Domain Abuse

PIR Expands QPI Initiative

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by Anand Vora | Mar 4, 2021 | Article
https://qpi.org/category/article/

PIR to offer roadmap and toolkit to help registries and their registrars improve domain name space quality, reduce abuse, and increase renewals

More than a year and a half ago—in May 2019—Public Interest Registry (PIR) proudly introduced the Quality Performance Index, or QPI.  In doing so, PIR created a roadmap to identify best practices and incentives for registrars to reduce abuse rates and increase renewals of .ORGs. 

QPI was created to create responsible registrations in .ORG while implementing proactive steps to reduce DNS Abuse.  It is calculated by analyzing data for each registrar based on a number of core Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)—abuse ratings, renewal rates, domain usage, DNSSEC enabled, SSL encryption usage, and the average term life of a domain name registration.  The weighted scores are then combined to form a single QPI score.  Of these factors, DNS Abuse is the primary metric; if a registrar fails on DNS Abuse, it will not qualify for QPI no matter its scoring in the other criteria. As a result, QPI incentivizes .ORG registrars to make domain health a priority and identify and remedy DNS Abuse such as botnets, malware, phishing, and related spam. 

The goals of QPI are clear—to recognize and reward those registrars aligned with, and committed to, the mission of maintaining and growing trust in the .ORG domain; identify areas of improvement so PIR account managers can work with registrars to increase their scores by improving the quality of their registrations; and promote the overall quality of the .ORG domain name space and the Internet as a whole through this proactive approach to combating DNS Abuse.

The results have been meaningful.  

The creation of QPI has improved the quality of .ORG domains registered and renewed.  This is evidenced by the fact that .ORG remains the least abused of all large generic top-level domains (gTLDs); participating registrars saw a marked improvement (4 percent) in renewal rates; approximately 50 percent of all .ORG new creates were registered through the QPI program; and PIR has observed direct changes in some registrar behavior—registrars that had previously high abuse rates have worked to lower their abuse percentages in order to qualify for QPI and gain financial incentives. 

In light of its success, PIR is now expanding the program and making it available at no cost to all registries. To do so, PIR will make its QPI roadmap and toolkit available to other registries seeking to improve and grow the quality of their domain name spaces. 

The roadmap identifies best practices for how to implement QPI for top-level domains (TLDs), and the toolkit enables registries to incentivize reduction in abuse rate and increase renewals of the TLD. The roadmap and toolkit will also allow registrars with resellers to implement their own versions of QPI. 

QPI reflects PIR’s responsibility as part of its non-profit mission to operate for good and improve and increase registrations in a responsible way. In making it freely available, PIR hopes to expand QPI’s positive impact across the domain name community.

Once implemented, QPI will help registries and their registrar partners prevent abusive domains by addressing registrations made for malicious activity, working with third parties to identify abusive registrations, and improving promotions to avoid  dramatic spikes in DNS Abuse.

This is not an isolated effort.  It is part of PIR’s ongoing work to strengthen the trustworthiness of the domain space and Internet more broadly.  Just last month, PIR announced the DNS Abuse Institute to build on efforts to combat malware, botnets, phishing, pharming , and related spam in the Domain Name System.

Ultimately, we believe the QPI will help achieve a cleaner domain space for everyone, combat DNS Abuse, and improve the quality of domains across the Internet.

What they’re saying: Industry Support for QPI Expansion

IONOS relies on quality registrations to drive global growth in the hosting and cloud business. As a result, PIR’s initiative to analyze, forecast and incentivize domain registrations that lead to higher renewal rates and greater customer perceived value just makes the work we do easier and more profitable.  We’re very grateful that PIR’s QPI program aims at growing the value of .org domains in particular, especially because speculative, short-lived registrations are not key to our business model at IONOS.”

Ulrich Retzlaff, Domain Expert at IONOS

“We like the idea that our company’s stance on abuse mitigation is finally being rewarded by a registry via its marketing programs. Keeping our network clean is usually a thankless task, so it’s nice to be able to get some fiscal benefit from PIR.”

Michele Neylon, CEO and Founder, Blacknight

“We’ve been really pleased to participate in the QPI program and have found a lot of success with it throughout the year.  It’s helped to incentivize us to find more opportunities to sell .ORG domains across our organization, and has resulted in a more than 50% increase in creates YOY. We love to see registries come up with creative programs that reward registrars who are focused on selling quality registrations- it’s a win-win for us both.”   

Karen Dixon, Vice President of Marketing, Domains at Newfold (formerly Endurance Group)

“PIR has been a key partner for Name.com over the past few years thanks to the QPI program, which incentivizes and rewards us for driving long-term, sustainable growth. Rather than chasing volume on low cost, first-year registrations, we can leverage the QPI program in alignment with our broader strategy of driving quality registrations with higher renewal rates. This focus on long-term success over short-term volume has led to an increase in .ORG revenue, which benefits both registry and registrar.”

Ashley Barton, Director of Marketing, Name.com

“The QPI initiative has been great for Automattic. Allowing us to position .org in a way that makes sense for us without having to tick off specific boxes means we’re building a healthier namespace together with PIR. Our customers embrace .org widely, and we’re happy to include .org as an option for our plan bundles. The QPI program helps offset the cost we bear nicely.” 

Kellie Peterson, Head of Domains, Automattic | WordPress.com

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