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 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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