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Digital transition: Afnic and the .fr TLD working alongside VSEs/SMEs

Home > Observatory and resources > News > Digital transition: Afnic and the .fr TLD working alongside VSEs/SMEs

Afnic is publishing its activity report for 2020, a year marked by a strong level of involvement in accompanying the digital transition of VSEs/SMEs, the Foundation’s support for emergency initiatives during the health crisis and its effects in terms of organising consultations.

Afnic and the .FR TLD working alongside French VSEs/SMEs in the digital transition

With 3,670,372 names in stock at 31/12/2020, the .fr domain grew by 7.0% in 2020, with a sharp increase in create operations (+14%). These upward trends are the consequences of the acceleration of the digital transformation, which led numerous VSEs and SMEs to develop their online activities. Afnic was able to support these businesses and ensure that the .fr TLD was seen as a safe, accessible, close-at-hand solution suited to the general public during this period, which led to a market share increase of 38% for Afnic at the end of 2020.

Afnic introduced new measures to facilitate the shift while continuing its initiatives to raise awareness of an independent and controlled online presence through its Ré (‘Succeed with .fr’) programme. As of April, the Foliweb workshops were run in a 100% online format, which saw participation rates soar by 343%. Afnic, Neocamino and CINOV Numérique launched the “Je passe au numérique” (“I’m going digital”) initiative in support of VSEs and SMEs developing their online presence.

And young people, another core target, have not been left out. Afnic joined the CNIL network Educnum to strengthen its contribution to education on matters digital for young people and continued its awareness-raising workshops in partnership with the FFBDE to the extent possible.

Consultation of stakeholders and cooperation reinforced in 2020

During the health emergency, Afnic signed a partnership agreement with the DGCCRF (General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control) aimed at identifying .fr domain names associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Afnic sent a daily list of corresponding domain names to the DGCCRF. Upon implementation of the procedure, all the domain names were checked, then each new website was systematically verified and domain names that had been inactive at the time of the first check were placed under surveillance. The partnership also made it possible to obtain the blocking of websites recognised by the DGCCRF as vehicles for misleading sales practices.

July saw the launch of the Afnic Forum for a trustworthy Internet, a major season of debates on the fight against online abuse. 4 workshops were run on the handling of cases of abuse during the health crisis, protecting against and reacting in response to domain name abuse, the question of responsibility and what Afnic’s position should be.

All the association’s governance bodies met with the normal frequency remotely or in a mixed format. Two new trustees were elected at the General Meeting on 1 July 2020: ISOC France, represented by Sébastien Bachollet and GANDI, represented by Arnaud Franquinet.

For the ecosystem of actors in the DNS chain, 2020 was marked in particular by the fast-moving developments regarding the adoption of DoH. The developments of the DNS protocol are aimed at making DNS requests more secure through the use of new channels (TLS, http/2 and http/3).  Noticing that there were few if any resources in French on these subjects, the Afnic R&D team created and made available technical resources illustrated with concrete examples accessible to all, as well as a tool for testing conformity with standards for implementing DoT and DoH resolvers by providing an open software app.

The Afnic Foundation for Digital Solidarity supports emergency measures

In the context of the lockdown measures, the Afnic Foundation naturally contributed its support to local initiatives aimed at reducing the digital divide and re-establishing social ties. The Afnic Foundation financed the purchase of computers for pupils of the La Courtille school in Saint-Denis to help them follow their courses online. It took part in the project of the Les Chemins de l’Espérance association aimed at equipping its twenty senior residences with sound systems and connected microphones and speakers so that residents could follow and take part in the various activities provided in order to maintain the human relations. La Cravate Solidaire also received support from the Afnic Foundation in organising seven hours of online support with donors for 150 job-seekers by preparing them for their interviews.

As part of its 2 calls for projects, the Foundation supported 68 projects for a total amount of over one million euros and opened its “Resource Centre” on its website to help project leaders develop and structure their projects.

Download the 2020 Afnic Annual Report

Download the 2020 Afnic Annual Report [PDF – 2,02 MB]



About Afnic

Afnic is the acronym for Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération, the French Network Information Centre. The registry has been appointed by the French government to manage domain names under the .fr Top Level Domain. Afnic also manages the .re (Reunion Island), .pm (Saint-Pierre and Miquelon), .tf (French Southern and Antarctic Territories), .wf (Wallis and Futuna) and .yt (Mayotte) French Overseas TLDs.

In addition to managing French TLDs, Afnic’s role is part of a wider public interest mission, which is to contribute on a daily basis, thanks to the efforts of its teams and its members, to a secure and stable internet, open to innovation and in which the French internet community plays a leading role. As part of that mission, Afnic, a non-profit organization, has committed to devoting 11% of its Revenues from managing .fr Top Level Domain to actions of general interest, in particular by transferring €1.3 million each year to the Afnic Foundation for Digital Solidarity.
Afnic is also the back-end registry for the companies as well as local and regional authorities that have chosen to have their own TLD, such as .paris, .bzh, .alsace, .corsica, .mma, .ovh, .leclerc and .sncf.

Established in 1997 and based in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Afnic currently has nearly 90 employees.