Big launches make the next 50 days a key period for new top level domain names.
A lot of new top level domain names have come to market already. Some have flown out of the gate, others are growing modestly, and some have stalled.
In my opinion, the next 50 days will be an important period for new TLDs due to the number of high profile launches and the companies involved.
You can argue that a slow launch doesn’t kill a TLD. But new TLDs have a chance to get some positive momentum if they collectively make some noise over the next 50 days.
Here’s why this upcoming period has the potential to define new TLDs going forward:
Big .city domains.
.London and .NYC will go into general availability over the next 50 days. .London appears to be off to a strong start (15k domains were added to the zone file overnight), and .NYC could match it.
These cities are as big as it gets. Many people see promise in geo TLDs, and we’ll get a good measure on this very soon.
That’s not to mention other geo domains like .vegas, .moscow, and .scot.
.Realtor is a .brand domain that could shake up visibility for new TLDs. National Association of Realtors is offering the domains to 500,000 U.S. Realtors for free for the first year.
IF a lot of Realtors take them up on the offer and IF they use the domains, this could give a lot of visibility to top level domain names.
For adoption to happen, NAR will need to make it very easy for Realtors to forward the domains or set up websites. If I were a portfolio applicant, even one with competing real estate domains, I’d see if I could lend a hand to NAR to make this launch successful.
Minds + Machines
Minds + Machines, one of the biggest portfolio applicants for new TLDs, finally gets its first batch of domains into general availability in September. And it’s a big batch.
Excluding .London, the other domain names weren’t highly contested ones: .cooking, .country, .fishing, .horse, .rodeo, .vodka, .beer, .surf and .bayern.
Yet it’s still important: in addition to the volume of new TLDs hitting the market, Minds + Machines is a pure-play publicly-traded company. Its results will be watched closely.
Another portfolio applicant, Radix, launches its first batch of three domain names: .host, .press and .website.
Radix will be interesting to watch for a few reasons.
First, the company has experience launching domain names. It managed to get hundreds of thousands of .pw registrations.
Second, the company is spending big to promote its first three domains. Take a look at this big booth from a recent HostingCon conference:
They’ve also done a good job with online advertising targeted to the press and hosting companies.
Third, Radix should have good distribution given its connections to registrar platforms now owned by Endurance International.
As for its initial batch of domains, .host should be solid but faces a massive list of name collisions. .Website is a good generic; I’m curious to see market reaction given that .web and .site will eventually become TLDs as well. Pricing will also be important for .website.
A long game, but a momentum game
A lot of new TLD applicants will tell you that new TLDs are a long game and that launch numbers aren’t that important. Yeah, I’d say that too if I watched my launch flounder.
They aren’t lying; it’s a long game. But launches are important to the long game, and the next 50 days will be important.