The new gTLD sky is not falling…and it’s still way too early to say “I told you so”

Yesterday I wrote this post about the price increases that Uniregistry is doing on some of their new domain extensions. It’s no secret that this topic has struck a nerve with the domain community, many of whom immediately jumped to “I told you so” mode or “.COM wins” land, which isn’t wildly surprising.

My view is that Frank is operating a business, and like many business owners, he had to make a tough choice, which he did. Honestly it’s as simple as that. I don’t think the sky is falling for new gTLDs, I don’t think that this means only .COM will survive in the end. Instead I think that as we all should probably know, not all of the new domain extensions are going to take off like a rocket ship.

I’ve said this many times before but let me just say it again. I think that a TON of the new domain extensions are going fail, big time. I feel like I’ve repeated this over and over yet one of my readers still called me a cheerleader for new gTLDs in this comment:

cheerleader

I’m always a fan of my readers sharing their opinions, good or bad, love me or hate me, I like it and suggest that everyone who takes the time to read my blog also takes the time to comment. That being said, I don’t think that I’m a cheerleader for the new gTLDs since I think the vast majority of them are going to fail.

What I do think is that twenty years from now we’ll probably live in a world where more domain extensions than .COM have survived, and I think that’s a world we should all hope to live in. Wouldn’t it be crazy if ALL the new gTLDs failed?

.COM is where the vast majority of my investment dollars go, and it’s where they will continue to go for the foreseeable future. Still I think that some, definitely not all but some new domain extensions will do well. We don’t have to see it as a threat to .COM but instead a scenario that I feel clearly exemplifies the phrase “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

But that’s just me.

If you didn’t comment yesterday (or if you did) I’d love to hear from you. Comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Snoopy March 10, 2017, 2:38 am

    For domainers it is completely over, registries will just keep pricing it higher to the point that domainers will have no chance of making money. Registries will do better and so will domainers as the move out of ntlds.

    Reply
  • WQ March 10, 2017, 4:17 am

    Coming from Snoopy who has been bailing out of the dotcom space for years LMFAO.

    Reply
  • Reality March 10, 2017, 4:18 am

    It’s dead.

    Reply
  • Joe March 10, 2017, 5:40 am

    We return to think what we did yesterday of this three years ago in a nutshell for business and for users who are looking for the keyword know of the extesion at the end.
    .Com is one more to pronounce in all the families of the world.

    I believe a lot of what you write in this post Morgan, but the years pass and the fashions change the forms also you are in the fashion world and you know it very well, in the new extensions will happen the same time to time.

    Reply
  • DJH March 10, 2017, 8:29 am

    Finally, some sense. Good post, Morgan. As for Snoopy’s comments, another person who thinks domain names exist only to line the pockets of the poor little domainers, who couldn’t c

    Reply
  • Mark Thorpe March 10, 2017, 9:00 am

    .Club will survive, great marketing, plus Colin Campbell is driving the bus.
    He is also from Canada. Failure is not our vocabulary!

    .Web will also do well, when it eventually becomes available.

    ccTLD .Co will continue to do well also.

    Yes, here it is, nothing will beat .Com, ever!
    It will continue to get stronger and more valuable.
    I have looked at .Com from inside and outside of the box and it will remain king of domain name extensions. End of story.

    Reply
    • Nick March 11, 2017, 5:37 pm

      .COM wins! :-))))) It really does!

      Reply
  • JB March 10, 2017, 11:04 am

    I would say the specific extensions that Uniregistry raised prices 3000% on are the walking dead. This proves the number of registrations / interested customers are not enough to support the extensions. This is a grasping at straws attempt to save them. I don’t think it will work. Uniregistry will need to continue to subsidize them to keep them afloat. Of course, these are silly domain extensions anyway. As smart as Frank Schilling is, I always was surprised at some of the strings he chose. Not quite as bad as .horse, but close. It turns out that even our heroes and people we envy, like Frank Schilling, are as human as we are and can make some huge mistakes. I imagine he would love to have a do-over.

    Reply
    • Joseph Peterson March 14, 2017, 10:04 pm

      @JB,

      “I would say the specific extensions that Uniregistry raised prices 3000% on are the walking dead.”

      You might expect that Uniregistry applied the biggest price hikes to the nTLDs with the fewest domains registered. That would be justifiable for economic reasons. After all, a TLD with only 1000 registrations needs a higher price point to generate the same revenue as a TLD with 50,000 registrations.

      Sure, to some extent, Uniregistry based price increases on the existing volume. But it’s pretty obvious that they were looking at their customers, estimating their budgets and pain tolerance, calculating how high they could raise prices and still keep people on the hook.

      In other words, how much can we squeeze our .HOSTING or .JUEGOS customers compared to our .CHRISTMAS and .TATTOO customers? A tattoo parlor and a hosting company have very different budgets; so let’s multiply .HOSTING prices by 14.0 and .TATTOO by just 1.5, even though .HOSTING has roughly 7000 domains registered and .TATTOO has less than 3000.

      From the standpoint of profit, this makes sense. Estimate how big the price hike can be for each group of customers. Estimate how many will jump ship. Then optimize the price hike to keep as many customers on the hook and extract as much money from each group as possible. As long as the customer’s perspective is completely ignored, this calculation is 100% rational.

      Reply
  • Joseph Peterson March 11, 2017, 1:55 am

    If Taco Bell suddenly adds a zero to the price of all its menu items, that doesn’t spell doomsday for every other taco truck in town.

    If your landlord quintuples the rent, you don’t swear off apartments. No, you just cuss him out, move out at the first opportunity, and leave him with his building vacancies to twist in the wind.

    The lesson here isn’t the demise of nTLDs broadly speaking. What HAS collapsed, however, is Uniregistry’s credibility as a registry operator and even, to some extent, Frank Schilling’s reputation. In years past, he criticized other registries for contemplating price hikes. And he explicitly pledged not to do this very thing:

    “Uniregistry intends to make a contractual commitment to registrants and their registrars not to increase registry prices above cost of inflation for the first five years after launch of the registry.”

    So much for promises. Frank could afford to keep his … but didn’t. I was prepared to be more charitable to Schilling than this until I read his comments elsewhere online. After wooing domainers for years, collecting their money all along the way, his attitude now seems appallingly callous. Quote:

    “When you invest in any namespace you do so under the rules of the registry.”

    As if domainers are wrong to complain when the CEO goes against his own word and implements sudden 5x price hikes!

    The real failure here isn’t Uniregistry or Frank Schilling. ICANN ought to be regulating the internet – including nTLD registries – for the benefit of registrants. After all, domain owners are a constituency that vastly outnumbers registries. Unfortunately, like many regulatory bodies, ICANN belongs to lobbyists. Registrants are too dispersed to lobby. Registries, on the other hand, can and do.

    ICANN has been negligent to the point of malpractice, in my opinion, by not imposing some restrictions on price hikes. It’s not as if ICANN doesn’t force policies on registries. Lately it has been imposing the URS on many of them – arguably in order to satisfy the trademark lobby. So why not a few safeguards for domain owners? Oh, right. No lobbyists.

    Impossible to compete with the cash flow generated by all those nTLD registries. But we may be able to influence registries to impose their own voluntary limitations on price hikes, provided we spend our money on those who do and avoid those who don’t – especially those with a demonstrated history of abusing this lack of oversight.

    Reply

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