With so many dotBrand new gTLD providers, I start to wonder who (and how) is anyone going to earn money: these are my recent thoughts on the subject.
Some providers offer the full package of solutions: new gTLD (dotBrand) consulting, a backend registry offer (mandatory in the ICANN new gTLD process), retail registrar/corporate registrar services (sometime both). With some domains being paid less than $1 per year at some backend registries, who but the ICANN, is going to earn any money:
- The Premium domains' strategy? Not with dotBrands and I doubt it is a strategy to follow for generic TLDs, registration figures were definitey not there in the first round of the program and I don't believe the Bla-Bla from some registries.
- Writing Applications? Check what's next, you're going to hate it!
- Trademarks and other Brands applying for their dotBrand TLD should pay more per domain "because they can afford it?" Come on...if applying for a dotBrand new gTLD is not just the filling of a form with a price tag (including upcoming yearly costs), it does not mean that they should pay more for a low volume of domains created. A domain created at any backend registry provider costs the exact same than one being sold through the network of accredited Registrars.
Filling your dotBrand application...to be offered?Many providers want their peace of the cake and to bring in clients...some are already offering the filling of the application for the next round of the ICANN new gTLD program! Note that there are conditions for such offers. In the first round, such service cost up to $90,000 at some providers and that cost did not necessarily include feasibility studies. As you can imagine...one dotBrand applicant might consider twice an offer when such cost can be "avoided".
What about Corporate Registrars?
Many Corporate Registrars subcontracted their clients application to external legal service providers in the first round and note that...IP Law Firm are not necessarily the best one to write your application: they can be very expensive with few knowledge about the ICANN new gTLD culture and from what I saw in the first round, many had NO IDEA about what they were doing. Have a look at the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook dated 4 June 2012, you understand what I am talking about.
If Registrars offer that service to their clients, I don't see - but the filling of the application and an annual operation fee (governance and reporting) - where they earn money? In the next round, things are completely different when choosing the right service provider: most of these costs can be negotiated...or offered. Since the COI (check the applicant guidebook or hit "coi icann" in Google) seems to be becoming history for .BRANDs new gTLDs, the filling of the application should become far easier and most existing providers now have templates to fill in your application: dotBtrand applicants will only need to explain what they want to do with their TLD - understand what they are going to pay on a yearly basis and who to - and most providers already know what to write much better than clients themselves on the application.
What about external consultants?
I think this is where I stand and except offering consulting services to potential applicants on the best provider to select, for what service and at what price, I doubt there is any money to earn here but I am happy to explain all this in a personalized new gTLD SWOT Analysis ;-) According to your project, I'll point you to the right provider.
And if you want to invest in the next new gTLD innovation, ask us about Project "John Wolley".