Monday, July 24, 2017

Which Registry will succeed in...

...selling domain names in supermarkets?
When it comes to paying in a supermarket, you're often offered to buy that “little thing more”: chewing-gums, sweets, alcohol, but it is now also possible to buy “online things” such as Apple and Google music: why not offer domain names too?


Domains names are no BtoC consumer products
Let’s be serious: can you imagine a Registry pushing a Registrar to “do the job”, trying to offer domain names in supermarkets? This just would not work for several reasons:
  • Approaching a supermarket chain is a tough job that requires time and the job of a Registrar is to sell domain names and offer services dedicated to domain names;
  • What about marketing and packaging: who pays? Certainly not the supermarket chain! Which Registrar has the capacity to pay for all this but one which has a close link to a supermarket chain?
  • What about pricing? Is a Registrar ready to drop its price or accept to earn money in year two, when the domain name is renewed?
  • What about support...
A blog offered with a domain name is BtoC
Many people want to have their blog: to post their holidays’ photos or just to write the story of their life but they won’t necessary search for this on Internet because it is so difficult to understand and there is so much info to provide, it can even become technical!

The truth is that very few people know what a domain name is so you can imagine when it comes to talking about a “Registrar” :-)

Added to more services, a supermarket has the capacity to address end users and evangelize the process of registering a domain name a complete different way, make things more simple and go straight to the point: deliver what is offered on the packaging and nothing more that what the price says. It does not work the same online when you can offer “options”, simply by clicking on a button. The more clicks...

A supermarket also has the capacity to offer “trust” in the purchase: the seller is already an authority, can Registrars says the same: nationwide?

Why not add the email to this package?
Another truth is that very few people know that an email can be different from gMail or Hotmail so offering the option to personalize an email with a domain name seriously adds to the quality of the offer.

Let’s be honest, what looks nicer: jguillon@hotmail.com or jean@guillon.email ? What about this one for "Jovenet Consulting": www.jovenetconsulting.com or www.jovenet.consulting ?

Added to the domain name, a personalized email is typically what Google and many other Registrars are trying to achieve in their offers but a supermarket could demonstrate that it is even a better place to bring consumers to buy such products: it is faster and does not require to read it all.

So what is the solution then?
I studied various possibilities but I strongly believe that the best approach is with a Registry which operates its own Registrar. The reason for this? A better price and reduced costs to take care of all operations with a limited number of subsidiaries. Note that I will not explain about “a better price”.

A Registrar with the capacity to offer a complete solution and a dedicated path for such consumers:
  1. The Blog (without ever mentioning the word “hosting”);
  2. The Domain name;
  3. The Email;
  4. One yearly payment.
A coupon, such as the one offered to buy music, will offer:
  • To pay for year one;
  • A 3 lines explanation of what the consumer buys;
  • A short URL where to:
    • Create the domain name which will activate and point to the Blog;
    • Create the email;
    • Explain and point to the interface to Blog;
    • Renew the domain name (renewing should be explained on the coupon).
The entire process should fit in one single page.

Who can do that?
Come on: don’t you see?
;-)


*BtoC stands for “Business to Consumer”, different from BtoB which stands for “Business to Business”

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

New gTLDs: how they incite innovation

We thought new gTLDs would bring innovation to the world of domain names, but has it been the case? Clearly not...and this for two reasons:
  1. It took too long for many projects to be validated by the ICANN and launched;
  2. It cost too much Registries to wait and money dedicated to innovation went to...you know...when you have to pay your staff while waiting, etc...                     :-)
We also thought that innovation would be sudden but it appears that it is taking longer.


Is innovation coming now?

Clearly yes.

I see new kind of projects coming which did not exist because of the non existence of new gTLDs. All use and/or focus on new domain names:
  • Tools to operate large portfolios of domain names with a minimum number of clicks: some Trademarks now want to find a use for all of these new domains they have to secure*;
  • Tools dedicated to the meaning of specific TLDs (.email - .club - ...);
  • Directories dedicated to specific domain name extensions: the interesting thing about new gTLDs is that some extensions now clearly mean something and help identify the content of a website directly when reading the domain name;
  • Search engines for specific TLD meanings: why not search an info about a Contractor in a search engine dedicated to ".contractors" domain names?
  • "Gain sharing" focussing on specific TLDs: a method to help Registries Registrants generate an income from a specific domain name extension;
  • Mad scientists projects**.
Some registries are still having a hard time to make their project profitable but this is what is driving creativity today. There are failures with, for example, attempts to flood the market creating new domain names with no content; but little by little, we see that registries are not necessary - as we imagined it - the one to deliver creativity: registrants and entrepreneurs are now the one to take the lead. 

Rebranding is innovation
According to Verisign, it appears that ".com" was originally created to represent the “commercial” intent of a website so now there is a ".search" domain name extension, does it mean that it is time for Google to change its extension to perfectly match with what it is really doing?
What about The Time: isn't it time to change to a ".news" or ".press" to clearly express what it is about, or does it have to stick to that old speech about ".com" domain names and SEO?
Some Trademarks are showing initiatives:
By the way, what sounds best here: "innovation is branding" or "branding is innovation"? Don't both sound good thank to new gTLDs?

We are interested in talking about your new gTLD innovation, contact us if interested. 

* conceived by Jovenet Consulting
** some are clearly imagined at Jovenet Consulting ;-)

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sad day for new gTLDs or...wrong move?

McDonald's is withdrawing its new gTLD applications. For whatever reason, someone at McDonald's took the decision to terminate the two applications for its domain names ending in ".mcdonalds" and ".mcd".


What the notice says
  • McDonald's Corporation, in its function as the Registry Operator has represented to ICANN that it does not sell, distribute or transfer control or use of any registrations in the .mcdonalds TLD to third parties.
  • Transitioning operation of the TLD is not necessary to protect the public interest.
  • .mcdonalds qualifies as a .Brand TLD.
  • Only one domain name is registered in the .mcdonalds TLD and it is mandated by the Registry Agreement (nic.mcdonalds).

McDonald's is good at Marketing
One thing that is for sure is that McDonald's is good at Marketing: they have been able to sell Hamburgers to French and make them addicted. They've also been able to have millions of American to eat their Hamburgers using "Bread", "Cheese" and "French fries". No doubt: they are excellent at selling hamburgers ;-)

With so many people working on the best ways to market its products, the giant seems have taken the decision to capitalize on using country code Top-Level domains (such as ".fr" for example)* instead of its own domain name extension.

*Oh...and ".com" too.

$40,000 a year to operate...so why?
There are such offers to operate a TLD and this includes the prohibitive ICANN fee of $25,000 a year so...when you're McDonald's: why would you withdraw your application when you don't know about the future? It is even possible that these fee will lower - for .BRAND new gTLD applicants - in the future round of the ICANN new gTLD program: isn't this another good reason to keep a .BRAND new gTLD?

"What if"
What if Papa John's, Jack in the Box, Arby's, Dairy Queen, Little Caesars, Big Fernand (and its "hamburg├ęs"), Carl's Jr./Hardee's, Chipotle, Sonic Drive-In, Domino's, KFC, Panera Bread, Pizza Hut, Chick-fil-A, Dunkin' Donuts, Taco Bell, Wendy's, Burger King, Subway or Starbucks submit an application in the next round and decide to create one domain name per restaurant opened or city covered? That could add a lot of visibility for these restaurants and make a difference when it comes to entering "hamburger" on Google (or Bing).

I am not even trying to contact McDonald's to understand such move but as a marketer myself, let's just say that if there are more, or as many, .BRAND new gTLD applications in the next round of the ICANN new gTLD program, I will consider that this choice was...not a good one: it is to me far to early for a Trademark like McDonald's to withdraw its new gTLD applications.

Friday, June 30, 2017

.SEARCH new gTLD coming...from Google

Charleston Road Registry, the legal entity belonging to Google in charge to create/launch its TLDs, has three extensions coming to the market:
  1. The .SEARCH new gTLD;
  2. .MAP
  3. .PHD
(Amazon also applied for .MAP and .SEARCH but applications were withdrawn in the end).


Google is about "search": isn't it?
This domain name extension comes late in the ICANN new gTLD program and there is a reason for this but what matters is what use is Google to have of ".search" domain names.

What the application says
Extracted from the application submitted to the ICANN:
The mission of the proposed gTLD, .search, is to provide a domain name space that makes it easier for Internet users to locate and make use of the search functionality of their choice. The proposed gTLD will open possibilities for new, more convenient ways for Internet users to navigate to the services they like and use.
Most of the time, the purpose of the extension is explained in question 18 A from the application ("Describe the mission/purpose of your proposed gTLD") but it is in the following question (18 B) of that Google explains in one line how ".search" domains will be used:
The goal of the proposed gTLD is to provide a space dedicated to Internet search offerings, and to make it easier for users to access the search functionality of their choice. The proposed gTLD will signal to the general population of Internet users that .search websites are indeed websites that offer search functionality, and adhere to basic technical standards.
Shoot in the feet?
When you are the number one search engine worldwide, do you want to offer a tool to incite others to start building search engines? I seriously doubt it and maybe this sentences extracted from the application gives more info about the real use ".search" registrants will be able to have of their domain name:
Charleston Road Registry plans to develop and publish eligibility criteria for all registrants in the proposed gTLD and will work with its registrars to execute the eligibility verification process. This process will imbue additional meaning to all second-level domains in the gTLD and enhance the gTLD’s reputation by establishing an authoritative community of websites that offer search functionality. When Internet users visit a website in the proposed gTLD environment, they will be able to reliably expect services relevant to the proposed gTLD.
Will this be a restriction? It is a little unclear to me but
Innovation
Again, some sentences are unclear but innovation seems to be around the corner:
The .search gTLD will provide a new mechanism whereby websites with search functionality can enact second-level domains that offer search-related services. This signification is not currently available in the gTLD space.

...it provides a simple technical standard describing how users and other software can interact with search functionality within the TLD.

Even more importantly, a consistent query interface across all search websites in the TLD makes it easier for third-party developers to create new and innovative services that will allow users to interact with search functionality in new and creative ways.
Trademarks
Charleston Road Registry will also develop policies to limit registrations within the domain to the names that registrants commonly use in trade related to their provision of search-related services, possibly including restricting registrations to exact matches of trademarks.
Technical requirements
Here we are, it appears that registering a ".search" domain name will not be as simple as registering a ".club":
Charleston Road Registry will implement a validation service to verify compliance with these technical requirements.
Check 18.b.iv. Registration Policies from the application "TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR REGISTRATION WITHIN THE .SEARCH GTLD" for details.

Interesting too:
Supplying Google account information will be optional for registrants.
I understand from this sentence that it will be possible to connect a ".search" domain names to Google' services.

(My) conclusion
I am a fan of Google's products and I use them everyday. I like this last idea to be able to supply my Google account information to a ".search" domain name because it will probably help one develop his business: few know much about coding so if connecting a Google account to a ".search" domain can save time developing a search engine, it adds credibility to this Registry's project. I don't think Google is selling ".search" domains for money and even if the application does not say it explicitly, the ".search" Registry looks like it is a restricted one so I expect content to be found on ".search" websites...not to be crap. A candidate to the Verified Top-Level Domains (vTLD) Consortium maybe?

Google.search coming? Probably...but I don't expect Google.com to change to Google.search :-)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

New gTLDs: what was said recently

Extracted from our Newsletter, below are the latest NEWS related to new gTLDs from previous days:
  1. Follow-up: ICANN and new gTLDs (slides);
  2. Domain registrars hate registry exceptions;
  3. Phishing: the Worst of Times in the DNS;
  4. .BRANDs : a solution to face Phishing;
  5. Boots becomes latest company to terminate new gTLD;
  6. 3 Keys to the Right Domain Name for Building a Brand;
  7. Which New gTLD Is Winning The Website Development War?
  8. New website for .GLOBAL Registry;
  9. Greatest Benefits of New gTLDs is PR;
  10. Backend Registries: who are they?
  11. Heading to South Africa for ICANN 59: A Quick Preview;
  12. New gTLD to be delegated soon: .MERCKMSD;
  13. .BNPPARIBAS went down;
  14. Draft Framework for the Registry Operator to Respond to Security Threats;
  15. Navigating the World of New gTLDs – Read the Latest Trends;
  16. .BOOTS self-terminates;
  17. .NYC’s most trafficked websites are actually legit;
  18. HOT - Announced today and started: the .BASKETBALL Sunrise Period (...);
  19. Domain Names Looks Kind of Random;
  20. Analyzing Donuts’ deal to acquire Rightside;
  21. Dot .BAWSTON : gTLD application denied by ICANN (joke of the day);
  22. What is Happening with ICANN Reviews?
  23. Changing to a .INTERNET new gTLD?
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Monday, June 26, 2017

Backend Registries: who are they?

A "Backend Registry" is the necessary technical service to apply for a new domain name extension. Without one, the new gTLD application will be rejected by the ICANN since without it, a new gTLD cannot technically work. In one word, the "backend" is the technical platform that makes everything work together. When an accredited Registrar wants to sell domain names from a specific Registry (.club - .fr - .whatever - etc...), it is the backend registry which takes care of everything technically.

There is a list of service providers which future new gTLD applicants will need to visit when they want to submit their application. They will either need to:
  1. Contact them and discuss their project to learn about prices and services wanted/required to apply or;
  2. Build their own backend registry solution (good luck with that).
A backend registry solution provider does not necessarily offer its solution as a service for future applicants, so from the list below, I got rid of some names. For example, some old providers of certain country code Top-Level domains (existing ccTLD extensions) don't have an offer. Also, some of the new registries have their own internal solution: the many new gTLD projects from Google or Uniregistry use their own solution but are not offered to the public: such solutions won't be listed here.

The list:
  1. ZDNS is also offering the MIIT solution to develop a TLD for the Chinese market (China);
  2. Nominet (UK);
  3. GMO (Japan);
  4. Canadian Internet Registration Authority (Canada);
  5. Verisign (USA);
  6. TLD-BOX Registrydienstleistungen (Austria);
  7. AFNIC (France)
  8. China Internet Network Information Center (China);
  9. CORE (Switzerland);
  10. Knipp Medien und Kommunikation GmbH (Germany);
  11. Flexireg (Russia);
  12. SIDN (The Netherlands);
  13. Updated: DNS Africa Ltd (Mauritius): http://dns.business/;
  14. KSregistry (Germany);
  15. Afilias (Ireland);
  16. CentralNic (UK);
  17. Technical Center of Internet (Russia);
  18. Neustar (USA);
  19. JPRS (Japan).
Contact me if you believe that some service providers are missing. I will be happy to add them (don't forget to add the link to their offer).

To learn more about who to work with to submit your application in the next round of the ICANN new gTLD program , contact Jovenet Consulting.

Friday, June 23, 2017

A ".dash" new gTLD coming?

About.com just announced: "Hi. We're Dotdash. We were About.com".

I don't know the reason for this change but it reminds me that a lot of people secured domain names starting with "dot" before round one of the ICANN new gTLD program to start. This was a way to secure a good domain name before the activation of the extension's first domains. It was a way to use the corresponding name of the extension to start publishing after "reveal day" in July 2012.


There was no application submitted for a .DASH new domain name extension in the first round and the design of this new name added to this new domain name could be a sign that a .DASH new gTLD project is coming... or not.

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