“The folks here in this room are perhaps more important than you realize.”
That’s how Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg opened up a chat at NamesCon 2017, an event for the domain name industry, here in Las Vegas Today.
Echoing comments he made on Domain Name Wire Podcast #91, the WordPress creator and CEO of Automattic said that domain names are important for the independent web.
If we’re all using Facebook.com/ and Twitter.com/, that’s not the openness and decentralization that made the web vibrant, he explained.
Mullenweg said that it’s integral to the freedom of the web that “every man, woman and child has a domain.”
Automattic launched the .blog top level domain in November and about 40,000-45,000 names have been registered so far. About 17,000-18,000 of these names were registered through WordPress.com, and about half of all .blog domains are active with unique content.
Mullenweg said that his goal is to raise the prominence of .blog, and new top level domain names, into the mainstream. His horizon is quite short: he believes it can be done within a few years. The trick is to normalize having something other than .com to the right of the dot.
He admitted that the founder’s program for .blog didn’t go as well as expected, with fewer celebrities signing up. But Tim Ferriss recently switched his blog to Tim.blog. Mullenweg said that as more Tim-Ferriss-quality people use .blog, it will start to normalize with web users.
Looking ahead to the next year, WordPress is investing over $40 million in advertising. Some of this will be for Get.Blog, which promotes .blog domains.