.Uno top level domain name to cater to Spanish-speaking internet users.
A lot of new top level domain name applicants have suffered through years of ups and downs waiting for the new top level domain name program to launch.
Not Shaul Jolles.
Jolles, who is behind six top level domain name applications, decided to apply just a few months before the application window closed.
He was visiting with his acquaintance Efraim Gershom at one of Jolles’ co-working spaces (he runs two in Kansas City and one in Chicago). Gershom was looking for office space, but the talk turned to business ideas and, ultimately, new top level domain names.
Their first idea was .auto, since Gershom owns an auto parts exchange called Automotix. Then they discussed corporate identifiers including .inc, .llc, .llp, and .corp. (Jolles applied for these corporate identifiers, but Germshom is not involved with that bid.)
They figured they were likely to face competition for these domains, and they were right. So they looked for a domain they could get outright.
“Let’s do something completely out of the box that there’s a very good chance no one else will do,” Jolles recounted the discussion.
The pair decided to apply for something Spanish. A quarter of the companies in Jolles’ co-working spaces are Hispanic owned, so he’s familiar with the market.
“I’m very familiar with the lack of attention [Hispanic businesses] are getting,” said Jolles.
They landed on .uno. And indeed, they were the sole applicant for the domain name.
The initial target market for the .uno domain name is companies that sell to the U.S. Spanish-speaking market. Jolles pegs the population at 55 million, and it’s expected to grow to 100 million by 2050.
Jolles explains that the focus on the U.S. is because Spanish speakers in other countries already have ccTLDs, but he also thinks non-U.S. Spanish speakers are a future market opportunity.
“Everything that happens in the US with Hispanics happens in South America five years later,” he said. If the domain takes off in the United States, he thinks it will spread elsewhere.
Jolles likes to think of .uno as a service instead of a domain. His idea is that whenever you see a .com domain, you can type in the same secondlevel.uno and get a Spanish-language site.
This would solve a frustration for many Spanish speakers. Although most top brands have a website or section in Spanish, it’s sometimes difficult to find. He hopes to make .uno a universal way to directly navigate to a site’s Spanish version.
One existing example is the new top level domain program’s Trademark Clearinghouse. It is using Trademark-Clearinghouse.uno and TMCH.uno to forward to the Spanish language version of the site.
(You’ll note that Trademark Clearinghouse does not own TMCH.com; owning the equivalent .com is not required to register the .uno domain.)
Jolles would prefer that companies host a completely different site at .uno rather than forwarding to the Spanish-language version on .com, but he’s still excited to have this early use case. Jolles has already set up OfficePort.uno for his co-working spaces as well.
How big is the market? Jolles says he’s “very confident” that they’ll generate a million registrations within the first year.
In order for that to happen, it would seem that the target users will have to have confidence that typing in secondlevel.uno will land on an active website. This was a downfall for .mobi. Sites didn’t adopt it en masse, so people had low confidence of finding the mobile version of a website when they typed in secondlevel.mobi. The domain could also get a boost from Spanish web searches.
Indeed, to hit a million domains that quickly would require that people look at .uno as more than just a domain.
Sunrise for the domain runs through February 7, followed by a 30 day landrush. General availability begins on March 17. The wholesale price for .uno domains is $20. Most registrars are offering it for $35-$39/year.
If Jolles and Gershom pull this off, they’ll be making a whole lot of dinero.