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New Top Level Domain Demand Still Elusive

Hard to prove demand for new top level domain names

One of the key questions facing ICANN and the internet community is if there is any demand for new top level domain names should they be released. So far no one has released convincing evidence of demand. And if past TLD launches are any indication, demand will be minimal.

One company, Quintaris, has taken a stab at proving demand by allowing people to ‘backorder’ new domains at Pool. These backorders are non-binding and don’t cost anything. They don’t give any precedence or privilege to those that backorder the domains. The motivation for backordering is unclear. So I was surprised when Quintaris announced last week that it was receiving 10,000 backorder requests a day. Why would people spend their time submitting pointless backorders?

I suppose it’s a little like voting for American Idol. One person can vote 1,000 times for the same person, and they receive no intrinsic value for doing so.

I contacted Quintaris today to understand how many people were behind the 10,000 backorders a day. The company declined to release this figure, but did say it will consider disclosing it in the future. To me the number of people placing backorders, if anything, is the important number.

It’s worth noting that Quintaris has a vested interest in new TLDs launching since it is a consulting company for entities wishing to launch TLDs. Part of the reason the company launched the backorder system is because it thought the new TLD plans may be scrapped because people claim there’s little demand.

The only hard data we have on the demand for new TLDs is looking back at previous launches. Based on both registrations and usage, I can’t think of any TLDs that have been a hit, especially when you factor in how little competition these TLDs had.

If anything, I can see some justification and demand for IDN TLDs. Unfortunately, Quintaris system doesn’t track that.

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  1. Reece Berg says

    I completely agree with you there Andrew — 10,00 different people each day backordering 1 domain is quite a different story from 100 domainers backordering 100 each. I’m reasonably confident it’s the latter — the general public largely still hasn’t heard of these new extensions..

    I also wonder how many are from companies who want to protect their trademarks, which is the same we’ve seen with all new extensions in recent memory — big hype about sunrise numbers but half the sunrise regs are companies reserving their trademarks and the other half from domainers..

    • Andrew Allemann says

      Reece, although if new TLDs actually launch many of the registrations will come from trademark owners, I seriously doubt any of them are backordering these at Pool. They’re smart enough to figure out that they aren’t really backordering anything.

  2. jeff schneider says

    An easy barometer in finding the answer to actual demand for tlds other than the .com extension, just might be answered by this one question? What percentage of the internets total traffic funnels through the .com extension ??? come on out there who has the answer?

  3. Abigail says

    “I can’t think of any TLDs that have been a hit, especially when you factor in how little competition these TLDs had. ”

    .biz domain draws 2 million applicants
    http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/business/0,39044229,30083924,00.htm

    200,000 .TEL domain names registered
    http://www.goldsteinreport.com/article.php?article=8181

    250,000 .ME domain names registered
    http://www.domainnamenews.com/up-to-the-minute/tel-passes-200000-250000-registrations/5152

  4. Adam @ Dotster says

    Whether or not there is currently a demand for new TLDs, there will be in the future due to market forces and a lack of good domains available for the primary TLDs. Dotster wants to make sure we’re ready to enable our customers by embracing new TLDs. Demand now isn’t particularly indicative of what demand will likely be in the near future.

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