Will the Magical Launch of App Domain Extensions Turn Into a Disenchantment?
It’s been over three years since Google paid $25 million for the rights to manage the .app top-level domain. Since then the search engine brought the domain extension to general availability and was hailed by domain enthusiasts everywhere. The latest addition to the domain name landscape had over 200 thousand registrations within days and would become the turning point for new types of top-level domains.
In the run-up to the release of .app domains to the general public, the new top-level domain (TLD) already created a real buzz on the web. People shared Google’s sentiment that the domain ending would be a great opportunity for app developers and others in the tech industry to buy a suitable domain name without paying the premium price of a com suffix.
Once Google released the top-level domain we saw registration numbers going through the roof. The domain industry was in awe by its first week: over 200.000 new domain registrations for a new type of top-level domain is a phenomenal success, especially in its first week. The high interest in the launch of .app domains led people (including us) to see a trend that could benefit other new TLDs as well.
But now the dust has settled and the domain industry is back to everyday business it is time for an important question; is Google’s .app domain extension really doing that great?
Beyond Registration Numbers
Those with an interest in domains and their development have long focused on registration numbers. Google scored high with hundreds of thousands in their first week, and other big names like .club and .top are also praised for their sizeable market share.
But registered domains don’t tell the whole story. This statement was proven last year by top-level domain .xyz when it noticed a big drop in its registration numbers. In previous years .xyz was marked as one of the fastest growing new top-level domains in the industry, but these numbers were mostly gained by offering extremely cheap domain registrations for 99 cents per domain. The low price initially led to a surge in domains with the .xyz domain ending but when premiums rose after a year those domain owners lost interest and canceled their contract.
Even though .xyz domains seem to recover slightly, its sudden drop should be seen as a warning to other new top-level domain registries. You can sell as many domains as you want but in the end, it is all about what people are going to do with those domains. If your registrations stay an undeveloped website there is a big chance that they won’t be renewed after a year and you can’t build a stable business on that.
The Case of App Domains
Whether we will see the same thing happening to the app domain ending is a question for the future. Most domains have only just been registered and we won’t have a definite answer until somewhere next year. But to get a first impression, we can already look at the development of those domains so far.
Of the .app domains in the Dataprovider.com database, just under 40 percent currently has a placeholder rather than a (partially) developed website. If those placeholders stay on their pages in the coming year these domains are at risk of non-renewal and could negatively influence the .app registration numbers next year. If you’re in the domain name industry, you should therefore always look beyond registration numbers and pay attention to what is really happening on the domains.
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