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Understanding the .ski domain name – Interview with Rob Rozicki

2014-07-03

Whether you are a ski equipment manufacturer, manage a ski resort or are one of those go pro ski enthusiasts, then you can finally get the right domain name for your website.

The .SKI domain name is short, memorable and most importantly "communicates" with your community. Take a brand like Atomic. Yes, their web address is atomic.com, however they share similar brand name with an Australian news site, a Norwegian jazz band, a retro culture magazine and the list goes on. Now with Atomic.ski they could communicate much more efficiently with their customers, fans and the rest of the skiing community. Maybe the managerial decision for them to rebrand now is too hard (they could use our 15 step infographic!), however for any new website a .ski domain name will be the most obvious choice far ahead of .com, .net or any ccTLD. What's also important to note - as in the case of .cricket - ski is a term used in most languages (French, German, Scandinavian languages and many others). This means that .ski will be a global AND local TLD. Success assured. In my opinion it will be a blockbuster of a domain name for a passionate community. I therefore contacted Rob Rozicki from Starting Dot to have him share his vision for .ski. Especially Rob's view on the impact of sports TLDs is particularly interesting. You can read the full interview below.

1) Please introduce your organisation and explain who .ski is for. What are the benefits of these compared to using a .com for the website?

.SKI is operated by the Starting Dot registry. Founded in October 2011 in Paris, Starting Dot has a portfolio of 3 new Top Level Domain names (TLDs) dedicated to major industries: .ARCHI (architecture), .BIO and .SKI. Our focus is on TLDs with a direct correlation between the community and their domain name. We’re now based in a total of three locations, Paris, New York and Dublin. .SKI is a community TLD dedicated to ski and snowsports. .SKI domain names have been specially created for the ski industry and ski enthusiasts. .SKI has been developed in partnership with the International Ski Federation (FIS) and is supported by many of the world’s regional snowsports organizations. The sport of skiing is practiced in approximately 80 countries. Over the last years, worldwide skier visits have been estimated to reach a figure of 400 million. We want to help the millions of global snowsports participants tell the world of their love for snowsports with a web address ending in .SKI. They’ll be able to share their experiences, promote brands, and even attract new visitors online with a web address designed exclusively for members of the ski sports community.

2) Which criteria for .ski have you set to define it as a success?

Although we think that the total number of registrations in the TLD is an important metric to track our criteria for success if really more about community adoption. We want all the members of our community from the top brands down to the person on their first ski trip to get value by actively participating online through the .SKI domain extension. We’re planning on tracking closely the registrations in .SKI and identifying early adopters and innovators who create community orientated content online with a .SKI domain name. Our goal is to showcase these sites to the community through awards and rewards programs to help foster growth. Community awareness is another huge criteria for success for us. Over the past two years the snowsports community has had the chance to learn about and embrace the idea of a community run .SKI extension. Through the investments in marketing and education we have made we have received thousands of requests for names from all over the world from community members which will go live when we launch. Continued awareness is huge part of our strategy. You’ll see .SKI jointly branded with our registrar partners anywhere where there are snowsports participants from this season.

3) In your opinion what will the impact be of the sports TLDs such as .cricket, .golf and .ski on the way we use the internet?

I don’t think we’ll see a huge impact on the way we search and find stuff on the internet. The real seismic shift will come in two areas. The first will be in people's ability to determine if a site is relevant to them or not by looking at the domain extension. If i’m not interested in skiing why would I visit powder.ski for example? Internet users now have the ability to add another layer of choice filtering, saving them time. Website owners benefit from this too, they will have more qualified visitors coming to their sites, increasing engagement and conversion. People will be there because they’ve pre selected themselves as someone who is interested. The second biggest shift will be the explosion in relevant content online. Internet users will now be able to create and access vast amounts of relevant content. Content creators can now target content to users, using short relevant combinations of string and TLD and users benefit by being able to access content specifically relevant to their community. The liberalization of the internet in the way we create, share and access content is perfectly suite to new gTLDS which is truly exciting.

4) Apart from .ski what are your three favourite new gTLDs?

Thats a tough question. I’m of course a huge fan on our other TLDs .ARCHI and .BIO so they would have to be my second and third choice. If I had to pick three others we were not involved in I would chose mine through a combination of team and new gTLD. The community approach to teams applying for .sport and .rugby are real examples of how a TLD can help its community. I’m also a huge fan of the Dot Chinese Online (.在线) and Dot Chinese Website (.中文网) run by TLD registry. Their strategy totally embraces the ethos behind new gTLDs.

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