I’ve been following the comments on Mike Berkens’ article about Frank Schilling’s company deleting over 200k domain names and a discussion thread on NamePros. In that NamePros thread, it looks like many people are ready to declare the new gTLD program dead. In fact, the title of the thread is “New gTLDs are DEAD!! Frank Schilling drops 230,000 new gTLD domains.”
I reached out to Frank Schilling to ask him if he would answer the question “Are new gTLDs dead?” for an article on my blog. Frank was kind enough to answer, which I published below.
In my email to Frank, I shared my interpretation of the news, which is that premium names weren’t selling well, so by letting them drop, Frank was opening up a revenue stream via the registrar channel. Essentially, instead of one of Frank’s companies paying the other (net zero, not including the small ICANN fees), it would make these names available for anyone to register. This would drive revenue for Uniregistry and may get some of these domain names developed by end user buyers, which in my opinion, is essential for the program to have success.
Although I only own a handful of new gTLD domain names, I don’t think the new gTLD program is dead. I don’t really think much has changed besides this model of selling domain names at a premium price. I still most likely won’t be buying the new domain names, but I don’t think it is dead at all.
When I asked Frank the question, I knew he wasn’t going to tell me he thinks it’s dead. However, I thought it would be interesting to read and share his perspective. Here’s what Frank told me:
“lol .. Far from it. : ) The cream is rising and new names are selling.. Many, many of these new names get strong type-in traffic (comparable to or better than .com names!). We are trying to put more good inventory into the available pool because our math says we can create a greater recurring revenue stream and make all our other new GTLDs more popular by getting names out there and in-use than we can by holding them back and boutiquing them. We are releasing a combination of 10 million registered and reserved names this month Elliot. So now imagine you’re a foreigner. You don;t speak English. Now you can register these names at your home registrar in your home language. We couldn’t just release them this way when we launched because we didn’t have a working relationship with many retail registrars at that time. The process was still too new.. Today we’re in the distribution mix at 200 registrar brands, so now the time is better for making these names available.. If you own one of our names this is the best thing the registry could have done for its registrants. Within 2 years you will be seeing many more of our names in use as websites.
Much of this is timed to coincide with our launch as the exclusive registrar partner of thegrid.io Grid site owners will be able to secure a Uniregistry name for FREE with their site. This will be big news this week.
Uniregistry is today (without these extra names in the mix) making more than we did on traffic at the heyday.. New GTLD’s are growing, they’re profitable and all our strings are solid and will be alive on the web in 10 years. .. we see them selling on the secondary market.. And as I said already (but would be a fool not to repeat) many of our names get more traffic than many of my .com names!!
New names make money.. They get dropped by one weak set of hands and a stronger set rolls in to pick them up.
This is a relaunch of our strings with the best names available at low prices.”