We have noticed a sharp uptick in the number of scam sites that are using the .SHOP top-level domain name (TLD). The .SHOP registry is relatively small, with less than 2 million domain names in the registry, but it has seen very steady growth in recent years as almost a million .SHOP domain names have been created since 2021. It now is the 4th most popular New gTLD, after .XYZ, .ONLINE, and .TOP.
In 2016, when the .SHOP registry was first available, it made news when domain names were offered for free for a limited time period. During that time over 40,000 .SHOP domain names were registered. Now it costs roughly $15 a year to register a .SHOP domain name. Even so, it has become extremely popular and overtaken a lot of other New gTLDs in popularity, like .CLUB, that have lost hundreds of thousands of domain registrations over the years after promising starts.
In the last two months, we have seen numerous domain name arbitrations for .SHOP domain names, including SKECHERSFOOTWEAR.SHOP, AFCRICHMOND.SHOP, TOMMYJOHN.SHOP, LEGOWARS.SHOP and ROKASPORTS.SHOP.
As a result of this increased activity, if you see newly registered .SHOP domain names showing up in your dashboard, or recycled domains that have administrative changes or are showing signs of activity (particularly if there is a new MX Record attached to the domain) make sure to WATCH it and monitor any activity closely.