Domain name registrars aren’t ready to suggest new TLDs to customers.
As of 11 am EST today, the first set of Latin script new top level domain names came to market.
None of this “Early Access Program” stuff. Just show up, find the domain you want, and register it for regular prices just like other domains.
Unfortunately for Donuts, which owns the seven top level domain names now available, none of the registrars are ready for the big shift in domain name search.
I started my searching at GoDaddy by entering a couple search strings that end in plumbing and guru, e.g. findjoesplumbing and austintexasguru.
In both cases the .com domain was available and offered. As usual, other domain extensions, combinations of search words, and premium domain names were offered as alternatives or in addition to my exact match.
In the case of findjoesplumbing, guess where findjoes.plumbing was on the list of over 100 results? For the 100+ results on austintexasguru, guess where austintexas.guru was?
If you guessed “nowhere,” you’re right.
The matching .plumbing and .guru domains also weren’t offered in the checkout process.
This is no small deal, as many new TLD applicants based their string selection on how often the keyword shows up in existing domain names.
It appears GoDaddy simply hasn’t added these domains to its search yet. To be fair, I’m writing this 30 minutes after the formal launch. But we’ll see how these domains show up in search results in the future.
I then ventured over to eNom, which is a new TLD applicant itself.
eNom did a bit better than GoDaddy handling the search. In fact, it did the best of all the registrars I checked this morning. Here’s what I got for the plumbing term:
You’ll see that the .com was available and that 7 alternatives were highlighted. Three of those alternatives were new Donuts domains, but why is .plumbing not one of them? Probably because the options are “hard coded” without regard to the search term.
Then if you look at the lower left, you’ll see that .plumbing domains are suggested, although oddly not the exact match findjoes.plumbing. Instead, it shows getjoes.plumbing.
I then ran a search for AustinPlumbing.com. The .com is taken, and so is Austin.Plumbing, but the search suggestions box in the lower left was filled with .plumbing domains.
A step in the right direction.
Next up was 1&1. This is the registrar that has spent $50 million advertising new TLD pre-registrations.
I started easy, just typing findjoes.plumbing in the search box. Guess what happened?
I guess the company is going to make all of its money off of pre-registrations and not regular registrations.
As you can imagine after seeing the above graphic, .plumbing domains were nowhere to be found in the suggestions.
(Network Solutions also does not appear to be supporting hand registrations of new TLDs yet.)
I decided to finish with Hover since it has always had quality domain search. Like many of the others, I couldn’t find the new TLDs as suggested alternatives. I could only find the domains if I typed .plumbing into the search field.
Here’s the takeaway
Yes, it’s early. This is a marathon and not a sprint. We knew that the first domains to come out would be handicapped; it’s part of new TLDs coming out with a whimper. But I also believe that domain name registrars are behind on developing domain search that can parse and handle niche domain names.
This is important for new TLD applicants. It’s going to be difficult getting any sort of good shelf space when competing with hundreds of other new extensions, resale domains, existing gTLDs, and hundreds of ccTLDs. New TLD registries need to at least count on coming up high in search results when someone is searching for a domain that has the TLD as one of the search terms.