Are domain registrants not aware of new TLD options or do they just not accept them? Or is there just low demand for each .com alternative?
My initial reaction to the underwhelming “out of the gate” registration numbers for new top level domain names this year was that it’s an awareness issue.
99.99% of people have never heard of new TLDs. Once they’re aware, they’ll start registering them.
After taking a look at registrar search yesterday, I’m starting to wonder if the issue is actually acceptance instead of awareness.
It’s not the 99.99% of the public not knowing about new TLDs that matters right now. What matters is how many people searching for domain names to register are aware of them.
I think most domain searchers are aware of new TLDs.
Search for a domain name at GoDaddy and the top search results (after the matching .com) are new TLDs. They’re slotted ahead of alternatives like .net and .info.
So if I search for a domain at GoDaddy right now, I’m aware of new TLDs.
Right? Or do I never look at the suggested alternatives if .com is already taken? Do I not accept alternatives to .com, so I just look for another domain.
I’m not sure. Startups have embraced alternatives such as .io, .co and .me. Will they start to accept other new TLDs once they see a hot startup using them?
I believe awareness in the general public is coming, and that will lead to an acceptance by domain registrants. When Realtors start using .realtor, New Yorkers start to embrace .nyc and a brand advertises its .brand, then the public slowly becomes aware.
At that point, someone searching for HomeRun might register HomeRun.today since Homerun.com is taken.
Yet it will be a slow climb, which gets to the demand question. How many people every year register domain names related to construction or biking or plumbing? Not many. Once both awareness and acceptance click, people will consider these domains instead of .com. They will siphon off a sliver of the 30 million .com domains registered each year.
But how much of a sliver? Is there enough demand to be spread across all of these TLDs? After all, there are only so many domain names related to each niche already registered in .com.
Awareness, acceptance or demand?