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). 

Register your Trademark using an agent.