[AfrICANN-discuss] 9 Reasons Your New TLD Will Failaf
annerachel at gmail.com
Fri Aug 5 18:56:15 SAST 2011
Reasons Your New TLD Will Fail Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
*Not all TLDs will fail. But here’s why yours will.*
Are you thinking about applying for a new top level domain name when the
application window opens in January? Here are some things to consider —
reasons your new TLD might be doomed to fail.
*1. You pick a TLD that’s too broad.* Here I’m thinking mostly about
something like .sport. Yes, there’s a sporting community. But they tend to
identify with particular sports or types of sports. .Sport is just too
broad. You might be able to say the same thing about general TLDs such as
.web. There’s a role for .web, but it’s something similar to what .info and
.biz have now.
*2. You price domains too high or too low.* It’s tempting to charge a lot
for domain names so you can earn more overall. But charge much more than
existing TLDs and registrants (and registrars) will pass. On the flipside,
pricing your domains too low could also cause problems. If your TLD is cheap
it will attract spammers and other bad actors (e.g. .cn). This could lead to
search engine penalties for your entire TLD or loss of confidence in users.
.Free seems particularly worrisome on two fronts: its price, and it tells
web visitors that the web site publisher wasn’t willing to fork over ten
bucks for a “real” domain. Kind of like Geocities addresses.
*3. You make your TLD too restrictive.* It’s important for community top
level domain names to have good restrictions to keep the community’s trust.
But burdensome and un-automated verifications will doom your domains. First,
registrants don’t want to spend time fulfilling your requests. Second,
registrars don’t want to bother with introducing a verification system in
the registration process.
*4. You don’t get into bed with major registrars.* In most cases you’ll need
to sell your domain names through existing registrars. You have to make best
friends with the major registrars. Wine and dine them for shelf space.
*5. You offer products that compete with registrars’ profitable
add-ons.*Registrars make little money on domain sales. They make it
such as hosting, whois privacy, etc. If your idea of TLD innovation is to
offer a package of competing solutions to the registrant, don’t count on
registrars giving you shelf space. Consider .tel. It didn’t offer competing
products, but it eliminated two profitable ones: web hosting (because you
can’t host sites on them) and whois privacy.
doesn’t carry .tel.
*6. You pay too much in auction.* If you go up against many competing
applicants for the same TLD you could end up spending a lot of money in an
auction. Make sure you have money left over for marketing.
*7. You think ‘if you build it, they will come’.* Registrants won’t be
lining up at your door. Consider the significant marketing .co undertook
with its recent launch. It’s not easy, and it will be even harder when
competing with hundreds of other new TLDs.
*8. You attract too many domain investors and not enough end users.* If
domain investors snap up all of your domain names then few of them will be
developed. You need developed domains in order to spread the word about your
TLD. Take a look at what happened to .eu. I really like the RFP process some
registries are using to allocate premium domains by requiring a solid
development and marketing plan.
*9. You don’t have a local sales channels for your city TLD.* City TLDs will
be tricky. Don’t expect GoDaddy to offer .nyc anywhere near the top of the
list since it applies to so few customers. (Unless, of course, they use
geolocation to pitch it to New Yorkers.) You need a door-to-door salesforce
for these TLDs. Same thing goes for community TLDs — the smaller the niche,
the more you need to focus on marketing directly to that niche.
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