How many registrations should a new TLD expect?
A call for new top level domain name applicants to be realistic about how many domains they can sell is coming from an unlikely source: domain name registry Afilias.
In a blog post today, Afilias points out that history tells us new TLDs don’t get substantial registrations:
…Well, here we are in 2010 and the industry has now grown to over 190 million domain names. If you think it was because of new TLDs, you’d be wrong.
COM, NET and ORG have grown by over 80 million names. ccTLDs, like China’s CN and Germany’s .DE, have grown about 45 million names in total. But new TLDs have added less than 15 million names. Indeed, from a market share standpoint, new TLDs have never comprised more than 7% of the market.
As a supporter of new TLDs that will make money serving as a back end registry, Afilias’ comments should carry weight.
Afilias points out that, even though it “may not be realistic to assume millions of registrations”, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a successful and profitable top level domain name. It just means that history tells us millions of registrations for a new TLD are unlikely, at least under the current paradigm.
Keep in mind that new TLDs launched over the past decade had little competition. New ones will face hundreds of competitors. That will make it difficult to rise to the top. I expect a number of competitive measures — including very low registry prices for many of the new TLDs — as new TLDs are rolled out.