Names & Numbers

The eco Names & Numbers Forum is one of the world’s largest interest groups for the domain industry. The forum has more than 130 member companies, which includes registries, registrars, back-end providers, consultants and experts from the secondary market, covering the entire spectrum of the industry. The eco Names & Numbers Forum works with a broad network of partners. Thomas Rickert, Wolf-Ulrich Knoben and Lars Steffen represented eco members at all ICANN meetings throughout the year.

In the year under review, further work was pursued on the “Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP Phase 2) on the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data”. This was undertaken in order to implement the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for the WHOIS of domain names. In addition to this initiative, a further key element shaping the work of the eco Names & Numbers Forum at the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN) involved the ongoing discussion on the topic of “DNS Abuse”.


As a long-standing member of the ICANN community, Thomas Rickert represents the interests of eco members in the Generic Name Supporting Organization (GNSO). In order to drive the EPDP Phase 2 process forward, in 2022 he once again represented the Internet Service Providers and Connectivity Providers Constituency (ISPCP) in both the GNSO Council and in the Small Teams on the topics of DNS Abuse and the “System for Standardized Access/Disclosure« (SSAD) Review”. In order to promote the latter, Rickert is also active in the Registration Data Accuracy Scoping Team.

For the Competence Group, other central topics included discussions about the European Commission’s Network and Information Security Directive with a focus on Article 28, as well as liability issues for intermediaries in the context of the Hamburg Regional Court and the Leipzig Regional Court proceedings taken against the public DNS resolver and eco member Quad9. The eco Association supports Quad9 in these proceedings. Regarding the latest drafts of the NIS2 Directive, the Names & Numbers Forum compiled and published its own position paper on the effects on the DNS industry.

The City of Hamburg, DENIC and eco will co-host the ICANN78 Meeting in Hamburg in October 2023. Six months before the meeting takes place, eco will work closely with its members in organising an accompanying programme and raising awareness of the domain industry’s interests.

73rd ICANN Meeting – virtual

The first ICANN meeting of the year was still held on a purely virtual basis. Data protection in the context of WHOIS, the development of a Unified Access Model for the provision of WHOIS data – now also against the background of the NIS2 – and the preparation of the next application round for new top-level domains and Universal Acceptance: these were just some of the topics on the meeting’s broad agenda. The outcomes were summarised in a readout webinar and a report.

74th ICANN Meeting – The Hague

The first in-person meeting which took place since the pandemic was held in The Hague in June. One of the central topics of the policy meeting was the increasing degree of regulation that in the future will affect ICANN, the industry and the community. In particular, the NIS2 Directive, the Digital Services Act and the announcement of the European Commission’s DNS4EU project were in focus. A session was also dedicated to the role of the ICANN multi-stakeholder model in the Internet governance ecosystem. The outcomes were summarised in a readout webinar and a report.

75th ICANN Meeting – Kuala Lumpur

Drawing on two years of experience generated by the pandemic, the community discussed the future of virtual and hybrid meetings. Experiences and best practices were exchanged to keep meetings efficient and oriented on outcomes.

The discussion on DNS abuse was also taken on board by the Country Code TLD (ccTLD) community. During a workshop, several aspects were discussed and a DNS Abuse Standing Committee (DASC) was founded, which will work on the topic of DNS abuse from the ccNSO perspective. The outcomes of the meeting were summarised in a readout webinar and a report.

At ICANN75, Wolf-Ulrich Knoben’s term of office drew to a close. He had represented eco and DE-CIX in the ISPCP for many years – including as Chair since 2019. The eco Association would like to take this opportunity to thank Wolf-Ulrich Knoben for his many years of commitment. His unflagging dedication and expertise have significantly advanced the work of the ISPCP.


In March, the member companies InterNetX and Sedo presented a worldwide webinar at eco, based on the second edition of the Global Domain Report – Insights for Experts.

The existing high level of cooperation with ICANN in offering online training and webinars continued to take place in 2022. After each ICANN meeting, ICANN and eco offer a compact summary of the meetings as a readout webinar; at these meetings, representatives of the various Steering and Advisory Committees report on the current topics.

Further information

In order to serve and represent association members, Thomas Rickert and Lars Steffen participated in other virtual events throughout the year, such as Domainpulse, CENTR Jamboree, Middle East DNS Forum, the Encrypted DNS Working Group and the Global Cyber Alliance.

The popular Domain took place in Cologne in September. We are already looking forward to the next opportunity to once again meet our members in person in the coming year.

Further information is available at:


Based on the topDNS Initiative of the Names & Numbers Forum Competence Group, another successful project was launched at the beginning of the year, bringing members together to combat DNS abuse. The initiative not only works in cooperation with the Anti-Abuse and Security Competence Groups, but also with numerous partners such as the DNS Abuse Institute, the Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network and the Global Cyber Alliance.

The topDNS Initiative brings together registries, registrars and hosting providers whose common goal is the stable, reliable and secure operation of the DNS (Domain Name System): these include VeriSign, CentralNic, Public Interest Registry, IQ Global AS, Leaseweb, CleanDNS, .ORG and Realtime Register.


The first time that topDNS was officially introduced to the public was at Cloudfest in March. In order to raise awareness among the approximately 7,000 visitors on site, topDNS held a panel discussion as part of the conference programme, with this discussion moderated by Thomas Rickert and featuring Keith Drazek, VeriSign, Hans Seeuws (EURid), Carsten Sjoerup (CentralNic) and Jörg Pernfuß (IONOS).

At the Nordic Domain Days in May, topDNS was on site as a partner. Representatives from all sectors of the domain industry came together in Stockholm. In the programme, the initiative delivered a presentation and a half-day DNS Abuse Workshop in cooperation with iQ Global. The outcomes were summarised in the Stockholm Recommendations.

topDNS was also represented on virtual panels, such as the Middle East DNS Forum, in which DNS security threats were discussed, as well as at the CENTR Jamboree, where various initiatives on DNS Abuse were presented to the public.

In order to convey background information, ICANN delivered several online training sessions on its Technical Mission and illustrated best practices in dealing with DNS Abuse. All in all, the close cooperation with ICANN and the ICANN community is continuously spurring on topDNS. For example, Thomas Rickert is a member of the GNSO Council Small Team on DNS Abuse at ICANN.

On 25 May, Graeme Bunton from the DNS Abuse Institute presented the new Netbeacon system to the eco community in a further webinar: a system which simplifies the creation and standardisation of abuse reports in order to more effectively combat DNS Abuse.

In October, the topDNS Initiative published an Abuse Table as a guideline showing which cyber threats are considered to abuse the Domain Name System – and which do not. It is not always easy to distinguish DNS Abuse as a form of abuse of the Internet’s central functions as opposed to other abusive attacks by cybercriminals. The table is intended to initiate a discussion about who can and should contribute to the protection of the Internet and its users.

DNS Abuse study of the EU Commission: topDNS takes a critical stance on its recommendations

topDNS is also politically active. For example, eco has published a comprehensive statement on a study by the European Commission on the topic of DNS Abuse. In a further webinar, topDNS was presented to the members of EuroISPA.

In November 2022, the eco topDNS Initiative invited approximately 30 experts, including representatives of three different Directorates-General of the European Commission, to the “State of the DNS 2022” workshop in Brussels. This was undertaken in order to work together on a secure future for the DNS.

The aims of the workshop were to review the 27 recommendations of the study on Domain Name System (DNS) Abuse published by the European Commission in February, to reformulate the ideas and proposals where necessary, and to agree on measures and feasible solutions. The topDNS Initiative has published the results in a 28-page final report.

In its founding year, topDNS already did a lot to raise awareness for DNS security and to improve cooperation against DNS Abuse through the exchange of best practices, the standardisation of Abuse Reports, the cooperation in the development of a Trusted Notifier Framework, and awareness-raising campaigns for policymakers, decision makers and expert groups. However, leading to the sustainable reduction of DNS Abuse is a long-term task. The initiative would therefore be pleased if other companies would like to cooperate or endorse this goal.

Further information is available at: