Thursday, February 15, 2018

Some new gTLD registries could develop...

...but why isn't it so and can this be changed?

We are referring to non .BRAND specification 13 TLDs here, but to new gTLDs dedicated to selling domain names through the network of accredited registrars.
New gTLDs for niche markets
The idea here is not to mention them but if some niche TLDs have certainly been a good idea in some applicants' mind, the market targeted might not have been the good one: too small maybe. Also, were enough people invited in the same room to wonder about the potential market prior to take the decision to invest or was this the choice of a single person ot two? And buy the way...were potential technical service providers invited to the meetings to push for a decision? I hope not.

I personally thought that he 1.5 to 3% population rule to decide about a new gTLD market was a good one but it appears that it was not and most domain name registration volumes have proved this today.

Niche markets have a strong potential but counting on the network of accredited registrars is not the ultimate solution to sell domain names: existing registration volumes are proving this right now. If Premium domains help generate a small income, they don't help to deploy massively: in the case of niche TLDs, it is the diaspora targeted who can help.

Some TLDs cost too much to maintain
Whether or not they sell domain names, registries already have to pay a minimum of $25,000 a year to the ICANN, "plus the rest". I saw an invoice to be paid recently at a back-end registry with a line entitled "minimum annual commitment" with a $40,000 to be paid. I found that expensive for an annual commitment... I read again and it appears that the amount was a monthly one so multiply this by 12 and you get a $480,000 a year more on your global project.

In this case, whether you sell domain names or not, you already know that it will cost you $500,000+ a year for one TLD: "plus the rest".

Many registries are "stuck"
How do you expect to develop a niche new domain name extension when your costs are so high? I want to know about the magic formula because in this case, I don't see this as possible, especially when 1,038 registries on a list of 1,226 have less than 10,000 domain names registered (apologies for including .BRAND new gTLDs in these numbers but I am lazy).

I can understand that a company wants to pay the price to acquire a monopolistic position but I don't understand that a company starts a registry project with a monthly fee of $40,000 for nothing. There is a much better negotiation to have with a backend registry today. And of course...I am not even talking about the leaving fees which are just...ridiculous. A registry should not sign a contract with a backend registry if it blocks the entire project to develop.

The solution(s)
I shared with a friendly backend registry recently and he told me: "Jean: there is no magic solution to develop domain names", and I wondered: "Wow, he is a backend registry and he has absolutely no imagination". There are solutions:
  • There is one that I have seen working, it is similar to parking domains and combining the automation of SEO on a large amount of newly created domains. Added to this, bla, bla, bla and bla, bla, bla. You will have to call me for more ;-)
  • But there is another one that can match (not for all registries) if both the registry and the backend registry have found the right agreement to lower the price at the minimum at the backend, agreeing on a certain volume of domain names to be installed and paid. Same here, you will have to call me for more.
  • There is another one which requires that your application can be changed and that your TLD is not yet launched, but if you have no imagination, you should certainly not read about it.
I will leave all this here and you can contact me at Jovenet Consulting for more. For the note, I receive more and more requests from companies which don't have a website and people who don't exist neither on LinkedIn nor on Google so, I am happy to answer all emails but you know...we also had Internet in France 20 years ago :-)

Monday, February 12, 2018

Redirections for .BRAND new gTLDs are risky

Do you go through the long and expensive process to apply for a new gTLD to...do redirections? Well, it's up to you but I've personally changed my mind on this.

What are we talking about?
Many explain that operating a .BRAND domain name extension "also" allows to do redirections from a ".brand" personalized domains to old website's URLs. The idea is to create your own www.whatever.YOU domain names and use them to create qualitative/generic second level domains such as www.service.YOU - www.corporate.YOU - www.products.YOU - www.brands.YOU - etc... and redirect them to existing/legacy domain names such as www.your-existing-domain-name.com/whatever. Examples:
  • www.services.you will redirect to www.you.com/services
  • www.service1.you will redirect to www.you.com/services/service1
  • www.corporate.you will redirect to www.you.com/corporate
  • etc...
An expensive trick
Using a .BRAND new gTLD to do redirections is an awfully expensive trick. I am reconsidering the use of redirections since I find that it is an absolutely nonsense to be charged $25,000 per year by the ICANN to use a tool which consists in doing things that will not even appear on Internet: a .BRAND new gTLD is a tool used for branding, trust and security: is this the message sent to customers when doing redirections? And when referring to the $25,000 per year, I only refer to the ICANN fee : there are other costs.

Challenging for a company
Many existing applicants don't use their .BRAND extension because they wanted to secure an asset: they spent $180,000.00 to ensure that no third party would do the same, but that's not the only reason. Another reason is that - for existing brands - it requires to change many technical website and online database configurations, logos and things like all the printing that come with changing your name for your employees: printed ads, visit cards, online signatures, emails, etc...

Just imagine what it means to "upgrade" all emails with a new ending from a 1,000 employees company when it's been using emails ending in ".com" for the past twenty years: that can be a time consuming project. Imagine the complexity for technical departments which have the responsibility to ensure that all emails sent are received: this taking into account that some servers are still not set-up to receive emails using a new domain name extension. Imagine the same for a 10,000 employees company. And imagine a company like Airbus SAS, which has acquired the .AIRBUS new gTLD and its 130,000 employees: of course, all don't use an email but this gives you an idea about what their technical department has to face.

Google does index redirections but...
And that is a good point but the more I see such redirections indexed, the more I feel that Google sends its users to a wrong content: the purpose of an URL indexed in a search engine is to be able to click on it, knowing that it will take you to where it says it is going to take you, not to another place.
Beside...what if Google decides to change this, and suddenly blocks such uses? Start over? I don't like it to be redirected as a consumer anyway.

SEO experts
Any good SEO expert knows that "new" domain names are indexed the exact same way a ".com" is so...does it make any sense to spend/waste time working on a trick with the risk that all the work done goes to the trash if a penguin suddenly decides to swim right instead of left? Does a .BRAND new gTLD applicant want to pay an expert to suddenly be explained that all the work paid and done for was a waste?
Come on: redirections are a good teasing in favor of .BRANDs (since very few have ideas on how to use them) but the risk remains very high to work for nothing (and crap) when the same time could be spent on working on the real .BRAND domain names and guarantee that time spent on SEO is not wasted.
Of course this means that a company understands the benefit to start deploying and maintaining several websites instead of one and that's where...time is worth spending.

Redirections: are you sure?
I recently used a commercial tool to offer redirections and I tested possible errors: for example,what happens when hitting a redirection with an error? Some countries like France have services to track bad behaviours and unfortunately I once happen to see the screen below to appear.


Some of these services are popular and pretty much used worldwide. The problem is that they are also used by bad users and for bad behaviours to trick end users (when for example you are taken to survey or an ad). Unfortunately here, added to the fact that you send a very negative message to your reader, it also means that it is your .BRAND extension which becomes listed by law enforcement services. The service I tested offered to pay "more" for such errors not to happen.

The real benefit of redirections
I am not going to make friends writing this but if I agree that using redirections can help to the visibility of a website, it also helps service providers to generate paid domain names. In simple words: the more domain names are created (whatever their use is), the more income it means for the service provider in charge of sending you the invoice. Redirections will always be useful to someone: operators of .BRAND new gTLDs will benefit from them but certainly not only ;-)

Still want to apply for a .BRAND ?
The hell YES! We explain the benefit to apply for a .BRAND new gTLD on the front page of Jovenet Consulting. Start with reading the advantages to operate your own .BRAND and if the idea is to generate an income from a new gTLD: we're happy to help.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Just noticed: the .RUGBY new gTLD

The world of Rugby now has its own identity on Internet: they are domain names ending in ".rugby" instead of ".com".

I just noticed that the registry launched a new version of its website: https://roar.rugby/ so I went through the procedure of registering a domain name and it appears that...it's working.

A strange launch phase
For those interested, here is the launch phase which explains WHAT, WHEN and HOW MUCH. I found - yet - no list of accredited registrars to .RUGBY domain names but I am confident that it is coming.

I first thought that .RUGBY was a closed TLD but it appears that it is open to all (...)

There is an interesting phase called "Limited Registration Periods" which is typically what a client for a registry would want to have for a TLD like .RUGBY and I understand this choice. Unfortunately these phases have proved that they just don't work in terms of registrations: no one buys domains when it is so restricted and complicated. This phase started in January 2018 already and there are 3 in total. They end on the 28 of June 2019! As of today, there are 19 domain names registered in total.

General availability
Anyone who will have been afraid by this launch phase will have access to .RUGBY domain names on the first on July 2019: in one year and 5 months. At this moment, there will sure be a huge list of accredited registrars since there's no better branding for any business connected to Rugby.

The problem that I foresee? The $100.00 price tag in general availability: it is the cheapest one advertised on the website and regular users...don't buy at this price.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

It's over for .CORP - .HOME and .MAIL

The ICANN finally took a decision in regard to three new gTLD applications. The 3 TLDs concerned are:
  1. The .CORP new gTLD
  2. .HOME
  3. .MAIL

Below is a copy paste of things to remind from this decision and the last paragraph is my fast opinion on all this:

Resolved
The Board directs the President and CEO, or his designee(s), that the applications for .CORP, .HOME, and .MAIL should not proceed and, to account for the unforeseen impact to application processing, the Board directs the President and CEO to, upon withdrawal of the remaining applications for .CORP, .HOME, and .MAIL, provide the applicants a full refund of the New gTLD Program application fee of $185,000.

Why is the Board addressing the issue now?
Previously, the Board has considered the applications for .CORP, .HOME and .MAIL and determined to defer delegation of these names indefinitely because of name collisions. 

What are the options being considered?
What factors did the Board find significant?
Contemplating that the Board does not intend to delegate the .CORP, HOME and .MAIL strings before the end of the 2012 round of the New gTLD Program, the options presented to the Board took into account two key questions:
  1. What type of refund should be provided to the applicants?
  2. Should the applicants receive priority over other applications for these strings in any subsequent round of the New gTLD Program?
As such, the Board has determined it would be appropriate in this case to account for the unforeseen impact to application processing and to provide the remaining applications for .CORP, .HOME, and .MAIL a full refund of the New gTLD Program application fee of $185,000, upon withdrawal of the application by the applicant.

What significant materials did the Board review?
For the full list, check on the link below.

Are there fiscal impacts or ramifications on ICANN?
The Board considered the impact of providing a standard versus a full refund. The total estimated cost of providing all remaining 20 applicants the standard refund is $1,300,000, whereas the cost associated with a full refund is $3,700,000.

Are there positive or negative community impacts?
Taking this action will help support ICANN's mission and is the public interest to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet's unique identifier systems.

Jean Guillon's opinion on this
We certainly do not need more similar new gTLDs such as .MAIL and .EMAIL or .HOME and .HOMES : trademarks already have enough problems to fight cybersquatting and new gTLDs with hundreds more extensions have not helped so extracting more similarities is a very good thing.

Click here to read the full story.

Friday, February 2, 2018

January 2018: new gTLD reports are up-to-date

New gTLD reports are now available in English and in French: they are updated once a month when the month ends, these reports deal with domain name registration volumes according to various groups and industries:
  1. CATERING RESTORATION (.restaurant - .kitchen - .bar - etc...);
  2. PHOTOGRAPHY (.photo - .film - .gallery - etc...);
  3. CITIES : these are city names only (.paris - .london - .tokyo - etc...);
  4. COMPANIES : new domain name extensions that we believe a company should keep its eyes on;
  5. The LAW and LEGAL matters (.legal - .attorney - .lawyer - etc...);
  6. FINANCE (.credit - .capital - .finance - etc...);
  7. COLORS (.orange - .pink - .green - etc...);
  8. SPORTS (.hockey - .basketball - .ski - etc...);
  9. ALCOHOL (.beer - .wine - .vodka - etc...);
  10. REAL ESTATE (.realestate - .realtor - .villas - etc...);
  11. Singular VS Plural versions of a new gTLD : these are domain name extensions which exist in their singular and plural version (ie: .gift and .gifts);
  12. FRENCH new gTLD applicants : these are applications submitted by French companies only;
  13. RELIGIONS (.catholic - .bible - .church - etc...);
  14. CARS (.taxi - .auto - .car - etc...);
  15. HEALTH (.health - .doctor - .hospital - etc...);
  16. ADULTS (no comment) and;
  17. Multiple Registries : group of Registries operating five (5) and more domain name extensions.
We got rid of two reports: "French connotations" which took me too long to update and the one related to generic TLDs which was added to the COMPANIES one.

Our reports are available in French too.

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