European Domain Centre Sees The Future Of The New gTLDs With Rick Schwarz, Frank Schilling and 10 Other Experts

The European Domain Centre posted today an Expert Roundup about “What’s the future for the new gTLDs?”. New gTLDs reached 2 million registrations yesterday and Christopher Hofman asked 12 domain name experts such as Frank Schilling, “Domain King” Rick Schwarz, Adrian Kinderis and myself to speak about New gTLD today and in the future.

Here are some excerpts of the most interesting opinions:

Frank Schilling, Managing Director at Uniregistry.

First, many names will be 3 characters shorter. Rather than AcuraCars.com you will see names like Acura.Cars This will make names more intuitive and easy to remember. Second, the addition of new domain name extensions will more than double the number of alternative names available for registration, freeing up shorter more obvious names for marketers and registrants of the future. Third, (and most importantly) the innovation and investment spurred by the addition of thousands of new extensions will usher in a raft of new infrastructure providers, registries and registrars; who will deliver domain-names to consumers in easier more innovative and delightful ways. These new operators will make names easier to register, more intuitive to use and quicker to build on. This trifecta of change will see to it that the internet of the future looks wholly different from the one we grew up with through the 1990’s and 2000’s.

Rick Schwarz, CEO at T.R.A.F.F.I.C..

First of all a registry or registrar success does not equal a domain investor success. Secondly I will maintain the same position in saying it is much too early to tell. No matter how you slice it, with some 1400 new extensions, many, if not most, will prove to be meaningless and others will just die on the vine. Thirdly, the end user and the consumer are the ones that will determine the success and viability of any extension not domain investors. And 4th, that will only happen with superior content and great ad campaigns.

Joseph Peterson, Branding Consultant and Domain Investor. LinkedIn profile

Otherwise, however, the registration numbers themselves should be largely ignored, except insofar as they teach consumers skepticism! I’ll be contradicted by no one when I point out that at least half a million of these domains are due to registry manipulation rather than real-world buyers. For one thing, the companies managing and selling these new TLDs commonly scoop up tens of thousands of their own domains, often under the guise of shell corporations. They do so, one may imagine, both to pad their numbers and to reserve merchandise to resell later at higher prices. 45,000 domains here, 23,500 domains there — those things add up! According to TheDomains.com, it was, in fact, 33,500 .公司 domains registered by the .公司 registry itself that pushed us over 2 million just now. Much worse is the brazen charlatanry that continues to be perpetrated by .XYZ, which has stuffed some 375,000 .XYZ domains (and counting) into people’s accounts without their permission, desire, or even knowledge. Yet the CEO of that registry continues to point to domains surreptitiously planted in your neighbor’s trash can as though they represented buyer demand. Indeed, these numbers are bandied about as .XYZ’s primary selling point. And they contribute greatly to the 2 million here discussed.

 

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So what does the future hold for the new TLDs released so far and those yet to come? Most certainly, they will not dislodge .COM from its dominant position. But many of them will be seen in prominent places during the coming years — in search results, on TV and radio, and as part of brand names. They’ll be scattered, but they’ll be there. Most keyword-specific TLDs are severely limited in scope. Many of us won’t recognize .PLUMBING or .REST as domain extensions at all, simply because we’ll run across them so infrequently. Others will become favorites within small keyword-defined niches. Some TLDs have already failed due to negligible market demand. One or two TLDs not yet released will eclipse all the others available so far — yet still not catch up with .COM by any conceivable measure. More than 2 decades of concentrated cumulative investment worldwide has established .COM’s preeminence, measured both by consumer acceptance and by the sheer quantity of money poured into building and marketing .COM websites. Neither large corporations nor small business owners have much incentive to abandon their existing online identities in favor of domains that are usually more constrained in meaning and less accepted by the general public. Most adoption of new TLDs will come from newly launched websites and businesses. Yet if all entrepreneurs avoided .COM, always choosing new TLDs like .GURU or .CLUB or .COMPANY or .ENTERPRISES instead, those TLDs still would not catch up to .COM even after decades. They’re competing against one another in a fragmented name space and are already 2 decades behind.

And a comment I just don’t understand or agree with:

Rob McCrea, Head of Sales at Famous Four Media.

I don’t think anyone can dispute the success of the “ccTLD process.” .uk had around 1.6 million names in its zonefile at the end of 2013, and the country has an estimated population of 64 million. If we use this analogy and look at the extent of the specific community which a TLD resonates with, this can help to inform the potential size of a given registry, for example there is an estimated playing population of 60 million golfers in the World, hence .golf in the fullness of time can be as busy as many of our most popular country codes.

And here is my complete opinion posted:

First of all people should not only look at raw domain name registration numbers when trying to find out which New gTLDs are a success or if they should register a certain New gTLD domain name or not. Registration numbers can and will be deceiving.

I hear a few people saying that New gTLDs are dead already but the truth is that New gTLDs are only getting started. Most of the best New gTLDs are contested and will launch within the next year or so from now.

Will New gTLDs be part of our everyday life like .com is? At the same level, no. But I think that it is too soon to ask this question. New gTLDs as a whole should be reevaluated in 4-5 years from now.

At this time New gTLDs should aim to become an alternative to .com and some very strong ccTLDs and not the next .com killer. .Com will still be king for many years to come. New gTLDs should be competitively priced and should even try and find a way to work alongside .com domains and not antagonize them.

New gTLDs should focus on getting new people building a website and new startup companies to use one of their domain names instead of a .com. They shouldn’t aim to convert old companies from .com to the New gTLDs because that isn’t happening any time soon.

The great power of the New gTLDs are good Keyword.NewgTLD (left.right) combinations. These are the combinations that can be branded as they have a left.right meaning and a certain optical balance I love. Another unexploited domain name territory will be the new fully IDN New gTLDs.

The New gTLDs that will succeed will be the ones that are more generic and will of course get the most registrations and the geo New gTLDs. There will also be a few niche New gTLDs that with great marketing will achieve great success and come close to their potential upper limit.

Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He works on domain names, websites and software development. Has been online since 1995 & domaining since 2002.

4 comments

  1. With all these statistics showing millions of new TLD sales, I would love to see a list of *actual sites* that use a new TLD.

    As I’ve challenged before, sites that use a new TLD to point to a .Com don’t count.

    So, in the interest of keeping score, here are the current stats:

    New TLD Registrations to date: 2 Million.

    Actual (semi-popular) sites that use a New TLD (not pointing to an existing .Com): Zero.

    The funny thing is, in the US, other than .edu, .org, .mil, .gov, etc… There are pretty much Zero popular sites that are not a .com. I’ve seen some .nets, but more often than not, they also have the .com version.

    • Some registries have a showcase of developed websites such as Donuts here
      There a lot of popular .org websites in the US. This is one I visit everyday for 2 weeks every year: usopen.org.
      And this is it’s story.

      • Interesting list. Nothing stands out yet, but time will tell if any of them will ultimately end up just supporting the .dom versions.

        As for .org, as I wrote, consumers already understand and expect certain sites to be .org, .mil, .gov, .edu, etc…. So there are lots of popular ones. In fact when a non profit or government site doesn’t use them people actually have doubts about their authenticity.

        .net was an anomaly because when it first launched, the only companies that could buy it had to be communication companies, so some of them kept promoting the .net even after they removed that restriction, but most also bought a .com.

  2. Good article, that is what i’ve been thinking right from the first launch ! 🙂 Before the sudden spike in premium fees and slow awakening of the domainer community.

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