Between reserved domains, name collisions, premium pricing and awkward domain name registrar interfaces, it’s just a pain in the ass.
I’ve written before about how new TLDs are coming out with a whimper. They are severely handicapped coming out of the gate thanks to lack of registrar support, name collision uncertainty, poor registrar search experiences and a whole host of other reasons.
Earlier this week I wrote about my experience trying to register 17 domain names. I was unable to register most of them because they were either registry reserved or on the name collision list. Those I wanted to register had premium prices.
Since I wrote the previous post about going 0-for-17 I’ve continued to research domain names that I think make sense to register. That’s because I think you can make money buying and selling new TLDs. I want to register a select few. But I keep running into the same problems.
On the rare occasion that the name isn’t on the name collision list and isn’t registry reserved, it comes with a premium price.
If WordCab.com sold for $2,000 a couple years ago, I’m not going to pay $200/year to register Word.cab. I think it’s a very long term bet to think that Word.cab will become more valuable than WordCab.com. If it does later on down the road, how much have I spent in registration fees?
My other issue is with registrars. I primarily use three registrars for my domain names: GoDaddy, eNom, and Moniker.
Scratch Moniker off the list because they aren’t selling new TLDs yet.
That leaves GoDaddy and eNom, two popular registrars.
GoDaddy does the best job I’ve seen of laying out your options for registering new domains. For Donuts domain names GoDaddy does a nice job laying out the Early Access Program options compared to regular pre-registration.
There are two problems with registering new TLDs at GoDaddy, though. First, its prices seem to be about 25%-50% more than many competitors. Second, you may face more competition in pre-orders. GoDaddy is absolutely creaming other registrars when it comes to new TLD registrations. If you pre-order at GoDaddy you’re more likely to end up facing off against another person that pre-ordered the domain and thus paying more in an auction.
eNom has done a better job than most with search for new TLDs. But I find its pre-ordering options rather confusing.
First, I don’t see where you have options for the various Early Access Program days for new TLDs. If you search for a domain during EAP you can order it on the day you’re on, but I don’t see how you can do something like a day 5 pre-order.
Also, if you search for a domain during its EAP and you just want to place a regular pre-order, you have to go to a special pre-order page. If you search for a domain on eNom.com that’s not available yet at all, the search box will change it to a .com domain and not even link to a pre-order option.
For example, if I type thisdoesnt.work into the search box, it changes the search to thisdoesntwork.com.
Even the regular pre-orders on the special page are a bit confusing to me.
The terms state “Fees for Pre-registration will include only the registration fee. If you are not awarded the domain, this fee will be refunded.” Yet when I place a pre-order I see both a “Fee” of $10 and a separate registration fee. That doesn’t look like “only the registration fee”. Are both refundable if you don’t get the domain name?
I suspect you’ll face less auction competition at eNom than you will at GoDaddy. But here’s how eNom says it handles multiple pre-orders for the same domain:
Domains with multiple applications in our Pre-registration queue that we are successfully able to register will be awarded either by sending it to private auction to be bid on by those submitting an order, or it will be awarded on first come, first served basis. You would be notified of the auction details by our auction platform provider should it go into auction.
Wait, so eNom will just decide later whether to send the domain to auction or give it to whomever placed the first order? That doesn’t seem right.
If someone like me, who lives and breathes domains, finds this all confusing then I can’t imagine the typical end user.
The good news is that domainers who think they have a good plan for registering new TLDs will continue to face less competition as long as the process is so hairy.