Daniel Negari is on a mission to brand .xyz as the go-to domain name. He has big ambitions, and he’s not afraid of putting his money where his mouth is.
At just 27 years old, Daniel Negari has already proven his knack for smart investments. He’s built up both a physical real estate portfolio and a virtual one in the domain name business.
An active domain investor, Negari also founded the third level registry .com.de, runs a web design and ad agency for top tier domain names, and provides domain management services for owners of valuable domain name portfolios.
Now he’s setting his sights on new top level domain names. Next year he’ll launch at least two (and he hopes three) top level domain names.
Negari has applied to run the .xyz, .college, and .now top level domain names. He was the only applicant for .xyz and beat Donuts in an auction for .college.
He’s investing big in this business, even buying a building in Las Vegas to house his growing company — one he hopes will power millions of domain names just a few years from now.
I recently caught up with Negari to understand more about his plans for top level domain names.
Why .xyz? Did owning xyz.com influence your decision to apply for .xyz?
I originally acquired xyz.com with the intention of starting an ICANN accredited registrar. While on the path to becoming a registrar I received numerous requests from internet users around the world who wanted .xyz subdomains and @xyz.com email addresses. This demand would come into play in my decision making process later on. Shortly after we became ICANN accredited, the new gTLD program was announced. I compiled a spreadsheet with literally thousands of combinations for a new gTLD extension. I was looking for the shortest, easiest to remember, and most generic extension and ultimately, to me, that was .xyz.
Already owning xyz.com influenced my decision to apply for .xyz as there was an existing demand by internet users. XYZ is an instinctive and natural ending to any domain name. XYZ is recognized worldwide as the last 3 letters of the english alphabet and it makes sense to end a domain name with .xyz. It is interesting that the world wide web subdomain “www.” comes directly before the letters “xyz” in the english alphabet, again showing that the .xyz ending is ideal. Also, I realized that owning the equivalent .com would give me a marketing edge over other gTLD applicants, most of whom could not secure their extension.com. Having xyz.com gives us the ability to offer the .xyz.com subdomain in addition to the .xyz domain names as a value add.
We have been offering pre-registrations for .xyz on the xyz.com website for the past few months and we have seen a high interest level from all countries, with heavy interest from China, the United States, Germany and India. It is interesting that countries with rapidly growing populations of internet users are drawn to .xyz, showing the true global reach. Right now when someone thinks of a domain name, by default they think of three endings, “.com, .net, .org”. My goal is that 10 years from now people will think “.com, .xyz, .net, .org” and in 30 years “.xyz .com .net .org”.
.XYZ and .now are generic and can be mass marketed by registrars. .College is fairly specific. How do you intend to market .college differently than the other domain names?
As an unrestricted gTLD, .college will be marketed to not only higher education institutions but to education related businesses, corporations, students, and any group of people seeking a relevant internet presence. Currently these target markets only have one option for a relevant domain name, .edu. In order to register a .edu domain name, you are required to be an accredited postsecondary institution, and each institution can register only one domain name. The restriction of the .edu namespace allows for an opportunity for .college to reach a wider audience.
First I will touch on the most obvious target market, academic institutions. Every institution of higher learning (ex: a university) usually has many colleges, and each college deserves a unique internet presence. For example, XYZ University may have xyz.edu as their main website. XYZ University’s College of Business may be forced to use a lengthy subdomain such as collegeofbusiness.xyz.edu and the business students would use an email address like [email protected] . This specific College of Business may want to register xyzbusiness.college to give them a dedicated domain name which is shorter and easier to remember for faculty and students.
Another target market for .college are corporations, for example, mcdonalds.college. Mcdonalds can use this specific websites to attract college students for internships and entry level jobs. By having a separate .college domain name, McDonalds will be able to separate themselves from their competitors and show students that they have an innovative, fresh web presence dedicated to students. Major corporations can also use the .college domain to host their own employee education programs, including training and higher education opportunities. HR departments will now have another avenue to reach potential employees and educate their existing workforce.
The last target market that I would like to touch on are students. Students include high school students, college students, and student organizations. For example, high school students may want to host their personal website with their resume and stand out achievements on a student.college website. If high school student, Jimmy Blake, would like to separate himself for the 100 other Jimmy Blakes applying for college, jimmyblake.college would be an impressive vehicle to do so. Also, Jimmy can use a vanity email address like [email protected] to communicate with colleges. College students may want to host their personal site, blog, or professional portfolio on a .college domain name as well, giving them the best-suited name for their needs. College campus organizations, including fraternities and sororities, may want an appropriate .college domain name to promote their activities.
At first glance .college seems like a specific extension, however, the meaning extends far beyond academic institutions. It can be used by test preparation services, financial aid businesses, professors, and even do-it-yourself/tutorial websites (ex: fingerpainting.college). The scope of .college is infinite and our marketing will stress this point.
You face stiff competition for .now, including Amazon.com. Now that you have 2 of the 3 domains you applied for, will you approach resolving the .now contention set differently?
I play to win and hope to bring the internet the present that exists with the .now gTLD.
When do you think each of these TLDs will open for sunrise?
We are expecting the sunrise period for both .xyz and .college to start in early 2014. There will be extended sunrise periods for each extension as we want to give trademark holders ample time to prepare and register their domains. With .college, we will have an extended .edu exclusive registration period to allow for academic institutions to register theirinstitution.college. We realize that these larger institutions may require more time for budgeting and decision making.
What are your registration goals for each TLD? How will they be priced?
We have experienced a surge of interest from both registrars and registrants since .xyz opened up pre-registration and released marketing materials. We hope to reach 1 million .xyz registrations in the first year and 5 million registrations in the first three years. The pricing for .xyz has not been finalized, but it will be a low-cost domain extension available for all internet users.
Regarding .college, like you mentioned, it is a more specific extension and we anticipate that the number of registrations will be less than the number for .xyz. The .college pricing is not yet final, however, it will be favorably priced against other popular extensions.
What kind of company are you going to build around your TLDs?
Our plans for XYZ are vast and our mission is to provide internet users with competition and choice. As I mentioned, we are planning for millions of registrations which will be driven by our marketing and promotional efforts. Our team will be comprised of a social media marketing team, a support team for start ups using .xyz domain names, a general counsel to assist registrants with trademark clearinghouse questions, and a general awareness/support team for all prospective registrants.
As we speak I am in escrow on an office building in Las Vegas, which will be deemed the “XYZ HAUS” (currently the building is named BLOKHAUS). This college/office will provide awareness and educate internet users on new domain extensions, including .xyz and .college. We expect to reach 100 employees in the Las Vegas location in the next 3-5 years.
Fundamentally, we are changing the way people think about ending a domain name. We are pressing a reset button on the namespace and giving everyone the chance to secure a relevant .xyz domain name.