I registered four new TLDs today. It took two hours.
Today was the day. I finally registered a domain in a new TLD.
Actually it looks like I ended up with four registrations, all in .link.
Here is my story. Genre: horror.
When I got to the office this morning I decided I was going to do whatever it took to register a domain in .link. .Link is the first truly “generic” domain to hit the market, and at about $10/year it’s also reasonably priced.
Since it’s generic, you can plug any good keyword in front of it and the domain will make sense. Most other domain launches have been niche domains with a limited number of second level domains that make sense.
I created a list of 133 keywords, ranging from “great” ones (e.g. money, music) to decent ones (elpaso, scores). I then manually looked each domain up in whois to see if it was going to be available at launch (which was at noon EST today).
Here are the numbers:
* 11 were available
* 1 was registered during sunrise with a bogus trademark
* 58 were on the name collision list
* 63 were registry reserved
.Link is hampered from the get go with about 35,000 domains on the name collision list. But I realized that even if the ones I searched weren’t on the name collision list, they’d probably be on the registry reserved list. Uniregistry is holding back most of the good domains.
It’s at this point that I should share my philosophy on what the domainer opportunity is for new TLDs.
I’m never going to get rich selling a .link domain. Take LongIsland.link as an example. (It’s actually registry reserved, so I couldn’t get it). If someone is looking to start a site about Long Island and they are willing to do it on a new TLD, they might consider LongIsland.link.
But I don’t think they’d pay much for it. After all, they can also buy LongIsland.site, .web, .xyz, .place, .space, etc. I can’t charge much for LongIsland.link since the potential buyer can consider these other options.
Thus, I believe only the very best domains in each extension are worth registering for an investment.
Still, with a small $10 registration fee, and the fact that I need fodder for this blog, I decided to venture out and try my luck with .link.
Of the 11 I found available, I decided that only six were really worth the gamble.
Where to pre-order these six domains? Unlike nic.tattoo and nic.sexy, the nic.link site doesn’t have a link “Where to Buy”. Thankfully, Uniregistry has done a good job with its whois messages. It linked to a page on Uniregistry’s registry site with a list of registrars.
The list is rather short. The big names, including GoDaddy, 1and1, Network Solutions, etc. are all missing. But there’s one registrar on the list where I have an account: eNom.
So I ventured over to eNom to pre-order the domains. I went to the pre-order page, plugged in a .link domain, and…
.Link didn’t come up as an option.
Huh. What about Name.com, also on the list and part of the same company as eNom?
Nope. [Update: I’ve been told eNom and Name.com were accepting pre-registrations, but turned them off a few hours prior to launch.]
I then tried DomainMonster because they have a reputation for being good at snagging domains upon launch. They wanted 19.99 GBP, so I passed on that.
Dynadot was only $12.99 but pre-registration refunds are in the form of an account credit, not a refund.
Domain Discount 24 is on the list. I went there, searched for one of my .link domains, and clicked “Add to Cart” when the result came up. Then I clicked “checkout” and it said “Currently your cart is empty”. Time to move on.
I decided to pre-register the .link domains at 101domain.com, which is really on top of all of the new TLDs and was only charging $9.99. The process was fairly painless and I ordered five of the six. 101domain.com only takes one pre-order per domain, so it wouldn’t let me pre-order recycle.link.
That showed demand for Recycle.link, so I figured it was worth grabbing. I created an account with United Domains to pre-order the domain despite the $19.00 pre-order charge. There wasn’t much information on the United Domains site about how so-called binding pre-orders work, so I called them to make sure I’d get a refund if they didn’t get the domain. They told me they don’t actually charge your card until they are successful.
At this point I had a pre-order in for six domains.
I also set up an account at Uniregistry.com (the registrar, not to be confused with the registry) so that I could try to register there the moment the registry opened for business. Uniregistry doesn’t take pre-orders.
Then the registry opened at noon EST today. I got four of the six. One I didn’t get was recycle.link. Ironically, it was snagged by eNom. (I assume some resellers are offering it while eNom itself isn’t.)
I’m not going to list all four here since I might go after them in some other extensions. But one I got that was actually a bit unique to .link is inbound.link.
Was all this work worth it? Probably not, and let me explain.
I looked up 133 domains. That took a long time. Most of them are registry reserved, meaning the registry has held them back for their own good rather than letting registrants get them. So I wasted time looking up a lot of them.
Many were also on the name collision list and are temporarily unavailable. If they weren’t on that list, most would be on the registry reserved list.
It’s up to the registry to decide which domains to release. That’s the registry’s right. But it’s not worth my time if all of the ideas I come up with are ones that I have no chance of getting.
Worse, holding back so many good domains puts the entire .link namespace at risk from my investment perspective. People need to see activity in .link, be it sales or development, in order for .link domains to have any resale value. Unless Uniregistry plans to quickly offer these at realistic prices on the secondary market or through a founders program, it doesn’t bode well for .link.
Simply getting a lot of initial registrations, even if by investors, can help out a namespace. I haven’t seen a lot of operating .guru websites, but the initial registrations have created decent press for the extension. That’s not possible if the registry holds back lots of domains.
The bigger issue with .link is that so few registrars are carrying it. Unless GoDaddy and Web.com start carrying it, I’m not hopeful for future resale value. If they carry it later, will it be too late to get a spark in .link?
I may have just wasted a couple hours of my life. Not to mention forty bucks.