An Industry Divided

While I have to say I had hoped that the new gTLDs would bring us closer together it is clear now that it has divided our industry more than ever before. On one side are .COM loyalists who can’t imagine a world ten years from now where .COM isn’t the go-to TLD. On the other side are the new gTLD enthusiasts who see a world ten years from now where people brand around TLDs like .BERLIN, .GURU, .CLUB, and .XYZ. I find myself somewhere in the middle.

I have made it no secret that I support a handful of new gTLDs that I believe in, in many cases because of the people behind them. Other Domain Investors like Andrew Rosner, Page Howe and many more have also come-out in support of some specific new gTLDs as well.

Here’s the thing, while it can be easy to find our differences, we all are actually more similar in our viewpoints than you’d think. While I think TLDs like .XYZ, .CLUB, and a few more will hit 1M registrations in their first year I think the vast majority of new gTLDs won’t, in fact, I think most new gTLDs will fail miserably and waste the money of people who invested in them.

I think .COM is king and will be king for the foreseeable future. 90% of the money I am putting into domain names is going into .COM names, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. However is it really so terrible to think 5-10 new gTLDs out of the 1,500+ will do well? Is it really realistic to think that every single new gTLD will fail? Couldn’t 1%-3% do well?

Only time will tell what happens but I hope as an industry we can come together. When I started in the domain industry in 2007 we were all one big happy family, now, not so much. While we all have different assumptions it’s important to remember that we’re all just guessing.

The fact is, ten years from now the domain world will be different, period. The question is how will it be different and your guess is as good as mine. One thing that I do know is that we all need each, so keep the comments coming, keep the dialog going, and remember, we’re all just guessing!

{ 35 comments… add one }

  • Konstantinos Zournas June 3, 2014, 6:46 pm

    Morgan, please explain how .club will reach 1 million registrations in it’s first year.
    It will be lucky to reach 125-150k at this pace.

    Reply
    • Morgan June 3, 2014, 8:00 pm

      @Konstantinos – my guess is as good as yours, why do you think they won’t hit it? Jeff and Colin have one heck of a track record, what makes you think this will be their first miss?

      Reply
  • Chris June 3, 2014, 6:49 pm

    I’ve been thinking the same thing. It’s so odd the vitriol that is being spewed by many over the gTLDs, in particular .XYZ in the past day and a half by a large part of the domaining.com blogroll. If one doesn’t like gTLDs, don’t buy them.

    Reply
  • Jonathan June 3, 2014, 7:01 pm

    Part of the problem is I think there is some distrust growing between domainers and some of the bloggers, registries etc.

    A lot of advertising is going on, so are a blogger’s views truly their own or is it more of a paid ad dressed up as a post? A friend helping a friend out? Basic networking? Plug me now, I’ll help you out later on.

    You have situations that I don’t think have been fully addressed.

    All those .link domains going over to that other company.

    The current situation with Network Solutions and .xyz, one you haven’t touched, but others have in your comments.

    I remember the Namejet auction for .xyz which to me was one big joke, since the winners didn’t actually have to pay. You were in those auctions. Was that helping a friend out? Did you win and pay for any of them? Can you understand how some of this looks?

    Another problem are ridiculous statements, marketing cliches etc. The post for .xyz I think rubbed a lot of people wrong, one of the most ridiculous things I’ve read.

    Even in this post you made:
    “While I think TLDs like .XYZ, .CLUB, and a few more will hit 1M registrations in their first year”

    Is that something you really believe? .club regs have slowed. There is no way they hit 1 million, they would be lucky to get 10% of that.

    I think the blogs out there that keep it straight and upfront with their readers are going to grow over this time. Some that look like they’re pumping a little too much, buddy marketing etc. are losing respect/readership.

    Also noticed this when I was about hit submit:

    Automatically checked off.

    Sign-up for the MorganLinton.com Newsletter (no SPAM ever)

    Reply
    • Morgan June 3, 2014, 7:55 pm

      Excellent point @Jonathan and well said. Since 2007 I’ve just been saying what I think, with people like Andrew Rosner and Page Howe agreeing with me I think it’s hard to say that all of us are paid off, we’re just expressing our opinions.

      I hope all of you continue to express your opinions here on my blog, that’s what this is all about! 🙂

      Reply
  • Anticareer June 3, 2014, 7:40 pm

    .XYZ will hit 1 million registrations in a year??? Only snowball’s chance in hell of this happening is if they keep giving them away for free. What kind of statement is that anyhow? That is what you really believe?

    Reply
  • Brad Mugford June 3, 2014, 7:44 pm

    I pretty much agree with everything Jonathan said above.

    The predictions that have been made by the registry operators from .XYZ, to .CLUB, as well as many others are just delusional.

    .COM is dead…
    .XYZ is the new .COM..

    Sure.

    I think many domainers are just sick of the non stop promotion. There are certainly some blogs that have turned into nothing but promotion tools for gTLD. These blogs are basically flushing their reputation and credibility down the toilet.

    Some of these registries must think domainers are stupid. Unfortunately for them many domainers have learned their lesson from past garbage TLD launches.

    This is an industry that is now more able to spot hyperbole and ridiculous claims for what they are….Bullshit.

    Brad

    Reply
    • Morgan June 3, 2014, 8:15 pm

      @Brad – just to be clear I definitely don’t think .COM is dead, I think it is alive and well. That’s why I put 90% of my money into .COM. There is no proven aftermarket for the gTLDs, and like I said all we are doing is guessing. That being said, I do think that saying that 1%-3% of the new gTLDs will be a success isn’t hyperbole, it actually seems impossible that all would fail…doesn’t it?

      Reply
  • Paul June 3, 2014, 8:36 pm

    It just seems a bit odd to me thaf the “domain industry” has spent so many years trying to convince the public that this space is a market, a liquid market, which is still a stretch, and now introduces new extensions in mass. It is hard enough to convince end users to buy .com and now you need to go sell .industry which isn’t the convential way to search to begin with. I just don’t see it working.

    Reply
  • Leonard Britt June 3, 2014, 9:02 pm

    Think about it for a moment. The high type-in traffic domains were grabbed twelve to twenty years ago. Yes there are occasional drops but they get auctioned at places like Namejet and Godaddy for far beyond backorder prices. So what is left? Brandables and alt TLD or new TLD domains. The average .COM domain sale at SEDO is around $600 and typical industry annual turnover is around 1%. Keywords in lesser-known extensions are even more difficult to sell as .COM takes a 50% market share of aftermarket sales. What does that mean for the average domain investor who started in the last ten years? If your acquisition cost is more than a backorder or if renewals are more than $10 the odds of making money at a portfolio level are not good.

    Reply
    • Morgan June 3, 2014, 9:06 pm

      Well said @Leonard and VERY true!

      Reply
  • Salil June 3, 2014, 9:29 pm

    Here is a good example of .COM is still king for end-users (common people surfing the net) in India. Here, few huge classified sites like OLX spend heavily on TV and print ads – yes its full page ads about OLX.IN site. Yet, when My friends who are not domainers mention the site they just forget the .IN ccTLD of India (it was launched approx. 10 years back and heavily marketed) and spell OLX.COM! And yes, this also happens when referring to most .IN or even .NET sites. And when we have more new gTLDs their will be more confusion rather than simplicity. I’ve seen few of my peers typing OLX.IN.COM — .com is manually added by default to every web address. I fear common people will take any other new gTLD as trustworthy because in their mind a web address MUST end in .COM!

    Reply
    • Morgan June 3, 2014, 9:35 pm

      @Salil – what happens when .COM is not manually added? Remember 15 year-olds don’t think about .COM like us old guys…

      Reply
  • sukhjin June 3, 2014, 9:39 pm

    I do have respect for you @Morgan

    Industry is dividing because some of the friends are pushing the stupid gtlds such as xyz, which does not make sense at all to the average joe. Its one thing you love people behind them then there is whole different game about gtld they are offering.

    So let me request you, praise people, but not gtld, which you know will fail. Why don’t you share 50 plus .xyz that you registered, can you share those?

    i respect daniel but xyz is failure and by you guys pushing to average joe they will lose money while they are trying to make ends meet.

    Reply
  • Todd June 3, 2014, 9:44 pm

    Some bloggers write because they believe what they write. Other bloggers write for the traffic.

    You write for the traffic.

    Reply
  • Jonathan June 3, 2014, 10:03 pm

    Morgan, what are your thoughts on Network Solutions at the time of this posting, having 72% of the .xyz regs according to – http://ntldstats.com/tld/xyz

    From trying it out, it costs over 5 times as much over on Netsol, compared to GoDaddy.

    Registrations
    Network Solutions – 27,584
    GoDaddy – 4,561

    It would seem with the much lower price, that GoDaddy would have the larger amount of regs.

    Reply
  • MMenius June 3, 2014, 10:37 pm

    Those that have rallied around new gtld’s have done so rather blindly, sad to say. The domain market had a solid number of years to develop and those that have been in the mix know/knew all along that the proponents of new gtlds were selling a pipe dream. It takes more than charisma to effect a sea change and the elephant in the living room is that there is literally no market to support new tlds. This cannot be overstated: There is no market for new tld’s. Period. The momentum that launched the internet’s early tld releases is long over.

    Reply
  • Patrick Hipskind June 3, 2014, 10:54 pm

    Many of the registries can do well if they control their cash burn, and manage their cash flow and expenses. They don’t need a 50% plus profit margin to be profitable and keep their doors open. If they operate lean they can be profitable with much lower margins and total registrations.

    It remains to be seen how domain investors will do investing in the gTLDs, if there is a sufficient ROI investing in the G’s. So far I’m not seeing much of an aftermarket developing which is concerning.

    Reply
  • DonnyM June 3, 2014, 11:22 pm

    The only way any of these extensions will get to 1 million is to give them away.
    That is what google and amazon will be for 🙂
    Wait till the wars start on who will own .app now that will be exciting.

    Reply
  • Tauseef June 4, 2014, 12:53 am

    Will anybody buy a .xyz or .club domain for 100,000$ from 1 year from now to build a great website? If not then it will be difficult for these TLDs to reach a million mark.

    Reply
  • Can June 4, 2014, 3:39 am

    @Morgan, why don’t talk about those strange Network Solutions regs? Why don’t you ask about it to your friend Daniel Negari and enlighten us.

    Reply
  • Jim Holleran June 4, 2014, 5:22 am

    I feel as an experienced domainer, 17 years in the business, I need to protect the “noobies” from getting burned from hype, BS people etc. I warned people about Epic, and I am warning people about Danielle. The guys is full of shit! I warned people this guy made up the numbers, I smelled a rat etc. If he went to DBR with his BS, he would of been torn apart. It’s your blog Morgan, I have respect for you, but be very careful who you associate it. Keep with the Mark Cuban’s of the world, avoid the Rob Monster’s (Epic) who burned many people, and .xyz, or it can come back to haunt you Morgan. Your a great guy, a smart guy Morgan and you mean well, but I see this could really hurt your credibility if you keep promoting this guy. Negari is young and immature, hopefully he will grow up, but this is a small industry and we are very aware who the BS are and who is for real. It’s time to clean up this industry, so people stop getting burned.

    Reply
  • Tony C June 4, 2014, 6:19 am

    I think many domainers are upset with the new gTlds since we have invested tons into the “.com” for many years. I too will loose a lot of money on my .coms, but I am also investing new gtlds. From a Marketing Point of View these new gTlds certainly make sense. I’m sure there are many startup businesses that would rather market “Charlotte.rentals” over “CharlotteApartmentRentals.com”. I for one, am dropping many of my longer “.com’s”. I think in the future “Short” and “Pure” will be the more prestigious domain.

    Reply
  • Eric Borgos June 4, 2014, 8:41 am

    Keep in mind that when people say all the good .com domains are taken, and that is a good reason to have all the new gTlds, the same thing applies to real estate. It is almost impossible to start any real world store without renting or buying expensive real estate because all the good locations are taken. There is no such thing anymore as free/cheap land, so if you want to open a store you need to expect to pay a lot of money for it. For example, if you want to start an online store selling shoes, there are dozens of good domains for sale that you can buy for a few thousand dollars each. You just need to build it into you budget like you would with a real world store. Or, you can hand register a new domain (GetGreatShoes.com is available) and spend your money on advertising instead. Yes, shoes.guru is also a good alternative, but it has many of the same negatives as GetGreatShoes.com does; mainly that it is hard for people to remember (because they might use the .com instead. All this may change in the next 5-10 years as people get used to the new domains, but I am not sure they are really needed. It just gives consumers more options. gTlds may be solving a problem that was not really there in the first place. Or, maybe that solution opens up just as many new problems.

    Reply
  • Eric Borgos June 4, 2014, 8:49 am

    Todd commented “Some bloggers write because they believe what they write. Other bloggers write for the traffic.”

    I write my blog (which has no ads or sponsors at all ) just to write, but it is depressing that I get very little traffic to it. I want more traffic because otherwise it is a waste if nobody reads what I write. So, if a somebody needs ads (and therefore lots of traffic) to make enough money to allow them to write their blog, it is a fine line.

    Reply
  • Leonard Britt June 4, 2014, 12:22 pm

    Food for thought – at what point does the FTC place sanctions on a registry for misleading reporting of registration stats, misleading advertising, deceptive trade practices? Or perhaps a class-action lawsuit is filed against a major registrar once all the newbies collectively realize their new TLD regs were a waste of money (pros like MBerkens know what they are doing and realize the risks but those new to the industry don’t) …. This industry is not currently regulated like others but that could change in the next five years.

    Reply
  • Jim Holleran June 4, 2014, 1:30 pm

    Reply
  • Colin Campbelli June 4, 2014, 5:31 pm

    Morgan,

    I appreciate your support for new gTLDs but I have to call out the unusual practices of .XYZ here. Despite not being known in your community I was one of the founders of Tucows, Internet Direct, and Hostopia….all companies we took public. I have never in 15 years seen a registry do what .XYZ did in the last two days. I emailed Daniel directly to try to get some sense in him. I would have let it go but good people like Frank and myself are starting to get caught up in the scam. Its time for you ask your friend to stop.

    Reply
    • Morgan June 4, 2014, 6:41 pm

      @Colin – really appreciate your comment, I definitely did not know of anything nefarious going on but of course would not support anything that hurts the hard work that you, Frank, Dan, Paul and everyone else is putting into this.

      Let me know what I can do to help, I’d love to help in any way I can.

      @Jim – same goes for you my friend, I’m here to support innovation and the growth of our industry and that’s what I’ve seen from Daniel since I’ve known him. I’m hoping I can do something to clear the air here and get us unified again, we are too small of an industry to be fighting amongst ourselves…

      Reply
  • Konstantinos Zournas June 4, 2014, 6:26 pm

    @Morgan
    I don’t guess. I look at hard cold numbers. And at this pace they are not reaching 1m even in 5 years. I don’t count deletions or the normal slow down.

    Reply
    • Morgan June 4, 2014, 6:29 pm

      @Konstantinos – since the new gTLDs are brand-new isn’t it hard to know what pace these will continue to grow at? Can you really look at a month of two of data and use this to predict the full year? Either way I have a ton of respect for you and really enjoy all the great coverage you’ve done on your blog about new gTLDs. It will be interesting to see how this all pans out!

      Reply
  • Jim Holleran June 4, 2014, 6:37 pm

    Morgan, I know you thought Danielle Negari did great things in the past, and shared that with your readers. However, you really should of check out his past, it’s not good, here is another one, he is defendent #2

    http://www.domainnamenews.com/legal-issues/facebook-files-typosquatter-lawsuit-based-domains/9569

    Morgan, I know you meant well, and your a great guy, I just don’t want to see your reputation get ruined by supporting this guy. We have all made mistakes, and it was an honest mistake thinking he was a great guy, but you have too many great things going, to lose your credibility because of this.

    Reply
  • albert June 4, 2014, 7:32 pm

    Looking at a few .xyz’s for sale on Flippa.com
    No bids on any of them as of now.

    Just saying.

    Reply
  • Jacob June 4, 2014, 8:00 pm

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMBvSprSTeI Any gTLD which tries to be EVERYTHING to EVERYONE will FAIL. Nuts to see experienced domainers promoting or giving ‘a fair shot’ to an extension containing all 3 of the least preferable letters of any 3 letter domain. Any experienced domainer would be flushing this down the tubes. Thought we were pros guys?

    Reply
  • Tauseef June 5, 2014, 12:01 am

    @Eric Borgos
    I like your blog but I not visit it regularly and one of the reason maybe it’s not listed in the Domaining.com feed. Most of the domain blogs I read/visit via domaining.com.

    Reply

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