The Internet industry has been characterized by rapid and fundamental change in recent years. This change has brought disruption, innovation and the promise of new opportunities. It’s an exciting time.
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is facing this challenging environment head-on. The CIRA team has identified opportunities within a changing market to deliver a safe and secure operating environment for .CA, while continuing to invest in the Canadian Internet community.
Looking back at CIRA’s 2014-2016 strategic plan
Fiscal year 2016 was a pivotal point for the organization.
The end of one strategic plan (fiscal year 2014-2016) and the adoption of a new plan (fiscal year 2017-2020) marked a pinnacle time for CIRA to reflect on its success and consider the future of the organization.
In the 2014-2016 strategic plan, CIRA predicted a domain market that would experience unprecedented upheaval. Over the past 18 months, the domain industry has been turned on its head. The introduction of 1000+ new generic top level domains (gTLDs) represented a challenge and an opportunity for CIRA and it embraced the opportunity head-on. Recognizing headroom in the Canadian domain market, CIRA has worked strategically with its channel partners to raise the profile of .CA in the Canadian market. This activity has ensured .CA continues to be a top choice for Canadian Internet users, in spite of new competition.
CIRA’s 2014-2016 strategic plan laid out the roadmap for CIRA’s continued growth, nurturing the .CA domain name space, while enabling revenue diversification. With incremental investment in new product development, CIRA has built on its expertise in DNS and registry operations. CIRA launched the D-Zone Anycast DNS service, representing CIRA’s commitment to fostering a safe and secure Internet in Canada for individuals, businesses and public entities. CIRA has also introduced registry services product offerings, such as the Fury platform and gTLD workshops, making CIRA a strategic choice for individuals and businesses looking for ways to operate their domains securely.
To enable this diversification, CIRA has built new technical expertise and operational capacity. At the end of fiscal year 2016, new products, increased intellectual property, and the diversification of CIRA team’s skills and abilities represented important assets as the organization entered a period of change and growth.
The 2014-2016 strategic plan focused on new investment in technology and people, but it also represented a major, intentional strategic shift. The organization needed to scale, increase its operational velocity, and streamline processes to enable new ways of working. Throughout this shift, .CA has remained the core of CIRA. CIRA has maintained its high standard of operational excellence, balancing new opportunities with its legacy mandate to operate a world-class registry.
This work has helped CIRA invest in the Canadian Internet landscape. CIRA has made important investments in Internet infrastructure, skills, research and policy to improve the Internet experience for all Canadians.
The domain industry today
The approval of new domain extensions by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) a few years ago signifies one of the biggest changes to the Internet since its inception. Many of the proposed new TLDs came online in fiscal year 2016 and there are now more than 1000 new domain extensions on the market. These new competitive forces are being felt by both country code top level domains (ccTLDs) and legacy domain operators, but also by new gTLDs, themselves. Business models are being tested and will need to adapt. Operators of new domains, for example, are still working out how to create sustainable revenue in what has become a crowded domain market.
Growth in new gTLDs
Several Internet giants who were considered major players in the rush to capture new domains have yet to launch. Both Google and Amazon have been slow, (or cautious), around capitalizing on the dozens of new domain extensions owned between them. There will be further change in this market. With new gTLDs coming online weekly, it’s still too early to assess the full impact of new gTLDs.