Registrations Alone Not A Determinant of the Success of New gTLDs

ARI Registry ServicesThe new gTLD programme that commenced its first registrations in General Availability in February 2014 has now soared past the six and a half million registrations mark with the gTLD with the most registrations, .xyz, having now passed the one million registrations mark.

But what makes a successful new gTLD? Is it registration numbers? Or are there other metrics involved? And even if it’s registration numbers, are numbers needed in the hundreds of thousands to be considered successful?

Recently I spoke with Jeremy Ebbels, General Manager – Registry Services, at ARI Registry Services to discuss what makes a new gTLD successful.

Registrations, Ebbels said, are not the only indicator of success. Other important indicators are usage, how well the gTLD is used, how many resolve and how many are used in the wild. There must also be sustainable revenues, trust in the namespace and ensuring the gTLD meets its mission and purpose.

And not all of the new gTLDs are going to get instant recognition like your .xyz, .berlin and .club. Some are going to take some time to build awareness. New gTLDs such as .physio, .courses and .study will take time to engage their market as the registry operators build awareness through their marketing activities and campaigns. In the case of .physio, it’s physiotherapists that will be targeted to register domains.

One new gTLD that ARI has been providing backend registry services for, and is particularly happy with, is .one. While it has achieved over 11,000 registrations in the few months since General Availability commenced and ranks 78th on (at the time of writing), which compiles statistics on new gTLDs, the usage of the domains registered has been very satisfying according to Ebbels, which is generally a good indication that a domain is likely to be renewed.

Understanding some of these issues, along with the lack of knowledge out there, ARI came up with the idea to expand their consultancy services. They don’t own any gTLDs, rather they provide technical, marketing, management and strategy advice and services. And so they’re helping other operators by providing their expertise.

Some of the areas ARI is working with clients is to ensure they are compliant with ICANN policies, monitoring malicious activity, marketing and general  strategy as well as  operational implementation projects and all in all, helping these new gTLD operators lower their costs and get while providing  expert advice and services. A sample of the clients ARI has been able to work with include the operators of .sydney, .melbourne, .film, .courses, .study, .physio, .monash and .شبكة (.web in Arabic and pronounced “dot shabaka”).

Looking to the future, Ebbels said that should there be future rounds of applications for new gTLDs, there is going to strong interest. While he wouldn’t divulge any discussions ARI had had with potential applicants, he said there was a wide range of brands, regions and cities and generics who have all expressed an interest.