The New gTLDs Are Like Cellphones In 1974

martin-cooper-cellphone

I can still remember getting my first cellphone, I think the year was 2001. I felt so cool, I was on the bleeding edge of technology, an early adopter, and something that I knew was going to change the world. Almost nobody I knew had cellphones and the reasons to use a landline phone were still incredibly compelling.

I can also still remember what people used to say about cellphones in the early 2000’s, things like:

“I will never get a cellphone, I hate the idea of people being able to contact me anytime anywhere”

or

“Why would I want a cellphone, the reception on my landline is perfect”

Soon, everyone had cellphones. Then Smartphones came out and it started all over again. I was also an early adopter of Smartphones and once again I heard things like:

“I would never use a smartphone, why would I want to write an email on my phone?”

or

“I just want to use a phone as a phone, I have a computer for everything I want to do online”

I can also remember Domainers in 2007 sayings that people were always going to access the web from their computers. Now a majority of people access the Internet from their phones, not their computer, oh and everyone I know (including both my parents) have Smartphones.

I think new gTLDs today are like cellphones in the early 2000’s. It’s so early that there are no meaningful statistics around use, sales, or anything else that comes with mass adoption…but many are only a year old or less.

While I still think that .COM is a great investment we’re starting to sound like an industry of Dinosaurs thinking that there is no way that we could ever live in a world where some new gTLDs actually take off. Sure there aren’t a ton of new gTLD sales out there, or great usage statistics, there also weren’t many sales or usage statistics in 1986, a year after the first domain name (Symbolics.com) was registered.

Did you know that the first cellphone came out in 1973? A whole twenty years went by and still nobody thought they would take-off. So why are we expecting that new domain extensions should suddenly gain mass adoption in one year, or two, or even five?

My point is a simple one. In the near term, and by near-term I mean ten years, .COM will most-likely rein supreme. However for those of us planning on living for twenty years or more, I would find it hard to believe that we could sit here in 2030 and see all the new gTLDs fail and everyone still laser-focused on .COM, it’s so unlikely it’s starting to sound crazy.

Thoughts anyone?

Image Source – GizMag

{ 37 comments… add one }

  • Brad Mugford June 29, 2015, 8:37 pm

    This comparison is apples and oranges. Cell phones, smart phones, tablets, etc.
    Those were new innovative technologies that provide a benefit to a broad consumer base.

    Domains are a niche market. The vast majority of people don’t care about domains now, and are likely to not care that much in the future.

    There is also nothing that innovative about new gTLD. They work the same way as hundreds of other extensions that have existed for 20+ years. Oh wow, instead of having a term and then the extension I can now have a dot in the middle of a term. Amazing!

    Not to mention many new things don’t take over the world, they just fade away into obscurity.

    Brad

    Reply
  • KC June 29, 2015, 8:41 pm

    Interesting argument, Morgan. When I had a desktop PC, I saw an obvious benefit (portability) to move to a laptop PC. When I had a feature phone, I also saw an obvious benefit (remain connected to clients while out of office) to move to a smartphone. Now, I have a .com, what is the obvious benefit I can see to move to a gTLD?

    Reply
  • joe June 29, 2015, 8:51 pm

    Everything new is crazy when he goes to market there products and services that are very successful and others a great failure of the latter there are many more than the first.

    I remember the cell phone with which to remember to use the US military also remember first mobile was a useful fashion to give much money to telephone compsñias of each country in the world.

    With reference to the domain name .COM were the first and memorable in his short furthest extension they never lose their lives nor many new gTLDs do not say that over the years puedad see a multibillion dollar investment in a gTLD this can happen investors are speculating for this for a Stock Market bag New Yoirk and stocks rise because users see advertising keyword (Domain) and in the end who won the usual financial capital, is not now epoce also in cell phones.

    Reply
  • Michael June 29, 2015, 9:08 pm

    Early adopter 2001 Morgan :p haha My dad had the first pretty small kenwood cell phone back in 1987 I think, his friend had the one in the picture above and his older friend have one so big it was in a briefcase lol! I was about eight when my dad got his it was cool but cost $1 a minute to talk on it! My dad still has it and it still comes on but I don’t think it can be hooked up. haha.

    My take on new gTLD, their a get rich quick scheme for domainers. When I use to sell domain names back in 2007 and I sold about 1000 of them before I got bored of it. The greatest idea I had was how can I create my own extension and sell my own domain names, I would be rich!!! lol! I wanted to create .HOT thought that would be a cool one. I looked into it you couldn’t do it back then anyway and then when it did start up their was no way I could get one for the hundred thousand dollar price tag. I am sticking with .COM forever until I see something really cool!!

    Reply
  • Morgan June 29, 2015, 9:12 pm

    @Brad – happy to go on record saying that these are not going to fade away into obscurity. While I love .COM and a majority of my investments are .COM it’s hard to think that 20 years from now all new gTLDs will have failed and .COM will still be what it is today.

    Sorry, the times they are a changing and just like people in the 90’s called Domainers crazy for thinking domain names would take off, the same thing is happening with new gTLDs…I’m just thinking many .COM-only investors are going to get left in the dust.

    Reply
  • Snoopy June 29, 2015, 9:18 pm

    The domain market isn’t like 1986, just like the cell phone market isn’t like 1974. These extensions will either live or die pretty quickly in my view. Just like a new phone released today, nobody is going to give it a 20 years to start selling.

    Reply
  • Brad Mugford June 29, 2015, 9:18 pm

    “I’m just thinking many .COM-only investors are going to get left in the dust. ”

    I think it is far more likely that people that don’t invest in .COM are going to get left in the dust.

    Also, if new gTLD ever actually do take off there will still be plenty of opportunities to make money, just like .COM now.

    Brad

    Reply
  • Koosah June 29, 2015, 9:20 pm

    Early adopter in 2001 really doesnt make any sense in regards to cell phones. Sorry.

    Reply
  • Shane June 29, 2015, 9:23 pm

    See what you are saying but eg poker.cheap $499 per year say from year 2000 that’s fifteen years of $499 poker.cheap ain’t looking so cheap now go dot com $9 bucks per year

    Reply
  • Morgan June 29, 2015, 10:03 pm

    @KC – the obvious benefit is that if you have GetCool.com or CoolOnline.com you can now get a domain like Cool.club and own the exact-match domain. We’re living in a world where you can own an exact-match domain without that exact-match domain ending in .COM, it’s as simple as that…

    Reply
  • dan June 29, 2015, 10:19 pm

    Thanks for the article but I have a question for all. How important is for you to acquire an aged domain name? I mean, if we consider an equal match premium domain name .com and the same match with new gtld, will you evaluate it equally ? Beside of how the market will respond with the new gtlds the .com will always have a better aged domain name with a tangible seo benefit. How much important is for you this aspect ?

    Reply
  • dan June 29, 2015, 10:20 pm

    Thanks for the article but I have a question for all. How important is for you to acquire an aged domain name? I mean, if we consider an equal match premium domain name .com and the same match with new gtld, will you evaluate it equally ?

    Beside of how the market will respond with the new gtlds the .com will always have a better aged domain name with a tangible seo benefit.
    How much important is for you this aspect ?

    Reply
  • Joe (Simplicity.company) June 29, 2015, 10:27 pm

    Yes the new gtld are expensive to invest in. Yes there are too many supply. Yes you probably own hundreds maybe thousands of .com domain names. But the truth is the new domain extensions makes a complete sense than a .com. Imagine:
    Rental.company
    Insurance.company
    Fitness.club
    Registration.website
    We can’t predict the future. I will personally say; wisely invest in the new domain extensions if you believe in it. If you don’t, please quite sounding negative friends.

    Reply
  • Phil June 29, 2015, 10:33 pm

    Morgan,

    Win lose or draw I admire you going on record , I find it funny that most of the gtld investors don’t bash .com but there tends to be a lot of Gtld bashing. I have made this parallel before. At one time ford had 100 percent market share , we didn’t need Toyota , Honda , Kia , Hyundai … Ford still sells lots of cars and trucks but it’s far from 100 percent of the total market .. .com will always hold its place as a legacy extension but we will most certainly see some of the newer extensions become used and along with awareness becomes adoption … I understand why the .com folks don’t like the idea , if I was smart enough of lucky enough or forward thinking enough in 1997 to buy 100-200 LLL.coms or single word category defining .coms I would feel the same way. I wouldn’t like some random extension coming along and possibly eroding the value of my portfolio . But if I did have an amazing multi million dollar portfolio that I worked hard to put together , I would still hedge my bet with the new Gtlds .. Brad did make a great point about there being plenty of opertunity in .com today and if or when the new Gtlds get accepted and take off there will still be lots of opertunity .. That being said their is only one candy.com sex.com vodka.com ect… And those are long gone … The best one word.word that makes sense in the new Extentions will also be gone … Right now it’s silly for anyone to say they will be the .com killer but it’s just as silly to say they will or have already failed..

    Reply
  • JS June 29, 2015, 10:38 pm

    While some nGTLDs might well gain a respectable registrant base, this hypothesis does not make them investment worthy now or in the future. And I think it’s dangerous to infer it.

    Reply
  • Robin June 29, 2015, 11:18 pm

    My first cell phone was a portable Motorola Tough Talker probably 1987 or 88. Weighed about 10lbs had a 12 volt battery and cost me $3,500. My first phone bill was almost $1,000 , I had to call all my friends and family when I pulled into their laneways. I should have used that money for domain names.
    I believe that the new gtld’s will catch on much quicker than 10 years. Many of the new extensions make perfect sense as they span the dot. I do think that the US market may take a little longer to accept new gtld’s than the rest of the world. The .com is not going to loose its prominence for businesses but if you are competing in the same market, some of these new extensions are going to make it interesting.
    At the same time in many countries, the country code is as common as a .com already. In Canada for example all the large US based companies advertise their websites with the .ca and not the .com.
    I have an interesting example since I own all three of these names.
    Ancaster is a wealthy area in the city of Hamilton with detached homes starting at around $500,000 and up, so which of these names is more valuable.

    AncasterMortgage.com “because its the .com”
    AncasterMortgage.ca “because it signifies Ancaster in Canada and the very common .ca”
    Ancaster.Mortgage “non premium renewal $40 and it says it all and nothing more”

    If I wanted to compete in the mortgage business in a specific area and the .com was taken I would be all over the .mortgage. In my mind it would be the extension that I would want to put my marketing budget into. To me that makes much more sense than another non meaning generic.
    I expect that over the next 10 years we will see a huge parade of new meaningful extensions roll out.

    Reply
  • Michael June 30, 2015, 12:12 am

    Robin for anyone to know that Ancaster.Mortgage is a domain name you would have to write it out as http://WWW.Ancaster.Mortgage bringing back the dub dub dub. The other two domains I can tell their domains without the www. Extension like .com and .ca tell people its a website.

    Reply
  • Raymond June 30, 2015, 2:00 am

    I use Billionaire.Property for my domain name property website.

    Alexa rank about 6,047,980
    Google search key word billionaire property goes to page one, third row for the facebook page.

    I am happy with that.

    Reply
  • Raymond June 30, 2015, 2:06 am

    And promote/selling through my Instagram webpage https://instagram.com/billionaire.property/

    Nice and sweet……

    Reply
  • Domain Veda June 30, 2015, 2:08 am

    Morgan,

    Predictions for 10 years/2030 – is it really necessary now.

    No one knows whether people really need domain names by that time – that is the way technology is progressing now.

    Writing an unnecessary headline…then writing more posts to justify it….

    Reply
  • Reality June 30, 2015, 3:02 am

    Cell phones are different. They filled a gap. New TLDs do not fill a gap – they are surplus to requirements.

    The majority of the public don’t buy domain names. They only care about domains when they need to type one in the address bar, or when they see search results and have to click on one. The people who do care about domains are actually only interested in how their domain appeals to the first group. For that reason, new GTLDs are a bad choice for the second group.

    Reply
  • KC June 30, 2015, 3:15 am

    While new gTLDs have to spend millions to get their extensions recognized by the general public, .com is receiving massive amount of free publicity. Just look at US presidential candidates printing their name .com on their podium. Now millions and millions of people will be learning how to do type-in using .com when they watch the presidential race on the TV and other media.

    Having said that, I do believe gTLDs will be viable outside the business world, in situation where the audience is a niche group. When your website only need to appeal to members of a small and specific group — such as .club for for bridge club members — gTLDs are fine. In this case, you don’t need to educate the general public.

    Reply
  • Bon June 30, 2015, 5:15 am

    The majority of the public do not buy domain names because all the good .ones are taken. I own some nice .com names but I think new names will become more dominant over time and will probably re-energize people to buy and use names. I also think they will be more valuable than .com names in 20 years.

    The thing that gets under most domainers skin is that for the longest time you could justify the value of .com as a “forever” asset with no better alternative. The new gtlds have challenged that notion. Why would you pay six or seven figures for a great .com when the .web .world .shop etc is coming and when thousands of others will change the face of naming. That .com premium will get harder to justify with each additional launch.

    Whether these new names fill a vacuum or are surplus and un-needed is irrelevant. Bottom line is they will change the web and the way people think about naming.

    Reply
  • Eric Borgos June 30, 2015, 5:27 am

    I totally get what you are saying, but without debating the future of new gTLDs, I don’t think your analogy is on target. I had a cell phone in the mid 1990s, and I agree that people were resistant to it, but much of that was due to the reality the phone was 5 times bigger than the one in your picture (mine was attached to a base the size of a small backpack that I kept on the floor of my car) and it was crazily expensive to make calls and the network coverage sucked.

    The reason cell phone usage took off in the 2000s was because cell phones got a smaller and cheaper to use. The cell phone of 2004 was a totally different device than the one from 1994. The new gTLDs are not likely to change at all in the future, at least not anymore than .com will, so their popularity will be determined mostly by marketing and consumer awareness over time. This is already happening, and the new gTLDs will most likely become much more accepted by consumers just like most new products. At some point people may not even distinguish them from .com domains. But, gTLDs are not the next cell phone.

    Reply
  • Wilson June 30, 2015, 6:10 am

    Like you said, the benefit is availability although its not alway so simple with reserved domains, premiums and the fact that a lot of terms are not going to work with the new gtlds for example watch.birds or linen.closet. of course more new gtlds will eventually come out but they will never cover even probably 60% of terms. i think some gtlds are cool but there are a lot of people who are making terrible investments and will get nothing. there is probably 1000 top terms in each new gtld and most everything beyond that is a waste of money.

    Reply
  • Xavier Lemay June 30, 2015, 6:28 am

    .longwords is a bad strategy, people won’t remember the extension, you kill yourDOTbrand everyDOTtime youDOTname it, you have to buy .blog for your blog, .shop for your shop, .email for email, get the .com and ad a “slash” /…

    .COM is the DOT less.

    Reply
  • Myron June 30, 2015, 6:46 am

    You are reaching for straws, Morgan. Respectfully, the time has come for you to give it up. The new gtlds have one foot in the grave and will, very soon, be dead. Unlike technology, there was nothing new about them, they force the verbalization of the DOT and they sound silly compared to the .com that everyone anticipates. As was written above, it is nearly impossible to utilize them without adding a .com at the end. Seriously, the new gtld game is over. Your team lost. Give it up.

    Reply
  • Lance June 30, 2015, 8:49 am

    Interestingly enough I had multiple beeper locations back in the day in south florida.
    When every gas station started selling them i felt it was time to move on and,
    cell phones were coming out but chose not to offer that and just sell the biz.
    I felt the the Motorola 8000 brick was too expensive and too big for it to be mainstream like pagers.
    Probably the worst decision because it would have been a smooth transition to make at the time.

    Having said that I see on the surface how it would seem to be the same but it isnt imo a technology advancement comparison for one main reason (ill say in one moment).
    8 tracks went to cassettes and then cd’s
    beta went to vhs and laser then dvd and now no one really has those
    beepers went to phones and then smart phones and watches etc.

    The one main reason is I dont believe it will be moving to new gtld ( and not a blanket statement) is simply the magic ingredient- no company has done to date. That is branding and marketing their domain extension for any length of time. Godaddy did it or a short time with .co, and .xxx got in and out of marketing to fast to change the mindset of America.
    So, the one main reason is no registrar wants to spend the money it will take to get it well known, branded, well known and mainstream.The cell phone carriers spet milliions with the capital derived from the original catalyst of pagers to advertise and have resellers spend to market their product and services much as I did. They simply changed and adapted to the new and changing market. The constant on going marketing that is done every single day in .com is supported by multimillion/billion dollar conglomerates all the way down to the mom and pops sporting their biz domain sites in commercials on radio, tv, billboards, newspapers, biz cards. You need support from celebrities, sport figures, and people in the eye of the community pushing or your own capital to not advertise… but brand. You need PR and a capital to do long term marketing on any one given extension.

    TO this I am still hesitant but do I think 1 or 2 extensions out of 2000+ will make a go years from now and then look back and say I was told so. I suppose, but its not up to any of us, its up to whichever company goes the distance to market it to the public-if any.

    Offline real estate are for the masses. Domain real estate is a niche business. I agree with Brad there.

    Reply
  • Mikko June 30, 2015, 9:53 am

    There will come a time when the crazier or the lesser known TLD will be a cool thing to have – just because… It could happen next year or many years from now, but it will happen. As an analogy, look at baby names in the 1970s and follow that through until today. It is not an perfect analogy but I believe it is indicative of the need for expression. We will see different TLDs get hot here and there and then some really useless extension take off because of a film or celebrity or current event and that process will speed up each up. Dot Com will be like John and Mary but now Declan and Madison are hot, not to mention ethnic names like Squirrelisha and Aaban.
    I mean why is .io hot? Input/output, really?

    Reply
  • Morgan June 30, 2015, 8:12 pm

    Great comments everyone, thanks for sharing your opinions. With people like Frank Schilling, Paul Stahura, Dan Schindler, Colin Campbell, Jeff Sass and many more industry experts behind the new gTLDs I’m exciting to see where this goes!

    Reply
  • Ruben July 1, 2015, 10:35 am

    We won’t need 10 years to see the new extensions being more accepted. That will be true in 3-5 years. However, I think their relative value will never overcome .com.

    Reply
    • Morgan July 1, 2015, 8:44 pm

      @Ruben – well said and agreed.

      Reply
  • Christopher hofman July 2, 2015, 3:54 am

    Some great comments in this forum from both sides of the fence. The conversation isn’t as black/white as one year ago, when every domainer discarded the new TLDs.

    Lots can happen in a year, and people’s memory is short. In that period we will see many more examples of new TLD usage, which will increase awareness. Here are just four news stories from the last month;

    1) UK’s biggest bank drops their .com for home.barclays
    2) 3.000 financial institutions secure their .bank domain at the Go Live
    3) For the first time a new TLD becomes the biggest weekly seller at SEDO – autism.rocks at 100K, 4) Next Hunger Games movie’s website to be found at HungerGames.movie

    Reply
  • Adam July 2, 2015, 2:11 pm

    cars and cellphones are mass-appeal/consumer products. . . . but to continue the analogy with cars. . .

    Here’s the list of failed car manufacturers. A lot of these sprung up in the boom (1900-1920s) of auto making. .. The new extensions aren’t coming out during a boom phase.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_defunct_automobile_manufacturers_of_the_United_States

    Some will survive. Just like the list of surviving auto-makers and new ones that spring up from time to time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_automobile_manufacturers

    Reply
  • heynow July 3, 2015, 7:31 am

    As long as the domain industry is full of auction cheats (individuals AND business entities), lack of oversight, lack of regulation, typosquatters, cybersquatters, and the lack of any will to do anything about the aforementioned, the old and new gTLDs will flounder and float in the cesspool known as the domain aftermarket or domain auction arena, missing the opportunity to become truly important in the foreseeable future.

    Reply
  • Jim July 3, 2015, 1:53 pm

    I think that the gtlds are a waste and will never go mainstream. Morgan, phones were an improvement over beepers. The new gtlds are huge a step down in regards to nomenclature, promotion and recognition. Sorry, but my crystal ball tells me their future is non-existent.

    Reply
  • Kevin July 7, 2015, 4:24 am

    While telecommunications stocks have increased, registries and new gtlds have not yet been good investments . . . nor does it appear that they ever will be. It may seem plain Jane vanilla, but I will stick with .com for my communication vehicle of choice and I will be strongly suggesting that my customers do the same.

    Reply
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