Go Daddy has changed tack in its new gTLD strategy, dropping its own applications and positioning itself strongly as a registry-neutral channel to market.
The company spent yesterday wooing new gTLD applicants at a specially convened meeting in its native Arizona; there were representatives from about half of the applied-for gTLDs in attendance.
But apart from the fact that Go Daddy has withdrawn its applications for .home and .casa — and symbolically dropped the “.com” from its logo — the company is playing its strategy pretty close to its chest.
Director of policy planning James Bladel told DI that the meeting was more about “starting a conversation” with registries, rather than laying out Go Daddy’s specific plans for new gTLDs.
The company will be a hugely important channel to market for many gTLDs, and competition for store-front space on the Go Daddy home page is expected to be fierce.
Existing big-volume “new” TLDs, such as .info and .co, can attribute much of their success to Go Daddy.
It’s responsible for well over half of all .info domains registered today and .CO Internet’s success to date can no doubt be attributed in no small part to its strong relationship with the company.
But Bladel would not be drawn on Go Daddy’s specific plans for the next wave of gTLDs.
While the company has a patent on a method of allocating shelf space via an Adsense-style bidding technology, Bladel said Go Daddy has not yet decided whether to use that system.
The company could also use other methods, algorithmic rather than commercial, for selecting which TLDs to display to users, such as geographic location, he said.
Another conversation that needs to happen relates to launch timing.
Ideas may include staggering launches to benefit from joint marketing efforts, or pooling launches into big-draw “launch day” events, Bladel speculated, noting that the company is more interested in hearing ideas from gTLD applicants right now.
While Go Daddy will continue to push its application for .godaddy dot-brand, with the loss of .home and .casa it will no longer be in the mass-market gTLD registry game.
Registry-neutral registrars may actually be a rarity in the new gTLD era.
eNom will certainly walk away with interests in more than a few gTLDs, directly and via its deal with Donuts. Tucows, Web.com and Directi will also have some, depending on contention set results.
Apart from Go Daddy, the only other top-ten registrars without their own gTLDs could be United and FastDomains.