I think it’s pretty safe to assume that ICANN will eventually approve a second round of new gTLD applications. I don’t know when round 2 will happen, but if I was going to place a wager, I would bet there will be at least one subsequent round of applications. I was thinking about what types of new extensions might make up the applications since most of the “good” ones are probably already assigned or awaiting approval.
I had a thought that some new gTLD registries might apply for the plural or singular version of the registries they already manage. For example, perhaps Uniregistry could potentially apply for .Links or the .Club registry could apply for .Clubs. It certainly wouldn’t make sense in many cases, but I could see a few reasons for it.
Reason 1: Upselling and cross selling to current registrants could become a profit center. Customers who built a website on a singular extension might want the plural to protect their brand or increase their presence. Registries could easily target current registrants at a relatively low marketing cost.
Reason 2: Registries might have learned about registration trends that could carry over to these similar extensions.
Reason 3: Competitors probably wouldn’t want to apply knowing they would have less important information than the company that operates the other extension. In addition, if the registry doesn’t apply for the singular / plural, it likely means they didn’t think there would be value in applying.
Reason 4: The additional cost of operating another registry is lower than the cost of operating the original registry. More registrations bring down operating expenses.
I have no idea about the plans that registries may have for subsequent new gTLD rounds, but I could see this becoming a strategy. If I were to operate a website on a new gTLD, I might be disappointed that there was another extension coming, but I would probably be happy if I could reserve my matching domain name in advance.
I asked Uniregistry’s Frank Schilling for his thoughts, and he said, “I could see competing registries applying for singulars and plurals of successful namespaces if not prohibited from doing so by future ICANN regulations on the subject. It’s highly likely that incumbent registries will work toward reshaping round two rules to prohibit this.”
What are your thoughts on this?