I wouldn’t invest in generic top-level domains

For one very good reason


Don’t invest in gTLD

A generic top-level domain (gTLD) is visible to Internet users as the suffix at the end of a domain name. Per example, http://www.myblog.travel.

New top-level domains are currently being deployed. In the last 15 years, some successful domainers have been able to register generic domain names, like wisky.com, and to trade them, or sell them to end-users at several millions. Sedo.com has been, and still is a important actor in the domain name industry on the second market.

Is it worst to speculate on gTLD domain names?

All the new extensions, like .domains or .voyage, are subject to discussion in the domainers world. Here is a reaction I found online.

The new extensions are already here, and in few years the .COMs will be almost death. Soon, best domain names will be short & brandable,
so Vacation.rentals will be much better than VacationRentals.com, sold for $36,000,000 USD. So just forget about the .COM; this is your grandfather extension.

Let me tell it short : I do not believe one word of it. Buying large amount of gTLD to resell them later is a financial suicide from my opinion.


The prices of the .com domain names have been quite high for generic names, like house.com, mainly because they are rare. If only one extension exists, and you want a nice domain name, you have to fight for it. Things are changing, but I do not see why a .cab domain name will be more used than a .pro, or .me that have been a failure until now. Even .tel, with a promising solution to replace phone numbers didn’t make it to the general public. Why would a .ninja or .accountant be better? I wouldn’t invest too much in it, because I see opportunities to put my money in more interesting topics, like bitcoin.

Will gTLD be used?

I am not convinced. Polish National Tourist Office launched a marketing campaign about Poland on poland.travel with some european money between 2007 and 2013. When you see go to poland.travel on a billboard, 80% of the people are lost and do not understand that it is a website with a .travel extension. For them, websites end with .com or .co.uk, twitter accunts start with @, and emails are like name@xxxxx.de. Would you use john.smith@ing.ninja for a company with more than 5 employees?

Anyway, the main reason not to invest in gTLD is that even the gTLD registars do not believe in it.

Almost none of them use it for their corporate website, look at mindsandmachines.com, donuts.co, rightside.co, radixregistry.com … I agree that nic.link or nic.ceo are using their extensions, but I do not expect vodka.link to be sold at more than 1% of vodka.com. Especially because .vodka is now available. Canibalisation (and alternatives) has an impact on the selling price.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZY9HpEsSJ4

Let’s take donuts.co, the owner of .agency, .boutique, .events, .foundation, .cool, .education … How is it possible that they do not use donuts.company for their own website? They are using a columbian extension .co (like rightside.co) because donuts.com is taken, and few internet companies started to use the .co instead of the .com those last years. Why wouldn’t other users do the same? I also see that .education will be used by schools that can’t get a .edu because they are not a real education institution. This is not good for trusting the extension.

Did you personally already surfed a .pro website or a .aero ? Why would you, in fact? So, why a .engineer? How to remember a pictures website name when .photo, .photos and .photography are all available?

http://vimeo.com/80917382

What gTLD are really for

I see a positive point however in the gTLD: for the world cities. Those new extensions are not to widen Internet, but to specialize it even more, by adding a localized extension, and to add some trust regarding the content.

For a long time, paris.fr has been using its domain name to built a strong identity. It could be easily replaced by ville.paris but only if the city is owning the rights to sell .paris domain names. Currently, all cities in France can get their cityname.fr domain even if it is registered by someone else. They just go to court and get it, like any other brand would do. The idea is to avoid that domainers are registering the city name before local communities are able to do it (what domainers do in fact). German cities are also interested in having their own extension. On nic.berlin, we can read ‘Für Berlin, für Berliner’, that doesn’t seem to be open to domaining activities.

Another city extension that will be used is for Brussels in Belgium: look per example at http://www.softwareinbrussels.be/, everything is already ready for the .brussels extension in the top left corner.

softwareinbrussels.be

Moreover, we all knew the .cat, for catalonia, or .re for french réunion island didn’t make any revolution in the industry, but I foresee a success in localized extension, like .bayern, .quebec or .alsace targeting larger groups (and bigger economies). The new .vlaanderen top level domain is an initiative of the Flemish government, which wants to promote ‘Vlaanderen’ in the world. The .vlaanderen domain name will over time become the new home of all Flemish governmental services.


To summarize

  • gTLD registars do not believe in the gTLD usage themselves
  • gTLD is another Gold Rush, only the ones who are selling equipment (registars) will become rich, nor the miners (domainers)
  • Localized (city, regions) gTLD can be successful if official authorities are using, owning and promoting them. It could be used as a certification for official websites. The goal is finally getting rid of speculation and bring back trust in who is owning which domain name. You can’t register bar.berlin from the caymans islands and generate money from selling it to a bar in Berlin.

I also would like to add that you shouldn’t listen to any americans about the gTLD, they already do not understand country extensions, they can hardly estimate how non-american people react to domain names.


If you heavily invested in gTLD as a domainer, please let me know why. Thanks. I wish you good luck anyway.