Here are three reasons it might have wanted to run .web.
Up until now, Verisign’s only interest in new top level domain names (other than running the registries for other companies) has been internationalized domain names that are transliterations of .com and .net. It has downplayed the potential of new domain names, saying they cause lots of confusion.
Yet, here it is, paying three times more than the previous record for a top level domain name.
Does this mean it suddenly believes in the future of new top level domain names? Here are a few reasons Verisign might have paid so much for .web.
It views it as competitive to .com – a handful of industry watchers and top level domain name companies have said that .web is the one domain that could unseat .com. While that’s open to debate, Verisign might have viewed this as an opportunity to take the greatest threat from the new TLD program off the table.
It views it as competitive of .net – this might sound odd, but keep in mind .net is a 9-figure-a-year business for Verisign. You can argue that .web has a similar connotation to .net. It could be a viable alternative for people who traditionally buy a .net when the .com is taken.
It views it as a high-upside opportunity – Verisign might have run the numbers and decided it can make a good business out of .web, especially with its existing reach in the domain name ecosystem.
On a side note, how asleep at the wheel were stock analysts covering Verisign on yesterday’s conference call? They keep asking about revenue potential for Verisign’s IDNs, even though it’s really small right now. Yet they missed Verisign making such a big bet on .web?