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June 10, 2014

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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.

Top 10 New gTLDs Gobbling Up Nearly Half of Sales Leaving 92 Others to Fight Over What's Left

According to nGTLDStats.com 102 new gTLDs have at least a tiny share of the registrations that have been made to date (though for ten of those TLDs the share is about as as close to zero as you can get - a miniscule 0.01%). As of today, the top ten new gTLDs cumulatively hold 45% of all new gTLD registrations, reminding me of an argument that new gTLD skeptic Rick Schwartz has frequently made - that if you are not among the top ten, your visibility in the marketplace is going to be foggy at best. 

Today we already have 92 other extensions fighting for a a sliver of the half of the pie the top ten has left on the plate. Next year hundreds more will be competing for a morsel. Equally daunting is that the registration numbers, even for the top ten, are not exactly eye popping - they total just 286,333 for that top tier as of today. 

Several, like current leader, .guru (with 53,195), got off to a fast start only to see the momentum quickly fade. New #4, IDN 在线 (Chinese for .online), introduced just yesterday, had an impressive debut in the 30,000 neighborhood and hopes the huge market in China will give their offering stronger "legs" than some of the others have shown. 

One problem is that after the initial splash for each new gTLD, the attention is immediately diverted to a new round of releases just a week later. There is an old saying that you need to make hay while the sun shines - but the manic new gTLD release schedule gives each new extension only a minute or two of daylight.

It is still very early in the game and different TLDs may prove to be more attractive by offering  stronger keywords, better pricing, more aggressive marketing, etc. Pricing, particularly for 

Sticker shock image from Bigstock

those registries that want a share of the domain investment market, appears to be an area where a lot of TLDs need to go back to the drawing board. Frank Schilling's Uniregistry.com recently released the first value priced generic TLD, .link,  under $10 at some registrars, and it has shot into the top ten - #6 today with just under 23,000 registrations. 

Others asking for hundreds of dollars up front and hundreds of dollars to renew annually are, as you would expect, languishing. Sticker shock usually leaves a poor first impression, especially when it involves an unknown new product of - at least at this stage of the game - questionable value. 

No doubt we will see a lot of adjustments as the game plays out and the individual registries get a better handle on what the market will bear. The challenge for them will be to make those adjustments before they become a footnote in the history of this unprecedented experiment. 

(Posted April 29, 2014) 

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