Lately I’ve been thinking that there is a growing disconnect between the domain world and the startup world. A lot of this has come to me over the last year and a half as I’ve moved from the domain industry to the startup space myself. Now that I’m in Techstars I am surrounded by other startup founders all day every day and I’ve been learning that there is a bit of a disconnect.
First, most people think I made-up the term “Domaining” and “Domainer”. The #1 response I get when I tell people that I used to be in the “Domaining” space is, “Did you just make-up that term, what does that mean?” Once I tell people, “Domain Investing” then they start to smile, “Oh Cybersquatting!” is the typical answer.
So then I explain the differences between “Domain Investors” and “Cybersquatters” and usually that hits home. Still I realized that the term “Domaining” has really been an industry term, not as much a term that the outside world (or at least the startup world) is very familiar with. This made me think – if the startup world doesn’t know what “Domaining” is, they probably don’t know the term “new gTLD” which has become an incredibly popular term in the Domaining world.
So I conducted a little survey. I asked 20 startup founders if they knew about the “new gTLDs” only two had any idea what I was talking about. I asked 20 different startup founders if they knew about the “new domain name extensions” and eighteen of them knew what I was talking about. We’ve been speaking in riddles and the only ones who know what we are talking about is, well, us!
It can be easy to think that everyone knows what a TLD is or knows the difference between a registrar and a registry. So next time you’re writing about or sharing all the excitement around the “new gTLDs” just remember, you might need to say things a bit differently if you want other people to know what you’re talking about.
What startups do know is the extensions themselves, every startup I spoke to had heard of .CO, .ME, .IO and countless other TLDs, they just didn’t know they were called TLDs. Some had heard of .GURU, .NYC and a handful of others but these are still taking time to make it into the general population. As many of you know I think these new domain name extensions will help grow the domain industry in a major way, I’m incredibly excited about them which is why I also want to make sure we get the word out in a way that everyone else can easily understand.