ICANN and Regional Internet Registries Sign SLA for the IANA Numbering Services

Helsinki, Finland – 29 June 2016.

The Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) and ICANN signed the Service Level Agreement (SLA) for the IANA Numbering Services at ICANN 56 in Helsinki, Finland 29/June/2016.

This agreement documents the arrangements for provision by ICANN of IANA numbering services, after the IANA stewardship transition which is expected to begin around 30 September 2016. (The SLA will only come into effect with the transition, and will have no effect whatsoever before that time.)

This event is a significant milestone in the long process of transition planning which started in March 2014 with a US Government announcement that there may be a transition of the NTIA Contract to a community-led metholodgy

The process involved huge efforts by the Internet number community collectively, and by teams formed specifically to carry out the work.

In particular the NRO Executive Council expresses its sincere thanks for the contribution by CRISP members during the last year and a half in the IANA Stewardship Transition Process. The CRISP Team worked tirelessly to
integrate and consolidate the views from the five different regional communities into a single proposal. As the work of the CRISP team is now finally complete, we hereby announce that the team is formally dissolved.

Finally the NRO EC also wishes acknowledge the support of the ICANN Board and staff who worked hard with us to finalise the SLA and ensure it was completed on time.

The final version of the SLA is available at: http://www.nro.net/sla

Permanent link to this article: https://blog.astutium.com/2016/06/icann-and-regional-internet-registries-sign-sla-for-the-iana-numbering-services/

Hosted Minecraft 1.10 Frostburn Update Servers

The latest version of Hosted Minecraft Server – Minecraft 1.10 is now available from Astutium at https://www.astutium.com/game-servers/minecraft-gaming-server.php

minecraft 1.10 frostburn update

All existing clients can update to the 1.10 version of minecraft through their multicraft control panel online.

Minecraft Polar Bear

Minecraft Polar Bear

MC1.10 contains some interesting changes, including the addition of Polar Bears and Strays (a new cold biome skeleton).

To celebrate the official launch of MC1.10 Astutium are offering the first 110 new minecraft server clients 30% off with voucher “CRAFTER110” at checkout

Here is a list of all the changes:

  • Many bug fixes
  • Added Polar Bear
  • Added Husk and Stray
  • An auto-jump option
  • Improvements to some commands
  • Structure blocks for custom maps
  • Underground fossils made from bone blocks
  • Added Magma Block
  • Added Nether Wart Block and Red Nether Bricks
  • Some huge mushrooms can be even larger
  • A rare chance to find lonely trees in plains
  • Find abandoned mineshafts filled with gold in mesa biomes
  • Villages generate better paths between the buildings
  • More variations of villages, based on the biomes they are built in
  • Endermen have been spotted in the Nether
  • Removed Herobrine

Permanent link to this article: https://blog.astutium.com/2016/06/hosted-minecraft-1-10-frostburn-update-servers/

Business Metrics 1 (of 4) – Essential Figures Every Online Business Should Know

As Head of the Mergers and Acquisitions Team at Astutium much of my day is spent looking at accounts and internal management systems.

One thing that I see a lot, is how the majority of small-business owners in the tech space don’t know (and sometimes don’t know how to calculate) their “numbers” – the key metrics and figures that are essential to getting a “big picture” overview of an organisation.

Business Key Metrics -

This shouldn’t be surprising – many start their business with a great idea or new technology or a desire to change things, rather than with a detailed business plan and an MBA.

I’ll ignore Turnover, Profit, Income etc as they’re well understood (and generally available from your accounts apps) and focus on the figures that are important when preparing to value/sell/grow a company.

Knowing where you are is the 1st step in getting where you want to go πŸ™‚

Alice – Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
Cheshire Cat – That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice – I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat – Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.

― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
see this quote on youtube

Having the Key Metrics to hand removes the guess-work and (often wildly incorrect) assumptions about the state, growth and position of the business. Just asking a business owner what their ARPU, Gross margin, LTV or Churn rates are regularly gets me blank looks (I tried this on a small group at HostingCon last year and 7/10 didn’t know they could use their billing-system database to calculate an LTV !)

This short series of articles will help you get to the real numbers you need. Afterall there is no point spending £10,000 on adverts (investment) to get £100 clients (1% acquisition rate) if those users only spend a total of £50 (life time value) – unless you’re specifically looking to prop-up an advertising agency πŸ˜‰

Ask any business owner what they want, the answer is usually one of

  • more customers
  • more sales
  • more profit

or similar.

As high-level goals they’re all great, but a little too vague, and often inter-related – it always pays to be as specific as possible when setting goals/targets πŸ™‚

For example:
You can get more customers by having more Leads, higher Conversions and better Targeting
You can have more sales by increasing Repeat Business (and having more customers)
You can make more profit by increasing your Gross Margin and your ARPU (and having more sales)
You can take more time off by Automating/Systemising, Training good Staff, Delegating

They can all build on each other to help grow your business and thus achieve your goals – a small change in Leads / Conversions / Retentions can have big impacts on your results.

If you’ve not yet read Brad Sugars excellent book Instant Cashflow I highly recommend picking up a copy.

Let’s start with some key definitions and next week we’ll get into what they are, how you measure them and why they’re so important to your success…

ARPU= Average Revenue Per User (per month)
This is how much (on average) each user of your product/service pays you per month

LTV= LifeTime Value (per client)
This is how much (on average) each user of your product/service pays during their lifetime of doing business with you

ARPM= Average Revenue Per Month
This is how much (on average) you have coming in (financially) per month

COA= Cost Of Acquisition
This is the amount (on average) it costs you to acquire a new customer

CHURN= Ratio of Clients Leaving
This is the %age of clients who leave / cancel / abandon your service each month. Either through your action (termination for non-payment), client action (requesting cancellation/refund) or non-action (simply not renewing)

Permanent link to this article: https://blog.astutium.com/2016/05/business-metrics-essential-figures-every-online-business-should-know/

HostingCon Global 2016 – Discounted Tickets Now Available

hostingcon-2016-brochure-coverEarly Bird (discounted price) Attendee Tickets Now On Sale for HostingCon Global 2016 (New Orleans).

HostingCon Global is the main annual industry conference (and trade show) for web hosting and vps / cloud hosting providers.

As usual Astutium will be in attendance – if you’d like to schedule a meeting to discuss the domain industry, iana transition, selling your business or growing your host then get in touch πŸ™‚


HostingCon Global 2016

HostingCon Is the Only Industry Event That Is Exclusively Designed to Serve the Professional Interests of the Hosting and Cloud Community


New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

Hall B, 900 Convention Center Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70130


Sunday 24/July/2016 to Wednesday 27/July/2016

(+ travel either side)

The best and brightest from the domain, hosting, virtual/dedicated server and cloud industry will be gathering to:
* learn about the latest ideas and technology affecting their businesses
* network with peers
* connect with existing and new suppliers
* discuss growth and acquisition plans
and much more

* Who Attends : http://global.hostingcon.com/hcg16/Public/Content.aspx?ID=1063422&sortMenu=103002
* Travel + Hotel : http://global.hostingcon.com/hcg16/Public/Content.aspx?ID=1063440&sortMenu=118000
* Agenda : http://global.hostingcon.com/hcg16/Public/Content.aspx?ID=1063436&sortMenu=106001
* Networking : http://global.hostingcon.com/hcg16/Public/Content.aspx?ID=1063427&sortMenu=109003
* Register : http://global.hostingcon.com/hcg16/Public/Content.aspx?ID=1063277&sortMenu=125000

Permanent link to this article: https://blog.astutium.com/2016/04/hostingcon-2016-discounted-tickets-available-now/

Top 10 Locations of Attempted Domain Registration Fraud

Fraudulent Registrations (payment with stolen card details, attempted payment with hacked paypal accounts, theft due to chargeback etc) are major problems for all Domain Registrars

Many fraudsters use open proxies, hacked machines or internet cafes for their scams, which make identifying their actual location difficult (but not impossible). The most common locations initiating domain fraud for 2015:

Country %age
CN 12.5
VN 6.8
FR 11.6
EG 4.3
RU 10.6
TR 4.4
NL 6.2
TH 5.7
US 10
BF 5.4
UA 7.5
Other 15

Permanent link to this article: https://blog.astutium.com/2016/04/top-10-locations-of-attempted-domain-registration-fraud/

Simple Explanation of the Snoopers Charter

The always-superb Cassetteboy puts the explanation of the #IPBILL to music …

If you’re not worried about the Investigatory Powers Bill (aka the Snoopers’ Charter), you don’t know enough about it

Permanent link to this article: https://blog.astutium.com/2016/04/simple-explanation-of-the-snoopers-charter/

Hosted Minecraft 1.9 Combat Update Servers

The latest version of Hosted Minecraft Server (1.9) is now available from Astutium at https://www.astutium.com/game-servers/minecraft-gaming-server.php

MC1.9 contains a lot of changes – the biggest being combat mechanics have been updated to make fighting more interesting and addition of new map-making options

minecraft 1.9 combat update

Complete list of the new and changed features:

  • Added shields
  • Attacking now has a cool-down delay, making it more important to time your attacks
  • You can now hold items in both hands (default quick key to swap items is F)
  • Swords have a special sweep attack
  • Axes have a special crushing blow attack
  • Added the elytra
  • New mob: Shulker
  • Expanded The End
  • Added Chorus plants
  • New Purpur blocks
  • New End Rod block
  • Added dragon head block
  • Ender Dragon can be resummoned
  • Added beetroot and beetroot soup (from MC:PE)
  • Added grass path block
  • Added igloos
  • Armor protection values have been lowered
  • Added tipped arrows
  • Added spectral arrows
  • Added Frost Walker enchantment and frosted ice block
  • Added a whole bunch of new sound effects
  • Added sound effect subtitles
  • Brewing Stand now requires Blaze Powder to activate
  • Added skeleton riders
  • We believe we’ve fixed MC-10 and a whole bunch of other issues
  • Removed Herobrine

Existing Hosted Minecraft Administrators can simply stop their current server, select 1.9 and restart all through the MultiCraft control panel.

Not got your 1.9 MCFTServer yet ? Signup to our newsletter for discounts and vouchers πŸ™‚

Permanent link to this article: https://blog.astutium.com/2016/03/hosted-minecraft-1-9-combat-update-servers/

Nominet to Conduct Research with .uk Rights Holders

Nominet (new) LogoNominet, the Domain Registry for .uk .co.uk .org.uk .me.uk .ltd.uk .net.uk .plc.uk are about to start their Research with .uk rights holders

As outlined at the registrar meeting on 21 January 2016 (Astutium attended), Nominet is conducting market research into the take-up of the right of first refusal for .uk domains by rights holders.

Survey work is scheduled to take place between 29 March and 18 April and will be conducted by our MRS accredited research providers, Insight Engineers and Toluna. During this time, registrants who hold .uk rights (whether they have taken up their right or not) may receive an email inviting them to participate in a 10 minute web-based survey.

This research will deliver insights into the business about awareness of .uk and the right of first refusal, motivations and barriers to uptake of .uk, as well as information about domain use. In addition, this will provide some robust facts and figures that Nominet will share to support registrar sales and marketing efforts.

Due to the number of interviews required to deliver a reliable dataset, an incentive will be used to encourage participation. This incentive will be fully managed by our research provider, Insight Engineers, and includes an optional prize draw for up to Β£200 with a further option to donate the prize money to charity.

If you have any queries or concerns relating to this research then please be reassured that this is a genuine research project being undertaken on behalf of Nominet. Your participation is entirely optional but would be appreciated and you may contact Nominet directly with any concerns related to the project.

Nominet UK is a private limited company, registered in England and Wales.
Registration number 3203859.
Registered office: Minerva House, Edmund Halley Road, Oxford Science Park, Oxford, OX4 4DQ.

See also … Checking your Rights and Claiming your .UK Domain Name

Permanent link to this article: https://blog.astutium.com/2016/03/nominet-to-conduct-research-with-uk-rights-holders/

CENTR Report on ICANN55 Meeting Published


The Council of European National Top-Level-Domain Registries (CENTR) has published their summary of last weeks ICANN-55 Meeting …

TL:DR; Highlights

  • Volunteer shortage / fatigue is a very real problem for the multi-stakeholder model
  • ccNSO charter to be revised and updated
  • GAC as usual had a lot to say, thinking their opinion is more important than everyone elses
  • ccNSO approves the Final proposal from the Accountability CCWG almost unanimously

    You can read their SWOT analysis here https://meetings.icann.org/en/marrakech55/schedule/tue-ccnso-members/presentation-ccwg-final-report-08mar16-en.pdf


It’s a good summary of the proceedings from the meeting (despite some grammer/english issues confusing a few points) and well worth a detailed read for anyone interested in Domains, DNS, WHOIS, and ICANN/IANA

Permanent link to this article: https://blog.astutium.com/2016/03/centr-report-on-icann55-meeting-published/

2015’s Most Popular (and Dumbest) Passwords

Despite numerous headlines throughout the year of hacks, exploits and data-breaches (many of which have led to millions in losses for the business concerned) end-users are still the weakest point in any security system – either through social engineering or simply for using incredibly simple passwords πŸ™

This is the list of the most commonly used passwords and access-codes from 2015 if any of yours are on this list CHANGE THEM NOW

SplashData 2015 Worst Passwords Infographic

Rank Password Change from 2014
1 123456 Unchanged
2 password Unchanged
3 12345678 Up 1
4 qwerty Up 1
5 12345 Down 2
6 123456789 Unchanged
7 football Up 3
8 1234 Down 1
9 1234567 Up 2
10 baseball Down 2
11 welcome New
12 1234567890 New
13 abc123 Up 1
14 111111 Up 1
15 1qaz2wsx New
16 dragon Down 7
17 master Up 2
18 monkey Down 6
19 letmein Down 6
20 login New
21 princess New
22 qwertyuiop New
23 solo New
24 passw0rd New
25 starwars New

source: SplashData
For more information on SplashData’s last five years of research into commonly used passwords

2015 Worst Password Infographic

Permanent link to this article: https://blog.astutium.com/2016/03/2015s-most-popular-and-dumbest-passwords/

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