Feb 222011

Let's get them TLDs, baby doll

I truly started utilizing LinkedIn only about three years ago. I had created my account years before, but it was in 2008 that I spent a little time and discovered the value LinkedIn can deliver.

One of the best things about LinkedIn is how self-identified audiences form around specific topics to share information, network and debate. These groups can be great forums for the promotion of content, provided of course the content fits the group. This is true for my own content and often that of my clients as well.

I was in a LinkedIn group last week focused on domain name issues and got into a very interesting comment thread. I had posted news of a recent industry show, and another member weighed in forcefully on the topic of new top level domains (TLDs), a very hot topic in the space right now:

I think it is important to keep an eye on “domaining”: After all “them domainers” (I am one myself) are the natural enemies of new TLD’s.

On a first glimpse domainers constitute something like a “secondary sales channel” for your new TLD. Very, very short thought. Here is what dominers really do to your new TLD (and have done to ALL newly introduced or liberated TLD’s like .us or .co): They take away all the relevant land in a massive landgrab and then they leave it blank or even worse they park it. Instead of passing the land on to enduers they usually choose to wait until the TLD “matures”.

Thats the main reason why all new TLD’s where dead on arrival. In consequence there is no land on which someone would build the beacons that showcast your TLD brand: Your TLD gets no awareness and ends up with only defensive and speculative regs but only 10% of the max potential.

This viewpoint was somewhat surprising to me. I’ve never been a domainer, but I’ve been around the domain name industry for over a decade. For sure it’s a quirky industry with opaque and (some would say) questionable business practices. But I did not think of domainers as “killers” of new TLDs.

Plus, I’m aware of procedures that are designed to mitigate what this member was describing. Things like the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) that provides a process for re-claiming a domain name registered in bad faith. And a sunrise registration period, during which trademark holders are given first dibs at a new TLD or secondary level domain.

So I mentioned these in a reply comment. My LinkedIn friend was having none of it:

Christopher: If you say “Sunrise” domainers hear “Trojan Horse” and not “Trademark Protection”. ALL sunrise periods have been gamed.

There is a little more to a successfull TLD introduction then shutting out domainers. However, Without shutting them out there will be NO successfull TLD introduction.

Some guys try to sell the following scenario:
“Domainers are good because their actions constitute a secondary sales channel. Domainers buy domains, resell them to endusers and then buy more domains. The result is high numbers of registered domains and many domains owned by endusers.”.

Dreams can be so sweet. Reality instead is brutal: Domainers NEVER sell any of their loot within the forst 3 to 5 years. They want to see the TLD “mature”. Take a top 100 keywordlist and check with .us, .eu and .info: The majority of the domains will be parked and owned by domainers. Sad. I call it “The Collective Monkey Trap”.

To those in this industry –what do you think? I certainly can understand that if you are comfortable with the current system and feel good about your portfolio of .com   names, you may not be enthusiastic about change.

But personally I hope the situation isn’t as dire as laid out above. New TLDs are an innovative concept that could shake up the industry, and why shouldn’t brands and communities control their identities to the right,  as well as to the left, of the dot? Here’s Vint Cerf’s take on the issue (aka the father of the Internet) from CircleID.

It would be ironic if the community that understands the domain name market the best prevents new TLDs from being successful.

  3 Responses to “Domainers — Natural Born Killers of New TLDs?”

  1. I’m a little confused if the point is that domainers can prevent a new TLD from being successful by registering and hoarding all the good ones.

    If that’s the question, then I’d say yes. But they don’t do it on purpose. Instead they think they can make a quick book. Look at .eu. .Eu has a lot of problems, but the way domainers snapped up so many domains really killed this ccTLD. You need people to build out and promote sites on your TLD to make it successful. Smart launches have reserved some good domains for people that will develop them.

  2. Hello Andrew (I am an ex EURid by the way),
    About domainers…I don’t un derstand what you mean, I would be tempted to say the opposite : they always do it on purpose. Domainers are there to make profit with the best domains they can grab. I consider EURid a success : more than 3 million domains renewed ;-)

  3. 1) No different then any other commodity period. How much of the oil market are the speculators 40%

    2) Built into any and all equations of liquidity. Finds its own level NO obstacles as the flow will ALWAYS find its own level.

    Domaineers are like a machine and rightfully so. TLD market. ID. Purchase. Rules of Engagement are called Race and Notice Imagine the recent argument I heard at a WIPO hearing that there is no such thing as Domain Investment or Organization only rogues, pirates, copyright and trademark violators; AND ANY recognition beyond the intrinsic value of the domain to a potential client in that business was and should be illegal as it is speculation and clear cut intent to defraud those wishing to conduct business and that Domaineers cloud and distort the market and remove a free marketplace as speculators and domaineers purchase all of the good domains like a well oiled machine.

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