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Political New gTLDs: One Year in Review

Jean Guillon

Once a month, at the end of the month, a snapshot of domain name registration volumes is taken according to categories of new gTLDs. Twenty categories are covered and this article covers Political new gTLDs. These snapshots allow having a global overview of which extensions increase their volume of domain names registered from a month to the other, in a period of 12 months. Below is what I noticed from January 2018 to December 2018 for domain name extensions related to politics.

20 categories covered

Some domain name extensions extracted from the full list of the 1,930 ICANN new gTLD applications submitted in the first round were regrouped in categories such as "politics", "luxury", "music", "catering", "photography", "city names", domains dedicated to "companies", "law and justice", "finance", "colors", "sports", "alcohol", "real estate", "french new gTLD applications", "religions", "cars and automotive", "health" and "adults". Two other monthly reports cover:
1) new gTLDs existing in their "singular and plural" version;
2) Group of registries operating five and more domain name extensions.

These reports include some .BRAND new gTLDs (dedicated to the exclusive use of Trademarks and some IDNs (Internationalized domain name extensions). The "Politics" new gTLD report includes eleven extensions.

12 domain name extensions for politics

1) The .DEMOCRAT new gTLD
2) .EXPOSED
3) .FAIL
4) .GIVES
5) .GRIPE
6) .GURU
7) .GOP
8) .BEST
9) .REPUBLICAN
10) .VOTE
11) .VOTING
12) .VOTO ("vote" in Spanish)

From January 2018 to December 2018

• The first thing to notice is that one extension only has more than 10,000 domain name registrations. The 11 remaining are closer to 4,000 registrations.

• Six extensions have more registrations in December 2018 than what they had in January:

1) .FAIL
2) .EXPOSED
3) .GIVES
4) .BEST
5) .GRIPE
6) .VOTO

• The .VOTE is one that should be used massively by political parties and other affiliate organizations but it accumulates less than 3,000 registrations worldwide.

• There are more ".democrat" domain name registrations than ".republican" ones.

• None of the 12 extensions kept growing from one month to the other on a 12 months period of time.

• The .GOP and .REPUBLICAN new gTLDs have less registrations in December 2018 than what they had in January from the same year.

• Surprisingly, negative extensions are successful: .FAIL - .EXPOSED and .GRIPE had more registrations in December than in January.

• The .BEST new gTLD now follows an interesting learning curve.

• The .VOTO new gTLD has 348 registrations in total.

"Volumes" are a long debate

There is a long debate on volumes of domain name created by registries: some say that "use" matters the most and that's what drives to volumes of registrations (but this takes time); some, like ".com" domain name investors, like to focus on volumes only (and like to laugh about the ridiculous numbers of new domains created compared to ".com"). I like to focus on both because volumes matter in terms of sales when you are a registry. I believe that "use" is not enough to install a new domain name extension because volumes of domains created also allow a new gTLD to be noticed by the general public (note that domain name registration volumes can be inflated too).

Some categories of TLDs generate much more interest than politics. This is a series of articles focusing on new domain name registration volumes from the ICANN new gTLD program.

By Jean Guillon, New gTLDs "only".
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Reverse cash gushers John Levine  –  Jan 09, 2019 9:49 AM PDT

With only 4000 names, a TLD can't possibly be covering its ongoing costs. How much longer until they run out of cash. Even with 10,000 it's pretty marginal.

They will certainly struggle if the numbers John McCormac  –  Jan 09, 2019 10:30 AM PDT

They will certainly struggle if the numbers are below 10K and there are salaries and costs to be paid. Portfolio operators may have better luck but some of the top NGTs are dependent on discounting in the Chinese market to maintain registrations volume. The problem is that crude and simplistic analysis of zonefile numbers misses the fact that non-renewal is high in some NGTs. Perhaps one of the classic examples of the irrational exuberance that afflicted the NGT market is the .WED one where renewing registrants were to be discouraged by massively increased renewal fees.

Registration volume as a metric is not reliable due to the use of discounting as business model. A small NGT with reasonable wholesale fees may be more viable than one reliant on discounting. The discounting NGT has to chase the next set of discounted registrations to replace those that delete. The smaller non-discounter will have better renewal rates whereas the discounter may have very few renewals.

Discounting and abuse John Levine  –  Jan 09, 2019 10:49 AM PDT

I completely agree about discounting, particularly since the only people who want cheap bulk names are crooks, so a heavily discounted TLD is a TLD where nobody wants its traffic.
But in most of these TLDs, even at the regular price I don't see how they have the revenue to keep the doors open. We've already seen .WED fail, and 45 abandoned vanity TLDs. This is not a business I would want to be in.

Crooks or Brand protection? Jean Guillon  –  Jan 10, 2019 1:02 AM PDT

I registered jovenet.link ; jovenet.domains and the same ending in ".email". They were cheap ones at the time. The same in ".com" and ".fr". I don't really use them but found a use to them: does it makes me a crook?

What about brand protection? Are you a crook because you protect your assets registering cheap domain names?

What about SEO ? Owning domain names and using them for Search Engine Optimization is a bright strategy: are you a crook because you use cheap domains?

Come on :-)

Premiums and .LUXURY new gTLD Jean Guillon  –  Jan 09, 2019 9:52 AM PDT

Please dig more into that direction.
:-)

No, let's look at .EXPOSED. It John Levine  –  Jan 09, 2019 10:06 AM PDT

No, let's look at .EXPOSED.  It has 3200 names, and about a $15 wholesale price. Or at .FAIL, 3700 names at about $25. How long will that last?

Not wrong...but... Jean Guillon  –  Jan 09, 2019 10:55 AM PDT

I don't know about the .EXPOSED business model but:
- I am familiar with the cost per domain name creation some registries pay to their backend registry: that is a serious problem to some of them (this is a lesson learnt for round 2). Some pay below $1 per creation…
- I also have, in front of me, a contract one registry signed with his backend registry solution provider and again, that is a SERIOUS problem to develop when you can't leave your backend because the leaving fee is too high or when the annual commitment is too important. I read a contract and I don't understand how could someone have agreed on such a deal. Signing this just killed the entire project before it was even launched…
- You don't choose a solution provider who is against new gTLDs :-)
- You don't need a huge team to run a TLD.
- Some Premium domain name strategies are very efficient and allow a small registry to be profitable with a minimum number of domains created. Now, who keeps paying a huge renewal cost for a Premium domain...I don't think that such strategy works in the long term. Combined to a low wholesale price, regular promotions, it's profitable.

The .EXPOSED and .FAIL new gTLDs are projects from Donuts so I guess that other TLDs from their portfolio make the difference.

Don't forget ICANN John Levine  –  Jan 09, 2019 10:57 AM PDT

There's a minimum $25K/yr ICANN fee, too. We seem to agree that new TLDs are a fool's business.

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