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Ten years ago I predicted Oscar winners wanted a .movie gTLD. Was I right?

Kevin Murphy, January 14, 2020, 15:59:58 (UTC), Domain Registries

Almost 10 years ago, when DI was barely a month old, I looked at that year’s Oscar nominees and predicted that a .movie gTLD could find some demand in the movie industry. Was I right?

Of course I was. As regular readers know, I’m always right. Apart from those times I’m wrong.

In 2010, there was no .movie gTLD and no publicly announced applications, but I noted at the time that almost half of the 50 nominated movies that year included the word “movie” immediately before the dot.

This year, there were 52 nominated movies across all categories (I’m well aware that this is a pretty small sample size to draw any conclusions from, but this post is just a bit of fun) so one might reasonably expect there to be roughly 25 official sites using .movie domains among them.

There are not. Only nine of the films, including four of the nine Best Picture nominees, use freshly registered .movie domains for their official sites.

These include the likes of 1917.movie, thecave.movie, joker.movie, onceuponatimeinhollywood.movie and littlewomen.movie.

.movie, managed by Donuts, has been around since August 2015. It competes with Motion Picture Domain Registry’s .film, which was not used by any of this year’s Oscars hopefuls.

What about the rest of this year’s nominees? Did they all register fresh .com domains for their movies?

No. In fact, only 10 of the 52 movies appear to have registered new .com domains for their official sites — one more than .movie — including two of the Best Picture nominations.

These fresh .com regs include domains such as parasite-movie.com, richardjewellmovie.com, ilostmybodymovie.com, forsamafilm.com and breakthroughmovie.com.

One movie — Honeyland, a North Macedonian environmentalist documentary about bees — uses a .earth domain.

I discovered today that, rather brilliantly, the Japan-based .earth registry demands registrants “voluntarily pledge to become ambassadors for Earth and do away with actions that harm Earth and its inhabitants” in its Ts&Cs.

So, of the 52 nominated movies, only 20 opted to register a new domain for their official site — down from 24 in 2010 — and that business was split evenly between .com and new gTLDs.

Whether the movies opted for a .movie domain appears to depend in large part on the distributor.

Sony appears to be a bit of a fan of the gTLD, while Fox, Disney and Warner tend to use after-the-slash branding on their existing .com domains for their films’ official sites.

I tallied 17 movies that have their official sites on their distributor’s .com/.org domain.

There are also trends that I could not have predicted a decade ago, such as the rise of streaming services. Back in 2010, Netflix was still largely a DVD-delivery player and was not yet creating original content.

But this year, seven of the Oscar-nominated movies were made and/or distributed by Netflix, and as such the official web site is the same place you go to actually watch the film — netflix.com.

A few of the nominated animated shorts don’t need official sites either — you just head to YouTube to watch them for free.

There are currently only about 3,200 domains in the .movie zone file, about 1,200 fewer than rival .film. It renews at over $300 a year at retail, so it’s not cheaper than the alternatives by a long way.

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Comments (3)

  1. Snoopy says:

    It is an area where the domain is not important. They often used .net and hyphenated names previously. Just anything that was available and cheap.

    Very few people are going to go to the offical movie site in my view. Just do a Google search and watch the trailer via youtube.

    As an example I searched for “joker movie” and the offical site didn’t even come up in the first 10 pages. Even if you did want to go to the official site it is buried likely because the site is too fresh and unpopular.

    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      I see movies buying a lot of TV and radio ad time, so I wouldn’t say that they don’t need a good, memorable domain. And notably, one that pass the “radio test” so one hears it and types it exactly.

      What makes a good and memorable domain is up to discussion, but whatever the criteria, I don’t think they should settle for hyphenated domains, for instance.

  2. By and large, movie industry folks don’t value domain names and rarely spend serious money to acquire them. This is as true today as it was 20 years ago. I used to publish a blog specifically focused on reviewing the (often horrendous) domain names of movies. You can still find that blog online at http://www.Hollywoozy.com … Enjoy!

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