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Monday, February 17, 2014

The New gTLDs: Individualization vs. Industrialization.

By Duane J. Higgins, ceo

There are countless prevailing factors that are going to influence the relative success or failure of the new domain name extensions that are being rolled out over the next few years. I would like to focus on one of the key trends trends that I think will develop and that is the idea of individualization vs. industrialization.  The definitions I would like to use are the following:

to make individual or distinctive; give an individual or distinctive character to.

Industrialization: the large-scale introduction of manufacturing, advanced technical enterprises, and other productive economic activity into an area, society, country, etc.
To illustrate my point I would like to take a look at the  early stage success of the .guru extension which I believe could foreshadow a  major trend that will develop over the  next few years.  First of all, .guru has potentially large market to start. That is a head start for the domain extension. Several other names will have the same promise such as .mail, .web and .free and many others.

We do have .guru which is being viewed by many as a very successful launch already with over 30,000   registrations and counting in the first days of the it's existence. Dozens of other extensions have been released as well (such as .ventures and .holdings) to somewhat lesser degrees of success to date.

First of all, the .guru extension is relatively short.  I believe you will see this trend continue as the new gTLD extensions are rolled out. Of course, short (second level) domain names have always been preferred by the masses.  But what we have now with all of the new top level extensions is that many of them are not as short as previously released extensions which have generally remained between two and four characters. We now have the .events, .cruises, .flights, .rentals, .partners .ventures,.holdings etc, etc,. etc, which many of the 1300 new extensions are longer than the 2-4 characters. This is an attempt to change the paradigm of the public's relationship to domain names that the public may be less interested in. As I mentioned, shorter second level (names) have always been preferred and the new longer extensions are going to make is more difficult to use the same types of names (that people like) with the new longer extensions as the overall names will be longer. I have found that people like short personalized domain names but not generally too short. They want room to express themselves. To the left of the dot. Short extensions best allow for this so the overall name doesn't become too long. 

The complicating factor for the new (longer) extensions is that for the most part, the domain name on the left side of the dot (second level domain) has been more important to the public than the name on the right side of the dot.  The reason is of course that the name to the left of the dot is the primary "identifier" for the user. The name on the left of the dot of course is created by the user. The name to the right is not.

See definition below:


An identifier is a name that identifies (that is, labels the identity of) either a unique object or a unique class of objects.

People/companies/entitites identify with the name that they create. With the name of their company, enterprise or website. The name is them. They are the name. The name is special. The name is individual. Very personal.  The name to the left of the dot. 

It's the artists' brush vs. the palette. 

It's the artist vs. the medium. 

Which is more important?

So what about the right of the dot you ask?

First of all let me ask you. Is the right of the dot personal?

No, the right of the dot is categorical. The right of the dot is industrial. "an advanced technological enterprise" from my definition above. Not very personal.

The right of the dot is the secondary identifier.  The right of the dot is not individualized or personalized. The right of the dot represents a category of sites or names. The right side of the dot represents a commodity. The right side of the dot represents the industrialization of the Internet.

Not very romantic if you ask me. 

If my theory is correct. The short domain extensions that have wider potential target market (for example  .book, .blog, .free, .shop, .mail, .web and a few others) have the best chance of success and widespread usage.

Longer domain extensions with more limited target markets may struggle as they have a double whammy. 

Double whammy: An English expression meaning multiple (or a combination of) negative circumstances, events, or effects.


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