The Good, Bad and the Ugly
Being an active and vocal participant in the Domain industry for the better part of a decade has allowed me to see both the good and bad in our business. Of the good things, in fact very good, has been country code Top-Level-Domains (ccTLDs). Country code TLDs are simple to understand, easily associated with, and even evoke a sense of ownership (patriotism), which is the perfect formula for a successful TLD.
Though ccTLDs have been good for our industry, the single glaring problem with them has been the lack of standards across the ccTLD registries. Understanding issues of culture, nationalism, and some registries just wanting to be different, this doesn’t take away the fact that with a standard (EPP) there would invariably be more registrars offering a wider selection of ccTLDs. And with greater availability, access and distribution of ccTLDs, it’s not hard to imagine ccTLDs numbers looking completely different than they do today. Until the ccTLD registries can be unified, registrars will have neither the time nor money to consider but a handful of ccTLDs at a time.
Climbing the Mountain
Even without a standard, HEXONET has taken on the arduous task of bringing all the world’s ccTLD registries under one roof. Today, HEXONET’s ccTLD EPP platform allows resellers and registrars alike to access over 150 ccTLDs from one source. Yes over 150 via EPP! And the list continues to grow.
To provide this service, HEXONET has for many few years been obtaining a vast array of accreditations, investing substantial capital into registry accounts, building up critical operational and engineering expertise about each and every registry, and last but not least, poured thousands of engineering hours into developing an EPP connection for each registry, even if the registry doesn’t support EPP! The end result, allows anyone to quickly and profitably offer hundreds of ccTLDs without any engineering or financial risk. HEXONET has made it utterly simple.
Why Climb the Mountain
Though the goal of unifying the ccTLDs under one protocol and one supplier was ambitious, the need for such a service was clear. The global scope of business today require companies protect their brands across the world. Businesses don’t have the time to peck and hunt through multiple registrars to get the ccTLDs they need. Even registrars need such a service, since they don’t have the time, money or expertise to embark on such an endeavor, they would rather spend their energies on making money.
HEXONET from its genesis has been an engineering centric company. Without this critical characteristic, I doubt the ccTLD EPP platform would have even been attempted. HEXONET engineers like to work on big problems, so tackling the ccTLD unification issue was right in the company’s sweet spot! Ever hear the phrase, “bitting off more than you can chew”? At times, this project felt exactly like that old adage. Imagine researching, planning, developing, testing, and testing again against every operation and command across virtually every non-EPP registry. Even for registries who were EPP complaint, because of home spun EPP extensions, HEXONET had to provide a mapping of those extensions into standard EPP. The end result is HEXONET’s EPP 1.0 Gateway for ccTLDs, which is fully compliant to EPP 1.0 (RFC 4930-4933), the first of its kind industry wide.
Win-Win for Everyone
As I stated at the top of this post, among the best things in our industry for me has been ccTLDs, except for the unification issue. A big reason for coming to HEXONET and joining forces once again with Jens Wagner and a fantastic set of individuals was to do something special, which not only helps HEXONET, but ultimately helps our industry. I believe our ccTLD EPP 1.0 platform really accomplishes both goals.
HEXONET is even allowing connectivity to the EPP platform without charge. Wholesale domain registration rates are extremely competitive and are only paid at the time of registration. Even large registrars with their own accreditations have free use of the the EPP connections via HEXONET’s Registrar Operations Center, which is the company’s high performance and highly available turnkey registrar platform. Migrating is also a breeze since the EPP connection is the same, whether one is connecting to HEXONET’s accreditation or their own, clients who have enough volume to be accredited for a particular ccTLD can seamlessly upgrade with the ease of flipping a switch. No engineering, no time, not even missing a transaction.