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January 24, 2018

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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.

Big New gTLD Sales Spark Debate But Do They Change the Big Picture? -  What Sattler Says

Yesterday's news  about the record $500,000 sale of a new gTLD domain (Home.loans) has sparked a lot of renewed conversation about the merits (or lack thereof) of new extensions. The conversation will likely go up a few more decibels when our next weekly domain sales report comes out tonight with news of a second big 6-figure new gTLD that will join Home.loans on the chart. 

As I noted in yesterday's post about the Home.loans sale, no one sale - or even cluster of sales - is going to settle the matter of when or if an active, broad-based aftermarket for new gTLDs will develop. While we all wait to see what happens, there will be ups and downs with both good and bad news taking turns in 

the spotlight along the way. In the interim, if you have an interest in new gTLDs, I think it is best to stay abreast of all of the news and opinions put forth by credible sources - then go with your gut and do what you think is best, whether that be investing in or developing new gTLDs or ignoring them in favor of traditional favorites - .com, of course, being chief among those.

You will find several interesting opinions, pro and con, on new gTLDs (among many other topics) in our 14th annual State of the Industry Cover Story that was just released this morning. The piece features 24 leaders from all corners of the domain industry, making it by far the biggest State of the Industry piece we have ever published.

Earlier this month another article you should read on this topic was published at CircleID.com. The piece, titled New TLD Launch:  Lessons Learned, came from a very reputable source, Tobias Sattler, the Chief Information Officer at United-Domains AG (part of corporate giant United Internet, the parent of companies like Sedo, InterNetX and 1&1). It was originally published in German last fall but was just translated to English this month.

The names of the section headings in Sattler's piece will give you a good idea of the ground he covered in researching these early stages of  new gTLD development: Far Too Much New GTLDs at Once, High Complexity on the Introduction of New gTLDs, Technical and Operational Challenges Due to Non-Scalability, Marketing and Awareness the Assumptions Were Wrong, Unpleasant Pitfalls and Future Prospects. 

Cumulatively, those headings might lead you to believe that Sattler is anti-new gTLD but that 

Tobias Sattler
Chief Information Officer
United-Domains AG

is not the case at all. He details where the program went off the rails but also what it can do to get back on track. In his closing comments Sattler wrote, "Despite all the difficulties surrounding the launches of the new top-level domains, they will find their way into everyday life and expand step by step. Even .com took some time to skyrocket. However, the consolidation of the domain market will continue and some top-level domains may disappear again."

Sattler added, "Nevertheless, it looks like there will be more new TLDs from 2020 onwards. However, this time around, it will most likely be mainly trademark owners who will apply for their ending. However that may be, it is important to continue to work on the success of the new extensions, true to the motto "Keep it simple, stupid" (KISS), all parties should not lose sight of the big picture."

Whether you agree with Sattler's findings or not, this is the kind of clear-eyed commentary you need to consider when considering your own path forward - rather than basing it on a big sale or two or, on the flipside, mis-steps that may be damaging but not necessarily fatal as new gTLDs continue on toward whatever their ultimate destiny may be. 

(Posted January 24, 2018)  

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