Has the gTLD domain market plateaued?

I will be the first to admit it: I haven’t registered a considerable number of gTLD domains in weeks.

With the exception of Uniregistry domains, and .link, .photo in particular, I have not registered any other new gTLDs in recent memory.

When I developed a strategy for the launch of gTLDs and brands, my expectations were not different: I am still after select meaningful, keyword+gTLD combinations.

It seems, however, that the urge to go after some of the most recent gTLDs has plateaued; as far as I am concerned, this is not a matter of cumulative cost, but a side effect of two factors:

  1. The lack of promotion by the Registries about their respective gTLD launches
  2. The particular gTLDs being released, currently.

Regarding #1, I believe that while Uniregistry tends to differ, they are not being aggressive enough to encompass domainers and end-users alike; a new product that does not receive a relentless amount of exposure tends to remain hidden and underutilized. At the same time, Donuts, Inc. and others, have completely removed themselves from public exposure, including social media.

The second reason that I quoted, is obviously a personal choice. I don’t have an interest in .email, .domains, .club, .farm and other such gTLDs, while others might think otherwise.

Overall, I believe that #1 is the primary reason that has slowed down the momentum of new gTLD growth. My position regarding the usefulness, function and future of gTLDs has not changed; I would like to see some more ‘fireworks’, however.


  1. Or #3 – That there was absolutely no need or demand for 3,823,492,374 extensions. I think with the honeymoon period over, most are looking at this phenomenon and asking themselves: where is the value proposition?

    All this does it line the pockets of ICANN and registry operators.

    Why would I want to put myself at a disadvantage and build a business around these gimmicky/weird/obscure extensions that’s hard to remember and compete against the .COM, .NET, .ORG or other ccTLDs that the general public already uses everyday?

  2. Harold – I disagree on the argument of value and purpose of the new gTLDs, even if it also produces revenue for the overseer, ICANN.

    I’ve extensively covered the usefulness and future of brands as created via meaningful keyword+gTLDs.

    My sole concern is that without a constant flow of information, awareness and ‘propaganda’ if you may, the rate of growth won’t match the expectations of the Registries. The ball is in their hands, not those of the Registrars.

    In other words: Registries can’t rest on their laurels for a second, and as the investor/consumer I’m witnessing this trend first hand.

  3. *

    I agree that the registries are sitting on their hands.

    And holding back 1,000’s of domains in shell companies is not helping at all. How are end users going to build on the new gTLDs if the registries are holding the cream of the crop back?

    I, too, have curtailed my buying. My last three were defensive regs, most notably, Jennifer.International, which is my exact company name — not for sale for any price (I also have the .com version).

    Given that many new gTLDs have been released, I feel that the 500,000 number is pretty dismal.


  4. I looked, but have yet to pull the trigger. I have decided to wait and see if a secondary market develops in this space.

  5. These people have dug their own grave.

    1. They don’t promote their product

    2.They overprice their product. Overprice is actually to nice a word to use because they are actually trying to price gouge the very people that they need to survive.

    3. They keep all the good names so those same people (domainers) that would be the free salesman for these new extensions are actually walking away from this whole process.

    You can’t create a demand for a product unless you can get people to buy the product. No demand equals instant failure. These companies have failed on so many levels.

    Before this started I wasn’t sold 100% on these new extensions but I was keeping my eyes wide open to the whole process. Now every time I see another post about the new gTLDs I want to block the feed that the post came from. I have bought one gTLD and it’s too many in my opinion.

    At this point after watching it play out the way it has and watching the way some of the more well known players have played many domain investors. I hope they fail and fail big time.

  6. Acro –

    > I’ve extensively covered the usefulness and future of brands as created via meaningful keyword+gTLDs.

    I think fundamentally, everyones gets VERY wrapped up with the idea of what brands can do to with these amazingly, incredibly, super-duper meaningful keywords+gTLDs.

    But what nobody every brings up, or fails to realize, is that as the CONSUMER, do I really CARE about how awesome your new think-your-catchy-name+gTLD extension is?

    Why does no one address this elephant in the room? ESPECIALLY when you have over 2,500 of these pooping out the chute and I see 15-20 “launching” every other day?

    The ENTIRE point of a domain name is to make it EASIER for a potential lead/customer to access you and your offerings. Period. That’s it.

    When you fragment the extension into __2,500++++__ strings, does that make it EASIER for ME, as a consumer, to see, learn, remember, recall, and access your business or HARDER?

    Even as someone who is comfortable with domains, the avalanche of extensions is starting to overwhelm me. Was it Bob.photo? Bob.photography? Bob.photoS? Bobphoto.com? BobPhotos.com? BobPhotography.com? PhotoBob.com? Photos.bob? PhotographyBob.com?

    Ho. Ly. Shit.

    I haven’t even finish the list because I got tired of trying to wrap my head around the rest of the insane permutations the introduction of these extensions bring. Do you expect me to type all of those into a browser and try to find YOU or am I going to give up and goto a competitor that I can more easily ACCESS?

    While everyone is SOOOO wrapped up around the idea of “Wow! The Big Bad Brands can so much cool shit with these neat-o gTLDz! They’re so catchy! I can create cool, trendy catch-phrases on these domain hacks!” Nobody seems to have stepped back and paid any attention to how this will benefit the PEOPLE.

    And if there’s no benefit to the people, and you can’t even get them to COME to your online business/storefront/whatever CORRECTLY because all the insanity that they have to trudge through even BEFORE you can show them what your business can offer them… Then that is a huge fail in my book.

    For me, I’m sticking with .COM, .NET, .ORG and a handful of ccTLD extensions that make sense. Everything else is a GIMMICK.

  7. I agree with TODD here.

    I stopped buying because they increase the prices/renewals.
    Lately the registries also keeping the best names.
    I see Donuts and Frank changing their strategy.What they said before does not apply anymore which is fine.
    Maybe that’s what they want now ,to keep domainers out,which again is fine.

  8. Ms Domainer – I’m not concerned about the volume of domains held back, as much as the lack of any dynamic promotion on the mere existence of gTLDs. I want to see them succeed as they widen the lanes of Internet namespace.

    Robin – When on the fence between two options, observing can become uncomfortable eventually, leading to hasty decisions. A plan that utilizes minimum investment is usually better than no plan and no action.

    Todd – I agree on the lack of promotion and the pricing scheme that definitely maximizes the Registries’ ROI but complicates transactions. I would like to see simplicity in pricing, not necessarily a cheaper price, but a more clear cut approach to it.

    Harold – The fragmentation itself is not problematic; the issue at hand is no promotion of the product. As with every commercial product, consumers pick A versus B based on 1) promotion and 2) availability combined with pricing. The days of only com/net/org are definitely over. One needs to stop thinking as a domainer when it comes down to the permutations you mentioned. My business card will only have one, not 100 possible names, when I reach out to you to sell my products. There is, however, a severe lack of education of the public, and this needs to change now, not in months and years!

    Rich – I consider this pause in acquisitions to be a turning point that will hopefully raise awareness about the issue we experience.

    I consider this an important read as well: http://dotwhatever.com/silicon-tld-fest-recap/

  9. Fragmentation is a huge problem. It’s _because_ of fragmentation that people consolidate towards a source of familiarity.

    Even in this industry… think about why Domaining.com exists. I don’t make my round across every domain blog on the Internet. I go to domaining.com as a familiar source to aggregates all of the fragmented domain blogs.

    Google does the same thing with the MOST fragmented class of assets — information.

    Domains are the same – if you give the consumer TOO many choices, they will default to a familiar source. The .COM, close secondary extensions, or the premium tiers of their respective ccTLDs.

    I get that promotion of product is also an issue, but honestly, this is a chicken and egg question. If you’re a registry with 1,000 extensions (or/of whatever), which do you promote? Which do you allocate your marketing spend to? How do you know if it will even be worth it? All of this is a money grab by those that ABUSE the power bestowed on them and is hoping to hit a home-run at the expense of increasing further consumer confusion.

    As a business owner, every time I spend $1 on promoting my business, a fraction of that spend is now going towards promoting an obscure extension that distracts from the main goal of the consumer’s attention. Now it’s ONE MORE THING they have to keep in mind when trying to ACCESS you.

    You’re introducing MORE FRICTION to the sales process, not less.

    > My business card will only have one, not 100 possible names, when I reach out to you to sell my products.

    Again, this is not the point. My business card would only have one as well. But the QUESTION is whether or not THAT domain+extension combo now is going to be EASILY RECALLED amidst the sea of 5,000 other extensions + domain jockeying for the attention of that customer a week, a month, 3-months, 6-months down the road.

    Nobody carries YOUR business card with you in their pocket everyday… except you.

  10. I think we are seeing the reality that has always existed and that is, the registries need domainer dollars to make this work. Without our speculation/investment dollars and our willingness to promote their product the general demand for most of the extensions is not enough to carry the business unless the registries have deep pockets and investors that are in for a ten to twenty year commitment before seeing returns.

  11. Harold – You’re confusing convenience with familiarity. The former is a personal choice; the latter is a result of exposure to a process or product by repetition. Plenty of traffic comes from sources other than Domaining.com, if that were not the case then blogs would be ‘mute’ if Domaining.com were to disappear.

    Google treats gTLDs increasingly equal to traditional TLDs, and for a reason: they have also invested in the new Internet namespace.

    I think that you are leveraging your personal opinion to shift the focus of my post; I am not disparaging the gTLDs – not in the least. What I do point out, is the lack of sufficient promotional exposure of a new product to the world. This needs to change, in order for gTLD growth to be sustained; hence my reference to a plateau.

    Almost 250 ccTLDs around the world exist for the same reason: to promote regional interests and businesses. If you call that fragmentation, perhaps you’d realize the world isn’t US-centric or .com-centric, for that matter.

    When I carry my business card, I promote my brand. That’s what each and every gTLD does. Promotion originates at the product, not at the market.

  12. I don’t think you can call it for at least 3 years. Google’s first good extensions will come to market late this year, same with Amazon. Then it will take 2 years of marketing before those big-co extensions get uptake and drag a bunch of the others along with them. Nothing much matters until the big boys get going.

  13. Currently, .com or ccTLD is still the 1st choice for businesses (at least). I don’t see any evidence that new gTLDs will change this mind set. The only change I see is that people will only consider one or two-word names of each extension. The day of long names will be gone.

  14. Everyone has great comments on this topic and most of you have said exactly the way i feel about the new extensions.
    I still have not registered one of them yet. I have been domaining for about five years now and for the first time i have started to lose interest, i spend most of my time reading and sometimes posting on blogs, when before i was researching names and appraising.
    Don’t get me wrong, i’m still following the new trends and if i find something good in a .com i will get it. But this IMO is becoming very comical and i find it impossible for the business community to take most of the new extensions seriously.
    I see no advertising what so ever on these new extensions and even on sites such as go daddy, they took down the drop down menu and have nothing on there front page about new extensions at all.
    I have said on other blogs sites, when i see a commercial on TV where a company has spent major advertising dollars on a .whatever then i may think again.

  15. Acro, you’ve got a good posting string here and I presume posts will continue for some time. In my opinion GTLDs are not heading for a plateau, they’re heading for an imploding and few will survive and few individual gtld domains will be renewed.
    Each of these gtlds will cost hundreds of thousands to say a million dollars for many fees and operating expenses. Where could the money come from? People who are dead wrong with their own money, investors and venture capital folks and lenders.
    The last three will want their money back soon with large gains. Not a pretty picture in my opinion.

  16. Wayne – Venture capitalists invest long term, not for 365 days. To implode, the market must hit a wall; right now it’s spinning its wheels and we’re awaiting the shifting of the gears. That’s exactly what I’m referring to.

  17. Yes it’s incedible that people who spend hundred thousands dollars per extension not even market the launch after… Something I don’t understand.

  18. Personally I only got 4 gTLDs so far. I only invest in gTLDs where the keyword combined with the extension makes sense ( example: Article . marketing ) since I think those have the most chance for success and will hopefully give me a decent ROI. I will likely register a few more gTLDs in the near future but my main interest stays (and will stay) in .COM.

    The problem is.. 99% of those “make sense” gTLDs are either reserved or are being offered at ridiculously high prices (ditto renewals). For every extension that I’m interested in I can find maybe 20-30 domains that I think are actually worth registering yet I always end up with only 1, maybe 2 if I’m “lucky”. All the rest turns out to be unavailable or too expensive.

    The new gTLDs are simply not domainer (and end-user) friendly and to me that seems one of the main reasons that most of them will fail. After all, one of the biggest selling points of the new gTLDs was that all the good .COM’s are taken (.com market being saturated) so thanks to the new gTLDs people would be able to get a good .whatever as an alternative. But this is simply not true. As it turns out almost all the good .alternatives that make sense are not available as well (unless you have really deep pockets but then I think you should use your deep pockets to get a great .com instead).

    So seriously though, why should consumers/small businesses opt to get a mediocre .alternative (basically the only .alternative that is still available) when they can still buy a mediocre .com at a lower price?

  19. I agree it unwise for the registries not to cater to domain resellers, I believe the aftermarket acts as a sort of filter to discover the more viable gtld’s while assisting with registration numbers to prove market acceptance. You have to admit our history with new tld’s has been less than inviting so I can understand their lack of enthusiasm when it comes to the domaining communities reaction, regardless our picks do influence their success greatly. Companies look towards these types of mediums to determine the state of the industry after all.

  20. Acro, I appreciate the viewpoint, but we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

    > Google … they have also invested in the new Internet namespace.

    No kidding. . . I wonder why. This is a long-term strategical play to disrupt consumer recall by ramping up and encouraging fragmentation. Again, if an user has to now remember what your domain is compounded with which of the 2,500+ extensions it is, then they are more apt. to use Google to find that business.

    I hope you can follow the following logic.

    1.) Invest in and encourage mass quantities of clusterf*ck extensions ->
    2.) Increase consumer confusion ->
    3.) User begins to rely on Google to find the company vs. trying to navigate to domain.whatever themselves in frustration->
    4.) Opportunity for Google to sell more Adwords + Search saved in your Google Account history
    5.) Now Google has: a.) More data on you -> b.) Translating to more refined result-set for your future searches = c.) Higher LTV for the company per user.

    Now scale this out to every single person that uses their service and the ROI adds up quickly.

    That isn’t to say there aren’t collateral “benefits” that are derived from this strategy, and you can spin it however you want. But at the end of the day, there is no free lunch.

    However useful and good Google is, what it isn’t is some benevolent non-profit trying to solve world hunger. It is a search engine in the business of making money.

    Ultimately, I am all for growth. But “growth” isn’t letting lose a diarrhea of 1,000’s+ of extensions.

    Good luck to everyone buying into this hype.

  21. Harold – I stopped reading where you said “This is a long-term strategical play to disrupt consumer recall by ramping up and encouraging fragmentation.”

    If you believe Google has a master plan to disrupt businesses, as opposed to support capital growth, then what can I say. Tin foil hats are out of fashion as far as I’m concerned.

  22. Lol – Right… Because maximizing business revenue = not supporting some vague notion of capital growth?

    I like how you’re trying to spin what I said as a conspiracy vs. an objective take on how a company aims to improve their core line of business.

    Good job skirting the issue.

  23. Harold – Actually, what I’m skirting here is not calling you out for trolling with anti-gTLD sentiment, in a post that isn’t about one’s biased opinions, but about the current state of the new status in the domain name space. Whether you like it or support it or not, it’s the new norm. I am simply urging those involved in the business to ramp up the fanfare, because it’s necessary with every new product launch, and beyond.

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