What have we seen since the launch of the new gTLD program?
The new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) program is around for almost two years and several hundreds of new gTLDs have been launched. So far the number of registrations have not been spectacular and far less than the industry expected them to be. Does this mean the whole idea was a failure? I don’t think so. The industry does not really have many companies with great marketing and sales power. In order to drive demand it is totally necessary to do some marketing and sales efforts. Many registries expected miracles to happen by simply offering new gTLDs. Unfortunately miracles do not happen a lot. Some registries like .xyz at least made a great effort in marketing their domains. They were able to register almost one million domains and they are a good alternative for a .com domain. Also the Chinese gTLDs do pretty well. Four of those Chinese IDNs are in the top 30 of most successful new gTLDS. I expect that many IDN based domains will do relatively well in the future. For Arabs, Chinese, Japanese, Russian and many other people that do not use Latin letters the new gTLD program is very interesting. For the first time in the history of the internet they are able to use the internet completely in their own language. Some other registries have been very successful with the total amount of domain registrations they have done. Donuts for example has registered almost 25% of all the new domains that are currently available. Although they also expected much more they still have done very well.
The regional new gTLDs like .nyc and .berlin have done an excellent job. And for some registries unexpected successes happened. Afilias never expected .kim to do so well in Turkey. In the Turkish language ‘kim’ means ‘who’.
Marketeers will use a lot of new gTLDs in 2016
I think in 2016 marketeers will really start using the new gTLDs to do marketing campaigns. For SEO and SEA a relevant and specific domain name is very important and in the new gTLD space many of those domains are still available. And Google, Bing, Baidu and Yandex are indexing those new domains very well. We can expect to see very interesting campaigns for certain regions using the new gTLDs as the domain name. If you want to market something in Wales you probably better use a .wales domain name than a .co.uk or .com and when your target audience is in New York the .nyc domain will be seen more and more in advertising campaigns.
Also in sports there are a lot of opportunities to use a .tennis or .football domain name for promotional activities aimed at specific sports. In the financial sector a short and specific .loan or .credit domain are much more powerful to use in a campaign than a very long .com domain.
If you are interested in ideas you can get an overview per category of domains at Openprovider.
Why did ICANN choose Openprovider?
Many domain registrars have decided not to implement all new gTLDs because the demand is too low and the effort to implement all of them is very high. ICANN wanted to test all new registries and the performance of the new gTLD program. However they found out that going directly to a all registries for registering their own ICANN domains was not very practical and they decided to find a registrar. The shortlist of registrars offering all new gTLDs was also very small. Openprovider is one those registrars and had just passed the first audit that ICANN did on compliance with the contractual obligations. Furthermore ICANN finds our business model where we charge a relatively small yearly subscription fee for our platform and register all new gTLDs at registry cost price plus ICANN fee very interesting. With the help we offered in registering the domains for them it was a win-win situation. ICANN was helped in a very efficient and cost effective way and we got the acknowledgement that our investments in the new gTLD program and our business model are future proof.