New gTLD Ranking – Domain name registrations and overall domain investing potential

I created a ranking system for all gTLDs, old and new, so I can place the new gTLDs in this ranking system as they come out. This way I can have a reference as to how to judge  new gTLDs. This ranking is a combination of total number of registrations and overall domain investing potential. Total number of registrations is an indication of end user acceptance but not a definite one.

.com
Established in 1985 the king is here to stay. .com isn’t going away like most of the new gTLD registries want end users to believe. Domainers know this and most end-users know it too. Registries know it as well but when you start at the bottom the easiest way to get to the top is to attack the leader. Well, no one is getting to the top.

Tier 1
.org and .net
Established in 1985 also with millions of domain name registrations and websites. .net may take a small hit after the introduction of new TLDs but will still be very strong.

Tier 2
.info, .biz and ccTLDs like .de, .co.uk, .me, .co, .tv, .es, .fr, .com.au etc.
These TLDs have a lot of domain name registrations, have a long track of reported domain sales and/or are very popular in their respective countries. This is the level where all new gTLDs dream of reaching in 5 years. Only a few may if ever will succeed. (.web, .online, .blog, .shop) There is money to be made here for everybody involved.

Tier 3
Community, geographic, generic new gTLDs
This is a good tier to be in. Registries will make money, some end users will be happy but the gTLDs don’t have a broad domain investing potential. What you find here is specialized new gTLDs like .green or .car, limited reach gTLDs like .gay or .club and community based gTLDs like .law or .med. And of course there are the geo new gTLDs like .berlin or .africa. A couple of geographic new gTLDs (.nyc, .london) have the potential to reach Tier 2.

Tier 4
Ugly (.mobi, .horse or .xyz), restricted (.travel), IDNs or poorly marketed (.name)
This is the Tier that no gTLD wants to be in. This is where the bulk of the new gTLDs will be. Sorry but there is no interest whatsoever in a few of the new gTLDs. .horse might have a handful of interesting domains like buy.horse or race.horse but other than that nothing. .xyz may have the best intentions and the best people behind it but it is just too ugly and not relevant. There will be very few money to be made by domain investors, registries will barely make it (if they make it), most end users will not know these TLDs exist.

Tier 5
Brands new gTLDs
No domain investing or end user interest. Except maybe for the money that is going to be spent by those companies promoting .brands and increasing awareness on new gTLDs.

I hope that this ranking system is useful to other people as well. Please note that I don’t say go out and buy whatever .web or .online domain you can find or don’t buy a certain new gTLD at all. It all depends on how much premium new gTLD domains are going to be sold for and how much renewals are going to cost. In investing you always want to buy low and sell high. You can buy a Tier 4 domain name and still be very happy with the returns.

Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He loves domains and building websites. He is online since 1995, learned about html in 1996 and got into domains in 2002. He started the OnlineDomain.com blog in 2012.

20 comments

  1. .horse is one of the worst, the people running it are none the more please either.

  2. Nice ranking system precisely described. IMO only .web will do well in long term compare to all other crappy gTLDs. This will take time to even come closer to .net. Maybe 5-7 years from now…

  3. “.net may take a small hit after the introduction of new TLDs but will still be very strong.”…………………………Agreed, I am picking up a few dot nets while prices are down, such as my recent acquisition of Drones.net….

  4. Thanks for sharing your ranking system. Well thought out.

  5. Every single gTLD is operated by private registries as a product, under a business plan. It is therefore quite subjective to allocate ‘potential’ or ‘value’ to a system that is not under a common denominator. Is .horse ‘horrible’? Maybe for me, but perhaps it appeals to equine lovers and friends of the sport. To evaluate the overall impact of the new era in TLDs, one has to stop thinking as a domainer.

    • I never said it isn’t subjective. This is my way of ranking gTLDs.
      I was doing it in my mind, as a domainer, and I just wrote it all down so I can have a reference.

      There is a common denominator and that is the number of registrations and potential number of registrations. And business plans fail every day.
      Just compare .horse with .tennis. Tennis has more fans and players plus some other thing. .horse is like setting up .balls or .clay as a new gTLD. Very limited.

      This ranking is for domainers, not end users, so I have to think as a domainer.

  6. I agree with Acro. Domainers will be early registrants and arbiters of natural affinity, but the marketing work these registries do (direct, brand, and indirect) will go a long way toward defining what tier they wind up in. I think you should put .com in tier 1 by itself because it’s not inconceivable that Google could dislodge them (or join them in that tier) by making their g’s index better. I also think you’re mistaken on geos. Some like .vegas will do well but .nyc and .London will surprise to the downside on a relative basis (to population of Vegas). Lastly I think you should date your rankings (because they will change quickly in the coming months) and you should provide a monthly vote by the community so they can assign a rank and compare that to your own. If a domainer is successful selling .photo and .pics and .link after getting good ones at reg-price I expect they will raise the ranking. You may not be privy to many of those sales. Good luck to you and future registrants, who will make some money.

    • Frank this is not a final ranking. That is how I see all TLDs right now.
      Of course all gTLDs and ccTLDs can move up or down the ranking.

      But some gTLDs have a ceiling built into them that no marketing can overcome.

      .com is a category by itself that is why I put it up there. To tell you the truth I don’t really like .net
      but that is where I see it right now.

      Geos are good but limited because of their inherit geographic limitation.

      My post is dated and I don’t intent to edit it so I can remember what my view was at this exact time.
      I will make new posts with updated rankings as new gTLDs are rolled out and past general availability.
      I might as well change the ranking system all together… Who knows…

      Frank I sell .info and .biz all the time so I am not a .com only guy. Sales are sales no matter what the margin is.

  7. Thank you, Konstantinos, for your intelligent and thoughtful analysis, devoid of all the noise and misinformation being spouted by the new gTLD hucksters and sycophants.

  8. Frank Schilling is everywhere!

    I’m trying to understand what he’s trying to say in these forums. I am not paying attention to the charm offensive.

    The dot com Schilling is 1000% smarter than this new gTLD Schilling.

  9. “…because it’s not inconceivable that Google could dislodge them…”

    Search engines CAN NOT run GENERAL TLDs. Period.

  10. Some good observations there Konstantinos. Interesting for me to see so many people feeling that .web has the greatest chance of “success.” Personally, I can’t see people getting used to http://www.whatever.web. World Wide Web dot Web? For me, the only one that has the best chance of reaching somewhere between your Tier 1 & 2 is .app, and only then will it be used by a brand on .com as a means of differentiation between their corporate identity and their web application offerings.

    • You are right about .web and www.
      I think that the biggest challenge of new gTLDs is to get rid of the www in front of the url.
      .Com has almost managed this after many years.
      .Web will also have competition from the already established .net.
      But .web is versatile enough and a word that is commonly used to describe the internet so it will be adopted by many end users.

  11. All new TLD’s are USELESS

  12. Hi,
    I’m putting this to the test.
    I developed a directory site for a niche industry, including some snippets of microdata, fully mobile, with memberships on the site authenticating to google users.
    The site has relatively OK SEO, social media integration, and focuses on search terms that it “should” rank for not because of the tld name, but because of the content.
    http://trusted.photography/

  13. I like to read various blogs and also enjoy some good articles here. I have to disagree with the article you wrote. What we feel to understand is that we keep thinking as a domainer instead of the end-user for these new gTLDs.

    Here is why i believe this major happening is going to go into history as reshaping the internet;

    – more than 65 % of the people on earth are not yet online
    – these gTLDs target specific markets / businesses / sectors etc
    – the younger generation / startups is more progressive and will be targetted alot
    – short, to the point domains possible, no waste of space anymore
    – voice (radio) communication will be perfect for these new gTLDs
    – in a few years most people won’t remember to use “www.” at the start of a domain
    – they are not meant as allround TLDs like .com, comparing apples oranges …

    For the domainer it means more choice and chance with each new gTLD to make money. No more the need of 2-3-4 keyword combinations in a .com and hoping for the best. Especially for those who joined the domaining industry in the last 8 years.

    Looking only at the numbers is a waste of time, they are not meant to be allround TLDs, they target niches ! Some niches will be bigger in terms of domaining and others limited. So choose careful, plenty of choice !

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