I’ve been investing in domain names for almost ten years, and I don’t believe we’ve yet seen anything that is going to have as big of an impact on our business as gTLDs. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent on these new domain extensions, and we are going to see our industry change as a result.
I want to share several predictions for the new gTLDs from a domain investor’s perspective.
- Although the US had more applicants than other regions, gTLDs will be more widely used and popular abroad than in the US. ccTLDs are very popular outside the US, and as a result, people are more apt to look to the right of the dot outside US borders.
- Domain investors will not embrace gTLDs as much as applicants may be modeling, and there will be some TLD registry failures as a result of the projections being inaccurate.
- Owners of the keyword string .com names are going to be very happy. Some registries will feel the need to buy the corresponding .com names and pay a lot of money for them. In addition, there will likely be a ton of error traffic that pays well.
- There will be anomalous sales in most of the “good” keyword TLDs that are similar to the $450,000 sale of Meet.ME. The key factor to these sales will be relevance to the keyword. For instance, Insurance.Gay might not be a great domain name, but Dating.Gay would be valuable.
- Within 5-10 years, companies like Affilias and Verisign will benefit from failed registries because they will be able to acquire the user base and recurring revenue streams from “failing” registries. They likely have the ability to manage these TLDs better, and as a result, they can make key acquisitions when the opportunities present themselves.
- A domain registrar is going to patent technology to be able to suggest a TLD for when someone goes to register a domain name. For instance, when someone tries to register CurtainsAndDraperies.com, the registrar will suggest CurtainsAndDraperies.Shop along with premium registry held names like Curtains.Shop.
- Popular registrars are going to make a lot of money with new TLDs. There will be massive competition amongst registries for “shelf space” on the search page, and that will lead to strong margins for registrars on newly registered domain names and premium domain names.
- There will be many deals made before registries go to auction, and there will be very few auctions. I can see some companies making millions of dollars by dropping out of the running instead of gambling with an auction.
- Although there were many, many brand applications, I don’t think we will see many brand .TLDs used in marketing for a long time. I believe many brands sought their TLDs for defensive measures instead of for marketing purposes.
- Companies with domain industry ties, like Donuts, Radix, TLDH, STRAAT, and Uniregistry (among others), are going to do very well with their TLDs. They know the business of selling domain names, and they should be able to translate that experience into gTLD sales.
- Companies are going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars marketing their new TLDs, and that will lead to more awareness of domain names and domain investing. It will also bring new money into the fold, and there will be a lot more inexperienced people who think they can get rich quickly by buying and re-selling domain names.
- There will be lots of litigation.
Please share your predictions if you’d like.