Monday, January 15, 2018

Singular or Plural: have registrants chosen?

2017 has been an interesting year with a lot of new gTLDs launched and the opportunity for me to have a look at a complete year in terms of domain name registration volume.


One new gTLD report that I update on a monthly basis has gained a lot of traction, it is the one that concerns Singular VS Plural new gTLDs: which, of the two domain name extensions, receives more domain name registrations?

Sticking to one
Some extensions can't yet be compared as they have not really launched yet and stick to one domain name registered. It is the case for .COUPON - .CRUISE - .DEAL - .FAN (5 registrations) - .WATCHES and .MOTO (which does not count since it is a .BRAND).

What to think about these variations?
It is noticeable that many registrations volumes DON't make any sense between the singular and the plural version of an extension and there are reasons for this.
  1. Marketing/selling method: for .ACCOUNTANT and .ACCOUNTANTS, you can clearly see that there's something wrong strange: how can there be such a difference between the two same extensions when one has 94,000 more domain names sold at the end of the year while the other only has 2,500 domains on the market? Selling at ultra low prices is one method used by multiple registry Famous Four Media For .ACCOUNTANT but could this be the only reason?
  2. There is a price difference for .GAMES and .GAME (this is one example): the first one can be bought for less than $10 when the other will cost $160 for one year. That makes quite a difference when having to choose for the right extension.
  3. Some TLDs are losing traction: it is quite possible that some TLDs have been "boosted" after launch (come on...we all know that) but the problem is that it cost to boost a TLD and when names don't meet adoption, even when "given away", it is clear that boosting an extension has to end, and happens bullet 4 below.
  4. No renewal: a domain name which has not found its registrant for a renewal it is just dropped and that is also why some registration curves form the report go in the opposite direction.
Famous Four Media
The .LOAN - .ACCOUNTANT and .REVIEW new gTLDs belong to the same multiple registry Famous Four Media. All three have (very) surprising high registration volumes compared to other TLDs from the list.
This major new gTLD actor often offers promotions to its accredited registrars. In simple words, and added to the ultra low price of its domain names, it means that you should buy today...and for 10 years if you are concerned by their domain name extensions.

Inversion
Two TLDs caught my attention: the .PROPERTY and .PROPERTIES new gTLDs. If the plural version has an interesting curve, +3,000 registrations in one year, the singular version lost, from January to December 2017, seven thousand domain name registrations. The opposite is supposed to happen.

Clean TLDs
Good point for .MARKET and .MARKETS new gTLDs: the only two extensions from this list which gained registrations from a month to the other.

New methods
What if it became more interesting for a multiple registry to register a domain name for itself and generate more income from that parked domain instead of selling it? There's a method on the market and it appears that "many" multiple registry are testing it right now.

Conclusion
Can we say that registrants (those to register domain names) have made their choice between using the singular or the plural version of a similar domain name extension? Clearly not because 2017 results make no sense and unfortunately, marketing a domain name does not mean that you sell it. Registries are still testing the market with new methods and approaches. "Gain sharing" is one of them but shush, I did not say anything.

On a personal note, I do not understand how multiple registries can find enough time to market so many different domain name extensions: it takes time to market just one so how do you manage to find the time for...dozens? This might also explain why some extensions can't compete with their singular of plural version.

Check the full report here (the report is now available in French too).

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