Are domain registrants not aware of new TLD options or do they just not accept them? Or is there just low demand for each .com alternative?
My initial reaction to the underwhelming “out of the gate” registration numbers for new top level domain names this year was that it’s an awareness issue.
99.99% of people have never heard of new TLDs. Once they’re aware, they’ll start registering them.
After taking a look at registrar search yesterday, I’m starting to wonder if the issue is actually acceptance instead of awareness.
It’s not the 99.99% of the public not knowing about new TLDs that matters right now. What matters is how many people searching for domain names to register are aware of them.
I think most domain searchers are aware of new TLDs.
Search for a domain name at GoDaddy and the top search results (after the matching .com) are new TLDs. They’re slotted ahead of alternatives like .net and .info.
So if I search for a domain at GoDaddy right now, I’m aware of new TLDs.
Right? Or do I never look at the suggested alternatives if .com is already taken? Do I not accept alternatives to .com, so I just look for another domain.
I’m not sure. Startups have embraced alternatives such as .io, .co and .me. Will they start to accept other new TLDs once they see a hot startup using them?
I believe awareness in the general public is coming, and that will lead to an acceptance by domain registrants. When Realtors start using .realtor, New Yorkers start to embrace .nyc and a brand advertises its .brand, then the public slowly becomes aware.
At that point, someone searching for HomeRun might register HomeRun.today since Homerun.com is taken.
Yet it will be a slow climb, which gets to the demand question. How many people every year register domain names related to construction or biking or plumbing? Not many. Once both awareness and acceptance click, people will consider these domains instead of .com. They will siphon off a sliver of the 30 million .com domains registered each year.
But how much of a sliver? Is there enough demand to be spread across all of these TLDs? After all, there are only so many domain names related to each niche already registered in .com.
Awareness, acceptance or demand?
Otherwise, lots of people might not get to the website.
Yesterday Frank Schilling tweeted this picture of a bus ad for his .sexy top level domain name:
Adrian Kinderis, CEO of ARI Registry, responded asking about why the ad includes https://, and Frank Schilling explained:
That lots of cell phone users need to type in http:// before a new TLD if they’re typing the address into their address bar, is a key example of the universal acceptance problem with new TLDs.
Even if cell phone browsers universally recognized new TLDs, would advertisers feel inclined to put www. before the domain so people recognized it as a domain name, as Kinderis proposes? That might separate it from ads with dots that aren’t domain names:
The problem with what Frank did here, is that even through people will now recognize this as a web address, they probably won’t type in http:// at the beginning. When’s the last time someone typed http:// in front of a web address, except for new TLD applicants trying to access their domains on different devices?
A look at how major domain registrars are handling domain search in the wake of new TLDs.
I’ve written a couple times about the state of registrar search as registrars grapple with an onslaught of new TLDs, most recently at the end of February.
There’s good news for TLD registries: search is getting a lot better.
Let’s run through the registrars I checked last time for an update.
(For this article, I chose to search for “valleyview construction” for three reasons: The second word exactly matches a new TLD, that new TLD has several similar alternatives, and the .com is taken.)
GoDaddy still defaults to tacking .com on the back of whatever search term you put in. That makes sense because most people are looking for it.
Last time I searched, GoDaddy was pulling up TLDs related to the search topic but was not “spanning the dot”. For example, if you searched for Valleyview Construction”, it would offer ValleyviewConstruction.construction but not Valleyview.Construction.
ValleyviewConstruction.construction is still the top result, but GoDaddy placed the spanning-the-dot version as the fourth result:
That’s pretty good. Although I think ValleyviewConstruction.construction is redundant and not a good choice, I can see the other side of the argument as well. Are companies willing to put a dot in the middle of their brand?
By that token, perhaps ValleyviewConstruction.build is a better choice. That’s in slot 3. Or ValleyviewConstruction.contractors (slot 9) or ValleyviewConstruction.builders (slot 13).
Without seeing the data, I can’t fault GoDaddy for these results. It has a patent on an Adwords-style bidding system for new TLD search results. Maybe putting .build up there with its $99 price tag converts well overall compared to one of the domains with a $39 pricetag.
Or maybe I’m giving GoDaddy too much credit.
As for .org, that’s a sensible result given that both .com and .net are registered. Registrars also place domains near the top based on marketing programs. That may well be the case for the .org, given that it’s on sale.
Here’s a TLD breakdown of the first 20 results for this search at GoDaddy:
This seems reasonable, for the most part. The .com suggestions are pretty bad, though, throwing in similar words for “view” (e.g. valleylookconstruction). Presumably the search system doesn’t realize this is likely a brand or geo domain. I imagine that’s difficult to teach a computer.
GoDaddy continues to improve.
eNom was on the ball early on. This makes sense given that it’s owned by a large new TLD applicant (Rightside).
Here’s the top part of the search results page when I search for “Valleyview Construction”:
You see that call to Valleyview.construction immediately below the “box” results? That seems like a homerun to me.
As for the domains in the boxes, .ninja and .haus are there because they are Rightside domain names. .Builders is a good match and is run by partner Donuts.
Scroll down the search page a bit and you’ll see more suggestions and some premium (aftermarket) options:
The suggestions are all .construction.
But scroll down more and other relevant TLDs come into play:
First things first: did you know you can’t put a space in the search box at 1&1?
That makes sense if you’re searching for a domain. Domains can’t have spaces. But in today’s world, registrars should treat the input as a search box, not a lookup box. It’s a name spinner, not an exact-match lookup.
1&1 still has a dropdown box next to its search box. The dropdown box is getting rather long!
Here are the suggestions I get at 1&1:
Two possible conclusions: 1&1 hasn’t gotten around to programming new TLD suggestions into its main search results, or it has decided it’s more likely to close the sale if it gives familiar alternatives.
Here’s an interesting progress bar when you search at Hover:
More interesting is what Hover has decided to do with results. It has the most interesting search results of all of the registrars.
It doesn’t separate them into categories that don’t make sense to the user, like “regular TLDs” and “new TLD”. Instead, it separates them into categories:
- “Domains About You” .guru, .me, .expert, .actor, .democrat…
- “Domains with a Clear Purpose” .tv, .pictures, .webcam, .recipes…
- “Domains For Businesses” .bar, .consulting, .ventures…
- “Domains For Organizations” .club, .university, .community…
- “Domains for Products or Services” .construction, .build, .catering…
- “Domains for Shopping” .cheap, .blackfriday, .luxury…
- “Domains with Attitude” .cool, .fail, .buzz…
- “Non-English Domains” .uno, .viajes, .futbol…
There are also regional categories.
This is an interesting approach. Hover seems to not try to figure out the meaning of the search, and instead steer you to the categories.
It’s possible that the search term is taken into consideration at some level — .construction is the first results under “Domains for Products and Services”.
I think a combination of figuring out the meaning of the search (i.e., including .construction, .build et al near the top) and the categories makes a lot of sense.
Like 1&1, NetSol’s search doesn’t allow for spaces. You’d think a registrar targeted to non-technical SMBs would allow free form search.
Once you get past that, NetSol is now showing new TLDs above traditional TLDs:
.Org and .info are at the bottom of the list.
So there you have it… a look at how some of the bigger registrars are handling domain name search as of August, 2014.
“Water, water, every where,Nor any drop to drink.”
That would be Coleridge — his ill fated sailor thirstily contemplating the vast seawater. But I doubt “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” was the Rime.com that just sold at GoDaddy Auctions for $12.8k. Aside from that archaic spelling of “rhyme”, we have “rime” as the hoarfrost that forms from a fog in winter. Nope. Not it either. My bet is on the Play Station game, Rime — whose trailer is oddly reminiscent of Coleridge’s poem with its sea scape, gulls, curse, and isolation. I’d go beyond that and wager that this shared mythos — far from being a coincidence — probably inspired the game’s name. Mythos.com sold for $8.4k, by the way. Oh, yeah … Another maritime masterpiece (by Herman Melville) sold a domain last week: MobyDicks.com ($510) will probably go to a seafood restaurant somewhere.
Speaking of thirst, Middle Eastern deserts had an exceptional showing in last week’s expired auctions — and all of them .INFOs. Highest of these sales stands the home of the world’s tallest building, Dubai.info ($7.1k). Accompanying that modern tourist destination were 2 more ancient: Pyramids.info ($86) and Sahara.info ($280).
Other .INFOs did well too. For starters, Brasilia.info ($570), the 4th largest city in Brazil with a population of 2.5 million. But then we have a string of non-geo domains: Remodel.info ($294), Runners.info ($166), Mushrooms.info ($136), and AssistedLiving.info ($65). Those are all strong keywords, and .INFO (which already sells regularly on the aftermarket) seems to me more promising than most new TLDs being introduced this year.
Inventor.org ($2.95k) and InvestmentBrokers.com ($3.5k) are no surprise. .ORG is perfect for the first one. I’m taken off guard, however, by a $1.9k sale of GoCanada.org. After all, Canadians would prefer .CA and .COM to .ORG, one would think. As for Suo.cc at $5.5k? Haven’t got a clue! If I read this as Italian, then it means “His / Her / Its Direct Current”. (DC = CC, “corrente continua”.) That Italian explanation is beyond far-fetched, especially when .CC is only really loved in China and the registrant’s in Vancouver. $5.5k is quite high for .CC. So your guess is as good as mine.
Domain Name End $ Domain Name End $ Rime.com 12811 Mythos.com 8400 Dubai.info 7100 Suo.cc 5050 InvestmentBrokers.com 3561 Inventor.org 2950 WholesaleKitchen.com 2509 GoCanada.org 1925 Yaske.com 1802 Avnoma.com 1691 SERCOnline.org 1466 Mocking.com 1302 AppLife.com 1259 NextMontreal.com 1225 1777.net 1071 SafeComputingTips.com 1045 MyOpenBar.com 1025 SEOList.com 1025 Clashe.com 1008 EffectiveMedia.com 999 PerfectCut.com 996 ApplyWise.com 912 NamePhoneLookup.com 891 TheLoop21.com 885 CameraStrap.com 809 PHPFusionMods.com 771 CodeJoomla.com 760 DiskDrives.com 723 APleno.com 710 MagicSlimBlues.com 710 IAMG.com 701 LoanToday888.com 625 AWorldOfPossibilities.com 610 Dans-Arcade.com 601 Brasilia.info 570 JosephDana.com 567 Quilao.com 531 Dedicame.com 511 AgriCart.com 511 MobyDicks.com 510 GoToWorld.net 510 MilkweedFarm.com 505 Yemis.com 500 FixieBikes.com 475 Chatmola.com 444 TheLastMinuteBlog.com 442 VirginiaBusiness.org 410 StayInNaples.net 410 EscapesWithYou.com 405 SafeSpeedsGeorgia.org 405 HelpingPsychology.com 405 MMORPGRealm.com 405 AureaSF.com 401 StoryLine.net 397 Business-Networking.com 390 FluPortal.org 385 NewRock1019.com 375 WholeBodyVibration
365 TsunamiBomb.com 355 ParisShortStay.com 355 Top100Reviews.com 355 RobertOliver.com 355 LettersInsideOut.net 355 Q8X.com 350 SZMZ.com 339 MuslimBridalShop.com 337 DragonRide.com 330 EmigrateTo
326 PureGreenLiving.com 325 GetAPodcast.com 320 CarolinePlanCode.org 315 MessagingTalk.org 315 ElmsInn.com 310 BluegrassDay
305 MasteringBridge.com 305 SecurityAndMore.com 305 AWorldOfPossibilities.org 305 BigKoreanTV.com 305 TrackPackPA.com 305 HotCaptcha.com 305 StayInZurich.com 305 Alabasa.com 301 GMRoper.com 300 Remodel.info 294 PositiveLove.com 290 ThePaperBoy-
286 DCScripts.com 285 ECHR.org 284 BrownstownHouse.com 281 DatePeople.com 280 TweetBeat.com 280 Kullanici-Eeneyimi.com 280 Sahara.info 280 InstaCollage.com 277 Bad420.com 268 ElemNation.org 265 1st-London-Hotels.com 265 StayInGeneva.com 265 ARHS.net 265 OntarioClassic
260 0071.net 258 SocialCouture.com 255 AutoSymphony.com 255 HoganBooks.com 255 TimoteoCarpita.com 255 Mambo-Code.org 245 HaystackNetwork.com 244 ElderlyTech.com 240 Qwote.com 235 UmbrellasOf
235 StageForLearning.com 230 NYBlade.com 230 SocialRevup.com 225 VisualApproach.com 223 Goovite.com 215 WhiskeyDurham.com 215 FilesClub.com 211 DianaVreeland-Film.com 210 LyricsTrax.com 206 Braithwaite-Lee.com 205 BuzzineFilm.com 205 Fantasy-Goddess-
205 WebPartsStore.com 205 ShopLungUSA.org 205 MassBayFilmProject.org 205 Trailer1.com 205 ArtLawTeam.com 205 IntelligenceRealm.com 204 WorldTravelDirectory.biz 200 GamesTalks.com 195 Alz-RochesterNY.org 190 TweenInk.com 185 Delphi3000.com 180 MoneySweepstakes.com 178 PeaceTech.net 176 ConcussionMovie.com 175 AdaptiveTech.net 175 ALRF.com 172 VirtuosityOne.com 170 ClubEstrella.com 170 BethIsraelMalden.com 170 Runners.info 166 FreshMonkey.com 165 SkyDelight.com 165 MaineDep.com 165 Desordre.biz 164 PrivateStage.tv 155 86596.com 152 CannabisTravel.com 150 CaffeineMarketing.com 150 HumanInvestment.com 150 TheShemaleTube.com 142 GifIt.com 141 Mushrooms.info 136 BeowulfAlley.com 135 Zangan.com 128 Up440.com 125 DallasNorth
122 10290.com 121 StayInBonn.com 115 AfricanHolidaySafaris.com 111 KingCorn.com 108 Postalz.com 106 Xpree.com 106 ShoreLineFloridaKeys
106 Groovideo.com 105 Wet.cc 105 AskGayMen.com 101 PeaceAir.net 101 VHIX.com 94 Buykinis.com 93 Pyramids.info 86 AssistedLiving.info 65 Waybo.com 62 22421.com 60 94091.com 46 40497.com 46 10Facts.com 45 DriveThroughDesigns.com 35 14829.com 35
Remember disk drives? Well, the .COM for that outdated computer technology just sold for $723. Frankly, I think that was a decent buy. Although domainers mainly chase future trends, older technology becomes more expensive the rarer equipment and technicians become. DiskDrives.com will have its day again! E-commerce product domains aren’t dead. CameraStrap.com claimed $809.
Spanish domains did fairly well. APleno.com ($710) means “to the full” and has various end users to sell to. Dedicame.com ($510) is about declarations of romantic love, and there are a few developed active sites based around that concept and phrase, including Dedicame.biz and DedicameVIP.com. Other lower-valued Spanish domain sales (e.g. ClubEstrella.com y Retronimo.com) are scattered in the charts.
Some domain sales clump together. For instance, AWorldOfPossibilities.com ($610) + .org ($305). Likewise, this quartet of European cities: StayInNaples.net ($410), StayInZurich.com ($305), StayInGeneva.com ($265), StayInBonn.com ($115). Bizarrely, the highest of those was a .NET, while the other 3 were .COM. I suppose we can add to that list ParisShortStay.com ($355).
One clear argument in favor of some new TLDs is the ongoing pattern of awkward domain choices for movie releases. Every time I see an encumbering suffix like “-film” or “-movie” or “theMovie”, I must admit there’s room for an nTLD to step in and clean up. All the same, domains like DianaVreeland-Film.com ($210) and ThePaperBoy-Movie.com ($280) won’t simply go away. Thanks to all the back-links they accrued during promotional lead-ups to the films’ debuts, such domains retain SEO value, I guess. Names of the form ConcussionMovie.com ($175) or, better yet, KingCorn.com ($108) (without any suffix) are preferable. But movie distributors clearly understand neither domains nor SEO. Otherwise, they wouldn’t continually be letting go of domains about their back catalogue!
Waybo.com ($62) slipped right past most of the would-be cybersquatters and went astonishingly cheaply, considering the Chinese website Weibo.com is ranked #16 globally and #5 in China, according to Alexa. CannabisTravel.com was also undervalued at $150. In the grand scheme of things, marijuana-focused travel is just a transitional phase. But right now, while recreational cannabis is legal in some U.S. states and illegal in others, people definitely do plan trips around getting high; and companies exist to help them. Meanwhile, a completely different motivation for travel shows up in another good buy: EmigrateToAustralia.com ($326).
What else? 5-digit numerical domains continue selling but were down last week at GoDaddy. I counted 6 … and all between $35 and $152. VHIX.com ($94) may be short for “vehicles”. ShoreLineFloridaKeysRealEstate.com ($106) stretches a proud 30 letters long, whereas GifIt.com ($141) makes a short, ultra-catchy brand name for gif videos. UmbrellasOfCherbourg.com ($235) is a hauntingly beautiful French musical (and film) by Michel Legrand – going by its English title in keeping with performance practice. Kullanici-Eeneyimi.com anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Yes, you guessed it. That $280 domain is Turkish for UX (user experience) design.
AskGayMen.com sold at the appropriately introductory price of $101. Buykinis.com ($93) is obviously about women’s swim wear. Less obviously, the .CO.UK is already in use. If neither of those is your image of PositiveLove.com ($290), there’s always TheShemaleTube.com ($142). But regardless of your sexual preferences, DatePeople.com ($280) might prove a handy reminder if you find yourself infatuated with pets , pizzas, or furniture.
Now for NameJet! LiveSpace.com passed $11.1k last week. Other expired auctions included 2 domains of social importance: JustLaw.com ($3.1k) and PalestineHistory.com ($360). CasinoTours.com ($2.7k) seems like a money maker to me. Unfortunately, the typo AffiliateProgams.com ($1.3k) will have to be written off as somebody’s loss.
Domain Name End $ Domain Name End $ LiveSpace.com 11121 CapitalTrading.com 3300 JustLaw.com 3101 CasinoTours.com 2700 ImageGallery.com 2505 EnterWeb.org 1901 Ultramed.com 1644 BookWare.com 1500 BIATX.org 1410 BigJohns.com 1401 AffiliateProgams.com [sic] 1280 SLE.net 860 OutNorth.org 841 BlendedLibrarian.org 807 CSCMail.net 761 RollWithIt.com 759 Malva.com 711 EVR.net 670 SHHB.com 666 TuxGames.com 650 OpenSports.com 620 SkiHoo.com 565 TheLockeInstitute.org 501 Bumpa.com 450 HamFish.org 401 NHACD.org 391 Boulevard.net 381 PalestineHistory.com 360 DLCA.com 337 SandwichClub.com 332 DessauSoprin.com 330 GymClassMagazine.com 315 Retronimo.com 310 NetLondon.com 299 FreeSolutions.com 275 Deviations.com 272 Ahava.org 258 AIHR.com 256 Kultuurikatel.org 205 DatingVideos.com 180 CareerAdvice.org 90 JetBorg.com 70
I quite like Bumpa.com ($450) as a version of “Bumper”. It’s got bounce. RollWithIt.com has the opposite — give. Another good brand name, in my view … Boulevard.net ($381) is a strong term for housing, travel, or fashion. As for Deviations.com ($272), it’s simply one of the cheapest good dictionary-word .COMs I’ve seen for awhile. In contrast, 3-letter .NETs did consistently well at NameJet, based on SLE.net ($860) and EVR.net ($670).
NetLondon.com ($299), SandwichClub.com ($332), and ImageGallery.com ($2.5k) afford some useful comparisons with nTLD domains on offer — .LONDON, .CLUB, and .GALLERY. So do GoDaddy’s SafeComputingTips.com ($1k) and FilesClub.com ($211).
This week’s JetBorg.com ($70) hearkens back to last week’s sale of AirBorg.com. DatingVideos.com ($180) seems like an obvious way for dating websites to push video marketing; so I was surprised by the low price. Maybe dating videos seem old fashioned. If you really want to see something antiquated, though, check out EnterWeb.org. This directory website has scarcely been updated since the 1998 version. I don’t mind seeing directory websites superseded, but it is disappointing to see something like TheLockeInstitute.org, which dates back to 1998, displaced by PPC ads. This internet of ours doesn’t last.
I’ll end with a riddle. What do George Bush Senior, acoustic guitars, offline advertising, conventional ovens, traditional Chinese characters, analog recordings, and Coca Cola Classic have in common? Hint: It’s a particular domain found in the charts above.
Slow start for the two new TLDs that launched yesterday (for which we have data.)
Five top level domain names launched yesterday. Unfortunately, ICANN’s centralized zone file system only has updated zone files for two of them.
.Cash gained 725 registrations to end the day with 909 in the zone file.
.Fund picked up just 414 to get to 625.
There are no first day zone files for Donuts’ other two TLDs, .tax and .investments. A zone file for Rightside’s .haus is also missing.
I feel like Donuts four financial domain names will be a big test. We haven’t seen much in the way of defensive domain name registrations in new TLDs. But financial companies are very worried about phishing. If they are to go after any, .investments and .fund should be on their radar.