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  • Christa Taylor

    Nicely summarized Christopher. There are definitely a few ‘themes’ to the 2016 predictions and it will be interesting to see how they roll out along with any surprises!

    • http://www.europeandomaincentre.com/ Christopher Hofman

      Thanks Christa. I’m sure there will be many surprises in 2016 😉

  • Andre Forrester

    Great piece here Christopher with some great advice. Thanks for putting this together!

    • http://www.europeandomaincentre.com/ Christopher Hofman

      Thanks Andre. Yes, they did a great job 😉

  • http://LinkedIn.com/in/DomainNameConsultant Joseph Peterson

    There’s a startling degree of consensus here.

    Konstantinos Zournas and I both wish to steer the conversation away from Quantity towards Quality. As he points out, credit.cards offers something that creditcards.web doesn’t, even though .WEB is expected to beat .CARDS in terms of overall numbers. We must look for smaller successes – often in isolated niches. Individual stories mean more than tally marks.

    A number of people apart from me are emphasizing domain placement with end users. Kathy Nielsen mentions “promotions that encourage development and usage”; she wants niche marketing “directly to the end user” as opposed to “a mass, generic audience”. Rob Rozicki is with me in seeing Chinese registrations as being of dubious quality, stessing that “we need usage” not numbers. Likewise, Bill Hartzer says the “key” is “encouraging website development”; and when he says this means “getting in front of your ideal domain buyer, not domain investors”, it’s clear he also believes registries have gone after short-term gains and taken the wrong long-term course.

    Domainers do matter. I’ve called them the outsourced, unpaid marketing arm of registries. Whether end users or domainers, registries need “stakeholders that are committed to their TLDs”, as Joe Alagna remarks. But relying on domainers is no substitute for real registry marketing. Both must work in concert. As a matter of fact, registries get in domainers’ way with outlandish pricing and long reserved lists. Joe Alagna is right in saying “we would gain more traction as an industry by interfering in the market less.”

    In general, registries overestimated demand and underestimated the uphill battle they’d face in securing awareness / adoption. Michele Neylon is not alone in shaking his head at “very strange assumptions about how their TLDs would be adopted and what price point the market would bear”.

    With few exceptions, marketing has been unsuccessful in gaining meaningful end-user adoption. 2016 should see the focus there.

    • http://www.europeandomaincentre.com/ Christopher Hofman

      Great summary Joseph. It would be interesting to hear from Mason, Sean and the other new TLD registries how they plan to focus on marketing efforts differently in 2016. My hope is that ICANN decides to go full steam ahead sponsoring the global awareness of the new TLDs. While their quarterly global awareness studies are valuable to know where we stand, they should make an effort to promote the concept as well.

      • Graham Haynes

        Hi Christopher
        ICANN are not going to promote or sponsor one string over another. Its in their constitution. Nor will they promote a whole class i.e new gTLDs over the legacy TLDs for the same reason. The registry(s) have to do it themselves, they knew the rules before they applied and ICANN is not there to invest and do the heavy lifting regarding new gTLD awareness.

        Having so many new gTLDs has diluted their value and effectiveness. The registry(s) are mainly now trying to rinse domain speculators as they change their business model to sell for a $1 in the first year and hope enough renew and achieve profit in subsequent years at the higher renewal price. Even the much praised .club is doing this in China. The China market is slowing dramatically, in the first 4 months of the year.

        Consolidation whereby the failing strings will be acquired for cents on the dollar will now happen and Mind+Machines are in dire trouble and only keeping afloat by losing so many contested auctions. Operationally in big loss making territory. They are selling .work for a $1 and its accounts for a third of all their registrations!

        • http://www.europeandomaincentre.com/ Christopher Hofman

          Hi Graham, thanks for your comment. I’m not saying that they should promote one tld over another. For my sake they can promote .biz until people’s ears fall off. Their coffers have been filled the last years, by the very same people who now need their help. They should allocate a huge amount to promote ALL the options available. Most people only know .com, which isn’t fair to the rest of the programme. I’d be happy to donate our all TLDs infographic with an ICANN logo, if they would do worldwide advertorials for it ;).,

          • Graham Haynes

            I would love it if someone used their money to promote/market my product. I’m sure we will hear this more and more as some of the new gTLDs fail. Blame ICANN, in any way you want to couch it, for lack of promotion. In truth the registry(s) thought there would be people queuing up to purchase their names. ICANN’s purpose is to make the naming system stable and inter-operable and not promotion marketing, they are non profit making and this is the registry responsibility.
            What we are now seeing is the realisation of the prediction made in 2011 by ICANN founding chairman Esther Dyson who wrote an argument against the proliferation of new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs), a reversal in policy that allowed for the creation of numerous top-level domains for arbitrary purposes, like .cloud, .rich, .plumbing, and for reasons that defy logic, both .black and .blackfriday.
            Dyson predicted that this expansion would “create lots of work for
            lawyers, marketers of search-engine optimization, registries, and
            registrars” constituting what is ultimately a “waste of resources.”
            There simply is not the demand because the legacy TLDs offered enough options/supply to satisfy the current demand.
            Its a long play now to see if there is increased demand in future to justify a 1000 newGTLDs – not in my life time.
            As an aside why not use the shortner EuropeanDomain.center available at $30 a year, why because there is no need, your dot com URL does very nicely and it saves explaining to everyone its .center and not .center.com or center.com, a classic reason why they are not being adopted.

          • http://www.europeandomaincentre.com/ Christopher Hofman

            You can find doom sayers in any niche. I would onlylisten to Elon Musk. I have great fun listening to Howard Fellman on LinkedIn if you want to tune into a .com evangelist 😉 i have always stated that the new TLDs was a second chance for startups to get a great domain name, which in some cases is better than .com. Changing domain hardly only makes sense, when you rebrand your business (although I did write a post about 50 businesses which upgraded their domain name without rebranding.

          • Graham Haynes

            I agree with that Christopher, Elon Musk is inspirational and being an owner of one of his cars Ive brought into him. I also agree with the new gTLDs being great for start ups and those that are looking to re brand and cant afford the .com or ccTLD. Where I think we diverge, is I believe many will fail simply because there is not enough start ups/rebranding to justify so many gTLDs for example in the same genre; .photos .photo .photography .digital .pics or if you think you are a genius in photography, photography.guru .ninja .pro and the list goes on……. Not sustainable.
            You can find cheerleaders in any niche aswell, especially if they are invested and suffer from confirmation bias.

          • http://www.europeandomaincentre.com/ Christopher Hofman

            Many will fail as in any other abundant market . Eg the US has seen 1.800 car manufacturers since 1896. How many are left today? But let’s at least give them reasonable working conditions, ICANN decided to sell tickets to everyone. We went from 260 to 800 tlds in two years. Completely overwhelming for businesses and internet users. It’s only fair that Icann spend some of this money to inform what’s available and build trust.

          • Graham Haynes

            We are getting to a consensus. Many will fail simply because there is too many. Everyone knew the rules when they applied and no one was shouting then ICANN needed to invest to inform the public; applicants could of simply not applied if they thought the chances of success are greatly reduced if ICANN didn’t invest. The build trust part, is a little laughable when you consider of those xyz domains in use, 90% are being employed to spam or scam people. Selling at less than $10 will always attract spammers and the registries are doing very little to police it because that’s their main revenue stream spammers and domainers. It’s all so short term at the scarfice of goodwill and the only awareness most of the public will experience is going to be negative. Early days and always time to change perceptions. So good luck to them. Great article Christopher be good if you did another in 2017 and if you want a domainers point of view be glad to oblige, clearly I’m not a great fan so adds balance.

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