Monday, March 23, 2015

New gTLDs innovation and registration volumes: the .UNO solution

New gTLD innovation
Hasn't it been a little disappointing to see absolutely no (or very few) innovation coming with new domain names?
One would have expected a .EMAIL new gTLD to come with a little plus something related to fighting spam or a .HELP coming with a dedicated platform to offer help on demand (is this what Google will offer with its .HOW?), a .DIRECTORY already set-up to login and create a directory, or a .INTERNATIONAL with a special partnership with a multilingual CMS?

I heard good ideas from Mind + Machines years ago but so many delays in launching the ICANN new gTLD program seem to have killed innovation.

Today, innovation in new gTLDs seems to work hand in hand with sales results and if it has been difficult to finance while the ICANN and the GAC were spending applicants' time and money to (try to) solve problems, it is possible that this innovation has now become the key to reach financial expectations and develop new domain names adoption.

The .UNO initiative
The .UNO Registry (".UNO has universal recognition for being number one, first, unique and the best") is about to have sold 10.000 new domain names and giving domain names away seems to be a new way to "deliver" names on the market.
If some Registries like the .XYZ, .BERLIN and .SCIENCE are giving domain names, the .UNO Registry is bringing innovation to this new trend giving the domain name for free with the Hello.uno new social platform.

Hello.uno
Hello.uno is a free service not owned by the .UNO Registry but which allows anyone to create a complete webpage on which the Registrant can show his LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and many other social networks feeds. All this in just a few clicks.

The increasing number of subscribers is a demonstration of success. I wanted to go through the process and created a jeanguillon.uno. It took me less than five minutes for a complete page. I also received the email which confirmed the domain name registration:


I checked a little later to find my webpage online. It is basic and I will probably dig a little more into it to see what more can be done with it.

Of course, "free is rarely free" so I checked the WHOIS database to see if the domain had been registered in my name and it had. As a result, a newcomer to this platform gets everything the Google Blogger platform offers but with a super clean design and a free domain name. Blogger - which I already find very cool - will charge you for the domain name and Wordpress will charge you even more.

In the case of this platform, "free" seems to be definition I have of this word, not the one which comes with adds. If someone finds the trick here, I am interested in a feed-back.

Registration volumes
A lot has been told about poor domain names renewal (read here too) but...is this so true and...does it really matter?

From where I stand at Jovenet Consulting, one of my weekly tasks is to check domain name renewals and what I see is not negative at all. If results are not the one expected, renewals are there: there are less domain names on the market than expected by Registries but Registrants (those to register domain names) are renewing their domain(s).
One year (more or less) after launching its first TLDs, the last report from the largest multiple Registry Donuts tells us one truth about renewals.

So regarding registration volumes, the repetitive and negative speech I often read from Domainers and "pro .COMs" is ... just wrong :-)

What about increasing new domain names registration volumes? If I now have very small doubts about the renewal rate from a Registry who is giving domain names away, I have even smaller ones about one giving a little something with its domains for two reasons:
  1. When you start to use a service like Hello.uno, chances are high that you will keep using it:
    1. Choices of designs offered are:
      1. Really nice;
      2. Free.
    2. The domain name is Free and registered in your name: you normally pay for this.
  2. A platform like Hello.com can become addictive: you get everything in one single place: no need multiple logins and passwords... Internet users also like it when it is simple.
In the case of the Hello.uno platform, the thinking seems to be done a different way: the message sent to me is more a: "use our platform and we will give you a personalized address with it" rather than a: "register this domain for free then decide what to do with it".

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Lions and Rotary International Clubs

There are two clubs
I am familiar with these two prestigious clubs; the "Lions Club International" and the "Rotary International".

Both are institutions to me and I have known these names forever. I dug a little and went to search for these two groups on LinkedIn, wondering if there would be an interest in either using a new domain name extension or changing to a ".club" new domain name.

Both clubs are on LinkedIn
I registered to these two group clubs and was approved to post on the first one, then on the second one:
A question asked to the Rotary International Club
After introducing myself, I asked the following question to its members: "What about creating domain names ending in .ROTARY (instead of .COM)?" Asking such question can be a flop because few people are concerned by domain names but the number of answers received demonstrate a few things:
  1. The list of 26 comments shows that such a question has to do with identity and not with another boring discussion around domain names. Formulated the wrong way, such discussions end with...no answer at all. Few people like to talk about domain names.
  2. Applying for a new gTLD is known as being expensive "first".
  3. There is interest but again...end users did not know that it was possible.
  4. The Rotary seemed to have considered the question; a private email from one of their executive confirmed that and executives from the Rotary had received information about new gTLDs already.
I appreciated the creativity of some comments.

A question asked to the Lions Club International
The question being asked at the moment and which has yet not received any answer is: "What about changing name to "lions.club" ?" I wondered if I should have asked a similar question as the one asked in the Rotary's group, focused on applying for the .LIONS new gTLD, but the official Lions Club International domain name is "www.lionsclubs.org" and contains the "club" sign so I found it more appropriate to go for a .club instead and which already exists.

One the first answers is to keep it as it is: why change something that works already? More answers are coming and a benefit that I see in these exchanges is that participants learn about these new options during the discussion: many participants NEVER heard about ICANN new domains. The one thing learnt here:
  1. To improve new domain names' adoption, education is the key.
Next question please
Another question is being asked in these two clubs: "Have any Rotary/Lions clubs protected a Trademark in the Trademark Clearinghouse?"

Both the Lions Club International and the Rotary International are probably Trademarked but I doubt any of the Roswell Rotary or the Monifieth Rotary Clubs (both examples use a ".club" domain name already) participated in the Sunrise Period but I asked the question to be sure.

I expect to be answered that both are a Trademark and no other club involved in these two institutions can use these signs to be registered in the TMCH for the use of their own website. It is possible that I am told that my question is stupid too ;-)

But if I am wrong it means that:
  1. both clubs are already more educated about new domain names than we think;
  2. they considered that these new domain names would benefit to their image by allowing member clubs to submit their trademark data in the TMCH (short name for Trademark Clearinghouse). 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

VinoRouge.club: Ranked on Page 1 of Google in Less Than 48 Hours


Being a member of a twelve-member wine club that meets once a month for the last 22+ years provided motivation to finally create website to document what our club does.  What do we do you may ask...we taste red wine.  In fact, between all of our regular tastings and special tastings, we've tasted thousands of red wines over the years from all over the world and we have kept detailed records of the tasting we've done over that time, including a member preference poll for each tasting we have ever had.  Now that we are well into the digital age, we decided it was time to create a website for our wine club, so that we could share with the world what we've been up to and provide some insight on what our collective pallets like the most.

When considering a domain name for our wine club, it only seemed natural to register a dot club domain name, VinoRouge.club, since that is our name and a club is what we are!    Oh, and the dot com was already taken.  That IS the beauty of a new gtld!  It is a niche...it is available... and it is what it is, not to sound like Frank Zappa or Bill Belichick.  

New gTLDs just may have a leg up in search engine marketing.  Recently in Las Vegas at Namescon 2015, Bill Hartzer, Senior SEO Strategist at Globe Runner SEO, participated in a speaking panel about search engine optimization and an experiment he conducted using exact match domains in dot com and a new gTLD.  In the example he provided, he talked about two domain names that he developed with identical content, 3caratdiamonds.com and 3carat.diamonds.  What Bill shared was that getting traffic through Google Adwords cost a bit less for the new gTLD than it did for the dot com.  Bill also shared the fact that over time, the conversion rates (for downloading a PDF about diamond sizing) were also better for the new gTLD than they were for the dot com.  

Okay, while this is not earth shattering, it is, perhaps, an indication that search engines may prefer new gTLDs over time, as they are more significantly niche focused, they have fresh content since they are new and they are relevant to the search being conducted, although nobody's is admitting that over there.   

I have also heard several stories about new gTLD websites ranking well in organic search.  One specific story was about Credit.club and how only after two weeks, they were ranked in the first position for a Google search of Credit Club.  Granted, there was a lot of publicity, news stories and links that preceeded the ranking, due to credit.club being hand registered for regular fee.  However, regarding my newly launched VinoRouge.club, it is interesting to note that after only 48 hours (with no publicity, news stories or links), the website is ranking on page 1 of Google for a search of Vino Rouge (out of over 3.5 million results) and in the first position for Vino Rouge Club.  No magic SEO here, just fresh and interesting content, as well as a new gTLD domain name.  Time will tell if it was just luck, but my hunch is that this year will start to see more and more new gTLD websites being successful because of favorable rankings and cheaper advertising options.  I know I'm looking forward to trying it again soon with a different new gTLD domain name.  If the results are similar, I'll be sure to come back here and let you all know about it!  Thanks for reading and remember, don't drink wine and register domain names at the same time!

Singer 50Cent to choose a .CLUB domain name for his Fan Club.