What If New gTLDs Are Wildly Successful?

If I could poll every domain investor right now asking them to predict the outcome of the new gTLD extensions, I think the majority would say that a majority of new TLDs will fail. This is my unsubstantiated opinion based on what I’ve read on a number of websites and forums, including this one. ย I can’t speak on behalf of all domain investors, but it seems that the majority of people think .com domain names will always be the extension of choice for people who buy domain names.

What if this isn’t true? What happens in ten or twenty years if businesses ย decide that they don’t need to spend 4, 5, 6, or 7 figures on a .com domain name when they can hand register something else for less than $100? Perhaps Google will treat .shop or .coupons the same as it would treat a similar website on .com. Perhaps there will be another search engine or type of search tool besides Google that will impact the relevance of .com.

If this happens, and it’s obviously a very big “if,” the business of domain investing would change dramatically. The value of .com domain names could drop significantly. People might be far less inclined to spend considerable amounts of money on a new gTLD domain name because there will be lots of alternatives. For instance, if a pizza shop in New York City can’t buy Patsys.Pizza, they might register PatsysPizza.NYC or PatsysPizza.Restaurant. Who knows what other extension options there will be in ten or twenty years. Should this happen, it would be tough for people to acquire a great portfolio of domain names with higher registration fees and lower resale potential.

If this happens, type-in traffic to .com domain names would also drop significantly. Internet traffic would be spread out among many other extensions, perhaps numbering in the thousands. With a higher registration cost and less traffic, the monetization business would also change dramatically. For instance, a guy who makes $10/year on a parked .com domain name covers his registration fee and makes a profit. If he had to pay $40/year for a .whatever, the economics makes monetization more difficult.

The reality is that new gTLDs face an uphill battle to become mainstream. New gTLD domain extensions will likely confuse consumers and lead them back to .com. My bet is that most new gTLD domain registries are looking at these extensions over the very long term, and there is at least the potential for a massive shift in consumer behavior over a long period of time.

I am not saying that this is going to happen nor would I predict the demise of this business. I do think domain investors should consider this possibility when making long term plans and it should certainly be considered a business risk. Not thinking about it is a mistake if you are banking on domain investments as long term investments.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. Elliot,

    One thing I keep going back to is this:

    Patsy’s Pizza Shop in NYC isn’t (and will probably never be) the target buyer for any premium .com domain that I’m trying to sell.

    These small businesses will certainly have more choice — which is what the registries are promoting: choice.
    But, these small business aren’t the buyers of the 6 and 7 figure .com domains anyway (for the most part)… so I’m ok with more choice for the smaller businesses – that’s fine.
    The truly premium .com domains have a different target buyer. Just IMO.

    The target for the new gTLDs seem to be:
    Newly formed small businesses, startups and those coming online for the first time.
    Very few of those entities are the target buyers for 6 and 7 figure .com domains – so I think everyone can coexist together.

    Again, just my observation. I wish I had the marketing plans in hand for these new gTLDs. It would be VERY interesting.


    • @Aron, I think you have a very good point about small businesses not being your type of customer with hundreds of thousands of dollars lying around waiting to be spent on a really nice “premium” .com domain, but I think the article was trying to point out that there may be a time when the .com domain is no longer considered premium.

      It’s hard to wrap around that thought today because everywhere we look, we see something .com for just about every big business out there…and small ones too, but things could change.

      Already, you can see a shift in how people are finding their desired information. Facebook played a big part in that shift. Once everyone had a Facebook account, big companies realized that people don’t just want to go to a single website for information. They want to see lots of information all while checking out their friends’ online activity. This caused big companies to start promoting their Facebook fan pages more than their own .com sites!

      To me, it seems the younger generation doesn’t care to remember domains much anymore. They will find links to click on from Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other websites that they already clicked on after searching on Google or Bing. The older generation sometimes doesn’t even know what an address bar is on a web browser. They either type in the company they’re looking for on their Yahoo homepage and click the first link or if they happen to find the address bar, they type there as well which becomes a search anyway.

      I guess the big point I’m trying to make is that many people nowadays will see an ad for something and unlike a few years back, won’t worry so much about trying to remember that URL. Instead, their go-to address is Google and it’s the company or product name they try to remember. So no matter what business you’re in or what domain(s) you own, you want to be found first in the search results and/or become wildly popular on Facebook. With the right content, you can achieve this without a premium domain.

  2. I think it is important to look at both sides of the equation. New gtlds will make a significant impact on the market and has the potential to dilute .coms marketshare.

  3. IF the Queen had balls, she would be the King. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Fact is, in your pizza example above, there are 3 places where I could find my favorite pizza parlor as opposed to one [.com].


  4. Over 4,000,000 Pre-Reservations for the new gTLDs. Thanks to domain speculators/investors.

    I wish end-users luck getting their first, second or third choice for reg fee or under $100.
    Anything going for 5,6 or 7 figures in .com will be gone in the new gTLDs before the end-users even know they had other options.

    End-users will have the same problem they had finding a .com… they’ll be negotiating with domainers regardless the .whatever…. and probably won’t be under $100

    That doesn’t really solve the problem the new gTLDs were supposed to address.

    Maybe we’ll run out of new gTLDs like we did with .com ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Why do you say thanks to domain speculators/investors?

      1&1 has spent tens of millions of dollars marketing new gTLDs to a mainstream audience.

      I haven’t pre-registered or pre-reserved any new gTLDs.

  5. The option to become a gTLD Registry at a fraction of a cost of a multi-million .com is also a viable alternative.

    An asking price of $200k might be the new capping limit for high-valued .com domains, if the buyer/company in question is interested in extending their business to domains under that gTLD, branding it to customers or franchises etc.

    Consider the Internet highway to have widened by several lanes in each direction, all thanks to ICANN. This isn’t just a registry rolling out a .whatever to play with. It’s the new norm.

    • And there are already more than a dozen gTLD consulting companies doing the work for the corporations, left/right of the dot, Uniregistry etc.

      Also, keep in mind that no matter how chaotic the process currently seems, ICANN will definitely improve on it. This might be the initial phase but it’s not the end, but rather, the beginning.

      Domainers – especially the ones that can’t see the oil in the wells about to be sucked dry – should wake up. Google “I drink your milkshake video.”

      Good luck!

  6. The problem with new tld is that they all completely fail at offline marketing and advertising, plus they fail at emails. Human brain is incapable of remembering where the dot goes. Ads for SmithLaw.nyc and Brown.law next to each other create confusion that is impossible to resolve. Web addresses like that will always look like mumbo-jumbo.

    • SmithLaw.biz

      I’m just as confused so whats the difference?

    • That is why SmithLaw.com will always be the most desirable and most expensive, you do not have to remember .com part. Then SmithLaw.net and SmithLaw.org still work as cheaper alternatives. .biz, .cc, .me are just pure junk when it comes to offline marketing. And new tlds are worse than pure junk if that is even possible.

      Just write down 5 random web addresses with different new tlds next to each other and look at them. It looks like mambo-jumbo and you will get a headache just from looking at them.

  7. People think that Google is a browser. They type a url into the search box and click the link that Google brings up. There will be no confusion, just a slight “oh” when they see a new “right of the dot”.

    Those that do use the address bar for urls will start to use it as a search tool when they learn that a company may not be on a .com or .co.UK. Google will love it!

    As for domainers, the use of typo addresses will become less useful and they will also not be able to charge the huge fees for premium domains that they currently do. Simply because there is more choice – more relevant domains.

    The big .coms will still be #1 but alternatives because the good domain is taken will suffer dramatically.

    The new gtlds won’t fail, but domainers who don’t adjust will do.

  8. NO, NO NO. The gtld’s will never ever (ever!) be viable. No one wants them, no one will trust them and no one will use them. When they try, they will accidentally go to the .com competitor.

    In one of Frank Schilling’s promotion videos he mentions “drink.johnnywalker” …or was that “johnnywalker.drink” …er…or was “drink.jonny.walker”? Screw it, I’ll just go to JohnnyWalker.Com where I know it will work. Ha, just tried it and it does.

    Jon’s comment above about consumer confusion was brilliant. Whatever company rebels and attempts to utilize a .whatever will end up losing valuable traffic to the .com. Millions of dollars will be lost before I can say I told you so.

  9. What happens in ten or twenty years if businesses decide that they donโ€™t need to spend 4, 5, 6, or 7 figures on a .com domain name when they can hand register something else for less than $100?

    They just register a three or word hyphenated .COM or .Net or use “Z” instead of “S” or “4” instead of “for” or “2” instead of “to” or start off with The+Keyword+Keyword etc….

  10. I think the new extensions will be a total waste of money and will only cause much confusion which will then lead people back to .com.

  11. It’s not going to take 10-20 years for the gTLDs to rock the boat. I would say it will take 3 years max for them to shake things up. Be realistic there is 1,930 new extensions coming and if a measly 5% become successful that’s 96 more options to compete against and these will be good mainstream options. Big money dot coms are going to be a thing of the past in 5 years or less. They will still have tons of value but not in the millions and those that constantly talk about type in traffic need to find another thing to cheer lead about because type in traffic has been sinking for a while and will continue. Your typical consumer is tired of landing on pages with a bunch of ads that are typically not related at all to the subject at hand.

    • “Gtlds will all be a flash in the pan. They will all soon be forgotten.”

      As of right now there are 1,930 new extensions applied for and at $185,000 per extension that’s a total of 357 million dollars invested and that’s not including any other costs. It is easy to figure out that the total investment will be well into the billions when it’s all said and done but people still believe it’s going to be a flash in the pan or just disappear and go away. Billions and billions of dollars but it won’t affect the almighty dot com? Foolish thinking! Those that think dotcoms will continue to rule the world have been drinking the Kool Aid far to long.

    • The entire cost of the new gTLD program is a blip on the radar screen in the business world.

      .COM has hundreds of billions of dollars behind it every year from appearing on advertising and marketing materials. The registry does not need to do anything to promote .COM, all the other businesses around the world do that for them.


  12. I like the wishful thinking in this article, it’s incredibly reminiscent of arguments toward other GTLD’s that have failed in the past, most notably .mobi and recently .XXX

    We were all going to “eat our words”, Investors were going to be RICH and the rest of us were going to be left out in the cold, and the reason we criticized the TLD’s was because we were “jealous” or got into the game “too late”, it couldn’t be that we saw the writing on the wall from the very beginning could it?

    If you don’t understand the core reason of why these GTLD’s are being released in the first place, domainers or rather “dreamers” as I like to call them, will always think a new TLD has promise, convincing themselves that it’s “Needed” by end users, that what they register will be in high demand, but of course they never are, and it’s not realized until a year or more later when their hit with thousands of dollars in renewal fees with NO revenue to offset the cost.

    If the dreamers used common sense and sound judgment rather than emotion and wishful thinking, they’d have a lot more money in their pocket.

    • There is no “wishful” thinking in this article. It would be pretty stupid of me to “wish” for this to happen when investing in domain names is what I do for a living and should this happen, my business would change drastically.

      BTW, your comment ended up in the spam folder because of the “xxx” reference.

  13. What happened to .tv? and .md? If those .generics didn’t fly, why should charging $18,000 for .donuts do any better?

    And lets not forget beauty.cc that sold for $1 million.

    Okay, so a company registers .club for $18,000. Now they need to get a return back on their investment.

    The .club company then allows money.club, wealth.club, cash.club, profitsystem.club, and mlm.club to sublease the usage of the .club name.

    There goes the whole generic neighborhood if any of these .clubbers rip people off. These type of subleasers could gradually trash the generic association and help form a poor reputation for clicking anything dot generic.

    The gTLD’s will work for brands like monster.coke or kindle.amazon, not for generics though.

    Why will this fad not be like another dot-com bubble burst?

    I’ve only seen one reason mentioned in blogs or news articles for buying these dot generics.

    The domain bias study performed at Stanford University for Microsoft supposedly provides all the answers and justification.

    This domain bias study does not appear to have made many observations at all about the way people search or why:


    It doesn’t appear Stanford researchers questioned any people in the study.

    I don’t think they actually asked anybody why they think they have a bias for clicking on certain sites. Researchers just made note of what sites the study participants clicked on.

  14. First of all huge capital investments doesnt mean a project will be successful. And a successful project doesnt mean you as a company made any money. Microsofts XBOX is widely a success. It is number 2 in the market with tens of millions units sold. MSFT lost nearly 4 bln with their XBOX division in 10 years… Bing is another good example. 8 bln USD invested in that one project. Never returned anything. So any talk about “Look at all that money that is flooding into this they TLDs” doesnt mean anything. It reminds me of the real estate market. The best property is long gone so now we just sell these suckers property on the moon and mars. Nobody needs it but who gives a shit.

    • The Microsoft example is just one company and with one company you have “one” chance at success or failure. Throwing massive amounts of money at one idea does not guarantee success but throwing massive amounts of money at 2,000 ideas I definitely wouldn’t bet against it. The gTLDs have almost 2,000 chances to get it right and with that many shots at least a small percentage will succeed. Like I said even if only the ultra small amount of a 5% success rate equals an extra 100 extensions on the market.
      The success of the new extensions is in the hands of the all mighty Google. When Google adjusts its algorithms to rank .whatever extension based 100% on content that is when this market will shift. Million dollar domains will disappear because any smart company would rather have a .cars for $185,000 because they also bought used.cars, new.cars, sports.cars and on and on. What an incredible marketing opportunity for any company if they can secure the correct right of the dot. The possibilities are endless with a great .whatever


    There…I said it. Yep, the gtld’s aee naked and without aubstance.

    If you, as a domainer or as a consumer think there is one iota of value in owning anything.tattoo then go ahead and knock yourself out. Heck, buy thousanda of them. Just don’t ever come to me asking me to buy your worthless portfolio and expect me or others to show an interest.

    Seems like many of the gtld sponsors may have forgotten the 5 C’s of domaining:

    1. Characters (# of)
    2. Commerce
    3. Content
    4. Communication
    5. .Com

    Wven without #5, taking these important factors into account, all of the gtlds will .fail.

  16. Off late I’m not thinking in terms of whether new gTLD will be successful or not but I’m thinking under which new gTLD already known premium names will prosper more. Certainly due to massive TLD choices one can likely become an owner of premium name/s. If future perspective be taken into account then the market for premium names will likely increase under dot whatever.

  17. .CLUB the best from all this .garbage is still heavily flawed. In most foreign languages club is spelled with a K. “Klub”, or a totally different word:

    Clava – Latin
    Clube – Portuguese
    Verein – German

  18. Todd seems to have the best argument for the new gTLDs.

    I’ve mentioned this on other platforms, I believe the small percentage of winners will be the “catchy one word.gtTLDs” just like private car number plates, their prestige.

    As with forgetting the format, users also forget the .com, especially some of these crazy unpronounceable brand .coms!

    The anti gTLD domainer will just have to face the fact that this is the new world, a potion of these new gTLDs are here to stay, the .me .co .tv at the end of the day are remote ccTLDs, albeit many names have yield a good price which in turn is good news for the new extensions.

    Another point for the domain investor, is that the ones who reserved excellent catchy word gTLDs names in early 2011 could be in with some good investment potential. IMO.

  19. @ Elliot.. First of all, I appreciate you pulling my post from the spam folder, I know I’m not your favorite poster ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Perhaps I lumped your article into some of the responses from the pro GTLD crowd.. Whenever they start finding justification for a TLD, you know their already hooked, they already made the decision to register a long list of domains in the TLD’s they think are most promising, and I learned long ago you cant convince them otherwise, their going to do what they want to do…

    IMO, the biggest market for GTLD’s will be the reseller market, were going to see a flood of GTLD domains hitting the aftermarket, and brokers, forums and other outlets are going to have to decide whether or not to allow them, which could potentially drive visitors away from their web sites.

  20. Interesting read.

    To be honest, it will all depend on how search engines, mainly Google index the GTLD’s.

    Given that Google have invested heavily in applying for multiple GTLD’s, it more than possible, that Google will introduce them into the searched results.

    If you searched Pizza London, the domain name pizza.london may rank highly, giving this domain name value.

    Look forward to seeing their progress in the years to come.

  21. the new gtlds are ugly and only offer availability over traditional gtlds.

    for example, mario buys marios.restaurant…well now mario has a dot between his business name and has to say “dot” right smack dab in the middle. of course this can be avoided by say registering mariosrestaurant.nyc or something similar but then nothing is achieved that any tld couldn’t offer besides availability.

    i happen to agree with raider to an extent but it seems like aside from the hype monkeys and the failures who would just love to see those who have dominated the domain world in the past 15 years crumble, no one seems to want new gtld’s. its much like .xxx where the adult industry did not want and did not support .xxx which resulted in very poor sales and registrations consisting of mostly defensive regs.

  22. XXX failed because like all other GTLD’s, it was a unnecessary TLD, and when it was announced soon after that ICANN was considering other sex TLD’s, its demise was eminent.

    For the reseller market, I would agree price played a role, If the TLD was priced at say $10 from the beginning, I don’t believe it would of died as quick, but it still would have died.

  23. If your selling to end users, I’m sure you’ve had instances where the buyer inquires about your dot com and through research of your own, you find out that he/she registered other extensions of your domain and very recently.. For me it’s happened at least a dozen or more times, and the TLD’s they always register (if available) are .net and .org, completely ignoring other TLD’s, even when Mobi had some recognition going, they chose not to register it, Of course these two TLD’s have been in existence for more than 25 years and have the most recognition under dot com, so nobody should be surprised.

  24. Another big problem with gtld’s is the security implications that come with a number of new gtld’s. it seems the average domainer doesn’t understand it but by adding .mail, .home, .corp, etc to the root makes millions of private intranet’s vulnerable to have their content visable. name collisions is what they are calling this i guess.

  25. nobody really cares about domains anymore.. even me. they are dying and most yall don’t want to admit it. Thats why I old all mine from 1995. Just like the gold rush of 1849, the only ones that will profit from new gold are the ones selling the mining equipment (registrars)

  26. Just found this thread and thought it would be cool to bring it back to life a year after the last post since about 400 gtlds now exist.

    Those that predicted an imminent failure appear to have been correct.

    Seems as if the gtlds have lost of a lot of momentum in their first year and the top ten consist primarily of those given away for free or those that were hoarded by cloaked alter-egos of the registry itself. Most have less than 1000 registrations and it seems obvious that many, if not all, are destined to fail. The gtld reseller market is practically non-existent and gtld development has been virtually nil.

    The vast majority that have been registered are parked, still optimistically waiting for their first human visitor. Chances are good that this visitor will never truly arrive.

    THe gtld program has literally dive bombed within these past 12 months and it seems clear now that consumers are just not interested in gtlds.

    • I’m pretty sure the new gTLD program was designed to open the flood gates for new opportunities to register unique and creative domains. In that regard, the fact that registrations are low is no surprise. BUT it doesn’t exactly equal failure.

      Take a look at the beginnings of domain registrations when the internet started picking up major steam sometime back in the early 90s. The original TLDs enjoyed hardly any competition along with some major industry booms and quite a few heavyweight dot COM companies, many of which still exist today.

      So we’re looking at over 20 years of domain registrations, the dot COM bubble which helped promote the credibility of having a premium domain and/or just a website in general and then you have at least 10 of those years where people could ONLY register .COM, .NET or .ORG (not counting any country-specific domains).

      Then peppered throughout this timeframe, we get a new TLD here and a new TLD there, each with their own bumpy roads at the beginning. As a result, we got .TV, .ME, .INFO, .BIZ and a few others…most of which are now considered successes in their own right.

      And now we get a huge blast of HUNDREDS of new extensions, all with very little ramp-up time and hardly any promotion (outside of the internet itself). The intent here was to offer up choice, NOT to have a million registrations for each one…although I’m sure a few gTLD operators expected as much!

      The point is that you can’t really compare the GIANT head start and few options that the original TLDs had in this business to the new extensions which have had no head start and have a ton of options. You also can’t ignore the fact that the new gTLD system wasn’t designed to have these big domain hoarders gobbling up thousands of domains so they can resell them back to little mom and pop shops for thousands of dollars.

      The system was designed to give people the options and choice of finding something “else.” I had speculated all along (and still do) that many “premium” domains in the new extensions will sit for a very long time un-registered until someone actually comes along with a valid use for them…which is exactly how a ton of .COM domains would be if there wasn’t a domain real estate industry.

      Personally, I’d love it if all domain registrations were at least $150 per year. This would ensure that people who register domains will actually use them instead of just squatting on them in hopes of turning a profit. It’s so annoying how much junk is out there on the internet. Can you imagine if your local shopping mall was operating under the same system??

  27. I see nothing but failure taking place in the new gtld realm.

    No different than the old .mobi, .travel and .museum.

    Complete failures both then and now.

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