On Sunday morning we reached the 2 million registered domain names in the new gTLD (generic top level domains) space.
I therefore thought it was a good occasion to have some of the sharpest people in the domain industry give their view on the future of the new gTLDs. I must say that I was overwhelmed by the positive response when reaching out to all these busy people (a big thank you for sharing your knowledge). And the quality of the answers is excellent. Personally I learned a lot. This post is full of insights from experts who live and breathe domain names on a daily basis such as Frank Schilling, "Domain King" Rick Schwarz, Adrian Kinderis, Michele Neylon and other prolific authorities in the community.
My question to the experts was the following: "How do you see the future of the new gTLDs?"All the big thoughts are condensed here in this post, so grab a cup of coffee, and get more wise on the future landscape of the new gTLDs. To summon up new gTLDs are the new breed of domain name extensions, which mean something on both sides of the dot. The first generation of TLDs were much less descriptive such as .com, .net and country code TLDs such as .fr and .de. Over the last many months you have been able to register domains with a .bar, .ski, .tattoo or .guru. Heck, you can even get domains in 100% Chinese or Arabic for the first time. Until now 197 have been released to the public and hundreds will come out over the next year. Not forgetting the additional 617 dot brands e.g. .nike and .mcdonalds. Anyway, lets get started...
Michele Neylon, CEO at Blacknight Solutions
I’m watching the space closely. What I suspect is going to happen is that the overall growth and adoption is going to be gradual. As more and more of the .city TLDs go live I suspect we’ll see much broader adoption. London, Brussels, New York and Paris will all be live in the next few months and the amount of mainstream media coverage that they’re getting is impressive. The upcoming public launch of .scot and .wales and next year’s .irish should be very interesting to watch, as they all target very loyal and patriotic markets. While Ireland already has its own country code the registration rules are restrictive and make it very hard for the broader Irish community to register domain names under .ie. With the launch of .irish the millions of global Irish will be able to assert their cultural identity. It’ll also be interesting to see how much impact brands’ adoption of their .brand extensions will have on awareness. At the moment a lot of smaller business users aren’t going to make the leap to a more targeted new TLD as they’re not in their “comfort zone”. To put this in perspective, I get asked more often than I’d like if the .co domain name I use in my email signature is a typo or not! But we’re already seeing people coming up with interesting uses for new TLDs and as some of the more heavily contested ones become available I suspect we’ll see more interest. Personally I really like the way some people are using them already. Corporate email under a .email domain makes perfect sense. Running a blog? Then a .blog domain is just so obvious. From our end we view them as providing more context and greater opportunity.
Rob McCrea, Head of Sales at Famous Four Media
I don’t think we need to look too far beyond what has happened with past TLDs to see what will happen in the future. If we are to assume, which I don’t think is unreasonable, that country codes represent an initial fragmentation of the Internet into large communities or vertical markets, then I think the same thing will ultimately happen with new TLDs. In short the future of the domain name space and the Internet as a whole is a much more vertical affair. We will see clearly defined communities of different sizes emerging across the web. Of course these communities will be defined by an altogether more intuitive Top Level Domain, accompanied for the most part by shorter and easier to remember second level names. I don’t think anyone can dispute the success of the “ccTLD process.” .uk had around 1.6 million names in its zonefile at the end of 2013, and the country has an estimated population of 64 million. If we use this analogy and look at the extent of the specific community which a TLD resonates with, this can help to inform the potential size of a given registry, for example there is an estimated playing population of 60 million golfers in the World, hence .golf in the fullness of time can be as busy as many of our most popular country codes.
Frank Schilling, Managing Director at Uniregistry
I recently took a flight and noticed the name of the plastic cup manufacturer emblazoned on the bottom of the cup I was drinking from, which included the cup manufacturer’s name, appended with their .biz extension. It was the first time I had seen a .biz domain name marketed by its owner. It looked out of place in a World dominated by .com or the CC tld of the Country you happen to be in. For the longest time, the dominance of .com or Country Codes like .FR, .DE etc, dictated that users would gravitate to the internet gold-standard implied by these extensions. Now with thousands of new extensions including hundreds of .BRAND extensions, we are seeing the beginning of what (i believe) will ultimately dis-intermediate the existing naming standards we are familiar with. If .COM is gold, new gTLDs are like dollars, yen, francs, euro, silver, platinum, bitcoin, bullets, coffee, razor-blades and cigarettes, combined. This phalanx of new extensions are accompanied by 3 paradigm changing dynamics. First, many names will be 3 characters shorter. Rather than AcuraCars.com you will see names like Acura.Cars This will make names more intuitive and easy to remember. Second, the addition of new domain name extensions will more than double the number of alternative names available for registration, freeing up shorter more obvious names for marketers and registrants of the future. Third, (and most importantly) the innovation and investment spurred by the addition of thousands of new extensions will usher in a raft of new infrastructure providers, registries and registrars; who will deliver domain-names to consumers in easier more innovative and delightful ways. These new operators will make names easier to register, more intuitive to use and quicker to build on. This trifecta of change will see to it that the internet of the future looks wholly different from the one we grew up with through the 1990’s and 2000’s. It will be invisible at first, then gradual, but in time we will not recognize the difference from where we came. The humble period or dot, when abutted by characters will indicate the presence of a URL. Camera phones and apps will identify domain names in marketing for future reference, all by the presence of a dot, preceded by and appended with characters. Marketers will be able to activate domain names quicker, they will be able to borrow or lease domain names and acquire title to domain name intellectual property quickly and efficiently. Names will be as easy to use as Facebook, twitter or Instagram. Building websites will be quicker and easier than ever before. Web hosting will become an invisible adjunct provided by registrars and will largely be flat rate or free. Many people will regularly trade names with each other through future clearing-houses that facilitate orderly transfer and certainty of title surrounding domain names. The domain name trade will become the Internet version of the real estate industry. Uniregistry.com will be one of the largest market operators and infrastructure providers in the future naming World I have just described.
Rick Schwarz, CEO at T.R.A.F.F.I.C
Like many of the readers I have studied the gTLD market for several years now. That includes me reassessing things each and every day. And each day I am sorry to say I come to the same conclusions. First of all a registry or registrar success does not equal a domain investor success. Secondly I will maintain the same position in saying it is much too early to tell. No matter how you slice it, with some 1400 new extensions, many, if not most, will prove to be meaningless and others will just die on the vine. Thirdly, the end user and the consumer are the ones that will determine the success and viability of any extension not domain investors. And 4th, that will only happen with superior content and great ad campaigns. Wishful thinking and wanting something does not make it a reality. Ridiculous claims don't give much credibility. Think about the combined dollars spent each and every day promoting .com addresses. Print, billboards, tv radio, internet, premiums, labels, on vehicles, stadiums, etc. Come up with a number. Chances are in the next 20 years the combined spend for all those gTLD's won't equal one day of .com. In business I base decisions on assumptions. My decision is that it is cheaper, and safer and smarter to focus on what makes money now. We will see after 1400 horses squeeze themselves to death with something yet to be proven and accepted.The evidence we do have does not sit well for most gtld's. I do say MOST. That means out of 1400 it is possible for some to break out or the city codes MAY be embraced. We simply don't know at this point. We just don't know. But the evidence we do have is easy for those with a horse in the race to ignore and they have. .mobi of course leads the way. Now from a registry level they are doing very well. They make money. How many of you want to invest in them? .Pro? .Biz? .Info? Everyone makes fun of .info but they alone have 3x the registrations of all these companies put together. Again, who cares if the registry is profitable if you are a domain name investor? The reality is so bad that of the 2 million domains, there are 500,000 maybe 1 million that are either bogus or registry owned. Of the remaining million 1 to 1.5 million they are 90% owned by domain speculators. The other 5% are largely owned defensively and will never see the light of day as far as actual commercial use. That's a completely different way that .com unfolded. It was 95% businesses and 5% speculation. Different. Everything about this is different. Other than you have a stadium full of registrars, registries and domainers rooting it all on. I think when we look back in '3-5 years we will see a lot of caucuses and we may see a handful of winners. Or not. Just way too early to tell. The end user and consumer will dictate. When Visa dropped their V.me campaign just this month, I think it shows that even a strong extension like .me has a hard time in the marketplace. O.co is the baseline that can't be ignored. Business can afford a 5% leak. A 10% leak. At 15% it starts getting costly. At 25% it starts to hurt. At 35% you start choking. And at 61%, you either abandon ship or go down with it. So this experiment is far from over. And if these companies are blind and dumb and not aware of the leak, bye bye birdie. Since the get go I am of the belief that this will drive up prices on truly worthy .coms and local country code domains. Sorry, I think it physically impossible for 1400 viable and meaningful extensions. But as an investor, I am holding my powder dry because the one that still leads the pack in viability and adoption to me is .web and even .web could disappoint. Could be another .net or not as good. But that to me is the smart money. I think of the other 1400, maybe a dozen have the possibility to break out in some form. That's a lot of losers sitting around. I think there is plenty of time to get into this game and do it from a much stronger position. I don't rule it out, but I am still very far from ruling it in. Look, everyone gets to have an opinion and put their money where they want and where they see fit. I worked too hard over the years for my $$ to just gamble it away. At this point in time I see it as a gamble not an investment. That pisses off a lot of friends that are into it. It shouldn't. They should respect my track record of calling things pretty well over the years and proceed with caution or they may end up broke. If and when this game really begins we will know it. I wish everyone well no matter their decision.
Adrian Kinderis, CEO at ARI Registry Services
While we’re currently making history with the launch of new TLDs, our children will look back on this period with bemusement at the nonsensicality of the Internet’s original naming structure. Given this, the future – and critical mass adoption of new TLDs – is still some time away in my opinion. With this in mind, I see the future dominated by .brands. Our advertising will be filled with .brand call to actions and our online experience will be characterised by intuitive navigation to branded content. Market vertical and industry TLDs will also play an important role in organising content on the web. Generic TLDs with strong policies and verification processes will create trust with consumers and prevail above less meaningful and irrelevant namespaces. Of course, geographic identifiers have always been an important part of the web and the future of city TLDs will take this to a new, more targeted and marketable level. It’s clear that over time consumers will lose their dependence on historic TLDs and they will embrace the benefits offered by new TLDs.
Joe Alagna, V.P. Channel Development at 101domain.com
New TLDs are certainly going to be a part of our future. It is a natural progression from the finite to the broad. .COM will be the most important of Top Level Domains, likely forever, or until some sort of new disruptive addressing technology breaks through; but new TLDs are not going to be that disruptive, they will just be a new part of the online ecosystem. There is a parallel reference in the toll-free telephone world. Toll-free 800 numbers are still the most important even though at least five new prefixes are available. The 800 toll-free prefix was introduced to North America in 1966. The 888 and 877 prefixes came out in the mid-nineties and three others have been introduced since the year 2000. Yet, most people still prefer the 800 prefix and users often dial 800 mistakenly, when the actual number they were supposed to dial was one of the others. So alternatives exist and are necessary. But the largest companies in any business still most often use and prefer the 800 number. The way ICANN structured new TLD operations will surely guarantee their success but success in new gTLDs is not going to be measured in hundreds of millions of registrations. New TLDs are generally priced higher than .com but those registries won't need tens or hundreds of millions of registrations to be successful. Most of them will be successful if they register ten or twenty thousand domain names. ICANN built several fail-safe measures into the system. Registries had strict requirements in the realms of technical and operational capabilities as well as financial resources. They were required to put up financial deposits and back up registry systems that would safeguard registrants in the case of any failure of the operation. New TLDs are here to stay. It is likely though that over time, they will be consolidated into just a few registry operators. The economy of scale favors larger players with multiple TLDs. I think that their success as measured against each other will be determined by the marketing capabilities of the registries behind each one as well as the acceptance of each one within the market that they represent. For .attorney or .lawyer to succeed, the registry behind them (Rightside) will need to penetrate that market. They'll need to partner with their registrar channel and approach bar associations and attend trade shows to demonstrate the value of a dedicated TLD for an industry like the legal industry. Ultimately, it will be the advertising of the largest players within an industry that will help to make any particular TLD known to the public just like the large advertisers of the world made .com famous
Alexander Siffrin, CEO at Key-Systems GmbH
About the future of new gTLDs my opinion is that there will be a learning curve for people accepting the more meaningful TLDs over the next couple of years. While some less meaningful TLDs will disappear or relegate to niche existence other strongly generic terms will drive this development and gain more market share in the future. This is also because of internet searches considering the TLD as one of the ranking factors for search page ranking in the future. It will clearly happen over a longer time period of something between 5 to 10 years and newer (upcoming) generations will adopt the usage of those strings in their daily life same as nowadays .COM is used. One of the biggest name shortening phenomenas those days are domain speculators that sit on highly generic terms and good sounding domains. With all the new strings coming up the variety of TLDs to choose will become more appealing and persons will register alternative TLDs because their desired established TLD is already taken or to pricey or just because they like to be associated with the meaning of the TLD. Remember we are still at an early stage regarding the introduction of nTLDs and ICANN even plans to make it a continued open process to introduce new strings to the internet community. I believe that also brand TLDs will have a strong positioning in the future as compared to the general marketing expenses a bigger brand is spending the maintenance fee of an own .brand is very affordable and supports the brand visibility globally. We have heard from our clients gaining full control over their entire .brand namespace and having the possibility to directly promote their brands (and not a .com or .de) are the most appealing advantages of using a .brand TLD. Over time persons will also start looking for such brand TLDs if they are interested in getting verified information from a major brand.
Ken Hansen, CEO at co.com LLC
New gTLDs will continue to grow steadily. A significant percentage of the current sales are domain investor and trademark holder registrations. Retail penetration will increase over time and is critical for long term success. Registrars will increasingly use a more targeted marketing approach and offer services and content to address the specific needs of industry verticals and niches. When more City gTLDs and highly contested new gTLDs (.web, .blog, .news, .app, .health, etc.) come to market, registration growth will accelerate. In 2015, use of brand gTLDs in advertising and marketing by major global brands will create awareness, enhance the credibility of new gTLDs, and increase adoption by small businesses over time.
Joseph Peterson, Branding Consultant and Domain Investor
Domains registered in the new extensions today surpassed 2 million. Blow the kazoos! Toss the confetti! Or postpone that ticker-tape parade, dismissing such numbers as the specious, hollow, and fabricated figures they truly are. Reaching that misleading milestone provides us an occasion to talk about the future of new TLDs; and that’s a good thing not only because of all the problems, risks, and costs involved but also because of genuine opportunities for brands and individuals online. Otherwise, however, the registration numbers themselves should be largely ignored, except insofar as they teach consumers skepticism! I’ll be contradicted by no one when I point out that at least half a million of these domains are due to registry manipulation rather than real-world buyers. For one thing, the companies managing and selling these new TLDs commonly scoop up tens of thousands of their own domains, often under the guise of shell corporations. They do so, one may imagine, both to pad their numbers and to reserve merchandise to resell later at higher prices. 45,000 domains here, 23,500 domains there -- those things add up! According to TheDomains.com, it was, in fact, 33,500 .公司 domains registered by the .公司 registry itself that pushed us over 2 million just now. Much worse is the brazen charlatanry that continues to be perpetrated by .XYZ, which has stuffed some 375,000 .XYZ domains (and counting) into people’s accounts without their permission, desire, or even knowledge. Yet the CEO of that registry continues to point to domains surreptitiously planted in your neighbor’s trash can as though they represented buyer demand. Indeed, these numbers are bandied about as .XYZ’s primary selling point. And they contribute greatly to the 2 million here discussed. What of the domains actually paid for thus far? Many are due to speculation from individuals hoping to resell domains for profit rather than use them. These comprise a mixture of legitimate domain investment (which I take part in myself) and cybersquatting (which targets pre-existing intellectual property). Such behavior indicates optimism of a kind. But many of those bets are bad bets; and they shouldn’t be counted in the same way as registrations directly intended for branding, ad campaigns, or web development. We’ve also seen extravagantly wasteful, defensive purchases by established companies -- for instance, TDAmeritrade.plumbing or TDAmeritrade.bike. Setting aside such overripe brand protection and the large share of domainer speculation, only a small percentage of the 2 million domains we’re celebrating would have been purchased for use. Of course, it’s the intentions that come to fruition that count. So far, for the new TLDs, those cases remain scarce. So, after 7 months we see 2 million partly dubious registrations across roughly 200 new TLDs. To put that number in context, consumers ought to know that registration numbers tend to spike on the first day of a TLD entering general availability and then crawl forward at a diminished pace thereafter. So the appearance of continued growth is mainly due to the continued rollout of more and more extensions, each of which causes its initial spike as the best domains are quickly snatched up. It’s also worth noting that many domains won’t be renewed in 2015 or 2016. Five days ago, corrugatingmachine.xyz was “registered” to a person in China, whether he knows it or not! Of course, the .COM version is currently available for anybody to claim for $10. So who is going to renew the .XYZ? The numbers undergo a big retraction next year. Meanwhile, .COM and .NET together have grossed between 7.5 and 8.9 million new domains every quarter since 2010. During the last 2 quarters, while these new TLD domain registrations were taking place, .COM and .NET recorded 17.1 million gross new additions on top of nearly 130 million already registered. In other words, .COM and .NET continued to grow 10 to 20 times faster than all new TLDs combined -- and that’s during the initial registration rush. It’s good to keep that in mind. So I’d propose a litmus test. Any company or individual who brags about these 2 million domain registrations in order to sell you something -- unless accompanied by an emphatic disclaimer -- is either disingenuous or else ignorant of what’s going on within the domain industry. In either case, seek advice from someone else! Numbers aren’t what count. Who chooses a domain or a brand name based on tallies from registries? I prefer to evaluate particular projects on their own terms and find the right tool for the job. More often than not, established extensions such as .COM or .ORG will be among the best choices. But most of the new TLDs do suggest applications where they would be a good fit. So what does the future hold for the new TLDs released so far and those yet to come? Most certainly, they will not dislodge .COM from its dominant position. But many of them will be seen in prominent places during the coming years -- in search results, on TV and radio, and as part of brand names. They’ll be scattered, but they’ll be there. Most keyword-specific TLDs are severely limited in scope. Many of us won’t recognize .PLUMBING or .REST as domain extensions at all, simply because we’ll run across them so infrequently. Others will become favorites within small keyword-defined niches. Some TLDs have already failed due to negligible market demand. One or two TLDs not yet released will eclipse all the others available so far -- yet still not catch up with .COM by any conceivable measure. More than 2 decades of concentrated cumulative investment worldwide has established .COM’s preeminence, measured both by consumer acceptance and by the sheer quantity of money poured into building and marketing .COM websites. Neither large corporations nor small business owners have much incentive to abandon their existing online identities in favor of domains that are usually more constrained in meaning and less accepted by the general public. Most adoption of new TLDs will come from newly launched websites and businesses. Yet if all entrepreneurs avoided .COM, always choosing new TLDs like .GURU or .CLUB or .COMPANY or .ENTERPRISES instead, those TLDs still would not catch up to .COM even after decades. They’re competing against one another in a fragmented name space and are already 2 decades behind. In the meantime, consumers continue to preferentially register .COM. That includes my naming clients, who typically begin by insisting on .COM. You’ll hear it said that .COM is outdated. Yet most websites most people visit continue to be built on .COM, including the newest and trendiest among them. You’ll hear it said that all good .COMs are taken or overpriced. But that claim is grossly exaggerated. Throughout one highly publicized auction for .CLUB domains back in February, about half a dozen matching .COMs remained available to one and all for $10 apiece. You’ll hear it said that .COM is meaningless -- that domains suffixes in the future will describe what the website is about. Is that even desirable, though? Ebay, Microsoft, and Samsung enjoy the luxury of a .COM that everybody assumes by default. Would they be improved if they were to rebrand tomorrow as Ebay.bid, Microsoft.computer, or Samsung.tech? Startups want the ability to pivot. Online consumers want fewer extraneous, unfamiliar details to remember. As a namer, I want the flexibility to name something without the TLD getting in the way. I enjoy having a blank canvas, and I don’t want the TLD already stamped on it as part of the brand name. If .COM is meaningless, then that sounds perfect to me! Meaning should reside within the brand name itself and not be limited by encumbrances. It’s important to acknowledge that choosing a name like Charter.voyage using a new TLD didn’t absolve me from the need to register CharterVoyage.com as well. These new TLDs don’t simply create new openings; they also create new costs and risks. Since it will always be undesirable to compete online with another brand that shares a nearly identical and equally viable name, it’s frequently necessary to double a new TLD purchase with the matching .COM. Otherwise, you own only half a name, while the other remains a competitor, a leak, a growing future cost, or a security risk. So, in this respect, the new TLDs do act as a tax on online commerce. And the primary innovation they allow is little more than shifting the dot into the middle and shaving off 3 characters (“c”, “o”, “m”). I do see problems ahead for the new TLD initiative. Registry prices are often obscenely high -- $3,000 or $6,000 per year instead of $10 for .COM. Obviously, that limits adoption. Many TLDs are confusingly similar, which places a large burden on registrants attempting to use them. Take, for example, .PICS, .PICTURES, .PHOTO, .PHOTOS, and .PHOTOGRAPHY. We’ll see a lot of extra costs and enforcement problems, as we always do, with regard to cybersquatting. And I’m afraid we’ll also see a sharp rise in phishing and identity theft, since the new TLDs enable scammers to impersonate reputable companies using shorter, more plausible domains. That said, I do like many of these new TLDs for certain purposes. I’ve never been a .COM purist. Indeed, half my own portfolio consists of other TLDs, including dozens of different vanity extensions. We’ve seen branding successes with .ME and .TV websites; so why not .CLUB or .CAREERS -- each in its own way? If I were to declare my own biases, which I think is only fair, then I'd point out that I don't take a penny from registries or registrars. And, as a relative latecomer to the domain industry, I don't own enough premium .COM assets to give me much vested interest in criticizing the new alternatives. Actually, I plan on developing a few myself eventually, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to clients when appropriate. I’ve left out the whole topic of brand-controlled TLDs, which could prove very significant, assuming companies do more than sit on their trademarked TLD. But I ran out of space and time long ago. We’ll see some ripples among older extensions. Sorry, .BIZ and .PW. You’ll lose from this. Congratulations, .US, .FM, and .DJ! You’ll win. Maybe what I’m most interested in seeing, though, is the future of TLDs in non-Latin scripts -- especially Chinese and Arabic. If there is a success story, it is likely to be Chinese first and foremost, given purchases made by the Chinese government in these new TLDs and the spending power of Chinese domain investors, which so far remains largely focused on .COM. If China shifts its weight from one foot to the other, that will be an earthquake! There will be mistakes and propaganda and success and innovation. Hopefully what chiefly arises from all the publicity surrounding nTLDs is heightened awareness of domains as an important aspect of online marketing. That's long overdue.
Brandon Dawson, Director of Marketing, Minds + Machines
The future of the new gTLDs looks very promising. I see several of them catching on in the long run, more so with the generic ones that fit several different uses. These new gTLDs, like .music for example, fit several different identities. Businesses can use them for equipment, people for making a channel similar to spotify playlists, and artists who want a specific space on the web. Style is another one that is universal in what the user wants it to mean. I see some of those going very far, and eventually becoming a crucial part of every day life, especially with Google buying in to the whole idea. However, I would also like to say that some of the specific niche community TLDs are also catching on, as I have seen first hand with .horse and .surf. There is enough of an online presence in those worlds, more than anticipated in fact, that gives some indication that some of the more specific TLDs will succeed as well. Obviously it's impossible to tell exactly which ones, but I do see them succeeding in the future nonetheless.
Rubens Kohl, Product Marketing Manager at nic.br
The future of domains as identifiers is at a crossroads. The competition of search terms and social networks identifiers is harder than ever before, so much what will happen to new gTLDs will depend on what happen to domains; the moment of the emergence of new gTLDs is not the best the domain industry could hope for considering this competition and the global economic slowdown. Depending on how the battle between domains and search/social progresses, new gTLDs might achieve strong relevance or become a bleep in Internet history. I believe brands that have their own TLDs (either exclusive access or brand-licensed TLDs) will end up making new gTLDs household names. Their mass communication capabilities are much larger than anything the domain industry had or will have, and this will be key to slowly remove .com from people's automatism. Newer generations will adopt them easier as they are not much used to that time there was no search engines and will prefer shorter names that are easier to type on touch devices. That's why mobile universal acceptance (whether new gTLDs work in mobile browsers) are of the utmost importance to new gTLDs, making the current issues with such devices not browsing to new gTLDs very concerning. So which of them will succeed and why? Shorter ones or long ones that enable shorter domains than what the available name+keyword .com would be.
Konstantinos Zournas, OnlineDomain.com
First of all people should not only look at raw domain name registration numbers when trying to find out which New gTLDs are a success or if they should register a certain New gTLD domain name or not. Registration numbers can and will be deceiving. I hear a few people saying that New gTLDs are dead already but the truth is that New gTLDs are only getting started. Most of the best New gTLDs are contested and will launch within the next year or so from now. Will New gTLDs be part of our everyday life like .com is? At the same level, no. But I think that it is too soon to ask this question. New gTLDs as a whole should be reevaluated in 4-5 years from now. At this time New gTLDs should aim to become an alternative to .com and some very strong ccTLDs and not the next .com killer. .Com will still be king for many years to come. New gTLDs should be competitively priced and should even try and find a way to work alongside .com domains and not antagonize them. New gTLDs should focus on getting new people building a website and new startup companies to use one of their domain names instead of a .com. They shouldn't aim to convert old companies from .com to the New gTLDs because that isn't happening any time soon. The great power of the New gTLDs are good Keyword.NewgTLD (left.right) combinations. These are the combinations that can be branded as they have a left.right meaning and a certain optical balance I love. Another unexploited domain name territory will be the new fully IDN New gTLDs. The New gTLDs that will succeed will be the ones that are more generic and will of course get the most registrations and the geo New gTLDs. There will also be a few niche New gTLDs that with great marketing will achieve great success and come close to their potential upper limit.
DJ Chuang, American Bible Society (the .Bible Registry)
The new gTLD program has a future that is yet to be determined. Even though there's over 200 new gTLDs launched and available to the general public, we do not yet see new gTLDs in everyday usage here in the United States. We really won't know for sure how the public will use the new gTLDs until after all of them are launched. What we do know is that a significant number of companies, organizations, and brands have invested large sums of money into the new gTLD program and banking on its success. I have read reports of how new gTLDs in non-English languages are getting a much quicker adoption and usage. For the first time in history, people with languages in non-Latin scripts can use the Internet without having to switch keyboard languages to enter website addresses. I think this is the most notable achievement to date.
Dirk Krischenowski, dotBERLIN
We believe that there will be many more successful launches (Christopher: .berlin currently is ranked #2 with 138.000 registrations), in particular for other GeoTLDs and for some of the highly generic strings. At the same time, there will also be TLDs with a low volume of registrations, and ultimately some consolidation in the market. The launch of high profile brand TLDs is likely to boost awareness among Internet users and registrants as each single brand has more marketing power when using its .brand than all generic gTLDs together. While we are still in the early stages in what we believe is a long-term process, it will also be critical that issues such as Universal Acceptance of new gTLDs and the problem of the potential Name Collisions can be solved to enhance the end users experience of new gTLDs. What we see is just the first foreplay of the revolution to come.
Andy Churley, CMO at Famous Four Media
I think new gTLDs have a great future. While it will take a lot longer than many were expecting to gain adoption into everyday internet usage and common parlance, the seeds have been sown and are already taking root. As with all fundamental step changes, I think there will be some that will rise and other that will undoubtedly fade into obscurity probably more quickly than anyone was expecting, but progress is progress and the only thing we can remotely affect is the rate at which this cultural change will happen. One of the key milestones in this change process is when .BRAND applicants actually start using their new gTLDs in earnest. For the world to get away from the .COM culture we need the huge brands such as Nike, HSBC and McDonalds to start using new gTLDs in their advertising and as their primary web resource only then will be start to see a shift in consciousness and a slow realisation about how new gTLDs will redefine and revolutionise the Internet space.
Jennifer Wolfe, President at Wolfe Domain
My work focuses on developing strategies from brand gTLD owners so I’ll focus my response on what is going to happen within the brand gTLD space and likely resulting consumer behavior. When brands start using their newly acquired gTLD, the transformation of what consumers expect from an online experience will start to shift from a wide net homepage.com to a more specialized and tailored unique.brand experience. Most of the brands are currently struggling with where the gTLD strategy fits in an already fragmented approach to managing digital assets internally. Brands have just been given an additional extension of time to execute their contracts under Specification 13, which means this pattern will continue even among the very biggest brands. The result is a long lead time before we’ll see anything publicly from most brand gTLDs. One thing is clear, though, they won’t simply redirect their .com. Those who are currently invested in search.com within these companies have too much search equity invested in those spaces. What we will see is brands launching new campaigns, promotions or digital experiences in their new gTLD. As the value of those experiences is proven both internally and in the mind of the consumer, the brands will integrate how they manage social, mobile and online marketing with the gTLD as an anchor to their digital world. The other big influencer on consumer behavior is Google and Amazon. These two digital powerhouses have big portfolios of gTLDs that will leverage the big data they have on consumers all over the world. As they start to push consumers into these new digital spaces and offer benefits for consumers to be in those spaces, consumers will start to expect something different than homepage.com as the gold standard in web addresses. It will be 2 – 3 years for all of these forces to converge, likely coinciding with round two of gTLDs. As the tipping point of consumer adoption is reached and other brands realize they want the increased benefits of authenticity, security and access to data across their gTLD platform, round two will likely see many brands pouring in to own their most important digital asset, a gTLD. For brands, the future of the gTLD is tapping into its power as a critical digital asset and technology platform rather than just a domain name. Did you find this roundup interesting? Do share your comments here, and check our New Year's roundup to understand the DNA of a successful new gTLD.