TRAFFIC Vancouver 2010 – Day 1 – ccTLDs Are Taking Over The World!

Okay – so as you know I’m a HUGE fan of ccTLDs so it should come as no surprise that I was very excited to attend the first seminar at TRAFFIC Vancouver – ccTLDs are taking over the world, is North America immune?

The panel consists of Ken Hansen from Neustar, Ron Jackson from DNJournal, and Steve Smith from Webnames. Great information from some of the top experts in the industry – another reason why YOU need to be here at TRAFFIC!

Ken started-off the session talking about my absolute favorite ccTLD – .us!

– 1.5 million names registered (0.5% of US population)

– Many good .us names are still available.

– .us can be great for natural search results

– Secondary market activity is growing – more and more .us sales.

Examples:
AirFrance.us
Skatell.us
LaserBeamLevel.us
AutoLoans.us (ranked above AutoLoans.com in Google)
ClubMed.us
Hitachi.us
Transamerica.us
StingrayBoats.us

Ideal market is the small to medium-size business is the perfect target for .us.

When a US company wants to get a domain and the .com is not available .us is an excellent choice and great for branding/marketing.

Still – .us does have a long way to go and growing awareness with both Domainers and end-users is one of the key to growing this TLD.

What is holding back .us?

  1. Presence requirement
  2. Adoption and use of the name in advertising (this has increased over the last few months)
  3. Not a popular extension with Domainers (no type-in traffic)

Now it’s your turn! Share your opinion – do you like .us? Do you think the .us TLD will continue to grow? Comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 24 comments… add one }

  • Robbie June 8, 2010, 12:13 pm

    I am a big fan of .US domain

    I own several….

    My best would be – Compensation.us – Which Is for sale… Should anyone be interested

    Reply
    • Morgan June 8, 2010, 12:32 pm

      Thanks for sharing Robbie – I like Compensation.us!

      Reply
  • MikeZ June 8, 2010, 12:15 pm

    Is there a way to get around the presence requirement for .us domains? For example, what if I chose to use GoDaddy’s privacy services (which are domiciled in the US). Would this be enough to get around the .us presence issue?

    MZ

    Reply
    • Morgan June 8, 2010, 12:32 pm

      Thanks for the comment @MikeZ – right now I don’t think there is a way around it.

      Reply
  • Andrew Douglas June 8, 2010, 12:20 pm

    I am a big advocate and investor in .US domains. I own quite a few 100k + exact match keywords in the extension. Most of my names are in the 25-50k range though as that’s the sweet spot for easy/cheap acquisition, easier to compete for Search Engine rankings (yahoo loves exact match .US domains) and yet still full of lots of end users and plenty of traffic if you get ranked.

    Products and Geos make the most sense but as more and more companies/brands start using .US (dove, shell, etc.), the market will continue to expand. The only mistake I made is starting to sell too soon in order to make a quick/small buck (largely via Bido). I’ve learned my lesson and I’m holding and developing my .US portfolio.

    Reply
    • Morgan June 8, 2010, 12:31 pm

      Thanks for sharing @Andrew – I completely agree!

      Reply
  • Andrew Douglas June 8, 2010, 12:29 pm

    MikeZ – I’m not a lawyer and I wouldn’t be able to say for sure what would pass for meeting the requirements, but the use of the registrar itself doesn’t sound to me like it would suffice. Having gone through the process of having to verify my status with Neustar for one of my .US domains, I wouldn’t recommend investing seriously in .US unless you knew for sure you would pass their requirements as they can and will rip the name away. That doesn’t mean you have to be physically in the US, but if you aren’t, you should make sure you qualify.

    Reply
  • The Fromainer June 8, 2010, 1:02 pm

    Hey Morgan
    I do like the .us extension except for the few disadvantages which you mentioned. Biggest problem for me is that you have to be a US citizen to register them and as I live in the UK that kinda rules me out! They should make it so you have a US admin contact like they do with the .de extension.

    I did have a few finance niche .us names which I was wondering if you would be interesting in co-developing, emailed you a while back. What you say?

    Reply
  • IM June 8, 2010, 1:46 pm

    Outside of the USA I have had no issues with this “presence requirement,” and I am holding about 20 .US domains.

    Reply
    • Morgan June 8, 2010, 2:05 pm

      How are you doing this @IM? I’m sure many of my readers would be interested to learn more…

      Reply
  • John A. June 8, 2010, 7:16 pm

    I have read all the posts and disagree with all of you. I am not trying to get you all pissed off but I think the .us country code extension is in a unfortunate position.

    I believe that country codes should be the primary extension of choice in every country with the exception of a few countries that have totalitarian governments.

    The problem with the United States is that its citizens, because they were the first to use the internet, are used to the .com extension and subconsciously see this as the U.S. country code.

    I am not saying this because I am heavily invested in .coms, I only own two. I am saying this because I go to http://www.DailyDomains.com every morning and see what is being registered; I have been doing this for years. What extensions are being registered the most in order?

    1. .com
    2. .info
    3. .net
    4. .org
    5. .biz
    6. .us

    The .us extension is being trounced every day. Domainers will not be the ones who decide what extensions are going to be successful, the general public will. I think it’s important for domainers to ask themselves: “What extensions make the most sense to consumers?”

    Reply
  • Andrew Douglas June 8, 2010, 7:33 pm

    John, no one is saying that .US has arrived. Far from it. I do take issue with your method of analysis a bit though. It’s more than just what is getting registered, it’s what’s getting used in advertising, what’s getting developed, what’s selling in the aftermarket, etc. How often do you see a .info in an ad on TV? (I’ve seen them, but they are rare compared to .US). .US has seen a lot of positive growth the last couple of years and like with all extensions, the more they get used, the more they get exposure, etc., the more valuable .US will become.

    When you speculate in a market like .US though, you are certainly taking on risk, which is why it’s important to stick to relevant keywords that have enough exact searches to support making the investment. And as they aren’t going to get tons of type ins (though I’ve started to see *some* increase in this), development, even of the minisite variety, is very helpful. That means keeping a “lean” portfolio as development can be very difficult to scale.

    Reply
  • Louise June 8, 2010, 8:09 pm

    Morgan, please keep updating on TRAFFIC – it is like being there!

    .us & .biz are worth more than people give them credit for, because of being managed by Neustar. Of my ten .us, I like LadiesWatch.us and LowSodiumDiet.us to develop.

    Reply
    • Morgan June 9, 2010, 9:34 am

      Thanks @Louise – much more to come!

      Reply
  • IM June 8, 2010, 10:26 pm

    I don’t recall doing anything special – I simply use Moniker. It’s possible that I checked some box when I registered my first one, and I notice that the whois record shows this:

    Sponsoring Registrar: MONIKER ONLINE SERVICES, LLC

    Here’s an example :

    INDEMNIFY.US

    Reply
  • Bo Machos June 9, 2010, 12:52 am

    I Like somewhat like the .us ext. as well Wish I had of remembered to Submit one of my .us DN’s to the Moniker/SnapNames Monthly Auctions which is for Telecom/Mobile & Technology — My DN is WirelessProviders.Us keeping w/ the subject..lol.. Have fun up there Morgan

    Reply
  • Andrew Douglas June 9, 2010, 5:01 am

    @IM – I looked at the whois for INDEMNIFY.US and it states that it’s under the nexus category of C21. According to the information I looked at on nic.us, that means you “checked the box” for: A U.S. organization incorporated within one of the fifty (50) U.S.
    states, the District of Columbia, or any of the United States
    possessions or territories or organized or otherwise constituted under
    the laws of the United States of America, the District of Columbia or
    any of its possessions or territories or a U.S. federal, state, or local
    government entity or political subdivision thereof (category 21).

    I may have that wrong, but I checked my AcneTreatments.us and it shows the same nexus category. Yes, anyone can say they are a citizen or a valid US business or have valid business interest in the US, but when/if you are spot checked by neustar, if you can’t prove it, they will take the name. Heck, I am a valid citizen with a valid business and due to technical difficulties in communicating with Neustar (emails not going through, lost faxes, etc.), they just about took one of my names 🙂
    -Andrew

    Reply
  • IM June 9, 2010, 5:27 am

    @Andrew Douglas – Thank you for the information. By “checked some box” I didn’t mean that I would have deceptively claimed to have a US presence – I do my best to remain legal. Of course I could have made a mistake, but I was thinking more along the lines of “I authorize Moniker to hold this domain on my behalf.”

    I will open a support ticket asking the question.

    Luckily I don’t have any that I would be too bothered to lose and most of the 20 are already set to expire.

    Reply
  • Hawaiian Shirt Guy June 9, 2010, 5:30 am

    I am a believer. I have found that, like .de and .fr, etc, if a .US domain is registered and hosted within the US, it is as likely to rank well as a dot com.

    However, since .com is much older, and domain age is a ranking factor, it will be some time before the playing field becomes level and this equivalence to become more apparent.

    Maui.US
    MuMu.US
    PortableAirConditioners.US
    Others….

    Reply
  • Andrew Douglas June 9, 2010, 6:41 am

    IM – Sorry if I sounded accusatory. That certainly wasn’t my intention. I’m curious to hear what Moniker’s response is. If they provide that as a service, they are likely to get a lot of business (or should I say *more* business) 🙂
    -Andrew

    Reply
  • John A. June 9, 2010, 1:19 pm

    Andrew Douglas:

    To answer your questions, I don’t see that many ads with the .info extensi0n nor do I see ads with the .us.

    Since January 1, 2010, 132,000 .us domains have been registered versus 1,012,000 .info’s; does this mean anything to you and if so what?

    By the way, don’t say the only reason this is occuring is because you can get these .info’s for $1.00 because I will come bach at you and say these same names have an 80% renewal rate at the regular fee. Y0u can find this information on page 10 of the 2009 afilias annual report: http://www.info.info/webfm_send/99

    What’s getting used and developed is very important, there is no doubt about that, but I think the reason you think .us is getting developed more than .info has to do with the fact that you are enamored by the .us extension.

    Unlike the .us extension, the .info extension has meaning in over 32 languages around the world; it is ideal for creating directories. Think about it, when people go online what are they looking for?

    Reply
  • Andrew Douglas June 9, 2010, 3:40 pm

    Heh, if there’s an alternative extension (versus .com and .org) that I like as much or more than .US, it’s .info. I have quite an investment in it as well, because I agree – it’s (almost) universal, it’s clear what content is there and it works for many, many keywords. But a couple of points:

    1. .US is geo targeted, and search engines – especially Yahoo – like it. In the US, I see it advertised by local companies all the time and there’s more and more national ad campaigns using .US as well. I think I’ve seen more .US in the last month or two than .NET and .BIZ combined. Still not anywhere as high as .COM, but a year ago .US was nowhere. I’ve not seen a single .info (and I’ve looked!).

    2. While it’s anecdotal, I’ve ranked minisites on .US much more easily than I have .info. Did I mention Yahoo loves them?? That’s not to say you can’t rank a .info – you can rank anything… it’s just been my experience that .US is easier.

    3. I’ve had a pretty even number of aftermarket sales of .info as I have of .us and my portfolio is pretty evenly balanced between the two – so while new registrations is *a* factor, my personal experience is that I’m seeing consistent inquiries for both in even proportion. Why would I want to give up on either extension if they are both working?

    4. The question posed here was regarding ccTLDs. gTLDs like .info (or ccTLDs that behave like gTLDS like .TV) will likely continue to have a higher number of registrations but there is a market for .US and it’s growing by every measure I’ve watched or care about. Just because a ccTLD like .IN (another ccTLD that I really like) doesn’t have the market share of registrations as a .INFO doesn’t mean it’s an extension that should be avoided.

    5. Finally, there has been a fairly recent rash of .US drops from the landrush, but these are actually another indicator that the market for .US is actually alive and well, not dying a slow and painful death like a .cc or .ws. A very high percentage of the drops were caught and godaddy auctions and such were as active as any I’ve seen in a long time. Check the namepros .US board for examples of some of the feeding frenzy that it’s created.

    Reply
    • Morgan June 9, 2010, 5:08 pm

      Great analysis @Andrew – thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  • .. June 9, 2010, 10:12 pm

    The .com aftermarket cant feed the need for domains in the future, which people will want for location related things more and more, so .US is a perfectly named, easy way to go. No other TLD has such pent up potential.

    Non US residents can get them by incorporating in the US, only a few hundred bucks online, then your corp can own many names as you want. Just look at the nexus rules..

    Reply

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