ICM Registry president Stuart Lawley may be just weeks away from launching his second and third gTLD registries, but that doesn’t mean he has a positive outlook on new gTLDs in general.
“I think people need to wake up,” he told DI in a recent interview. “If you do the math on some of these numbers and prospective numbers, it just doesn’t stack up for a profitable business.”
“The new ‘Well Done!’ number seems to be a lot less than it was six months ago or 12 months ago,” he said.
Lawley said he’s among the most “bearish” in the industry when it comes to new gTLD prospects. And that goes for ICM’s own .porn, .sex and .adult, which are due to launch between March and September this year.
While he’s sure they’ll be profitable, and very bullish on the search engine optimization benefits that he says registrants could be able to achieve, he’s cautious about what kind of registration volumes can be expected. He said:
If you add up everybody that has ever bought a .xxx name, including the Sunrise B defensives, we have got a target market of about 250,000 names. People to go back to and say, “Look, you still have a .xxx or you had a .xxx at some stage. Therefore, we think you may be interested in buying .porn, .sex or .adult for exactly the same reasons.”
So, our expectations to sell to a whole new market outside of those quarter of a million names is probably quite limited.
Lawley said that he believes that the relatively poor volume performance of most new gTLDs over the last year will cause many registrars to question whether it’s worth their time and money to offer them.
I can see why registrars can’t be bothered. How many of these am I going to sell? Am I going to sell two hundred of them? Am I going to make five dollars per name? That’s one thousand dollars. It’s not worth it to me to put in ten thousand dollars worth of labor and effort to make one thousand dollars in revenue. So, I think that’s a challenge that many of the small lone player TLDs may face.
Lawley said he’s skeptical about the ability of major portfolio players, such as Donuts, to effectively market their hundreds of gTLDs, many of which are targeted at niche vertical markets.
He said in an ideal world a gTLD would need to spend $20 million to $30 million a year for a few years in order to do a proper PR job on a single TLD — ICM spent about $8 million to $9 million, $5.5 million of which was on US TV spots — and that’s just not economically viable given how many names are being sold.
But he added that he thinks it’s a good thing that some new gTLDs are seeing a steady and fairly linear number of daily additions, saying it might point to better long-term stability.
A lot of the TLDs that seem to be doing okay — .club for argument’s sake and several others in that ilk — seem to be doing their three hundred domains per day ADD, or 32 or 12 or whatever the number is, in a relatively linear fashion six or seven months after launch, which I think is potentially positive if one extrapolates that out.
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.
The number of domain names in new gTLDs passed 200,000 last night, according to zone files.
The exact number, according to the DI PRO database, is 201,184.
It’s based on incremental organic growth over the last week since the last batch of new gTLDs went into general availability, rather than any big launch events or surges.
Here are the top 10 zones, all of which belong to Donuts.
What the 200,000 count does not reflect is the first day of general availability for Google’s first-to-launch gTLD, .みんな (Japanese for “everyone”), which I’m expecting to start showing numbers tomorrow.
In related news, the DI PRO new gTLD zone file league table service (here) was upgraded today to make it a bit more useful during periods of patchy data availability.
The service will now show all delegated new gTLDs that have started publishing zone files, along with the most-recent domain counts, on days when the file was for whatever reason not available.
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.
Having spent the last 36 hours crunching ICANN’s lists of almost 10 million new gTLD name collisions, the DI PRO collisions database is back online, and we can start reporting some interesting facts.
First, while we reported yesterday that 1,318 new gTLD applicants will be asked to block a total of 9.8 million unique domain names, the number of distinct second-level strings involved is somewhat smaller.
It’s 6,806,050, according to our calculations, still a bewilderingly high number.
The most commonly blocked string, as expected, is “www”. It’s on the block-lists for 1,195 gTLDs, over 90% of the total.
Second is “2010”. I currently have no explanation for this, but I’m wondering if it’s an artifact of the years of Day In The Life data upon which ICANN based its lists.
Protocol-related strings such as “wpad” and “isatap” also rank highly, as do strings matching popular TLDs such as “com”, “org”, “uk” and “de”. Single-character strings are also very popular.
The brand with the most blocks (free trademark protection?) is unsurprisingly Google.
The string “google” appears as an exact match on 930 gTLDs’ lists. It appears as a substring of 1,235 additional blocked strings, such as “google-toolbar” and “googlemaps”.
Facebook, Yahoo, Gmail, YouTube and Hotmail also feature in the top 100 blocked brands.
DI PRO subscribers can search for strings that interest them, discovering how many and which gTLDs they’re blocked in, using the database.
Here’s a table of the top 50 blocked strings.