Hasta La Victoria Siempre

Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara once said “Always to victory” in answer to a question posed about how to start a revolution.  I’m sure that was the motto somewhere within ICANN when the new gTLD program was announced a few years ago.

Today, three weeks into the launch phase, we are still waiting for something to ignite the passions within brand owners.  The author and eminent thinker Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book a few years ago called “The Tipping Point” where he analysed those moments where critical mass or boiling point is reached that leads to a viral effect.  Whilst his examples included the fall in crime in New York City in the 1990’s and the rise in popularity of Hush Puppies shoes, his views and analysis on the new gTLD program would be very interesting indeed.

Gladwell’s theory of the “Law of the Few” was based on the principles of Parato, where 80% of the results will be produced by 20% of the people.  In terms of the new gTLD program, we can already start to see what new suffixes (the 20%) will produce the most registrations (the 80%).  Sunrise registrations so far have been modest, but looking at the list of pre-registrations we have received from clients, we are definitely in the calm before the storm.

As of the end of November, the most popular new gTLDs are:-

  • Careers

  • Career

  • Online

  • Mobile

  • Sucks

The most popular two are a real surprise to us, especially as these are “job” related.  By surprising I mean that there is already a long established TLD for the careers market in .jobs, released back in 2005.  However, if I look at the portfolio of names we have under our control here at NetNames, .jobs equates to less than 1% of our total registrations.  So what is driving the demand for .careers and .career?

Another interesting one is .mobile.  Once again, we already have a “.mobi” in the domain world, introduced back in 2006 whilst has so far failed to set the corporate IP world alight.  A number of big brands have adopted .mobi as a feature including Sprint, IBM and Adobe but in general it is not a TLD that corporates look to actively use, or even defensively protect.  Looking at our own portfolio we have approximately 2% of all domains registered.

It is no surprise that .sucks makes an appearance in our top five.  Three different companies have applied to run .sucks, which will be seen as a TLD that few brands will want third parties to own.  On announcing their intention to run the domain, Vox Populi Registry’s CEO stated that the domain suffix will create “valuable dialogue” for brand holders.  Based on the high number of pre-registrations we have seen I imagine that brand holders feel otherwise.

We are still yet to see the first stellar gTLD launch.  We had hoped to see one of the “big guns” rolled out before Christmas such as a .email or a .business that would stimulate demand but as of yet, these appear to be being kept under wraps.

Written by Stuart Fuller, Director of Commercial Operations and Communications, NetNames