Interview: Donuts’ Richard Tindal on new gTLD outreach

Kevin Murphy
March 17, 2015
Interviews

This is the full transcript of an interview DI conducted with Donuts chief operating officer Richard Tindal, January 23, 2015 which covers Donuts plans to market its huge portfolio of new gTLDs in 2015. Additional topics include search engine optimization, smart search, registrar relations and the potential impact of dot-brands. It’s been lightly edited for clarity and readability.

DI: Before we talk about 2015, let’s recap 2014 from your point of view.

Richard Tindal: We found 2014 to be very successful, certainly for us and certainly for the program. The sorts of volumes that have been seen are in line with our expectations. If you break down the types of registrants, the types of people who have been buying the names, you can see things that do not surprise us.

Very, very low levels of trademark protection activity. We expected that, and it’s actually even lower than we expected it and we expected very low levels. So, that was not surprising to us. That sort of segment of buying is not really a sustainable part of the business. It is not what we are in business to get — and nor are other registries — those protectors. They certainly did not turn up in any numbers and that did not surprise us in any regard.

There are really three segments, I think: the protectors, the investors, and then the end users who are typically companies using them. So, the investors certainly turned up. They turned up more heavily, I think, in the first months.

Of course we think of this as one product. We do not view it as a collection of individual, different products, all the different TLDs, but rather a “category”, if you like. We think the category got good adoption.

The investors certainly turned up. In our view, it is good to have domain investors in there, but not too many. It is a bit of a balance. You want the bulk of your population of names to be owned by businesses and users, but certainly domain investors play an important role because they are a sort of catalyst, if you like. They become an unpaid sales force out there and spread the word, and certainly a lot of the investors have sold names and there has been some good price appreciation for those that have.

So, we think the level of investor activity was

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Interview: ICM president bearish on new gTLD prospects

Kevin Murphy
February 21, 2015
Interviews

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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