Domain Experts can be Wrong

The NamesCon auction, currently the biggest domain industry auction of the year, is over. Even though the live NamesCon auction and online auctions have ended the talk about them has not.

Noticeably many new domain extensions did not sell well this year. Much to the dismay of new gTLD supporters. Notably many .NET domains sold for under what one would expect, even with a room full of domain resellers. You can see the NamesCon auction results here.

The other discussions I’ve seen are about why Monte Cahn, who handles these premium auctions each year, did and did not accept certain new domains. Also why some new domains were and were not accepted with a reserve price. Many new domain extensions I saw in the auction were real head scratchers.

To be fair. It’s extremely hard to know what people are interested and to predict what consumers will want to buy. Not even a domain veteran like Monte Cahn, who started Moniker and runs Right of the Dot, can always know.

Here is a discussion with teams Frank Schilling vs Rick Schwartz over the new domain extensions at T.R.A.F.F.I.C, which could be considered the precursor to the NamesCon. Monte Cahn shares his thoughts on .IRISH and why it will be a successful domain extension. You can read the transcript below too.

Editor’s Note – If the video doesn’t load right up to the comments, you can skip ahead to the 29 minute mark.

New Domains vs .COM – Monte Cahn

The .IRISH discussion;

Monte Cahn – “Another good example is .IRISIH you know, there are a lot of people that relate, people feel like they are Irish, love the Irish,

Howard Neu – “Or .ITALIAN”

Monte – “Right, there is not going to be a .ITALIAN but there is going to be .IRISH. So you know, that is probaby going to be a very successful TLD. Besides what happened at Notre Dame. Anybody that is IRISH, there are 110 million IRISH people all over the world right know, you know. So that is another example of where people have an affiliiation to a specific TLD because of their background, religion, where they come from, what business they are in, and what they believe in. “

.IRISH Domains

So is the .IRISH domain extension successful? No.

According to NameStat and NtldStats we see .IRISH registration sits around 2,000 registrations. This essentially means they are not even making the bare minimum in yearly ICANN fees to cover the cost of running the domain extension. It’s estimated to cost $150,000 – $200,000 dollars per year in administrative costs to run a new domain extension.

I don’t consider registration volume everything but according to HosterStats data only 2.1% of sites of the total amount of domains are active sites. That is roughly 42 websites, which is well kind sad. We know John McCormac, the founder of HosterStats, wouldn’t make these numbers up as he is irish. ?

.IRISH used to be run by an independent company but now has been sold to the Donuts, which manages over 200 domains. If .IRISH was choosing a place to go die it seems Donuts was a great option for it.

Right after the .IRISH comments Monte continued about another extension .GAY.

Monte- “Another way is .GAY, I’m sure everyone that is one everybody has heard of. It’s a community, it’s a feeling of, of what you belong to. So that is where it is going to make a difference I think on the internet.”

Then Frank Schilling, owner and founder of Uniregistry, weighed in;

Frank Schilling – “I totally disagree. I kind of dump the Geos in with the IDNs, a passion play. But the problem with Geos is the internet is global, when I’m in New-York City .NYC is going to be a great name right, but all of a sudden you polarize everyone from New Zealand, New Jersey, Delaware, all around you NYC. And if you are selling online you want to sell globally, right? And with .GAY, you can be in the most out there gay person on earth it doesn’t mean you want to you want to fly your flag in your URL and your email address.”

.GAY has not been delegated by ICANN yet over some community lawsuit shenanigans. I agree with Schilling here halfway. (I actually think .NYC could be a successful domain extension in the low run, but currently isn’t.) Why are you going to use .GAY in your email and domain even if you are really gay?

Rick Schwartz and Lonnie Borck, who are both Jewish, at no point in the conversation said “Hey, you know you guys are right! I’m really missing .JEWISH in my personal and professional email and website.”

Most people should not be inclined to show backgrounds, religious beliefs, political beliefs, etc. in a domain or website. Honestly you want to do business with people who may not have the same feelings or views about everything as you. Polarizing them immediately is not exactly the best message and first impression.

Predictions have been Very Wrong

The funniest part of the discussion is when Howard Neu, a domain lawyer, assumed there was going to be a .ITALIAN. Sure why not, makes sense right? I’ve made the same assumptions. Perhaps in the next round more garbage new domains will be dropped on us.

Personally as someone who follows domain names, I can’t even remember all the domain extensions. I always ask, “Is that a real domain extension?” … not good.

What’s the point here? While we are singling out Monte Cahn a bit here for sharing his thoughts on .IRISH, he’s not the only expert domain industry veteran that has been wrong, very wrong when it came to demand predictions on new domain extensions.

One panelist in the discussion was Simon Johnson who is part of the .KIWI registry. As written here on DomainAnimal there was an unusual surge in .KIWI registrations several months ago. The reason for this was that .KIWI had to give away roughly 200,000 domains as was reported by OnlineDomain. This was with a joint deal with the New Zealand web hosting and domain name company Umbrellar and the .KIWI domain registry.

They gave away .KIWI domains to customers that matched existing .CO.NZ and .NZ domains. Reminiscent of the .XYZ and Network Solutions deal.

.KIWI has had to resort to mongering to actually convince Kiwis, a term for people from New Zealand, to actually maybe buy one of these .KIWI domains. This is compared to the dominate ccTLD extension .NZ which has 672,000 registrations. No fear tactics required.

In my opinion it is one thing to make predictions that don’t materialize, and another to make claims which are just false. Of course these shenanigans are common with new domain companies.

What are your thoughts? Have you seen any domain industry veterans and experts make other predictions which just hasn’t happened? What were these predictions and thoughts? What do you think the future holds for new domains?

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