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New gTLDs: Increasing Lowball Offers

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As you know by now, ICANN voted to approve the new gTLD program in Singapore, and this will allow for the creation of new domain extensions like .nyc, .eco, .law, and likely hundreds of others. I received a few emails asking me for my opinion on the gTLD impact on the domain investment space, and I am sure I will write a post about it at some point soon.

It seems that some people may be using the new gTLD approval as an excuse to send lowball offers on .com domain names. Cataclysmic emails talking about the demise of .com domain domination and valuation, which include lowball offers to take them off the hands of the owners are amusing to me. Thank you, but I will take my chances with my .com domain names!

The short of it is that I do think consumers will adopt the usage of gTLD domain names in time, but over the next few years, I believe .com domain names will continue to be the “go to” domain extension of big and small business alike. While companies like Canon appear to be interested in applying for branded gTLD extensions, I can’t imagine that will be the case for the vast majority of companies.

Similarly, I can’t foresee a company that doesn’t apply for and get a gTLD moving to a different gTLD. For instance, I can’t imagine a company like Staples using something like Staples.shop or Honda moving to Honda.cars. I do believe some companies will opt for gTLD usage, but I still see it as a limited opportunity for established brands.

I will flesh out my thoughts later, but for now, the “sky is falling” emails complete with lowball offers are amusing.

What gTLD Would You Want to Own?

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Talks about the new gTLD domain extensions appear to be ongoing in Singapore, and I would expect that we’ll soon know whether they are going to be approved at this ICANN meeting. When the approval is eventually given, I believe there are going to be dozens of applications for gTLDs such as .nyc, .insure, .eco, .vegas, and many others.

Whether many or most of the new gTLD domain names will be available for sale to the general public or simply used by the companies that operate them is something that is an unknown. Companies awarded gTLDs after the expensive application process will likely have that choice and can make their own business decision about how to sell, market, and use their new domain extensions.

We do know that the .CO Registry is having considerable success selling .CO domain names. That can be attributed to strong marketing efforts undertaken by the registry. Some applicants will surely try to emulate this, while others may decide to keep and utilize the domain names for themselves or their company.

All that being said, if you could own and operate a gTLD, which extension would you choose? I would probably choose something like .insure or possibly a .geographic extension. The .insure would be a choice if search engines are kind to new gTLD and .geographic for consumer adoption since businesses in that city would likely purchase their domain names if they had the opportunity.

So… which gTLD would you want to own?

Network Solutions Promoting .XXX

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.XXX on Network Solutions

Although the launch date and pricing for .XXX domain names have not been officially announced yet, that isn’t stopping Network Solutions from promoting .XXX domain names. On the bottom of its home page under Promotions & Free Offers, there’s a link to “.XXX Coming Soon.”

This internal promotional page touts the .XXX extension and how Network Solutions will be working with the ICM Registry, the organization that will manage the .XXX domain registry. According to Network Solutions:

I Have to Admit, DomainFest.MOBI Was Helpful

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I don’t own a single .mobi domain name and I have absolutely no plans to register or purchase any now or that I can see in the future (just want to avoid an avalanche of emails with domain names for sale).

With that being said, I must say that I found DomainFest.mobi to be very useful when I was at the DomainFest conference. Oversee.net set up its mobile site on DomainFest.mobi, and it allowed me to quickly access the DFG agenda and get other information from my Blackberry very quickly.

List of Potential gTLDs

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Someone posted a question on Domain Questions asking about what gTLD applications can be expected to be received by ICANN. I did a bit of research, and I found the .NXT conference website run by Kieren McCarthy and Jothan Frakes, which has a list of applicants for gTLDs.

It’s a pretty interesting list of extensions, although in my own opinion, I can’t see how many of them will have commercial appeal or gain traction. Some of these extensions have multiple applicants, which means more money for ICANN if they go to an auction.

Here are a few of the potential gTLD extensions:

  • .health
  • .vegas
  • .pad
  • .bzh
  • .hiv
  • .shop
  • .sfo
  • .indigi
  • .team
  • .bud
  • .horse

What If a Domain Registry Shuts Down?

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I saw a thread on a .Mobi domain discussion forum that posed the question, “When will dotMobi shut down?” I know discussions about certain domain extensions are always hot button topics, so I want to refrain from the discussion about specific extensions. However, I want to ask if you have ever considered what would happen to your domain names if a registry were to shut down? I’m not talking about a registrar like RegisterFly.com, but a registry that manages an entire domain extension.

Think this is far fetched? Apparently there were issues related to the company that operated the .Travel registry, and with the potential for a significant amount of gTLDs possibly forthcoming, I believe this will be an eventual issue that domain investors need to consider when purchasing domain names. John Levine discussed this in a blog post back in 2007:

“Given how small .travel is, the resolution is less important for what happens to this particular domain than for the precedent it sets. If ICANN ever comes through with all the new domain names they’ve been promising for the past decade, sooner or later some domain will do a bubble, get wildly successful while firmly cash negative, then run out of money and pop with a million registrants in limbo. That’ll be fun.”

I am in complete agreement with what Levine said above. I’ve received a number of press releases, Facebook fan page requests, and other emails indicating that there will a ton of new extensions. Some potential extensions right now include .horse, .eco, .sport, and even .zulu, mentioned by ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom.   In my opinion, it is likely that there will be gTLD extensions that fail due to financial circumstances.

I don’t see a reason why anyone would want to operate a money losing registry, and this could happen if an unpopular gTLD extension is approved and it isn’t embraced by the public. This could be especially prevalent if consumer adoption of gTLD domain names isn’t as quick as many people hope.

When you buy domain names, have you ever considered what will happen if a domain registry shuts down due to a financial problem? This is another good reason for you to become knowledgeable about ICANN. Andrew discussed it before, I and I want readers to be aware of the potential issue.

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