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Assessing Current Generic New gTLDs

Jean Guillon

If we are already familiar with new generic Top-Level Domains from the ICANN new gTLD program, also called "new gTLDs", are we just as familiar with these new domain name extensions, which are called "generic" and which could be an alternative to the existing ".com" domain name extension?

Not so many

As the list of new gTLDs is very long, we can easily say that there is a Top-Level Domain for any kind of business: a ".club" for Clubs, a ".news" for News, a ".dentist" for Dentists, a ".actor" for Actors, etc… But what about these domain name extensions which could become an alternative for the already very popular ".com" domain names?

I went through the list of new domain name extensions published by the ICANN and here are the extensions I extracted from the 1,034 delegated TLDs as of the 17th of June 2016:

1) The .SITE new gTLD;
2) The .ONLINE new gTLD;
3) The .WEBSITE new gTLD;
4) The .GDN new gTLD;
5) The .WORLD new gTLD;
6) The .GLOBAL new gTLD;
7) The .INTERNATIONAL new gTLD;
8) The .WEB new gTLD which has not yet been delegated but which is a serious generic domain name extension.

I also added the .XYZ and .HOME new gTLDs but I am still unsure about these two.

I love ".com" but...

If ".com" domain names are highly recognizable, new gTLDs offer a plus that I cannot find in "com": the possibility to give a definition to my online content, directly in the URL. I also heard that it has become difficult to find an available ".com" domain name but there is a solution when this happens: if it is a ".com" domain name that you want and the domain name is not available: just change your name because you will waste so much time trying to acquire it that it is not worth it for a new project. At least, in my opinion.

The ".gdn" new gTLD

At Jovenet Consulting, we edit new gTLD reports and track new domain name registration volumes, according to businesses and industries. When there is a noticeable change at any Registry, we can usually see it, because we edit these reports manually every day.

In the past few weeks we have noticed a loss of domain name registrations for certain extensions: when the level of domain name registrations has kept on decreasing for one week to the next. We have noticed serious increases from other extensions but our eyes focused on the progression curve of the dotGDN Registry since it has kept increasing significantly week after week.

"GDN" stands for "Global Domain Name", its definition clearly makes it a ".com" challenger. It is short and one of the cheapest domain name on the market. This might explain why its progression is so fast.

100,000 domain names registered

...and counting. I followed the past eight week of domain name registrations and here are the numbers:

• Week 18: 14,879 registrations;
• Week 19: 16,262
• Week 20: 16,270
• Week 21: 16,863
• Week 22: 17,894

Nothing impressive until now but here is what comes next:

• Week 23: 18,864 registrations;
• Week 24: 83,264
• Week 25: 114,264 (updated on Tuesday the 21st of June).

At the moment I am writing these lines, the number is 136,011 and could double by next month (source: nTLDStats.com).

By Jean Guillon, New generic Top-Level Domains' specialist
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.BUSINESS Max Menius  –  Jun 27, 2016 12:08 PM PDT

Jean - I would add .business to the list. In my view, it is the most clean, intuitive and recognizable.

With .com having been intended as an abbreviation for "commercial" enterprises, .business adds more clarity and sense of purpose. A potential drawback with the non-descript addresses like .web, .site or .xyz, is they don't enhance the url string since they don't suggest anything about the entity using it (ex. affordable.xyz vs. affordable.condos). That may be preferable depending on the intended use.

The best rationale for new tld adoption is their ability to tell the audience what resource they will likely find when the site resolves. This added clarity is actually what gave rise to the popularity and success of 2 and 3 word long-tail domains, i.e. a greater level of specificity was provided. The new tld's take this to a new level.

The .BUSINESS new gTLD Jean Guillon  –  Jun 28, 2016 1:22 AM PDT

Hello Max,
It is interesting because the Nameshield report lists this TLD a domain name extension used in French too: https://goo.gl/NxBQkJ so I agree it can be understood in other languages. The GENERIC new gTLD report is about TLDs that can cover everything but the word "business" is about money. That is why I didn't add it. I plan to add .CONTACT and .TEL but I am still unsure about these two.

Assessing a TLD Guillaume Pahud  –  Jun 30, 2016 4:35 AM PDT

Thanks for the very interesting post Jean. I think it is not possible to have a "standard" assessment for Top Level Domains, as they may follow various strategies. Restricted TLD, or verified TLDs is one of them - in the "generic" generic, comsec enters in this category I would imagine - where volume is not the most important factor. The dot brand observatory - https://observatory.domains assesses branded Top Level Domains based on 5 objective criteria :
- Content
- Popularity
- Taxonomy
- Volume
- Search Engine optimization

This enables to give a good picture of brands

Guillaume Pahud

The truth Jean Guillon  –  Jun 30, 2016 4:54 AM PDT

In fact the title is not mine here: it was changed by CircleId. My original was: "Generic new gTLDs" ;-) Of coure, registration volumes are not a criteria for .BRANDS but it certainly has an impact on SEO (cross linking, etc...).

Most of the new gTLDs are not John McCormac  –  Jun 30, 2016 5:51 PM PDT

Most of the new gTLDs are not actually generic TLDs. The TLD string acts as a limiter in much the same way as the TLD string of a ccTLD defines the target market for the TLD.

.BRANDS Jean Guillon  –  Jul 01, 2016 12:33 AM PDT

And I hope .BRAND new gTLD applications will be named differently for Round two. They were named "generic applications" in Round one, when they are not.

It gets very confusing, Jean,The .BRAND registrations John McCormac  –  Jul 01, 2016 3:03 AM PDT

It gets very confusing, Jean,
The .BRAND registrations are highly specialised gTLDs. Many of them will have few internet-facing websites and servers initially. This means that they will develop at a different rate to the generic gTLDs. The .XYZ gTLD would be the main generic in that set you listed. The TLD string actually defines the niche for the gTLD with many new gTLDs and limits them in the same way a ccTLD string limits registrations to the ccTLD's market. The TLD string in a true generic TLD doesn't identify the market or focus of the TLD. Thus the .BRAND registrations are not generic at all.

What you are seeing with some of the deletions on some of the new gTLDs recently is the "Junk Dump" phase. This occurs when highly speculative domain names that were registered in the Sunrise/Land rush phases are not renewed. This happens with all new TLDs. Even with .EU which went into Land rush phase ten years ago, the Land Rush/Junk Dump echo is still visible in the registration statistics every year between March and June and there is an increase in .EU deletions.

In terms of development, some websites in new TLDs will generally redirect to the registrant's primary brand site in .COM or .ccTLD. It isn't until the TLD begins to gain acceptance (typically year three or four) that a kind of increasing reversal happens with the .COM or .ccTLD website redirecting to the primary brand website in the new TLD. It is a subtle indicator of acceptance of a new TLD.

Some of the spikes in new gTLD registrations are due to promotions, discounts and freebie registrations. However the renewal rate on those registrations tends to be low and most of these discounted registrations are effectively short term (one year wonders) registrations.

In regard to my list Jean Guillon  –  Jul 01, 2016 3:08 AM PDT

It is why I put the .XYZ at the end of my list with a strikethrough: I am not sure that it is a generic because it defines nothing.
I remember about .EU, I was the person to validate contracts there at EURid ;-)

Approaching 200.000 domains Jean Guillon  –  Jul 05, 2016 6:36 AM PDT

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