New top level domain registries need to scratch the sunrise line item off their P&Ls.
I think many observers are surprised by the low number of trademark sunrise registrations in new top level domain names so far.
Calzone, a calendar for new TLD rollouts, has put together some numbers and analysis on sunrise periods so far.
The net-net is that sunrises so far have averaged between 100-200 registrations. That’s about 1% of how many sunrise registrations .co received in 2010. Even .Co received fewer sunrise registrations than previous launches such as .asia, .mobi, .eu, etc.
There are a number of reasons other registries might be able to get more sunrise registrations than Donuts, which has launched the bulk of domains so far.
1. Donuts offers a system-wide trademark block. I suspect about 500-1,500 of these blocks have been placed. While the block customers might not register their domains in every TLD, certainly not having a block option would have led to more one-off sunrise registrations.
2. It’s still early and trademark holders are belatedly learning about new TLDs and brand protection mechanisms. Some are registering domains in general availability that could be registered in sunrise periods going forward.
3. More general TLDs might get more sunrise registrations. Niche domains will attract industry participants, e.g. clothing brands for .clothing. Generic domains like .xyz and .site might attract a broader range of sunrise registrants. Conversely, it’s possible that niche domains will end up getting more sunrise registrations because brand holders in the specific industries will be more aware.
4. Some of the more controversial TLDs are likely to get more sunrise registrations. Remember that .xxx received 80,000 blocking registrations.
Still, it’s clear that sunrise won’t be a big revenue driver for most TLDs. I think many brands have figured out they need to change their approach to cybersquatting. They also realize cybersquatting won’t be that big of a deal in new TLDs.
I know that many registries were counting on sunrise numbers similar to previously launched domain names. Comparing anything from previous rounds of TLD expansion to this one is clearly a mistake.