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Will new TLDs get a second wind?

It’s likely, but when is the big question.

Most new top level domain names are struggling to break even the 10,000 domain name barrier. Many applicants tell me they aren’t worried; it’s the long game. That’s true for many of them, especially the portfolio applicants.

I’ve also heard the argument that new top level domains will get a “second wind” when big companies start using the domain names.

This is a fair argument. 99.999% of people don’t know these domain names exist. What happens when they see a big brand promote a domain on a new TLD, whether a .brand or otherwise? Much like brands advertise for Facebook and Twitter every time they show the symbol on a TV or print ad, this will greatly boost awareness of new domain name options.

The big question in my mind is when we’ll start seeing this sort of promotion. Even when it happens, it will take a couple years to be commonplace enough to actually register on the minds’ of most people.

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  1. Jonathan

    “Many applicants tell me they aren’t worried; it’s the long game.”

    Which tells me most applicants just aren’t that bright. There won’t be any good keywords available in the future, except for the ones they held back. Even then, will there be a market of them, knowing they’re on a second rate extension, an extension companies would have to settle for? No. The good keywords available are gone by day 1 general availability. Just check out the ones that do manage to sell, when where they bought? Not usually on Day 2 forward.

    The game is now, and most of them are losing, have lost and just haven’t realized it yet. Getting buried and lost among the others.

  2. Adam7

    “Many applicants tell me they aren’t worried.”

    Do you really expect to hear that?!. Come on!

  3. MichaelBlend

    Great post Andrew. Any new market takes time to develop & mature. It will be interesting to see what happens when more strings start doing interesting promos/discounts/etc. That is definitely going to start happening, I am surprised more companies are getting ahead of the game…

  4. Domo Sapiens

    .mobi .info .biz .ws .us .eu .tel .foofy .wtf … didn’t get THERE in a dot-NY minute…

    C’Mon

    it takes time! .

    🙂

  5. Robbie

    I tend to agree that many companies expected better results, if things were good .xyz would not be giving away free domains. I actually got a notice, and since I do not hold many domains at NS, I did not want to log into my account to click the cancel notice, and I just replied to their email I do not want that crap, but it was an auto response. Next time I log into netsol, I have to manually delete that .xyz crap from my account, my time is worth more than the crap extension.

    GTLD’s have failed miserably some extensions have 1 or 2 single investors that own a large percentage of the names such a .webcam etc…

    Funny thing is some of the domains with the highest registration rates have given them away for free, or offered deep discounts, such as .club, and namecheap, and .berlin, .xyz is a write off.

    With no shortage of new extensions slated to be released, and more created after that, hard to distinguish them as a premium product at this point in time.

  6. John McCormac

    There was a lot of irrational exuberance about some new gTLDs and their prospects. Some new gTLD operators are a bit more realistic these days. But these are very early days for these new gTLDs and some of them have only been available for months.

    The argument about big companies starting to use a new gTLD and encouraging others is rubbish. Real growth and development comes from ordinary small businesses – the mom and pop business demographic. Once these businesses start using a TLD, it generally becomes visible to others. The .co ccTLD is an example of the brand blindness that affects non-core TLDs Twitter may use a .co for its url shortener but apart from that kind of niche use, it is hardly used. (I ran a 110K domain survey on .co website usage and development earlier this month and .co ccTLD has more brand protection and sites redirecting to other TLDs than active/unique websites.)

    It is not all doom and gloom for the new gTLDS. One of them, .PHOTOGRAPHY, has had a suprising uptake from its target market. The June 2014 web usage survey of the top 10 new gTLDs ( http://www.hosterstats.com/photography-website-usage-survey.php ) shows a new gTLD that is a bit different from others. People are using it. While some are redirecting their domain to their Facebook page or to their primary brand site in another TLD, it is showing the kind of signs of life that would be expected in a TLD that is about eleven months old. Others like .XYZ have the natural development being swamped by PPC.

    The .BERLIN gTLD is also showing signs of life. The free domain offer was abused and it caused the PPC and For Sale percentages on websites to be somewhat skewed but it is beginning to act like an early stage ccTLD. With early stage ccTLDs, a lot of websites redirect to their .COM primary brand website. As a ccTLD matures, the pattern inverts. The part of .COM in this case is played by .DE ccTLD. Section 5.2 of the .BERLIN registrant agreement is quite powerful and may limit the problems created by the free domains offer. However like many ccTLDs, the regional and city new gTLDs will take time to develop a critical mass in their local markets.

    The keyword plundering of some new gTLDs by the registries represent a very big gamble in that they rely on these new gTLDs becoming successes for these reserved domains to have any value. By taking so many domains out of circulation, it limits the attraction of the newly launched TLD to domainers. In the early market phase of a new TLD, domainers play an important part in driving publicity and TLD awareness. Without that catalyst, the uptake has been, for some new gTLDs, sparse. One aspect of new TLD launches over the last few years has been the registration of keyword domains and their forwarding to the registrant’s sites in other TLDs. This is done for SEO purposes. But with the ariticial scarcity of keyword domains in the new gTLDs (like a bad Domain Tasting flashback), these potential registrations don’t happen.

    For most new gTLDs, there will be no second wind. AFNIC, the French ccTLD registry had a very interesting blog post on the 50:50:50 rule in domain registrations in a new large market TLD. It is an approximation but it does hold true. Basically 50% of the domains registered in the first day of GA accounts for 50% of domains registered at the end of the first month and the number registered at the end of the first month accounts for 50% of the domains registered by the end of the first year. Naturally the opt-out and freebie giveaways skew the figures and rule but it points to a newly launched TLD having a very limited window of opportunity to gain critical mass. Some of the new gTLDs have gained a critical mass but some are struggling to even fizzle.

  7. Snoopy

    ““Many applicants tell me they aren’t worried; it’s the long game.”

    None of them are going to tell you they are worried.

  8. George

    @John

    Awesome reply!

    I think it is time to give up on the failed gtld concept and move on with .com. All other tlds are irrelevant in terms of useability, credibility and customer recognition.

    I hearby declare Team Schwartz the winner.

  9. jZ

    a lot of the average people will be turned off by the fact that nothing has really changed. the best keywords are reserved or have high premiums or are already taken. that was the big thing about these, finally getting the domain you never could before but that is not the case most of the time.

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