In Andrew’s opinion (and I agree with the domain investor aspect), “if a new TLD operator wants to come anywhere close to the number of registrations that .mobi, .me, .xxx, and any other recently ‘launched’ TLD have, they’re going to need to count on both domainers and defensive registrations.” I happen to disagree with Andrew regarding defensive registrations.
Before .XXX domain names were made available to consumers, many domain registrars sent “warning” emails to clients to recommend that they defensively reserve / register .XXX domain names so that others couldn’t use them maliciously. Because of the potential embarrassment associated with a brand .XXX domain name, many companies and people secured .XXX domain names to “protect” their brand. I don’t see the same thing happening with new gTLD domain names.
There are going to be hundreds of domain name extensions available within the next few years. By the looks of it, domain names are going to be on the expensive side, and most will certainly be more expensive than .com domain name registrations. I can’t imagine that most companies are going to go out and register hundreds of these new gTLD domain names for their brands. It would likely cost tens of thousands of dollars a year to protect just one brand, let alone a company that has several brands.
I want to show you what makes me believe this.
Right now, there are hundreds of ccTLD domain extensions, and most of the domain names can be bought by anyone, anywhere. Some like .ME, .TV, and .CO have meaning aside from the local ccTLD relationship. Google considers a number of ccTLDs as gTLDs, meaning a company in Boston can use a .CO domain name and will be listed in Google just as it would if it used a .com or .net. I suspect that many more ccTLDs will be considered to be generic by Google in the next few years, but that’s another story.
With that said, visit 101 Domain for a minute to search for available brand ccTLD domain names. Click the second search tab for ccTLDs and check off the European ccTLD tab because there are many searchable TLDs there. Search for brands like Realtor.ccTLD, RedSox.ccTLD, Johnsons.ccTLD, and Oracle.ccTLD. What you’ll notice is that there are a ton of available ccTLDs that practically anyone can buy now. Turn up the stakes a bit and look up “sensitive” brands like Citibank.ccTLD, HSBC.ccTLD, and Apple.ccTLD. Many unregistered large brands there, too.
If major companies haven’t registered ccTLDs for their brands, I hardly expect them to do the same for most new gTLDs. My feeling is that if Citigroup isn’t going to spend $52/year to register Citibank.SE, then the company isn’t going to worry about registering Citibank.whatever. Someone who wants to build a malicious website can likely do it on either of those domain names.
I do believe domain investors will be an important caucus for registry operators. Judging by yesterday’s poll results, domain investors don’t seem to be convinced that there is money to be made.