Jean Guillon argues that the similarity between .web and .wed might help the latter as companies register them defensively.
We’re talking about two Registries: one which is live and the other which should be live sometime soon.
The .WED and .WEB new gTLDs are two very similar TLDs with two complete very different stories:
The .WED domain is short for “wedding”. It launched years ago and only has – at the moment when this article is being written – 43 domain names created. It has a direct competitor which is the .WEDDING new gTLD with 9,219 domain names registered.
The .WEB new gTLD is thought by many to become the most successful new gTLD from the entire ICANN new program: short, meaningful (?), and a close competitor of the already popular .COM.
The .WEB new gTLD, for the story, was won in an auction for $135,000,000 (and it seriously upset losers of the auction). It is not yet delegated by ICANN so you can’t buy it yet. The ICANN database shows that it is in contracting and “on hold” because of a contention set with .WEBS but in fact, that is not the reason. The real reason is here.
The problem with .WED
In terms of sales, the .WED new gTLD is the typical project that just could not work from the start because of registration policies:
- The registrant’s use of the registered domain name, must be:
- “Generally accepted as legitimate”: it is unclear what legitimate means.
- “Not directly aimed at selling or offering for sale of the same domain name or for selling non .WED domains”: does it mean that a person involved in the business of domain names cannot buy one because it deals with other domain name extensions? This is unclear too.
- “Not directly aimed at monetisation via advertisement including but not limited to pay per click advertising”: OK, domainers not welcome as well as no crap advertising. Understood. I understand the position of the Registry here but unfortunately, a registry requires to sell domain names to pay ICANN;
- “.WED domains are only valid for two years”: what happens at the end of year two? It was designed so the domains would expire so another couple could use them. This is a bad business model for domain registrars.
- It is rather expensive: € 50+ for one year.
- There is a field to fill in in the registration form entitled: “EU (European Union) Information – VAT”: taxes are often added automatically at Registrars so the price for a person residing in the EU is in fact closer to € 60. Note that this added field is not really a problem in fact, it just makes it longer to fill in the form.
The future of .WED
The .WED registration figures have kept dropping, month after month, and unless the Registry accepts to change its registration policies to open its domain names to all, I don’t see how such a TLD could ever be profitable.
The positive thing about changing its registration policies is that the .WEB new gTLD will launch at some point. There is a one letter difference between the two TLDs (and inverse-looking letter) and I foresee all corporate and retail Registrars – worldwide – to inform their clients that they’d better secure their .WED too if they plan to register a .WEB domain name to prevent cyber-squatting.