the Registrant’s website could result in MIIT taking action against them, which could include blocking their website(s) from resolving at any time without notice.
How Does This Affect Chinese Netizens?
Now that .在线 and .中文网 are legally recognized extensions by MIIT, Chinese netizens have an additional option to the 30 other legal extensions to use and set up a website for personal, business, or any other purpose that suits them, without the fear of their website getting blocked or shutdown without notification. In other words, Chinese netizens can now acquire an ICP license, set up their website using a .在线 or .中文网 extension, and use it legally for any online venture they wish to pursue.
Not only does the new legal status of .在线 and .中文网 give Chinese netizens a stress-free and legal alternative to a crowded marketplace of domain extensions, but the ability to set up and use a website using a domain extension that’s in their own native language immediately establishes trust and credibility within China.
How Does This Affect Registrars?
For Chinese-specific Registrars, the newly acquired accreditation immediately places .在线 and .中文网 in a competitive position within the marketplace of just 30 other legally recognized domain extensions in China. Now that .在线 and .中文网 are legally recognized in China and are Chinese script extensions, Chinese Registrars should begin to see a rise in traffic and registration numbers for these domains, as they are trusted, credible, and in a language that is native to the primary consumer base.
The accreditation additionally provides further optimism for the future of Chinese internationalized domain names and how they are viewed by Chinese regulators.
For non-China based Registrars, there is no direct impact to the purchase process because of the accreditation. However, .在线 and .中文网 may garner significant attention and subsequent sales from investors and Chinese netizens, so Registrars should be prepared to accommodate an uptick in registration numbers, with some traffic coming from within China as well.
How Does This Affect Domain Investors?
Legally recognized domain names in China certainly provides opportunity to increase values of them both in the short and long term. Domain investors now have a unique opportunity to register .在线 and .中文网 domain names at excellent prices, and hold and/or resell them while these now-legal, trusted, and credible extensions gather momentum and offer possibilities to rise in value.
There may be no better time than right now to invest in a digital commodity that has been approved by Chinese regulators, are completely legal in China, and is in a language that makes sense to nearly a quarter of all humanity and the largest e-commerce market in the world.
Learn more about the value of Chinese domains for investors here.
How Does This Affect Brands and Businesses?
The themes associated with the accreditation are legality, trust, credibility, and linguistic correctness. These themes are why brands and businesses, both Chinese and international, should seriously consider using .在线 and .中文网 domains now that they are legally recognized.
There are many reasons why Chinese domains are good for brands and businesses, and we’ve covered these extensively in our blog, on social media, and in other marketing programs.
These reasons are:
Click here for a more in-depth look at our reasons.
We couldn’t be more excited about the accreditation of .在线 and .中文网. We expect big changes in the coming months and we are happy to now legally serve a Chinese-speaking population of 1.4 billion people and the largest e-commerce market in the world.
If you have any further questions regarding the MIIT accreditation, how it affects you, and what this means for the future, please contact Mitch Watkins at email@example.com and he will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
During the final week of January, members of the ChopChop Domains team attended the third annual NamesCon Domain Name conference in Las Vegas. NamesCon, which has continued to grow each year, has once again surpassed our expectations and provided an excellent opportunity for domain investors, registrars, registries, hosting companies, IP and brand protection agencies, and many others to learn and develop their business in the domain name investment ecosystem.
Most of the sessions, panels, and networking events during NamesCon primarily focused on cultivating no-nonsense strategies for western domain investors of all experience levels to hone their skills and ultimately make their domain business profitable. However, there is always buzz surrounding the enigmatic Chinese domain market, and so we figured it would be a useful exercise to document some important aspects of domain investing, specifically in the Chinese market, that stuck out to us during NamesCon.
Although China makes up a substantial piece of the domain market pie, it can be incredibly difficult to pin down the ebbs and flows of the market, and knowing how and when to appropriately capitalize on maximizing ROI in the China domain space is not an easy task. At ChopChop Domains, we aim to not only provide you with the best possible Chinese domain name registration options, but we strive to educate our audiences on the China domain market in general as well. So, let’s get into some not-so-obvious takeaways of the Chinese domain market from our time spent at NamesCon 2017.
The first thing I wanted to touch on, which seemed to have been brought up sporadically among the crowded choices of panel sessions, is the fact that domain markets are always fluctuating, especially in China. We all remember when 4-letter, non-vowel Chinese Premiums (CHIP’s, as referred by the domainer community) went through a period of time when they were selling left and right in China, resulting in value spike. Investors who bought and sold CHIP’s were seeing decent returns coming from China, and the trend plodded along as the increased value held strong.
Then, not even a year later, CHIP’s began to slowly depreciate as less and less Chinese domainers were investing in them. Following the domain community, no one can really determine the exact reason for why this market trend lost value in a relatively short period of time. But that’s just part of the ever-changing domain market!
The lesson learned here is that markets are fluctuating in China all the time, so don’t put all your eggs in one basket with one strategy that will likely see a loss of value in time. Instead, plan your investment strategies while keeping fluctuation in mind. Diversify your portfolio. Test and experiment with the current hot trends in China, and find what works for you. Domain markets have ebbs and flows, and it’s important to stay ahead of the curve in China so you don’t end up missing out on opportunity, or losing out on some of your investments.
The second aspect of the Chinese domain market that I took away from NamesCon was that the future of new gTLDs and IDNs still remain somewhat uncertain, however we can still draw many similarities between the .COM bubble in the 1990’s and new domain extensions of today. For example, as outlined in an article written last year about the availability of inventory in Chinese IDNs, we can draw similarities of short, meaningful, relevant, and available .COM domains back in the '90’s to the many new domain extensions in today’s marketplace.
Back in the ‘90’s, some investors doubted the viability of “premium” .COM domain names as a legitimate, tradable commodity. Now some names are worth millions and some investors have made careers out of selling them. Speculation tells us that we could see a similar rise in values with premium-sounding names in the new domain extensions. If you’re a believer in the new gTLDs and how some of them could affect the China market, the time to invest in new domain extensions -- IDNs or new gTLDs -- may be now.
We are still in the infancy stages of new domain extensions and the role they will end up having in the domain name ecosystem. The domain investor groupthink, especially in the west, posit that .COM is still king, and that new gTLDs and IDNs will consolidate, become irrelevant, or disappear altogether. However, in the late '90's and early 2000's, some thought premium .COM names, and even premium unrestricted ccTLD names were risky investments. The lesson here is that Chinese-script IDNs and other relevant new ASCII domain extensions could be at the top in the future of China’s domain name space. If you intelligently invest in short, meaningful, relevant, and available IDNs now, it could pay dividends down the road.
There were only two actual China-related sessions presented at NamesCon. One of which went over various tools and methods to help you invest in domains for China (which we covered extensively as a part of our Chinese Domaining Masterclass series), and the other was a panel session named “China Masterclass.” The panel focused on topics such as the “legal” domain extensions that will sell in China, entry to the Chinese domain market, and what I found most important, building trust with those you work with in China.
To touch on the final point above, after attending this session and speaking with various other China experts at the event, I was able to determine just how important trust is in China. Trust, or “guanxi” is incredibly important for doing business in China. Building guanxi with Chinese partners, consumers, and regulators is a vital piece in doing successful business there. The same applies for domain investors.
If you want to enter the Chinese market or continue doing business in China, you must find a partner you can trust. Build and maintain relationships with your Chinese partners and customers. Attend meetings and events where you can have face-to-face meetings with them. Work with trusted third parties such as brokers or interpreters. Add value to your non .COM domain names. For example, Chinese IDNs not only present a brand/IP strategy for businesses, but it may also be an “ice-breaker” for furthering relations in China.
WeChat is all-encompassing. We cover this in our blog often, but it is pertinent to keep this in mind as you go about your domain investing in China market. Among my many conversations with attendees about China, WeChat seemed to always come up in conversation. In the west, it seems we don’t really comprehend the power of WeChat as a tool for just about everything. This includes domain names. If you can utilize WeChat to buy, sell, or broker domain names, you will have a leg up on everyone else who does not use WeChat.
WeChat is a must-have for doing business in China. Leverage the power of WeChat to reach millions of people to sell your domains. Reach consumers who may be interested in new domain extensions beyond the legacy extensions. Develop marketing, advertising and PR strategies to deploy specifically for WeChat, and partner with those you trust in China to help you do this. WeChat is uncharted territory for many in the west, but the potential and power of the app seems almost limitless.
Thank you again for joining us and we hope you are able to take away some useful and interesting tidbits that we “took away” from NamesCon. Stay tuned for our next blog article and Happy (belated) Chinese New Year!
- ChopChop Domains Team