Thursday, March 7, 2019

Community new gTLD applications: wrong choice

This article was first published on CircleId.

Community new gTLD applications were one of the three options offered by version 1 one of ICANN new gTLD applicant guidebook. It was also possible submit a "generic" or a "geographic application". I dug on the ICANN website and found out that, in the end - and according to me only - it was a bed choice to submit such application.

The figures
  • The ICANN website lists 84 applications submitted to the ICANN;
  • 52 were delegated;
  • 20 were withdrawn;
  • 10 have/had objection(s);
  • 9 receive a warning from a government (at least);
  • 5 had a string contention;
  • 4 are still "on hold" (.MUSIC - .KIDS - .MERCH - .HOTEL);
  • 3 were not approved;
  • none received an applicant support from the ICANN;
  • the .BUGATTI new gTLD is a community application (...), not a .BRAND
  • Many trademarks submitted community applications;
  • some city names and territories are listed as community applications (.PARIS - .WIEN - .BZH ...);
  • ICANN sometimes forgets to update its datas so some of the 84 applications mentioned could have changed.
"Volumes", "usage" or both?
I went through the 52 delegated applications to investigate which ones have lots of domain name registrations and which ones don't. Volumes of domain name creations are important because they are a good indicator if the new gTLD is a successful project or not. Now: are volumes an indicator of usage: it is up to you to decide and don't care what you think ;-) This is what I found:
  • The .OVH new gTLD has 62,000+ domain name registrations;
  • The .BERLIN new gTLD has 54,800+
  • The .PARIS new gTLD has 20,900+
  • The .SWISS new gTLD has 17,900+
  • The .WIEN new gTLD has 15,400+
  • The .HAMBURG new gTLD has 23,400+
  • The .SCOT new gTLD has 11,500+
All other new gTLDs unlisted here have less than 10,000 registrations. This is surprising because we have very generic terms such as .ARCHI (for architecture), the .SKI and .NGO new gTLDs. The .ECO domain name extension has 3,8400+ domain names created.

Conclusion
We can easily see that none of these applications has passed the 100,000 registrations. If I perfectly understand that prices are not the same to register a domain name and "usage" matters; well, I also know how much it cost to maintain a registry and I would not want to operate a registry that has less than 10,000 registrations. In all of these cases, and no matter if a multiple registry lowers its cost operating multiple extensions, I am not sure that it is worth it to submit "another" community application in the next round of the ICANN new gTLD program...just because it limits domain name registrations to that specific community and also...because figures demonstrate that on a list of 52 TLDs, 7 only have more than 10,000 domain names on the market. Note that this does not even mean that they are used with a real website. We also know that restricting registrations to a so called community is just a line on the paper, anybody can pay to register a .SKI domain name (for example), it is absolutely not "restricted" in reality.

So: worth it for the next round? No...but that's just according to me.

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