Unless you’ve been living under a domaining rock, then you know that ICANN is announcing some new TLD’s for 2008 like .travel, .cat, .job, and .xxx to name a few. There has already been a lot of discussion on this on all of the domain name forums. A state of confusion is forming: what has come into question now is how diluted the TLD market can get. Time and time again we see that .com is the king of the hill with no contenders within miles.
The reason for .com’s popularity is very simple; most internet users only know about .com, .net, and .org. However 99.9% of the sites the average user visits, are .com sites. While .com is the original TLD and value is also created by scarcity (i.e. every one-word name is taken) the biggest win for it is that the web consumer (or user) doesn’t know about any other TLD’s.
What do you think the chances are that someone looking to buy a car would type, buycar.cc or buycar.mobi, or buycar.us? Almost nobody. With so many new TLD’s being introduced there is a chance that over time another TLD could begin to contend with .com. I’m not saying this year, or even next year, but years from now. The only way this could happen is if another TLD became commonplace for your average web user. The day that someone who wants to buy a car tries both buycar.com and buycar.net or buycar.us is the day that .com will start to see some real competition.
When you look at domain name sales on sites like DNJournal.com it’s clear as day that right now, no TLD stands a chance against .com. Some large .mobi, .net, and even .co.uk sales have made me think more and more about what the next big TLD could be.
Like stock investing, I think it’s important to keep a diversified portfolio, that way, when the new contender to .com appears, you’ll be there to profit. This doesn’t mean you should just register any .cat, .travel or .xxx names you can, but if you can nab a few gems early on, (don’t worry about selling them) then you stand to profit later on.
If you told me in the mid-90’s that Netscape would not be the #1 browser and Internet Explorer would take over, I would say you are crazy. Then, in the year 2000 if you told me that FireFox would be the most popular browser, I would also say you are crazy. The point here is that strong trends can and do change. The next big TLD will emerge and while it might never trump .com, it will do nothing but help to grow the domain industry and expand the awareness about the value of Online Real Estate.