What should domain investors think about as new TLDs come to market?
Companies have submitted close to 2,000 applications to ICANN to run new top level domains covering everything from .app to .zippo. What will this mean for domainers as we watch a flood of top level domains hit the market in the coming years?
I reached out to close to 20 industry experts with diverse backgrounds to get their opinion on this question:
“New top level domains are on the horizon. What impact will this have on domainers?”
I asked them to limit their response to 100 words, which is easier said than done. Below is the first set of responses. Tomorrow I will publish the responses from more industry experts.
Vice President, Domain Portfolio, Tucows
The launch of new TLDs will mean that hundreds of millions of dollars are going to be spent on consumer marketing and advertising of these new domain extensions. In the next 24 months, the general public is going to see an unprecedented wave of messaging about these new TLDs, and that means people around the world are going to end up paying more attention to domain names *in general* and what’s to the right of the dot. The upcoming increased awareness of domain names is good for the industry as a whole and spells opportunity for anyone with an open and entrepreneurial mind, and
that includes domainers who are willing to think outside the .com box.
Domainers, like the rest of us, will have to wait and see. The opportunities will no longer be restricted to their portfolios of predominantly dot-com names. The focus will be on the open generic keyword TLDs, but it is too soon to tell which ones will be awarded and of those which will have a strong value proposition, and a killer marketing and PR machine to drum up awareness and demand. I would also not be surprised to see some domainers investing in gTLDs as applicants. No one knows for sure the possibilities of new gTLDs, but I am already hearing of some very innovative ones and some .lol ones!
Founder, Castello Cities Internet Network, Inc
It will take a long time for any of these new generic TLDs to gain traction. Conversely, in-house TLDs like dotNIKE etc will do fine because their usage is limited and protected. However, the generic TLDs hoping for public acceptance and wealth will discover the reality of being a needle in a haystack that can no longer depend on the traditional initial cash flow from speculators simply for being the new kid on the TLD block. The phenomenon of a TLD going belly-up will cease to be a rarity and, after the dust settles, the legacy and country code TLDs will become the gold standard as the safest places to build your brands. Look for ICANN, registrars and attorneys to do well. For the rest, it will be an expensive lesson in marketing.
Right of the Dot and founder of Moniker
The impact to domainers will be overall very positive for the following reasons.
There is almost $400mm being invested just in application fees alone for some 1900+ new extensions. Imagine how much additional dollars will be invested into our industry for marketing, sales, awareness, PR, products, services, etc. All for the domain industry.
This is a huge expansion of our current industry – it’s going to more than double with the addition of new extensions. New markets, new companies, new ideas, new technology, are all being created from this new expansion.
It’s providing worldwide coverage of our industry as well, something that has been relatively silent until the announcement of TLDs in IDNs, regions such as .Africa, cities such as .Miami, .Berlin, .NYC, . Amsterdam, .Tokyo, etc.
More awareness, more publicity, more users, create more demand for new and existing domains. It also opens the door for investment for domainers who feel they missed the gold rush of the early .com years. There are now several new domain extensions that have great potential in Geo names, generic top levels as well as application type names. Extensions such as .Law, .Health, .Green, .Music, etc. provide great new virtual real-estate opportunities for all.
This is comparable to what Web 2.0 was with the expansion of the internet, except we are probably talking Web 3.0 +
There will be more names to sell, buy, monetize, develop, build, and redefine!
I believe new TLDs will not change much in terms of business for domainers. I believe there will be a lot of opportunity in making legit investments in domain names in new TLDs which will pay dividends. For the first time now there are several interesting creative options available on the right side of the dot which genuine investors can leverage.
Vice President of Product Development – Domains at GoDaddy.com
In a word, ‘opportunity.’ At Go Daddy, we consider domain names to be like 21st century real estate and the new alternatives certainly present significant potential in the years ahead. In the short term, domainers can look to maximize the potential of the current portfolios and position themselves to take advantage of new options that come with the emergence of newly introduced gTLDs. We expect many open-minded investors will find innovative ways to leverage new prospects. With the number of new domain name extensions being released, there is also potential for saturation, so careful planning will be essential when it comes to decisions on where to invest.
Domain investor, ElliotsBlog.com
That’s the million dollar question. No doubt there will be an impact, and as domain investors, we will need to adapt to market changes. If brands utilize their gTLDs and they are advertising .brand websites, consumers may begin to look to the right of the dot more quickly, and that could increase the demand and value. Ultimately, we need to realize that this is new territory and changes in the market are likely.
[See responses from Mike Berkens, Bob Mountain, Juan Diego Calle, and others tomorrow.]