The .blog registry informed their registrars earlier today that they’re switching their backend to Centralnic from Nominet (There’s also a blog post that’s public here). The change will probably take place in August, though an exact date hasn’t been announced.
Since prior to its launch the .blog registry has been using Nominet as their registry service provider.
Technically there’s no real difference between Nominet and Centralnic, so the decision to switch vendor is most likely motivated by commercial considerations. Many of the registries would have entered into contracts with service providers before they had any real inclination as to the volume of registrations they’d be able to achieve. So while a price for your backend operations might have seemed reasonable based on having in excess of half a million domains under management, that cost might be quite nasty when you’re sitting on closer to 200k names.
In the case of .blog they currently have just over 200 thousand names in total with nearly 70% of them via their own registrar.
From a registrar perspective backend changes are, for lack of a better word, a pain. We generally have to deal with a quite messy switchover process which requires a lot of extra work for our developers and other teams without any benefit. Things like domain IDs, contact IDs etc., won’t match up and registrars will need to do quite a lot of work to get all of these different elements to “play nice” after the switchover.
Hopefully the changeover won’t cause too many headaches. At present there’s no formal obligation on registry backend providers to “play nice” when a TLD moves from one to another. We’ve also seen past transitions where an entire TLD “went dark” due to somebody removing the nameserver records from their systems a little too early!
Maybe post migration the .blog registry will reduce their standard wholesale price?
I guess we’ll find out more in due course