Donuts domains

Donuts Gives “Proof” That Not-Coms Are Superior To Legacy Domains

Donuts published a blog post titled “The Proof is in the Data – Not-Coms Are Superior To Legacy Domains“.

During the first two months of 2016, not-coms made their Super Bowl debut and the highly-anticipated .WINE and .VIN extensions launched.

While we’re only entering the second year of not-com availability, we’re already seeing a significant shift in the domain marketplace. Businesses and consumers are embracing not-com extensions because they are superior in quality to their outdated legacy counterparts. The proof is in the numbers.

Here is the proof provided by Donuts:

  • Total not-com registrations surged past 15 million – growing by 1 million during a 5-day period alone – triple the fastest growth rate ever achieved by not-coms.

I am especially concerned with these numbers. Most domains sold are sold for $1 or less and a lot are used to serve spam email messages.

  • Nearly 60% of Donuts registered names have the corresponding .COM address available. While it is obvious that there is an availability problem for good .COM names, this data shows that businesses and consumers actually prefer not-com extensions even when the exact .COM match is available (e.g. abcdef.tld was registered while is available).

Most of the domains are bought because they are short on the left of the dot (2-3 letter domains and numerics) or for the keyword alone that doesn’t always make sense. E.g. by trademark holders etc.

Not to mention spam…  Although Donuts doesn’t have the same spam problem that other registries have.

The availability comparisons for .NET, INFO, BIZ and US are even more telling. Those names are still available for 85%+ of the registered Donuts names. Clearly businesses and consumers prefer meaningful and memorable names versus settling for an obvious second choice.

Not-com renewal rates are 40 percent higher than those of .COM. Since launching in 2014, renewal rates for not-coms have been around 68 percent while Verisign finally admitted, during its most recent earnings call, that renewals for .COM names registered in 2014 and 2015 have fallen below 50 percent.

I have many times debated this metric that Donuts is using. Donuts is comparing something that looks like the top 5% domains of their New gTLDs to the bottom 1% domains of .com. That doesn’t seem to make sense to me.

There is a distinct sense around the Web that change is in the air. We have reached a tipping point for awareness and adoption of not-coms, and the data paints a clear picture that new domains extensions are superior to their legacy counterparts.

As I have said many times in the past I am a big supporter of New gTLDs and I own quite a few of them but some bold statements like this leave me baffled.

How are New gTLDs superior? I didn’t understand it from this blog post. Why not aim at something more believable? Something like: “New gTLDs are as good as legacy gTLDs” and build on that on the following years.


About Konstantinos Zournas

I studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London, UK and I am now living in Athens, Greece. I went online in 1995, started coding in 1996 and began buying domain names and creating websites in 2000. I started the blog in 2012.


  1. The .club auction pop ups are kind of annoying

  2. Good article. Their bold claims made little sense to me.

  3. I am not feeling the term ‘not-coms’. I feel that gives too much emphasis on the .com, instead of marketing independently…Just my opinion though, and you know what they say about opinions.

  4. One thing I believe is true, but not really covered, is that some investors are dropping a portion of their long tail .coms and .nets (or hyphenated .coms) if a more logical new tld is available. There is no question that companies are using new tld’s. That being said, some of them are just forwarding their new tld to the old .com existing site. Along these lines, some companies used to register an offbeat .com if the one they really wanted was gone … whereas the new tld’s often offer a better option than a hyphenated or unnatural .com.

    I agree with Konstantinos that $1 new tld reg’s do nothing but misrepresent stats/adoption and mislead. They should only be factored in when they are renewed for more regular registration prices. I do not know though which new tld’s are being offered at ultra cheap prices. .info used to have similar promotions around 2005-2006.

  5. “not .coms” can also be called, extensions people settle for, the extensions I got because I couldn’t get the .com, the extensions Chinese love, since over 50% are Chinese regs etc.

  6. Your criticisms are spot on, Konstantinos. Donuts’s claims are flimsy. Pointing that out has nothing to do with antagonism toward the nTLDs, obviously, since you and I both own thousands of domains in new extensions.

    This over-the-top stance we see Donuts adopting just looks ludicrous to people. “There is a distinct sense around the Web that change is in the air.” Who do they think they’re kidding? Back in 2014, people could be forgiven for thinking the web was poised on the brink of an nTLD revolution. But we’re more than 2 years into the nTLD program, and all around the web it’s largely business as usual. Consumers aren’t changing, nor do they sense much change.

    Registries ought to position themselves as part of the status quo – not pretend that they’re going to overthrow it. If they want to be taken seriously, that is. Consumers are happy to look at all their TLD options. They don’t need the 2nd Coming.

  7. That’s a lot of fluff, trash bull-crud from a biased source with a profit motive.

    They must be dumb because they did not even disguise their rhetoric very well.

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