A post on the Afnic blog this week is intended to give food for thought on what makes up a successful top-level domain, suggesting one way could be via the 7 As – awareness, amplitude, advantage, access, adoption, activity and affect.
For each TLD, the post by Loïc Damilaville notes, there are different metrics. Legacy gTLDs, new gTLDs and ccTLDs are all different, and even within the differing TLDs there are differing metrics – success for a .brand gTLD is completely different for a generic gTLD or ccTLD. And even with generic gTLDs there are differing metrics.
So a summary of the 7 As as outlined by Damilaville, who is a Deputy Director General at Afnic, manager of the French ccTLD .fr as well as 17 new gTLDs and a number of ccTLDs for French territories, are:
1) Awareness: the most well-known market factor as well as relating to an objective reality: “domain names in general such as new TLDs still suffer from a certain lack of awareness among the general public” and “individuals are simply unaware of this precious tool for consolidating their online presence.”
2) Amplitude: refers “to a TLD’s volume potential in terms of target audience and catchment area.” This varies from highly restrictive TLDs to open generics such as “the highly restrictive .BANK, to the .COOP for cooperatives, for example, which cannot really be consider as ‘failures’ when they achieve tens of thousands of names. As for ccTLDs, which usually have local reach, Amplitude will depend to a large extent on the spread of the Internet in the particular country.”
3) Advantage: “the advantages generated by the TLD for both clients and the registry with its registrars. It’s the ‘value-added’ in the wider sense that will explain why registrars will be more or less inclined to suggest this TLD to their clients.”
4) Access: this refers to “market access, meaning their capacity for being listed with the right registrars for the target audience.” This varies for .com that is available through almost all ICANN-accredited registrars while by “way of contrast, some TLDs are only issued by a handful of registrars, which can compromise their development. ccTLDs are often marketed by their own local registrar networks, a minority of which have the sole status of ‘ICANN registrar’, although this does not prevent them from developing a dense network across national territory.”
5) Adoption: is the TLD seen as a “must-have” or “nice- to-have” when it comes to Internet presence? The answer Damilaville notes “will often depend on the target audience, but we can look at the example of .CORP / .BRAND, which are currently ‘nice-to-have’ for major groups but might become ‘must-have’ in a few decades.”
6) Activity: “a TLD will last if it is economically viable, but also if it can be sure of a good renewal rate. This relates in part to the use that owners make of the names. Is it sites providing content and functionalities that can extend as far as e-commerce? Or is it just parking pages or websites generated automatically but of no interest to visitors?”
7) Affect: lastly “’Affect’ is also about the renewal rate, representing the retention rate that goes beyond the actual level of usage.”
To read Damilaville’s column Key success factors for Internet extensions: an evaluation grid in more detail, go to: https://www.afnic.fr/en/resources/blog/key-success-factors-for-internet-extensions-an-evaluation-grid.html