In late October 2016 Google announced the release of Nomulus, its own open source cloud based top level domain registrar platform that was so far used to power Google’s own TLDs (Top-Level Domains): .google and .app. This is the search giant’s brave new move in the domain registry backend services.
Essentially, Nomulus is a system that manages the domain names under a top-level domain. So Nomulus stores DNS and registration information, processes WHOIS queries and handles domain ownership and renewals.
The platform itself is free, but it is developed to run on Google Cloud Platform which means that fees apply. The platform is also backed by Google Cloud Datastore, a NoSQL database. Google claims that Nomulus supports all TLD functions required by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).
How Nomulus will impact the registry market is still too early to say. In any case, it challenges traditional pricing and market sharing.
In terms of pricing, registry operators normally pay a flat fee and a percentage based on the number of domains they manage to their service providers. Nomulus fees are based on usage of bandwidth and storage which can be more viable for small TLDs. However, it doesn’t offer any customer support services so this may actually increase personnel costs unless the operator’s staff is well qualified to build and maintain their registry. For now, big registry Donuts, which Google mentioned as one of the contributors to the Nomulus code base, has certainly expressed interest.
Nomulus may carve a niche of its own, but even if it doesn’t, it refreshes a market sector that hasn’t been refreshed for a while.