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Big launches make the next 50 days a key period for new top level domain names.
A lot of new top level domain names have come to market already. Some have flown out of the gate, others are growing modestly, and some have stalled.
In my opinion, the next 50 days will be an important period for new TLDs due to the number of high profile launches and the companies involved.
You can argue that a slow launch doesn’t kill a TLD. But new TLDs have a chance to get some positive momentum if they collectively make some noise over the next 50 days.
Here’s why this upcoming period has the potential to define new TLDs going forward:
Big .city domains.
.London and .NYC will go into general availability over the next 50 days. .London appears to be off to a strong start (15k domains were added to the zone file overnight), and .NYC could match it.
These cities are as big as it gets. Many people see promise in geo TLDs, and we’ll get a good measure on this very soon.
That’s not to mention other geo domains like .vegas, .moscow, and .scot.
.Realtor is a .brand domain that could shake up visibility for new TLDs. National Association of Realtors is offering the domains to 500,000 U.S. Realtors for free for the first year.
IF a lot of Realtors take them up on the offer and IF they use the domains, this could give a lot of visibility to top level domain names.
For adoption to happen, NAR will need to make it very easy for Realtors to forward the domains or set up websites. If I were a portfolio applicant, even one with competing real estate domains, I’d see if I could lend a hand to NAR to make this launch successful.
Minds + Machines
Minds + Machines, one of the biggest portfolio applicants for new TLDs, finally gets its first batch of domains into general availability in September. And it’s a big batch.
Excluding .London, the other domain names weren’t highly contested ones: .cooking, .country, .fishing, .horse, .rodeo, .vodka, .beer, .surf and .bayern.
Yet it’s still important: in addition to the volume of new TLDs hitting the market, Minds + Machines is a pure-play publicly-traded company. Its results will be watched closely.
Another portfolio applicant, Radix, launches its first batch of three domain names: .host, .press and .website.
Radix will be interesting to watch for a few reasons.
First, the company has experience launching domain names. It managed to get hundreds of thousands of .pw registrations.
Second, the company is spending big to promote its first three domains. Take a look at this big booth from a recent HostingCon conference:
They’ve also done a good job with online advertising targeted to the press and hosting companies.
Third, Radix should have good distribution given its connections to registrar platforms now owned by Endurance International.
As for its initial batch of domains, .host should be solid but faces a massive list of name collisions. .Website is a good generic; I’m curious to see market reaction given that .web and .site will eventually become TLDs as well. Pricing will also be important for .website.
A long game, but a momentum game
A lot of new TLD applicants will tell you that new TLDs are a long game and that launch numbers aren’t that important. Yeah, I’d say that too if I watched my launch flounder.
They aren’t lying; it’s a long game. But launches are important to the long game, and the next 50 days will be important.
One domain is off to a quick start, the others not so much.
Seven new top level domain names launched this week.
By far, .Hamburg for the city of Hamburg was the most registered domain name. (Ironically, this is the one new TLD launch this week that I missed in my weekly preview.)
There are approximately 13,800 .hamburg domain names in the zone file, up about 10,000 on the first day.
On Tuesday, .black added about 100 names to end the day with about 150. I never understand the .color domain names. Apparently I’m not the only one that can come up with a reason to register them.
.HIV, a charitable domain, also launched on Tuesday. It added about 50 domains to end with 115, despite quite a bit of press.
Donuts launched four domain names at regular pricing yesterday. Here’s approximately how many domains they had after the first day:
Some interesting domain name registrations from Walmart, eBay and Google.
A handful of companies have made some interesting domain name registrations lately, potentially tipping off plans.
First, let’s start with a couple domain registrations that seem more defensive than anything else.
Walmart is frequently criticized for killing mom and pop shops through competition. You can hardly expect it to go on a campaign to save mom and pop stores, so why did it register saveourmomandpops.com?
It is also criticized for putting independent pharmacies out of business. It registered savendependentdrugstores.com. That’s actually a typo; saveIndependentDrugstores.com isn’t registered. So someone made a mistake here.
The domains were originally registered by Walmart. The whois records now show Mark Monitor’s whois privacy service.
Did you know eBay has a classified site called Kijiji? They do, and they’re getting ready to offer a new service called Flook or Flooke.
I’m basing this on the couple dozen domain name registrations it made including flookclassifieds.com, flookebykijiji.com, kijijiflook.com and flookepoweredbykijiji.com. We’ll have to wait to see what it is.
In other interesting registrations, Google registered TheHatBin.com. Any guesses on what it plans to do with that?
Finally, remember that motorcycle cop show CHiPs? You do if you grew up in the 80s. There was a made for TV movie at some point, but perhaps a big screen rendition is forthcoming. A Mark Monitor client registered chipsthemovie.com and Chips-Movie.com. The whois records are protected by privacy, so it could be for something else. Don’t get your hopes up too high, Ponch fans.
We lost some vowels along the way. Good luck finding us.I’ve seen a lot of bad domain names in my day.
There was the women’s site sk-rt.com (it’s cute for skirt!). Then there was some made up name like schmoop or shloop or something like that. (It’s in my archives somewhere, but it was so bad I can’t even remember exactly what it was.)
Now we have a new nominee for worst domain name: neighbrhds.com
Neighbrhds is the brand for a series of localized neighborhood apps released by Urban Living Marketing.
Look, I get it. Neighborhoods.com is registered and the owner is asking five figures.
“Ah, domain names don’t matter anymore,” say the startups. “We’re an app, anyway.”
Sure. But does anyone ever need to email the company? Indeed, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Yes, my email address is ‘say hello at neighborhoods dot com, but with no o’s in neighborhood.”
If you pretend for a moment that domain names don’t matter, this company still has an issue when you search for its apps. I just went to the Google Play store and searched for “Neighborhoods”. I didn’t find its apps. You have to type neighbrhds to find them!
“Just go to the app store and search for neighborhoods without any o’s.”
In five minutes of searching I found a couple good domain names that include “neighborhoods” that would work much better for the company. Even as someone who thinks new TLDs can be confusing for users, this company would have been better off with neighorhoods.somethingelse.
Pull out your .creditcard.
This week will be an interesting one for new top level domain names: Afilias takes a different tact on .color domains, an EAP with a $150k price tag, Donuts raises the bar with .creditcard, and the first “social cause” TLD launches.
Following on the lackluster launches of .red, .pink and .blue, Afilias launches .black.
.Red is its most successful color domain so far, but it has received fewer than 2,500 registrations.
Afilias is taking a different approach with .black. Retail prices are about $50, significantly more than the $15-$20 on the first several colors. That will obviously keep registrations down. I have to think the idea is to get as much revenue as possible from those companies that feel like they “need” to register .black domains, since volume is sure to be light.
NetCologne GmbH starts the Early Access for .cologne and .koeln. Technically this is its landrush period, and you need to be prepared to pay big bucks. 101domain.com is quoting $150,000 for first day registrations! Prices don’t drop to four figures until the fifth day of the launch. Normal pricing looks cheap; 101domain.com is asking just $12.99 if you can wait until the end of next week to register.
Also on Tuesday, the first “social cause” TLD launches as .HIV opens up for registration. It donates money to HIV causes when people click on .hiv websites:
.HIV domains are rather expensive: I’m finding registration prices around $200/year. This is probably a good idea to limit registrations to people who care about the cause.
Wednesday belongs to Donuts.
Four Donuts TLDs exit EAP and revert to regular pricing: .furniture, .discount, .fitness and .schule.
Four enter EAP: .gratis, .claims, .credit and .creditcard.
You might expect .creditcard to be huge despite its length. Apparently Donuts’ thinks so; it appears to have slotted the domain in a fifth price tier above anything I’ve seen so far from the company. GoDaddy is charging $200 for the domains, which suggests the wholesale price is $100.
The price should limit demand, but there are still some big opportunities with this domain name.