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.xyz fails to live up to the hype

Kevin Murphy, June 3, 2014, 15:29:27 (UTC), Domain Registries

.xyz sold just shy of 15,000 domain names during its first hours of general availability.
That’s according to zone files released today.
The registry added 14,829 names yesterday, ending the period with 14,924 in its zone, making it the 15th-largest new gTLD by volume, behind the likes of .center, .directory and .solutions.
(UPDATE: see the bottom of this post for important updates on these numbers.)
While it’s a respectable first-day performance — logging more sales that I expected it to — it’s doesn’t look like the registry is going to hit CEO Daniel Negari’s target of a million names in year one.
Earlier this week, Negari enthusiastically blogged, in a post tagged simply “believe”:

There is no doubt in my mind that the growth rate of .xyz will surpass the growth rate of .com. It won’t take us 20 years to reach one million registrations. It will only take 1 year. The growing number of internet users online today, the increasing demand for domain name registrations, and the way we have positioned .xyz all validate this projection. Soon we will see that there is only one competitor to .com, and that is .xyz.

Averaged out over a year, a million registrations is over 2,700 per day, a rate that no other new gTLD registry has managed to sustain to date.
If .xyz follows the path taken by its predecessors, it will probably rack up a thousand or so more names per day for the next few days, likely making it a top-ten new gTLD within a week, before settling down to a comfortable rate of 200 to 300 per day.
So far, .guru (four months old) and .club (one month old) are the only gTLDs with significant volumes that have managed to double their launch-day figures.
.xyz is going to be in desperate need of some more marketing if its wants to get to one million by June 2, 2015.
As I’ve always said, I think .xyz is a tough sell.
As Negari says, the string has “little-to-no meaning”, and the game has always been to brand .xyz as being even more generic than .com.
The registry has attempted to shoehorn it into meanings such as “It is the ending of the alphabet, and it is the ending of domain names” and “Generations X, Y and Z”.
But it seems to be one of those sales pitches you either get or you don’t. I’ve heard it many times, and I still don’t.
So 15,000 names in half a day, by my expectations, is not bad.
However, despite the 15,000 names, we’re talking about a TLD with a registry fee, being retailed by some registrars for under $10.
With a million names, that’s a nice little business. Sub-100,000, not so much.
There are plenty of people out there who will immediately say the “success” of new gTLDs in general is a combination of many factors, of which volume is only one, and I agree.
It’s only day one for .xyz, but for a cheap-as-chips gTLD that has explicitly made itself a volume play, I think registration count is a fair way to measure its success going forward.
UPDATE: According to Gavin Brown, CTO of .xyz back-end CentralNic, the number of names in the zone file almost 24 hours after GA began is actually 31,119, over double what the registry sold in the first 10 hours.

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Comments (3)

  1. This headline could be recycled for every new gTLD. 🙂

  2. Gavin Brown says:

    Hi Kevin,
    Today’s zone file in the CZDS was generated at 0200hrs UTC this morning, so it only represents the first 10 hours of GA (which started at 1600hrs UTC).
    As of writing (ie about 23 hours 45 minutes after the start of GA), the number of domains in .xyz (excluding registry reserved, spec 5, and name collision domains) is 31,119.

  3. Shane says:

    As long as they can keep that banner flying above the article 🙂

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