Forget new TLDs vs. old TLDs. The industry needs to focus on outside threats, too.
Much of the conversation in the domain name industry over the past year has been about this battle between new TLDs and .com. The debate has been about if .com is king or if new TLDs pose a challenge to them.
This internal debate has reduced focus on threats from outside the domain name ecosystem: apps and browsers.
Apps are an alternative to websites, especially on mobile phones and tablets. Many in the domain industry laugh at the idea of apps posing a threat to domain names. But the reality is apps are sticky and often provide a better consumer experience than the mobile web.
They’re sticky because they’re like a bookmark…and it’s like the bookmark tab from a browser is always “pulled down” in front of the user. They can work better when it comes to transactional sites. I had coffee with a friend the other day who buys his movie tickets through an app. Going to a website and logging in would be a pain, he said.
Browsers are a threat because the browser companies control access to the web. Changes to how browsers handle domain names have been a big cause of the drop in domain name parking revenue.
Think about it. Google Chrome is owned by a search engine. Internet Explorer is owned by a search engine. If you owned a search engine, wouldn’t you prefer to drive traffic to your search engine rather than directly to a website?
There are certainly other threats out there, and the domain name industry (both the .com and new TLD camps) needs to keep its eye out for these threats.