Interview: ICM president bearish on new gTLD prospects

Kevin Murphy
February 21, 2015

This is the full transcript of an interview DI conducted with ICM Registry president Stuart Lawley, January 22, 2015 in which Lawley frankly addresses the prospects for new gTLDs — including ICM’s .porn, .sex and .adult — in 2015 and beyond. Topics include marketing, search engine optimization, registrar relations and the potential impact of dot-brands to the marketplace. It’s been lightly edited for clarity and readability.

DI: You’ve told me before that you’re not convinced that a lot of new gTLDs are viable businesses. Can you explain your thoughts on that?

Stuart LawleyStuart Lawley: I’m probably more of a bear on the new gTLD prospects than many I guess that are necessarily bullish at this time. I mean from what I’ve seen, we saw the initial sort of, dare I say, over-performance of some of the early releases. To name a few, but not pulling them out particularly, there’s the .gurus and .ninjas of this world, and .photography’s early days. And one can assume that, or one can presume, whether it would be right or not, that a lot of those names were domainer-bought on a speculative basis.

And the average launch numbers per TLD… it clearly seems to be that the new “Well Done!” number seems to be a lot less than it was six months ago or 12 months ago or even expected before. So, it would be interesting to note how many of each TLD’s names are held in the three main camps I guess you’d call it. One – and I don’t like the word necessarily – the defensive camp. The people that are buying them for whatever reason without any real intention to use. The domainer camp: speculative. And the actual user-users. And I wouldn’t like to cast aspersions on what those numbers were.

The domainers are somewhat capped by the depth of their own pocketbook. I mean there’s an array of names coming out and

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Track all the popular new gTLD domains on DI PRO

Kevin Murphy
July 15, 2014

Want to get a full daily list of which new gTLD domains have Alexa rank?

From today DI PRO subscribers can, with our new Popular New gTLD Domains feature.

Updated once a day, the report comprises a list of new gTLD domains that are used by the top one million web sites on the internet, according to data provided by Alexa.

The report currently has 635 domains, but it’s growing.

The report can be used to discover how early adopters are using new gTLDs and which TLDs are generating the most popular web sites.

Here’s a screen shot:

DI PRO subscribers can check it out here.

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Track new gTLD growth on DI PRO

Kevin Murphy
February 6, 2014

DI PRO subscribers from today can track daily changes in new gTLD registration volumes.

The New gTLD Zone File Report is a simple, sortable table showing how each new gTLD has performed over the last 24 hours.

It’s the database I’ve been using for DI’s analysis of Donuts’ landrush numbers over the last week, but I’ve received a few requests to make the data available in a more structured way.


The data is also being incorporated into the next TLD Health Check update too, enabling longer-term views and interactive charts. More on that in due course.

DI PRO subscribers also receive access to the New gTLD Application Tracker, a calendar of crucial new gTLD launch dates, the New gTLD Collisions Database and many more useful services.

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Search all new gTLD collision block lists

Kevin Murphy
November 6, 2013

DI PRO subscribers can now see which strings appear most often in new gTLD registries’ block-lists and search for strings — such as trademarks or premium strings — that interest them.

We’ve just launched the New gTLD Collisions Database.

Currently, it indexes all 30,581 unique strings that ICANN has told the first 18 new gTLD registries to block — due to the risk of collisions with internal networks — when they launch.

By default the strings are ranked by how many gTLDs have been told to block them.

You’ll see immediately that “www” is currently blocked in all 18 registries, suggesting that it’s likely to be blocked in the vast majority of new gTLDs.

Users can also search for a string in order to see how many, and which, new gTLDs are going to have to block it.

We’re hoping that the service will prove useful to trademark owners that want to see which “freebie” blocked strings they stand to benefit from, and in which gTLDs.

The service will also hopefully be useful to registries that want to predict which strings ICANN may tell them to block. We’re seeing a lot of gambling terms showing up in non-gambling TLDs, for example.

Here’s a screenshot of sample output for the search “cars”.


As ICANN publishes lists for more gTLDs, the database will grow and become more useful and time-saving.

Comments, suggestions and bug reports as always to

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New gTLD Application Tracker 3.0 launched

Kevin Murphy
August 12, 2013

While we’ve added several smaller requested features to the DI PRO New gTLD Application Tracker over the last few months, the time has come for the second big update to the service.

Subscribers have asked for a number of changes and upgrades to make it easier to quickly get at the data they need, and we’re happy to oblige.

The Application Tracker, has been updated in three areas.

New “Current Status” Tab

Talking to subscribers over the last few weeks, it became clear that different people are using the Application Tracker in different ways for different reasons.

Some want to be able to find out if, for example, an application has ever been objected to or received GAC advice, while others only want to know whether those objections and advice are still active.

From today, both use cases are made easier with the introduction of a new Current Status tab.

Searches conducted under this tab automatically filter out all withdrawn and rejected applications. If a contention set has been won, the winner will not display as contested in results.

Similarly, if an application managed to fight its way through objections or GAC advice, it will show as unopposed and unencumbered in search results pages.


Subscribers who want to carry on using the service to access historical information about applications can continue to use the previous version of the Application Tracker under the new “Original Status” tab.

Full IE Results

The existing IE Results database has been folded into the Application Tracker under a new tab, and there’s also a new option to see the full scores for each application that has passed through Initial Evaluation.

The new IE Results (Detailed) tab shows the scores each application received for each of the 27 Applicant Guidebook questions for which scores are made available

The Basic tab shows the financial and technical evaluation subtotals along with other information about the applicant and back-end provider.

New Search Options

With ICANN’s publication of Interilse Consulting’s report into the potential security risks of new gTLDs last week, each string was assigned a risk profile: Low, High or Uncalculated.

The database was updated with this information the same day it was published, but now you can search on it too, choosing to limit your search to, or omit, any of the three classes.

You can now also search for, or exclude, applications that have been rejected by ICANN. There are only three such applications right now, but I’m sure this option will become more useful in future.

Past and Future Updates

For details of all the original features of the Application Tracker, see this April blog post. For DI PRO subscription information, click here.

Subscribers can send suggestions for future updates to, as always.

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