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Q&A With Rami Schwartz, Founder and CEO of .tube

Sue Schuster

After its initial launch in 2016 and with over 1,800 domains registered, the .tube TLD recently released over 25,000 previously reserved domains as part of a broader re-launch of its business and brand. I spoke with Rami Schwartz, Founder and CEO of .tube about the journey so far and about what's in store for .tube in the New Year.


Can you tell us a little about the story of .tube so far?

Through Latin American Telecom LLC, I've been in the Internet business for over 20 years. I'm also a writer with three published books and numerous articles, so I have a strong interest in and passion for language. In 2006, Google acquired YouTube and video was becoming a major trend on the Internet. The word 'tube' was becoming synonymous with online video.

Initially, we invested heavily in the term 'tube' by buying thousands of relevant domain names — such as israeltube.com, comedytube.com and so on — and creating a parking facility for those names. We also registered the brand 'TUBE' in 2011 to support our strategy. Shortly after, when ICANN announced the opening up of the domain naming space for new Top-Level Domains we applied for '.tube'. This was a historic period for the internet. No longer would we be confined to non-descript domain endings like .com or .net!

After three years of battling two other applicants for the extension, it went to private auction, and we secured the TLD. Ever since we've been developing the .tube TLD as a viable destination for video-oriented online projects.

What have been some of the successes and challenges for .tube so far?

We've established .tube as a credible TLD option and have built a good reputation in the industry. Registrars have a good perception of the string and have expressed a lot of potential for it, which we've supported by building a strong corporate image and really defining out target market.

We're used to fighting against companies much larger than us and prevailing — our history has seen us come up against the likes of the Mexican Government and Google — but the regulatory environment of the domain name industry has been a major obstacle. The application process drained a lot of energy and capital from the company. Because of the way it played out, we missed the chance to enjoy a first-mover advantage, and by the time .tube was able to sell its first name, there was a sense of exhaustion and confusion in the market.

However, we're steadily gaining adoption and recognition, and have been successful in building a solid infrastructure and working with the largest Registrars in the world to sell our names. We have the gasoline, gunpowder and the wick; now we are working hard on getting the spark to see this explode.

What opportunity does .tube offer for today's digital creators?

Aside from selling .tube domain names, we've developed a set of tools to easily create video-driven Internet channels hosted on your own .tube website. The two different website creation tools are for all levels of ability, from the novice (see go.tube) to the sophisticated, and both have the capability to create sites that overcome some of the limitations of other public video platforms. These include limited control over 'look and feel' and therefore branding; censorship; lack of monetization; and lack of ownership of the audience. A site created with our tools on a .tube domain can complement existing channels, so we see it as a great companion to public platforms.

Who is using .tube domains?

We've had some really great examples of .tube adoption, such as educate.tube, jeffabelandfriends.tube, thesocialitelife.tube and lewisspears.tube.

One user we're really excited about and have partnered with recently to promote .tube is Adrian Marie of dTube. dTube is similar to Napster, a system where creators can host their videos on their own computers or in the cloud and share online. dTube allows its users to monetize content with a cryptocurrency and offers creators an uncensored platform on a domain name where they control their look and feel. Adrian recently transitioned from another domain over to d.tube, and we're excited to work with him on his goal to combat some of the challenges faced by creators on other platforms.

What are your goals for .tube and what can we expect to see in 2018?

We aim to become the most desirable domain name extension for video-oriented sites. We view domain names as virtual real estate and want to be the best neighborhood for video channels. When people see .tube, they recognize that term and know what content to expect. We want to build a community of video creators that can identify themselves easily with a .tube website. In the coming year, we're hoping to see greater adoption from creators looking to overcome the limitations of other platforms, ideally reaching 10,000 live website channels. Video is the killer application of the future — Cisco estimates that IP video traffic will be 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2021 — and .tube wants to truly become the address where video lives.

By Sue Schuster, Client Engagement Manager, Registry Services at Neustar
Related topics: Domain Names, New TLDs, Web
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"Gain sharing" Jean Guillon  –  Jan 09, 2018 1:05 AM PDT

Did they try the gain sharing method to develop their TLD ?

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