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Frank Schilling: could be 20,000 or 30,000 TLDs in 20 years

Says “these are not pie-in-the-sky” numbers and second level domains could be seen as “antiquated”.

Domain name investor Frank Schilling applied for 54 top level domains via his new TLD company Uniregistry.

I remember asking him before the new TLD reveal day about what his plans were, and he characterized them as “not big”.

54 doesn’t seem like a big number to me, but when you consider Schilling’s perspective on how the naming system will change in the coming decades, it makes more sense.

Schilling recently submitted a comment about allowing singular and plural versions of strings as TLDs. The second paragraph gives insight into his vision of the future:

Many folks today are having difficulty digesting the concept of 500 new generic extensions. I can imagine a world in 20 short years where there are 20,000 or 30,000 GTLDs. These are not pie-in-the-sky numbers. It’s entirely plausible this will happen. In the near future, every major brand will have it’s own GTLD – and every minor brand that wants to emulate those big brands will as well.. There are only so many generic or meaningful words across all languages. Within 30 years we could move-up a level and the entire concept of SLD’s could be seen as antiquated. ICANN needs to lay farsighted groundwork for the possibility of that spectrum/reality. If we don’t get plurals now, the change will be much harder if not impossible in the future.

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  1. James says

    Sounds quite plausible. So the question is, what is the impact on the value of dot com? Does 30,000 gtld’s make .com that much more valuable, as Rick Schwartz has predicted – or does .com become just one of the pack?

    The Model T Ford was THE car for decades, until it wasn’t, and just became one of the many…

    I think domains in general as an investment have a shelf life, and I’m checking my sell-by dates carefully lately.

  2. JS says

    I read the whole comment and do not entirely follow the logic.

    Why compare the top level to the 2nd level as if one has to be similar to the other?

    They’re different things from my perspective, and from my limited knowledge on the matter I’m not even sure the root could support a system where the 2nd level is “antiquated” and replaced by the top level.

    Was the purpose of the program to emulate the 2ndlevel at the top level ? I believe the answer is no from my readings of the subject over the years. Give more choice to 2nd level registrants, yes. Spur innovation, yes.

    The “trying to close the door behind round 2” argument is a separate issue and I don’t see how limiting plurals has a direct effect on it. Red herring in my opinion.

    It is true that users are not unduly confused by singular/plurals at the 2nd level (2 choices), but Schilling’s comment fails to address the combination s/p 2nd level dot s/p top level(4 choices) which reflects the more realistic situation web users will be facing. (I agree some of the 4 choices may not make sense in the english language under some TLDs, but they’ll be available to register -as typos- none the less). Since user confusion is a topic of paramount concern to ICANN I would have liked to see Schilling address it more thoroughly in his comment.

    Lastly I just want to say that there is a spectrum of possible solution to this issue besides allowing singular/plural tlds now and forever or disallowing them forever.

  3. RaTHeaD says

    maybe someone should just come out and say it.
    LSD is easy to get in the caymans. and schilling has the cash to buy plenty. has he? hard to tell.

  4. Ron says

    Is .com going to be a trusted extensions, whereas all the other extensions will be filled with pirates, and scammers. This is going to be a huge issue going forward, as people are going to abuse the new gtld’s for the dark side of domaining, and tricking people for their passwords, and other info.

  5. D Higgins says

    I predicted several months ago on this board that top level domains would eventually and essentially become (or replace) what are now second level domains.

  6. Jeff Schneider says

    The drum beaters of watch your sell dates carefully so as to not avoid a .COM Profit Center sell off.

    This is laughable and decieving at the same time.There is a .COM sell off at tremendously expanded multiples coming and those who listen to rubbish like ( I’m checking my sell-by dates carefully lately )
    will sell their future away to greedy conivers.

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

  7. Jeff Schneider says

    This is something Frank and other gTLD fans do not want you to know.

    Is anyone wondering why so many secondary market sales are .COM Profit Centers?

    You hardly ever see .whatever sales which are far and few between.

    The mere fact that major players the gTLD applicants have chosen to try out Pure Play Generic markers = gTLDs to try to market Traffic back to their .COM Profit centers tells you that they know the power of Generic pure play Marketing Tools.

    The catch twenty 22 for them is they do not control the .COM Pure Play Generics ,someone else controls these powerfull devices, it could be you, if you play your cards right. Whats the difference ? their right of the dot is not what consumers will trust to transact on? Is the picture getting clearer here?

    Gratefully , Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

  8. Andrea Paladini says

    Personally I don’t believe so much in the new gtlds, they will be just a niche, also market wise, given also their high costs (185k $ to apply and 25k $/year as renewal fee), surely a way for ICANN to get some “extra cash” … and a new business for new registrars, lawyers, etc.
    Not to mention some initial “confusion” effects.
    I don’t think they will either add much value or replace current main extensions for the mainstream, IMHO they will just be like “expensive toys” for big brands which can afford them.
    IMO .com will still be the king and I don’t see either a strong weakening of .net (which, on the opposite, should increase in value, given the scarcity of premium .com keywords) and .org., which have a more specific market.
    On the other side, I see some of the other already weak minor extensions (I’m not talking about main ccTLDs) losing further ground.

  9. Tony says

    In 20 years, we will have less than 30 successful and still operating TLD’s.

    Hundreds and maybe thousands of TLDs will be attempted and fail and hundreds of millions of dollars will have been wasted.

    That to me is a more plausible prediction.

  10. Jeff Schneider says

    @ Tony


    R. E. = ” In 20 years, we will have less than 30 successful and still operating TLD’s.

    Hundreds and maybe thousands of TLDs will be attempted and fail and hundreds of millions of dollars will have been wasted.

    That to me is a more plausible prediction.

    There are professional Demographic Marketing studies that indicate, consumers will not purchase off of extensions they do not know or trust. Also Search Manipulated Engines will not make your business stand out, rather you will be lost or lose business to your competitors, that are on the same Search page.

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

  11. WorldStarJobs says


    Oh it is so, my friend/ for the to with the market SEO .com’s will have from it to them !!! Not for them, but TO them !!!

    Since I will it with for the .com/ it will be obvious to the market manipulators for the SEO and the .com naysayers !!! What will when for it to once and every with that some to look ???

    Thank you again !!!

    – WSJ

  12. NiceNIC.NET says

    20,000 or 30,000 TLDs? Though it’s a bit crazy, I was clearly aware of the number of TLDs would skyrocket during the meeting of ICANN 46th.

    • Andrew Allemann says

      Keep in mind that the rules might change. What if you could get a top level domain for only $100, you could use them anyway you want, a backend registry service was provided, and you could sell them just like domains. Then how many would there be?

  13. MarkA says

    Ahh instead of 185k what if ICANN lowered to 50k or 10k per TLD. And what if there are dozens of backend providers like Uniregistry. Now “everybody” in here has a TLD, or 2, or 5. Maybe franky’s not so high on LSD after all. I would take one or two.

  14. Andrea Paladini says

    @ Andrew Alleman
    Yeah, rules might change…
    Just guess how people who have spent 185k + 25k/year would be happy to see that “now u can get a top level new gtld for only 100$” … LOL!
    And just remember all the past failures of several would be “innovative” and “alternative” gTLDs …
    Let me tell that also this time there will be a lot of natural selection for these “personalized” gTLDs … 🙂

  15. Jonathan says

    Ref:”GAC advice re Singular and Plural Extensions” Perfectly logical.

    “This is something Frank and other gTLD fans do not want you to know.” The comment does you No service, other than insult my IQ.

    “Keep in mind that the rules might change” May they ever evolve.

  16. Jonathan says

    Will The FTSE 500 companies stop using the dot “com” Brand = No.

    Do I want to identify with The FTSE 500 companies = Yes

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