It was five years ago this month that the first domains under the new top level domain (nTLD) program started rolling out to consumers. The first Latin script general availability domains came out in early February 2014.
Remember .guru? .Plumbing? Yeah, that was a long time ago.
Here’s how I’d sum up the first five years of new top level domains.
Demand and artificial demand
Registration numbers for new TLDs have not met expectations for just about anyone who put money into it. That includes the many registries that spent millions acquiring strings as well as ICANN.
I thought new TLD applicants were very bullish, but even I was surprised when the first sunrises got only a couple hundred registrations.
Applicants should have understood the market size better. People were looking at registrations in .com and predicting market size for new TLD strings but many applicants expected some magic demand to come out of nowhere. The reality is that there are only so many people creating a website at a given time. They’re going to look for a .com or ccTLD name. If they don’t get that then they might consider a new TLD. So new TLD demand for people creating websites is a subset of total site creator demand. Without a catalyst for more people to create websites, demand won’t shoot up. Click here to continue reading…