I’m Going To Say It: New TLDs Are Released Only For Speculators and Defensive Registration, Not Need

Mar 28 2011

And I’m OK with it but ICANN is a bunch of pushovers.  Long ago they quit being the manager of TLDs and became the lackey of every company that is willing to pay big money for a new TLD.  The recent vote to allow .XXX proved once and for all that it really has nothing to do with what anyone wants,  but rather what’s good for the pocketbook.

Let me get this straight. I have no problem with porn.  As long as as a user of the Internet is warned what they are about to see, it is fine in my book.  In some cases I see that having the XXX ending will help in this manner.  Unfortunately, it’s a little too much too late.   If this would have been created initially then it would have worked very well.  But it wasn’t.  Now it serves no purpose other than to force existing adult sites to protect their names and register the dot XXX version.  Although ICM claims that only adult industry companies will be able to register these names we know that won’t be true.  Almost anyone with a little effort can be involved in the registration.  Even worse, if only adult companies can register then what keeps adult domainers from registering the .xxx of non adult companies and trying to sell them back?

So how is this different than the other new tlds?  In reality it isn’t.  It’s no different than .mobi, .cm, .tv, and .co.   Another release of a tld with the reasoning of need.  While I can’t really tell you if there are needs for more tlds,  I can tell you the reason the most obvious reason they are released.  Money.  I can also tell you that nearly all of the purchases will be defensive or speculative.  Neither which provide real reasoning to release more tlds.  I don’t care if they release 50 more tlds because I’m smart enough to stay away.  There are thousands of people and companies that can’t.  They have to register all the tlds that bare their trademark.  An instant windfall to the tld owners and in my opinion, combined with speculators, the only reason any of these are being released.

Only time will tell how this will play out and dot co is proving that not all new tlds are created equal.  It seems to be taking hold in both the domain investing community and slowly in the general public and certainly is fueling the new tld craze.  The key is the general public as it is the true determinate of the future of of a tld.  An answer that is many years away. But for every dot co there are going to be 20 tlds that cost users and investors millions and even dot co isn’t a sure thing.  There certainly have been some good dot co sales but if you dig deeper, most of the names that have been sold were never available to the general public.  Most were registered during the Sunrise period.  This is not to say that I don’t like dot co. Personally, I think it is a good risk reward scenario.  High risk but high reward.  I can not say the same for almost all the rest of the recent tld releases.  And I certainly feel more comfortable paying a little more in the “second round” than being an earlier adopter.  I can see if a tld has legs before I spend good money.

As for the companies behind the new tlds.  Why wouldn’t they want to be in?  It’s a cash cow. Snapnames is behind ICM, the owner of XXX and if I were them, I would be in the same place.  From a business standpoint it’s a brilliant move.  It’s the only side you want to be on.  The profitable side.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. HK

    The only thing ICANN care about is money!!

    They are going to keep bringing out new TLDs for about 5-10 years
    and make tons of money from new domainers. Once new domainers
    start realizing that .COM is the only way forward and stop
    buying new TLDs. Watch them make the renewal prices for premium
    domains sky high.

    So to stay on top you better start saving lots of money for renewal

  2. Domainer56

    Agreed, Shane.

    The introduction of the new gTLD extensions will be a big .FAIL !

    Stick with .COM, mi amigo. As Wil Rogers said of conventional real estate, it’s a good investment cuz they stopped making it.

  3. Em

    Hi Shane,

    Hit the nail on the head. .CO is the exception rather than the rule. They have had a unprecedented marketing campaign, a ton of money behind them and now they are into the general public. This is a one in a hundred type thing. We could be waiting another 10 years to see something like .co again.

    As you said, the risk reward with .co is great. Cant say that about the other new extensions.

  4. Kevin Murphy

    Any TLD registry that tries to build a business on defensive registrations will likely fail.

    .co sold 11,000 domains at sunrise. That’s about $220,000 a year, or about 1% of the registry’s revenue in 2010.

    If it were all about the defensives, .co would be a terrible loss-making business.

    And that’s taking into account the fact it’s a .com typo that presents unique branding problems. Other TLDs will probably do fewer.

  5. Adam

    “Any TLD registry that tries to build a business on defensive registrations will likely fail.”

    Can we say the same about any TLD registry that tries to build a business on speculator registrations ?

    “.co sold 11,000 domains at sunrise. That’s about $220,000 a year, or about 1% of the registry’s revenue in 2010.”

    I wonder if the 99% was made up by speculators and brands that don’t have an on-staff attorney to tell them that a “sunrise” is something other than a time of day.

  6. Michael Castello

    Good article. There is money to be made with the new gTLDs. All it takes is a lot of people to engage in it. Most will lose money but it won’t be too painful for them. A lot if people making little mistakes makes rich for a few people pulling the strings in that medium.

    Not everyone gets that you are trying to help them. Very few will truely be rich. Stay with your gut. Stay smart Shane.

  7. theo


    Sex sells simple as that.

    So there is money tobe made here.

    If you agree or no agree about this gTLD it is no longer relevant.
    I am not a supporter of .XXX. Just makes it way easier to filter out porn. And since i do not like internet censorship i am against this .

    And i do not have the insight regarding Snapnames behind this. But it would make perfect sense. Snapnames is on the losing side with the vertical intergration as proposed by ICANN. Pool is in the same boat btw imo.

    But the cards are on the table and if you play it right you can make some cash. Simple as that and ICMregistry is giving you a better chance then with .CO.

  8. Ron

    Give ICANN back to people who care and understand the industry, ICANN is nothing more than an overpaid board of directors, of a penny stock ploy company, living on fumes of domainers. I think domains should cost $20-30 upfront, and have renewal fees of $1-2 per year.

  9. RH

    I am no fan of ICANN, but lets be honest all domainers care about is making money for the most part too, so that’s a wash imo.

    Secondly .co,.tv and .me are not new TLD’s they are cctld’s that were doled out in the 80’s before anyone knew what a domainer was.

    There is going to be a lot of money flowing into the space and as Michael Berkens has pointed out he has spoken to people looking to put millions behind new tlds. Now of course the registry and the company behind will make most of the money. Domainers will pick and choose, if they are allowed in certain tlds maybe someone who gets restaurant.populargeo or business.school might do well. Maybe they won’t, look at the hundreds of millions of dollars domainers have lost in .com, 100,000,000 names most of them suck, I think most would agree there are not more than a couple hundred thousand great keyword/phrases to own, plus all the names that have expired over the years and a lot of money lost in .com. But a lot of money made too so it comes down to the individual.

    There was a comment on DomainNameWire, “Just ignore” I think that’s bad advice. The belief that the net will be the same in 2018 as in 2010 is foolish IMO. I remember saying to a guy who used Myspace, get your own domain, Myspace might not always be popular. He replied Myspace will be #1 for as long as there is an internet. WRONG.

    I don’t believe .com going away, I don’t have any interest in .xxx or any new ones coming out, but I will pay attention and if there is opportunity then reg some.

    But there is too much anti new tld (not saying your post Shane) from people who are not trying to help anyone but are worried about their own agenda. That is fine that is human nature but it seems like they are coming, so you can stand on the track and say no way that train coming and stand there stubbornly, or get out of the way and make your plan on how to benefit from the new tlds.

    This is an individual sport, all one person needs to do is make their sale and no matter what anyone else does, doesn’t really matter. If I sell domains in dot whatever and make $10,000 I don’t care what the overall opinion on the extension is, this is not a team sport. Again IMO

  10. Dashworlds

    So What Happens Next?

    The contentious XXX extension will have no affect on adult Dotcom websites; adult Dotcoms will remain unchanged. Furthermore, with so much adverse publicity – including threats by Governments to block XXX country by country – many will look to avoid the XXX webspace completely. For those compelled to reserve domains defensively, it’s likely that anonymity will be required as names get set as Unresolvable and/or Unknown. The outcome? Perhaps a mass of “For Sale” signs by speculators looking to offload their XXX investments.

    All ICANN has done here is to openly advance fragmentation of the Web and encourage people to find new ways of making the most of their surfing experience. The result is that Internet users are now bypassing ICANN to create their own unique, memorable and personalised range of brand new Dashcom Domains and TLDs, totally free.

    Sites such as Dashworlds.com now provide brand new Dashcom (not Dotcom) domain names. Dashcoms are addresses in format “business-com”, “paris-fashion”, “social-network” (and of course any XXX your heart might desire). Totally outside the realm and control of ICANN, Internet users can create any domain or TLD in any language, instantly and at no cost.

    With users and members in over 90 countries worldwide, resolution is via an APP; although new ISP Links are available to make this unnecessary (ISP Links that are also available to ICANN).

    Having just one Internet floating in infinite cyberspace is like saying you can go anywhere in the USA as long as you only use route 66. So now, just as in the USA (and everywhere else in the world) the Internet has more than one option.

  11. Stan

    Hostway.com has already jacked up their RENEWAL price from $7.95 to $12.95 and there services are not that great.

  12. Expatriat

    Disagree completely.

    The perception is wrong, if you see “.com” TLDs as the only “real estate” that isn´t being made anymore and therefor increases its value”.

    Globally, there are more than 30,000 new domains being registered every day (source: http://bit.ly/fHPRDV ). One doesn’t need to have an MSc in math in order to come to the conclusion that interesting domains will become scarce in 10…20…30 years but personal interest in registering a new business, brands, and ultimately, domains won’t.

    So, for example, if you ask yourself of whether or not to register the new TLD “www.radio.eco”, and you doubt that it will have any immediate SEO or marketing effects, then think a little ahead and ask yourself what will be the value of this asset in 20 or 30 years. I’m sure you wouldn’t it hard to find someone who is willing to pay you sh*it loads of money for this, very exclusive, to say it in real estate lingo, “location”.
    And even if new TLDs will be released again and again. The domain “www.burgundy.wine” (also one of the actual new TLDs) is something that is a timeless piece as well.

  13. Alan Dunn


    The biggest problem with your argument is that 90% or close of all new domain name extension registrations will be by speculators. Without a base of development that compares to at least a significant fraction of established tld’s all the new extensions will be worthless.

    You and the other 10,000 people who hope to win the lottery with one are banking on people to come in and develop domains in your extension while realistically very few ever will.

    Most big brands may simply buy for defensive registration while others may buy the one off domain for a marketing campaign. Any extensions like .hitachi or some other brand have no relevance as these are company brand names which have no bearing on other extensions.

    Remember, each extension has their own measure of success.

    What you need to do is separate the lottery dreams against the opportunities still available in the .com, .net and .org market – If these markets were 100% capitalized it may make sense to consider other extensions but they are from that.

    Anyone can debate the future of new extensions but its like going to Vegas and playing an entirely new game since you think all the other tables are full but in fact they are plenty of seats still left at the tables.

    People will invest in new extensions, make the registries rich and then come back and say Shane was right time after time.

    New extensions are not failures for the registries – they are just poor investments for the average Joe.

  14. Domainer56


    Here’s what many of you are overlooking…

    1. Almost 90% of all advertising is conducted by Fortune 500 companies.

    2. Without exception, the Fortune 500 all have .COM. Show me just one that doesn’t.

    3. The American public will continue to be bombarded and subliminally brainwashed with .COM, .COM and more .COM.

    4. Joe Entrepreneur wants to start a new business but the .COM is taken. He foolishly (or perhaps naively) opts not to buy it in favor of registering an alternative extension instead. To him, the ccTLD or gTLD seems like a good deal.

    5. He takes our billboards advertising his new domain.

    6. People see his fancy billboards and erroneously enter the .COM version of the domain name when they get home (or hit the .COM button on their iPhone).

    7. The invoices for the billboards come in and Joe can’t pay them while the .COM owner laughs all the way to the bank.

  15. Expatriat


    You say that there is still plenty of room to capitalize .com/.net/… domains. I agree to you, but only in theory: if a domain can have up to 63 characters, and “aaaaaaaaaaaaainsurance.com” hasn’t been registered yet, then you are right, there is still space for capitalization. If this beauty is taken, just add another “a” and here you go!
    But is that really likely to ever happen? Is that marketable or brandable? I don’t think so. The same basics that apply today will also apply in the future: keep the domain short and memorizable.

    The indisputable trend goes towards localization and people who will be looking for a “NYC pizza service” want to find exactly and nothing but this. Especially when they are hungry.

    Of course I’m not the pizza service myself, I’m the one who will make the NYC pizza service happy to be, additionally to his existing domain, associated and found at “www.pizzadelivery.nyc”.

    Do you really think it is so unrealistic that a San Francisco cosmetic surgeon, who makes millions creating new silicon valleys every day, could be interested in “www.cosmeticsurgeon.sfo”? Well, I don’t!

    I have referred explicitly to the time and localization factors, which you didn’t incorporate. Local businesses will be greedily going for such domains, with out a doubt. But we will all be smarter in ten years from now.

    And, by the way, for a test I have sent out just 10 emails, contacting potential stakeholders of my nTLDs. I received already 3 responses who are interested in taking over my pre-registered domains TODAY! 😉 So, call me Joe if you want, I will in the meantime open a bottle of champagne.

    And hey, small hint from Joe: champagne.nyc is still available 😉

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