Not all TLDs are created equal when it comes to protecting domain owners


You might think that registering a .COM, a .LONDON, or a .IO are all the same except for the price. While you would be right, the .COM always does command the highest price, there’s more under the hood with a TLD, and in some cases this could be the difference between keeping and losing your domain name.

Late last month the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) published a whitepaper that did a deep dive into how domain owners are protected (or not) depending on the TLD that they register.

It turns out that not every top-level domain is created equal when it comes to protecting the domain holder’s rights. Depending on where you register your domain, a rival, troll, or officious regulator who doesn’t like what you’re doing with it could wrongly take it away, or could unmask your identity as its owner—even if they are from overseas. (Source –

While in some cases registries are doing a good thing and protecting brands, there are of course plenty of people out there who abuse the rules and use these regulations to take a domain name from its rightful owner. With so many new gTLDs now on the market it can be all too easy to register a word or phrase that you think will be valuable in the future only to find out that some of the TLDs you registered it in, won’t have your back if someone who knows how to bend the rules in their favor decides they want it for themselves.

In the whitepaper that EFF released they share some good tips for steering clear of what they call trademark bullies, copyright bullies, and overseas speech regulators. If none of these things ring a bell I’d recommend taking a look at the whitepaper because let’s be honest, there’s nothing more frustrating than buying a domain and then having some annoying troll steal it from you because they’ve built a business doing that.

This hasn’t happened to me yet, but I have had people in the past try to bully me into giving them a domain that I rightfully own free and clear, luckily I picked TLDs that had my back, but just make sure you know which ones those are because in some cases you won’t be as lucky.

You can read the full whitepaper here and no you don’t have to give them your email address or anything about yourself in order to access it. Better safe than sorry right?

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Nick August 4, 2017, 7:59 am

    Funny how they didnt even report on .io names – one of the most popular extensions…

  • Matt Holmes August 4, 2017, 10:16 am

    Wow, I’ve been a domain investor for almost half a decade and haven’t thought of this! But totally a legitimate consideration, especially with

    “and in some cases this could be the difference between keeping and losing your domain name.”

    Thanks for sharing Morgan!

  • Sandeep Ramchandani August 8, 2017, 6:59 am

    Hi Morgan,

    As a registry that is working towards minimizing the abusive use of domain names, we would like to throw some light on how this process works.

    Firstly, we always reserve the rights to take action on any domain name that comes from MPAA and others ‘trusted notifiers’ who have a formal channel to submit complaints to us. At most times, the complaint needs to be accompanied with a court-order for it to be actionable.

    Secondly, we have a very clearly laid out AUP, which defines the types of activities prohibited in the namespace and specifies that all unlawful activities are prohibited. This includes abusive activities which cause direct harm to the website visitors through malware, phishing, piracy, etc., which are very easy to discern. Such cases are acted upon by us swiftly.

    Not only does this protect the interest of the internet users at-large, it also allows us to operate clean and trust-worthy name-spaces, which directly serves the interest of our customers. Many TLDs have fallen prey to wide-spread abuse and suffer consequences such as TLD blocks in email SPAM filters. We are working towards eliminating domain abuse that can lead to such damages.

    Lastly, concluding that one should avoid gTLDs operated by registries who are actively working towards minimizing the abusive use of domain names on the Internet is misleading, given that the intention is clearly to protect the interest of the internet users and not the opposite.

    Sandeep Ramchandani,
    Vice President and Business Head

    • Morgan August 8, 2017, 2:40 pm

      Thanks for sharing @Sandeep, I really appreciate it!


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