The end of 2014 is nigh and it’s around 10 months since registrations commenced in the first of the new gTLDs. To date we’ve seen a range of differing marketing strategies and successes.
The impacts on gTLDs such as .com and .net, along with ccTLDs, from the evidence to date is likely to be minimal. Most companies, at least those without their own gTLD, are still going to want premium names to promote their brands. Or ccTLDs for more localised content and promotions. The domain name aftermarket appears to bear this out even though there have been some handy sales for new gTLDs.
But the new gTLDs are gaining traction as was shown with the “Black Friday” sales at the end of November, particularly in the US, where some online retailers used the .blackfriday gTLD to promote special promotions. There are currently over 11,100 .blackfriday domains registered. Another special event gTLD proving popular is .christmas with over 13,400 registrations.
Some of America’s top online retailers have registered domains in both gTLDs. One of those is Amazon who have used both gTLDs for seasonal promotions. Their amazon.blackfriday domain directs customers to their Black Friday deals while amazon.christmas takes customers to the online giant’s Christmas deals.
On registration numbers alone, .xyz continues to be several hemispheres above all others with 733,500 registrations according to nTLDstats.com. But it can be assumed that around half of those registrations have been for free as one registrar has given away the corresponding .xyz domain to their .com registrants. It remains to be seen how many of these registrants re-register, and pay for, their domains.
Even second-placed .berlin has either given or sold cheaply close to 90,000 domains during a promotion that now sees the gTLD for the German capital having around 154,400 domains.
One of the big successes has been .club. Coming in third on the nTLDstats.com list and closing in on 146,000 registrations, the gTLD is not known to have been giving away domains meaning renewal rates are likely to be higher and helping to ensure an ongoing success.
Another big success, and one that is confident its success will be ongoing, is the backend registry Donuts. To date the company is responsible for 156 of the 436 gTLDs ICANN has delegated and is confident it will have 200 gTLDs to manage by the end of 2015. Current registrations are closing in on 1.1 million and in a blog posting in December, the company says they are conservatively predicting an initial renewal rate of greater than 80 percent for their gTLDs, basing their prediction “on history and data analysis”. And also that each one of their domains has been paid for.
There has been a number of differing strategies used to attract registrations in addition to the above for gTLDs in the top ten. Domains under the .realtor gTLD, aimed at the US and Canadian real estate industry, are being given away free for the first year to the first 500,000 members of the National Association of Realtors who register, while the Canadian Real Estate Association is giving away a further 10,000 domains. Currently the gTLD has over 86,600 domains registered.
And city gTLDs, like .berlin, .nyc (New York City) with 65,500 registrations and .london with 51,600 registrations, all in the top ten for registration numbers and all with differing registration policies. For .berlin, registrants need to have one of the contacts listed with a Berlin address, for .nyc it is essential the registrant is located within New York City while for .london, registrants can be located anywhere.
There are many flowers blooming with the new gTLDs and the ultimate success for most won’t be determined until a year or two in the marketplace. But what is clear there is not just one model that will be successful. Or for some, a failure.