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August 27, 2012

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Toronto Newspaper Questions Whether Canada's .CA ccTLD Can Survive New gTLDs

Interesting article in the Toronto Star late last week with a headline posing the question Can venerable .ca domain extension survive looming Internet explosion? My first thought, to 

quote John McEnroe, was "You can't be serious!"  That was my second thought as well. .CA, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month, isn't going anywhere. Actually, let me rephrase that - with a popular ccTLD that is 

 

closing in on two million registrations and the 4th highest growth rate of any registry over the past five years - .CA is going places, but extinction is not one of them.  

While no one knows exactly how the hundreds of new gTLDs that are expected to start arriving in the next year or two will impact the various segments of the market, there is one thing we do know. That is that top ccTLDs dramatically outperform non .com gTLDS (which is what the new extensions will be) in the domain aftermarket - a good indicator of how buyers value the two options. In recent years, the total $ volume of ccTLD sales reported to us for our weekly sales reports have been double the amount spent on reported non .com gTLD sales.

If you took the long established .nets and .orgs out of the non .com gTLD category, leaving only the previous "new" gTLDS that followed them, the level of sales in that group would barely move the needle. Like .coms, which have become synonymous with the Internet itself, ccTLDs representing major industrial countries have some unique advantages that cannot be erased. As intellectual property lawyer John McKeown told The Star about .CA, “I think they’re well positioned: they’ve got all the benefits of a geographical top level domain name, because for people who want to be associated with Canada, that’s the domain name of choice."

Most local businesses want to be associated with their location and there is also a patriotic appeal to using a national domain. That's why new .CA registrations outnumber new .com registrations in Canada (and why Germany's .de, Great Britain's .co.uk and several other ccTLDs are such powerhouses). There will be hundreds and eventually thousands of new gTLDs but there will continue to be only one country code domain for each nation. 

The current non .com gTLDs look to be in a considerably more precarious competitive position. They don't have the unique geographic edge the ccTLDs do and many of the new gTLDs will have more narrowly focused meanings than existing gTLD alternatives, something that may make them more attractive to small business end users (the most likely buyers of new gTLDS as they are the ones whose preferred terms have usually already been taken in .com and the bigger ccTLDs). 

The arrival of new gTLDs will certainly create some interesting horse races, but unless you like buying tickets on 1,000 to 1 long shots, I wouldn't bet on any of them sending a well established ccTLD like .CA into oblivion. 

On other note today - in case you entered The Lowdown from somewhere other than our Home Page you may not know that our new July Cover Story was released today.  It is a fascinating profile of United Airlines pilot/domain investor-developer Bob Olea. It's a story filled with more ups and downs than a hang glider in a hurricane. From being forced out of his childhood home by a bulldozer to having his life upended by the 9/11 attacks to riding domains to redemption, Olea has lived a life that would be full for someone twice his age. If you don't know Bob, you should - so allow us to introduce you in this story:  Course Correction: Why Commercial Airline Pilot Bob Olea is Now Banking on Domains as Well as Planes.

By the way, in keeping with the theme of today's post, Bob's thoughts on the arrival of new gTLDs are among the many topics covered in that Cover Story.

Bob Olea

(Posted July 23, 2012) 


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