It’s a time where new generic top level domains are taking a lot of the lime-light in domain circles, sales charts, and buzz; but is the entire thing just a huge distraction from what domainers should really be focused on?
I stumbled upon a case-in-point scenario that no domainer should ignore, and I cannot believe no-one is talking about it more. It’s got me questioning even my own enthusiasm for these new, right of the dots. And please do not get me wrong; I myself have also purchased many of them. I have at least, $9,000.00 per year in renewal fees, minimum, for new gTLD related domains. I like them too! They’re fresh, new, cool and fun. They present opportunity and while all domainers are investors, it’s our nature to gamble a little.
BUT; Remember Overstock.com’s O.co re-branding campaign? Total Failure
In early 2011 Overstock began a massive re-branding campaign spending millions re-branding itself as “O.co” but a few months later backpedaled citing consumer confusion over the new name.
Look at their comments after being interviewed:
“We were going too fast and people were confused, which told us we didn’t do a good job. We’re still focused on getting to O.co, just at a slower pace…We’re not flipping back, we’re just refocusing.”
That was in 2011.
Five years later and they’re not doing squat with it.
It’s not that they did a bad job; they didn’t…. They did a FANTASTIC job…. It’s just that they were trying to do the impossible as it was. They weren’t just changing a name or brand; they were forgetting that what they were actually trying to do was change an entire way of thinking… An entire understanding of the internet. That’s why it didn’t work. People were instead going to O.com.
A total catastrophe!
Take a look at what Overstock.com, Inc. Chairman and CEO Patrick Byrne told investors for a Q4 2011 Earnings Conference Call:
O, No! Overstock Backs Off O.co Name Change
Here is a simple analogy for you.
The way it worked out in the end, was that they weren’t just changing the name brand, or the manufacturer, of the computer. They were changing the way the ENTIRE COMPUTER WORKED.
It’s like telling your next door neighbor that you got a new phone number, and then you realize you forgot to tell them that not only did the phone number change, but the area code changed too. You dope!
In my opinion, all domainers need to consider how critical it is when building your business to have the .com version of your domain name, and if you have a .net or a .org, its just never as good, never the same, and not a solid-enough foundation for the competitive world we all live and work in.
These new gTLDs are likely even worse.
The jury will still be out for many years on this one, but as I have said before, I predict that the initial buzz on gTLDs will simmer down some in a few years just like .mobi, .biz, .ws, .co – I mean, you almost can’t even give them away for reg-fee these days. Domain name values will follow the 1-800 phone numbers business where 1-800 is, has and always will be recognized as the premium (.com) number everyone wants, although there are many alternatives such as 855, 888, and 866 – everyone wants the 1-800 unless it is not available; then, they look for something else catchy with a 1-800, then, if all else fails, they settle for an entirely different beginning exchange such as 855, 888, and 866 as the last resort. While other new gTLD extensions will create additional opportunity, .com will remain king. By the time that eventually changes, anyone even reading this will be long out of the business anyway.
What say you?? How many more will you pick up while the jury is still out??
Search our real-time database of available domain names to register.
About The Author: John Colascione is Chief Executive Officer of Internet Marketing Services Inc. He specializes in Website Monetization, is a Google AdWords Certified Professional, authored a ‘how to’ book called ”Mastering Your Website‘, and is a key player in several Internet related businesses through his search engine strategy brand Searchen Networks®
I am starting to think the same way. You don’t see the big companies rushing to use new gtlds in a meaningful way. Mostly start ups and those who can’t get the .com or their own country code. Or those with a small domain budget. Sure there is the odd exception but new gtld use hasn’t blown anyones hair back yet. If it happens it will take many more years.
Bloggers don’t talk about it much because most are sponsored by new tld registries, so a negative piece on new tlds really doesn’t go down that well 🙂
The fact is all these new and alternate extensions are completely flawed, every single one. Any company using one as a consumer facing site will want to change at some point, any startup using one will need to change if they become successful..
Real businesses, from mom and pop to fortune 500 know to stay well clear. Overstock is an example of extreme folly that few will follow.
Julio Maysonet says
I don’t think big companies should move away from .com for a new gtld .com is what everyone knows.
Andrew Hyde says
If you don’t have the .com of your domain, you’ll drive traffic to it with any other extension.
Rolf Larsen says
Who paid you for this shallow article? There are lots of happy customers and good branding examples on the new domain extensions
John Colascione says
Rolf, as the owner and operator of Find.cars as well as many other gTLDs; trust me, no one paid me for this opinion.
Shallow article?? Its a fact. I have even had to change nameservers on parked pages because the registrar where my names were was unable to process the new uniregistry nameservers with .link on the end??? I had to use the old .com nameservers…..
Also don’t use the new .whatevers for an email address. Some systems ARE UNABLE TO PROCESS THEM!?!?!?! They may catch up but do you want your business to be the guinea pig????
O.co is a FACT. If you don’t have the .com your potential traffic will BLEED TO THE .COM. Maybe not 60+% like O.co but isn’t even a 5% bleed a possible disaster if it means one of your potential biggest customers goes to the .com looking for you and your competitor has it????? As mentioned even country codes give your business more credibility than a dot .whatever. imho
Mr. Butterfish says
@Rolf…….I love all the great in-depth points you made. And, the great examples you laid out.
It’s so easy to call this article shallow but hard to refute the O.co domain example, huh Rolf?
My guess is you are a big TLD investor who is blinded. All us old domain investors saw guys like you come and go many times over the last 15 years. Why are you not preaching about the merits of .mobi ? There were people were spitting mad back in 2006 because .com domainers said it would fail. Guess what? It failed. So did .biz , .info, .travel, ,pro , etc……
Get ready to drop your new TLDs …………mostly it’s that nobody wants them and your business model of reselling them won’t support the renewals long-term. Like I said, those of in this business have already read this book a couple of times and we know the ending.
Unfair statement, especially the way you handled .global, which was very amateurish to say the least, totally F;ed up the release.
The whole topic of ‘dot-Com is king’ is just so overplayed at this point. Everyone gets that, and very few people can/will argue with it.
But that’s not the point. Nor is the evidence that ‘all major companies use dot-Com’ – which is a fact, of course, and is the end-result of everything that’s happened in the domain/branding/TM/online worlds over the past quarter century.
The reality is that a handful of the gTLDs are going to be winners in the long-term for three main reasons:
1) Startups are jumping onboard…and a small percentage of those companies will wind up being major players in the business world; and when that happens, billions of Internet users will encounter those URLs day-in, day-out, which will reinforce their legitimacy.
2) Mathematically speaking, there are probably hundreds of thousands of permutations of NOUN.gTLD, VERB.gTLD, and ADJECTIVE.gTLD that make much more sense to use than does the corresponding dot-Com — and there’s no need for me to cite examples, because everyone could probably think of 10-100 off-hand.
3) The sales mindset of many domainers (and bloggers) is “how much can I flip this name for in the wholesale market?” And therein lies the biggest misunderstanding of the value of a GREAT gTLD — the valuation for which should ONLY be tied to this: “Can I build and brand a profitable online business atop this URL, and if so, what share of the industry can that business realistically gain?”
As a TM lawyer, I view gTLDs no differently than I do TMs in general, i.e., their value directly corresponds to their (successful) ACTUAL use-in-commerce, or POTENTIAL use-in-commerce..
John Colascione says
Fantastic input on the issue Gene and I’m glad to hear this. Probably one of the best rebuttals which support gTLD use I’ve likely heard since the very beginning of similar discussions on it. for 1) you are probably right spot on, just going to take a very long time to take place, but it could happen, that is for sure. — By the time that eventually changes, anyone even reading this will be long out of the business anyway. — Many other great points here too.
Mr. Butterfish says
@Gene……Being a TM lawyer is not a domain investor so unless you have hard money in this game your comment is more of a curiosity than a post that has weight.
I’ll also add your points are worthless, sorry. You can build a business on any domain, but which one will make you the most successful ? Which one will not suffer traffic leakage to the .com? Which one will not have email problems like new TLDs? Which one will keep your ad expenditures down? Which one will people remember and not mistype? Which one can you easily resell if you business fails? It goes on and on…..your post takes none of this into consideration and is terribly misguided by your own notions instead of what is happening in reality.
@Mr. Butterfish…I purchased my first portfolio of dot-Coms from Network Solutions in 1997, and haven’t stopped building/refining it since that time.
Then from 2013-2015 I was one of the co-founders of a domain brokerage firm, called Domain Mediaries (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/company-domain-mediaries-launches-sale-161500559.html ).
While you’re entitled to your opinion as to my arguments, and I have never claimed to have sold millions in names during my 20-years in the game,…I HAVE BEEN IN THE GAME for 20-years.
So tell everyone about yourself…?
You obviously know nothing about branding to call your firm Domain Mediaries, WTF is that?
@Rich…Maybe you’re right, but why don’t you tell everyone your credentials, and why you’re an expert brander and domainer?
“when that happens, billions of Internet users will encounter those URLs day-in, day-out, which will reinforce their legitimacy.”
Gene, can you give an example where this has ever happened in the past? New and alternate tlds have been around for 20 years or more.
If a startup gets popular and it is on an alt tld there is huge pressure to get the .com because of the weight of confusion, they know it is a big issue by that point.They’ve also got funding (or income) to deal with problem. So why would anyone choose to be a successful company on new tld?
Small “techcrunch style” startups don’t have much of the problem because of minimal sales, the main revenue source is fundraising. They’ll have a big issue only if they become successful. Down the track the choice is either buying the .com or rebranding, both are doable.
@Snoopy…This topic isn’t about what’s happened in “the past” — we’re discussing the potential going forward, mainly because none of us can go back in time and place bets (although, perhaps you have a time machine).
My quote (if you bothered to read it) was “when that happens….” NOT “as we have already seen…”
Based on your logic that if something hasn’t already happened, it won’t…
1) Zuckerberg wouldn’t have launched FB in 2004, because NOBODY was going to displace MySpace
2) AAPL wouldn’t have launched the iPhone in 2007 because which company would dare take-on Nokia or Motorola?
3) Uber would have never raised funds in 2009 because which company would be dumb enough to think that they could disrupt the entire taxi and black-car industries?
4) AirBnB would have never launched in 2008 because which company would be so stupid as to think that they could disrupt the trillion-dollar hotel industry?
These companies (eventually) hosted their sites on dot-Coms because that was (and still is) the standard. But if you are 100% certain that that’s always going to be the case…then refer to numbers 1-4 above.
And I really wish that everyone would stop trying to save domain investors from themselves by acting like a hero for the ‘little guys.’ The people who spew venom when the topic of gTLDs comes up are very transparently trying to protect the value of their dot-Com holdings.
Point-of-Fact: 90% of my portfolio consists of dot-Coms, and I have no affiliate with any player/registrar in the gTLD space.
Gene, the point is why would a successful company use an alt tld? Startups only do it because they can’t afford a good .com. You’re prediction that they’ll use it when successful doesn’t stack up. As we’ve seen once a company has significant resources they upgrade. If you think things will somehow be different in the future the question is why? The problem of confusion isn’t going away.
John Colascione says
Fantastic input on the issue Gene and I’m glad to hear this. Probably one of the best rebuttals which support gTLD use I’ve likely heard since the very beginning of similar discussions on it. for 1) you are probably right spot on, just going to take a very long time to take place, but it could happen, that is for sure. — By the time that eventually changes, anyone even reading this will be long out of the business anyway. —
I very much enjoy reading your blog, John – keep up the great work. Hope to meet you in person at NamesCon.
John Colascione says
Gene, thank you and please be sure to pull me aside when you see me there 🙂
Jovenet Consulting says
Real new domain name users dont give a “d” about domainers unless maybe when they squat a domain or cybersquat one.
According to what I read in your title, new gTLDs are a failure because domainers don’t use them?
Come on guys…the net deserves a better debate 😉
So getting email and having your website resolve properly is something a business owner or anyone for that matter should not be concerned about?? I certainly do not want my main site on a new extension that does not resolve properly everywhere?
Do you want your business to be the guinea pig?? Forget about the traffic bleed that will for sure happen as well.
Also these super long extensions will probably cause accidents and potentially KILL people because they are trying to type in a 17 DIGIT domain name with their thumbs while driving or walking down the street???
Short is sweet in a mobile World. 😉
Wow, a breath of fresh air.
Nice work, keeping it real.
You will get a lot of static from those who have “bet” on the gTLDs – the gamblers. As gamblers, they should know that the game is rigged to benefit the house.
No company in their right mind, will leave a .com for a new gTLD.
Until that happens – they will keep paying the ridiculous bill.
don’t let them bully you.
Most of these bloggers have become like groupies for the gTLDs. In exchange for a few short domain names from the registry, they have agreed to spread the word that the new gTLDs are the future. They saw what happened with .mobi, .tel, .ws, etc… and yet they keep throwing the dice and setting up the masses.
and thanks to all those domain bloggers, who keep it real.
M. Menius says
Not surprised at all by the problem with O.co. .Co has always been an anomaly because it is just so close to .com in appearance, and also because it is not completely intuitive as an alternative tld. Not everyone immediately recognizes .co as an abbreviation for “company”. Force of habit causes many people to type it out simply as .com.
The contention that no one is using new tld’s is absurd. Anyone who claims that is pushing an agenda because new tld use is easily found. .com remains supremely popular, and new tld options are also being adopted.
Who has the most data on all your accounts, UNIREGISTRY
They have access to all your sales, and traffic data.
How come they are letting their GTLD reserves go free, and spending a fortune at namejet acquiring .com’s
THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING
Talk to any .com portfolio holder, you can buy the matching gtld, and offer it for 10 cents on the dollar, end users do not want it.
TRIED < TESTED < AND TRUE
Not 1000 different rules, for each registry, 1000 different prices, 1000 different puppets
.com $8.50 renewal all day long
Great article for the newbies to read. A lot newbies looking for a dot com domain on godaddy or elsewhere are often offered to register new gTlds as an alternative since dot com is taken and some newbies actually get tricked into registering the new gTlds for their new business venture.
Hope this article stays on top sponsored forever on domaining.
Patricia Kaehler says
smile… you just want to get in that statement “stay on TOP” right ??
~Patricia Kaehler — Dayton, Ohio USA
“Hope this article stays on top sponsored forever on domaining.”
I hope not.
Hosting Jobs says
Overstock missed something important, you don’t use a domain because you like it you use it for customers. Overstock customers were/are not used to .CO, all they know is .COM, .ORG, and .NET. Also ccTLDs depending on the country and language.
Same applies for new domains. Many will completely fail, ie disappear from the internet. There is too much supply and not enough real buyers and end users.
Hosting Jobs says
If your renewals are $9k a year John just for new domains, you gotta drop/sell some. Don’t you agree? 🙂
John Colascione says
I’m probably going to keep them all. About half are developed and half are not. I really should develop the other half. Most of them I feel I will hold onto.
Heh, if you don’t remove this article from your menu, im out. I can’t stand giving input where such propaganda is put front and center with the same troll faces as today warning us of the same things while telling us lies in comments.
I like you John, I do! There is another side to this story….nTLD have been TERRORIZED by a very few investors FLUSH in .coms.
Take a look at just a TINY bit of the evidence: https://lifesavings.online/frank-shilling/
(or just click my name)