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.club misses first target but hopes to be #1 new gTLD “within days”

.CLUB Domains failed to overtake .guru in its first week of general availability as promised, but the company is nevertheless upbeat about taking the number one spot “within days”.

The last zone file available for .club shows 41,203 names, but that’s the May 14 file. The company, or its back-end, has been having trouble keeping its zone file current in the ICANN system this week.

That was an increase of of 10,523 over five days, or 2,104 per day on average.

As of 1500 UTC yesterday, the company reckoned it had 44,450 sales.

That would still place it at #3 in the league table behind .guru with 56,097 (up 200 names today) and .berlin with 47,079 (up 60 names).

If the growth rates stay roughly the same, .club may well overtake .guru in less than a week.

CEO Colin Campbell told us in March that “I firmly believe that .CLUB will exceed all other new generic top level domains in the first week of launch in registrations and overtake .GURU as the leader.”

The company is hosting a party in New York with celebrity endorser 50 Cent next Thursday (disclosure: I’m attending on .CLUB’s dime) which may or may not lead to a spike.

Best anchor tenant ever? 50 Cent to use a .club

The American rapper Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson has become the first big-name celebrity to get in on the new gTLD game, announcing today that he’s launching a fan site on a .club domain.

He’ll launch 50inda.club at a .CLUB Domains launch event in New York on May 22, the registry has just announced.

‘In Da Club’ was the name of his breakthrough single in 2003.

A quote in a press release, attributed to Jackson, said:

As I prepare to launch `Animal Ambition’ on June 3 and my new drama `Power’ on Starz, the timing was right to give my fans a central web location to stay on top of all my latest news and social updates. I like to stay on the cutting edge, and 50inda.club represents the new wave of Internet names that actually mean something to me and my fans.

Fiddy has 7.41 million Twitter followers. That’s the kind of social media exposure not many other — probably no other — new gTLD operators have managed to achieve to date.

This, in my view, is a huge coup and is exactly the kind of thing new gTLDs need to be doing to get the word out about new gTLDs.

.club on track to topple .guru?

.CLUB Domains sold an additional 4,904 domain names on its second day — its first full day — of general availability, taking it into the top five new gTLD registries by volume.

The zone started today with 30,680 names, compared to sixth-place .email’s 28,127.

I noted yesterday that in order for .club to hit its target of beating leader .guru to the top spot in the first week, .club would have to move something like 4,500 names per day all week.

While today’s numbers are certainly in line with that target, I doubt .club will hit the number one spot by next Thursday.

Growth typically tails off shortly after general availability begins, and weekends are slow days, generally, for domain name registrations.

The best-performing new gTLDs to date generally add a net couple hundred names per day.

.club tops 25,000 names on day one

The new gTLD .club got to 25,776 domains in its first 10 hours of general availability yesterday.

According to today’s zone file data, that makes it the sixth-largest new gTLD by volume.

It’s the third-best launch day after .berlin and .在线, I believe.

The count does not include any substantial amount of premium or registry-reserved names. Registry CEO Colin Campbell told us yesterday that just 46 names in the zone are owned by the registry.

If .CLUB Domains still expects to beat .guru, which has 54,868 domains today, in its first week it’s going to have to sell something like 4,500 domains every day for the next seven days.

No other new gTLD has anything close to that kind of daily volumes during general availability.

.club “hits top 10” new gTLDs in minutes

The new .club gTLD went into the top 10 new gTLDs by volume in the “first instants” of general availability this afternoon, according to the registry and partner Go Daddy.

.CLUB Domains CEO Colin Campbell told DI, about two hours after the 1500 UTC GA launch, “We’ll let the zone files speak for themselves, but we were well within the top 10 a few minutes after we opened up.”

Based on today’s zone file data, that means .club moved at least 15,000 names. It will presumably be a somewhat bigger number by the time today’s zones are published at 0100 UTC.

.CLUB CMO Jeff Sass said that pre-registrations at registrars including Go Daddy were responsible for the initial spike.

“We would be in the top 10 based just on those pre-registrations in the first instant,” he said.

While over 50 registrars are signed up to sell .club, the registry is pretty tight with Go Daddy.

The two companies have been conducting joint marketing, some of which involved .CLUB pushing buyers to GoDaddy.club.

“We’ve worked closely on cooperative marketing efforts,” Sass said. “We’ve done a lot of campaigns where the call to action has been to Go Daddy.”

The GA launch, which was briefly webcast live, actually came from Go Daddy’s Arizona headquarters.

While I get the distinct impression that money changed hands in order for Go Daddy to throw its weight behind .club, VP Mike McLaughlin gave some reasons why he likes the gTLD.

“We like to see that the registry is invested,” he said. “That the business plan isn’t just to put it out there and hope for the best.”

Sass said that .CLUB has been marketing to nightclubs, sports clubs, high-end members clubs and others.

McLaughlin said the price point — $14.99 retail, the same as Go Daddy’s .com renewals — and the fact that there are no registration restrictions, were attractive.

.CLUB has reserved over 6,000 premium names. They’re all listed for sale at Sedo, perhaps showing that its relationship with rival auction platform Go Daddy/Afternic is not all that tight.

If you try to register a premium .club via Go Daddy today you’ll be told it’s unavailable.

Sass said that examples of premiums already sold to anchor tenants include shaving.club, which is launching today, as well as beauty.club, makeup.club and skincare.club, which were all sold to Mary Kay Cosmetics and are expected to launch at a later date.

.CLUB has previously predicted that it would beat .guru (currently at 54,616 names) in the first week and that it would sell five million names in the first five years.

The first aspiration seemed, to me, plausible. I’ve had countless arguments about whether the second is too.