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Why .IN should have a more Free and Open Domain Aftermarket
Having been an investor and enthusiast of .IN domains since 2005, have to tell you the growth of .IN registrations have been good but could be a lot better. India is a country that has a great future ahead and there is tremendous energy in growth of ecommerce, startups, high speed broadband , always ON internet and so forth, yet few people are making the connection in media to .IN domains. There is hardly any coverage in Indian media on .IN domain names, most people seem to understand .COM for obvious reasons, but mention of .IN is visibly absent. There could be many reasons but I would like to point out a few that are very clear to many of the domain investors. Let's look at a comparison between .COM and .IN
.IN having no residency requirements is a huge positive in making it available throughout the world and there are registrants in almost 200 countries. Now the areas of improvement would need to come in Aftermarket reform. Having many restrictions and contradictory/confusing actions over the years since 2005 has ended up with no aftermarket companies in India that operate on .IN domain. This has put .IN domainers at a disadantage and directly helps .COM domains. .COM has been a leader with over 130 million registrations and my suggestion would be to closely study the .COM registry's path and see how .IN could follow a similar path to openness. Such reforms would not only help open up the market by encouraging startups in India and have many existing investors, companies particularly registrars be involved in the aftermarket.
A healthy and thriving aftermarket is essential for the growth of .IN market and ecosystem. Opening up and having a free market will increase .IN domain valuations which is essential for .IN domain registrants. (Do you know of anyone who will by any property that does not apprciate in value? Will anyone buy property that cannot be sold freely?). These are some of the issues I believe hindering further growth of .IN. What this has done is provide web developers in India to recommend other options such as .COM and even some new gtlds. So the option for .IN is very clear, open up the aftermarket with no restrictions and .IN domainers and registrants will feel they have equal footing to .COM domainers and registrants. .IN cannot compete with .COM with such handicap that currently exists and .COM is only going to grow.
Having an active aftermarket ensures domain owners can have potential exit plans for their domains and business, brings in more investments to the market, thereby increasing the visibility of .in domains to other business. It will feed off each other and there will be more research and studies conducted by these aftermarket companies that would be valuable for domain industry in India. Currently, there is hardly any domain data or research conducted or available for .IN domain owners. Such data being open will only help the transparency of the .IN market. All of these will positively impact the industry and will be in line with India's growth as an economic power.
In regards to domainer rights, the currrent perception is that .IN domainers have much lower rights than .COM domain owners, that needs to change for .IN to effectively grow. The earlier those reforms are implemented, the better.
Note: This is meant as an honest assessment of the current situation in regards to .IN domain names based on my interactions with other domain investors and my over 20 years experience with .com domain names.
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