Tag: gTLD

The Top Reasons Why A dotBrand is Better Than A Brand.com

The Top Reasons Why Dotbrand Beats brand.com Every Time
What may be particularly surprising and even shocking to many in the domain industry is that unlike the generics TLDs, the success of the brand TLDs really has very little to do with the domain industry at all. The reality is it has everything to do with massively improved cost efficiencies and commercial relationships between trademarks and their target audience both online and off. No matter how you want to cut it up, in every way you look at it dotbrands are going to be the real big winners over the next decade on the Internet, contrary to what many may think. From heavily lowered advertising costs to centralised marketing initiatives and vastly improved bigdata, dotbrands give trademark holders exposure on a global scale like nothing they have ever seen before in history. With better control and management of the trademark on the Internet, dotbrands are where the real money is going to be made. What ever you think dotcom makes from selling domain names will pale into insignificance when dotbrands unleash the full potential of their secret weapons. And if that wasn’t enough great reasons to have a dotbrand lets not forget that its a closed shop with only 500+ kids allowed in the sandpit.
gtlds
Trying to compare the success of the new generic TLD with the success of brand TLDs is the equivalent of trying to say that steam is the same as ice. Just because they both come from water doesn’t mean they are going to behave in the same way. I find it incredibly interesting that there is so much of a focus on what is happening in the generic world when really the BIGGEST, MOST SIGNIFICANT development since the invention of the Internet has to do with brands. By far the greatest invention to ever come to the internet since its inception has been to allow brands the opportunity to run their own slice of the internet. But still some people just don’t see it.
Sometimes the most impressive moments in history have been brought about by the smallest and simplest ideas. Take the paper clip for example or the pen or even email. Where would we be today if not for these small yet fundamentally significant inventions? Simple yet effective, life changing ideas that have impacted on our society is so many ways. No differently with online, the new dotbrand Top Level Domains are going to do exactly that.

Many of those that applied for a dotbrand initially did so out of a defensive need to protect their Internet identities. As time has moved forward the bigger questions of what to do with their dotbrand verses their .com and what’s their compared value, has started to surface. What many seem to be looking for is something radically different from a technology or administrative point of view when in fact (just like the paper clip), a dotbrand is a very subtle yet a significant shift is how consumers will perceive a brand on the Internet. It seems to be a sticking point for many of the old school domain industry but dotbrands have nothing to do with a naming convention although that is what they are. A dotbrand is a far richer tool than that. Fundamentally it’s the fact that it is so simple that makes the dotbrand concept so truly amazing and potentially lucrative to the brands and their consumers.

Why dotbrand (The digital bond x factor)
Purely owning a dotbrand for defensive purposes is like owning a Swiss army knife and only using the bottle opener, there is so much more you can do if you just look inside and get a little creative. Besides the obvious legal and technical advantages, a dotbrand provides the highest level of control of a trademark on the Internet you can get. The most important benefit of a dotbrand is the relationship brands can build with their customers. A dotbrand is about building direct digital bonds between a brand and those that have a close affinity with them, their customers. However once .com has been removed from the equation everything starts to make sense. Doors start to open, lights start to go and the creative juices start to flow like never before because a dotbrand creates new possibilities more in line with their brands ethos “if it’s not dotbrand, its not us. A dotbrand more closely resemble the very principles that bond a customer to a brand, thus making for a more personal, intimate connection. With a dotbrand the customer can feel like they are more than just a customer, they become a part of the brand and everything that makes it a success they can feel like in some small way they had something to do with it. Along with a dotbrand also comes a sense of responsibility, respect, trust and loyalty that only a dotbrand can develop. A dotbrand has the ability to bring about a feeling of a symbiotic relationship between the brand and their customers that cannot and will not ever be possible with a brand.com. That is the x factor that can only come with a dotbrand.

Why not a brand.com? (The ugly, irrelevant middleman)

Well the first thing to do is to just write it out and have a look at it, its ugly and partly irrelevant. The middleman “.com” waters down the relationship between brand and customer because dotcom means nothing to the consumer, its like wasted text on a short advert, you don’t need it so why have it? So which looks more visually appealing to you? offer.ferrari, product.ferrari, customer.ferrarri or ferrari.com/product? Which looks and feels more authentic, which is more memorable and which could be the brand and which is the brand? One can only be the brand, actually owned by the brand at the highest level of the Internet while the other is just bad advertising. A dotbrand means it is run by the brand, by people who work with the brand. One has a logical order about it that says we run our own slice of the internet and you can trust us. A dotbrand actually makes you feel like you are more than just a customer of the brand but an integral part of it existence while brand.com says your just another number.

Top 5 Reason Domainers Resist New gTLDs

Top 5 Reason Domainers Resist New gTLDs

gtlds

On the eve of the largest expansion of the Internet since its inception I did my usual of reading the latest articles on the new gTLDs from my Google alerts. As I often do, I read an article from Michael Berkens from www.thedomains.com and as usual read the comments afterwards. And as usual I found that the responses where almost always negative towards the new expansion. The reasons for this are almost always the same usual responses too and I realised that there are two separate schools of thought at play which are worth noting because in my opinion it highlights the fact that potentially both parties (TLD industry and domainers) have not figured out how to communicate this expansion in a way that benefits both. In fact I would go as far to say that it appears to me like a case of “doing what we have always done” on both sides of the fence.

There is a lot of press and talk about what the domainers think about the domain industry as they are being looked at as potential investors in the new gTLD’s. How they perceive the new space is considered by some as pivotal to the profitability of these new domains especially in the early days. I think the reality is that most new gTLD operators are more concerned about being able to get to market at all than they are about registrations from domainers. Many of the owners I have spoken to are fully aware that this is a long term strategy that will develop over time as people become educated about the variety of options and the ways they can be used. However not being able to get to market due to delays is putting a real strain on the new gTLD applicants. A few new TLDs is one thing, a thousand is quite another and ICANN is also feeling the strain from all the interested parties who are under pressure to get to market ASAP so it’s never going to be fast enough.

The addition of so many TLDs to the root level will inevitably create diversity, improve choice, stimulate creativity and foster innovation if for no other reason than the fact that the opportunity to do so is there. You can’t innovate until the tools are there to do it and the creation of such a large number of TLDs backed by huge money and the right environment for new ideas means we will see new success stories (although some can’t yet see it).

Top 5 reasons domainers don’t want new Gtlds

1.       Invested interest in .com

2.       Resistance to change

3.       Lack of understanding of new industry

4.       Short term objectives

5.       Old thinking

Invested Interest in .com – Holding on to what we’ve got

Domainers have worked out and well formulated, tried and true strategies, invested money, done the research and built business models around the existing dotcom world. Any alternative to this is a direct attack on their revenue streams and considered a threat to their profits.

Resistance to change – Human nature to fear change

Domainers need to come to terms with the fact that there is no going back so start thinking outside the dotcom square now or risk being left behind and thinking coulda, shoulda, woulda. As much as they would like things to remain the way they are the reality is that these new domains are here to stay in one form or another. There is just too much invested in the industry for it not to work.  While they understand the internet to work a certain way and have profited from it once upon a time, they will be missing the opportunity to embrace a new industry as early adopters. Those that have invested in the new gTLDs have long term strategies. Domainers are thinking about today’s domain space and not about what it will look like in 5 to 10 years’ time. I often read things like “we don’t need them” or “it’s just a money grab by the wealthy”, or “dotcom will always be no.1”. This resistance to change is common in our lives and is a part of our DNA, we like things to stay the way they are because we understand it and it makes us feel comfortable and safe that we won’t get any surprises, its human nature to feel this way.

Lack of understanding of new industry – The domain river has changed course

When you have always done what you have always done it is often hard to see change when it is staring you in the face. Domainers where born from the old domain industry, a manifestation that occurred as a result of the availability of the addition of a few TLD’s to the root of which .com has been the champion. A big fish in a small pond that will soon be a small fish in a big pond. It’s quite normal then for a disconnect between domainers and the new gTLD industry. I liken it to a river that flows and the animals that enjoy the water that it provides. Then suddenly the river changes course and no longer can the animals drink from the same location. As much as the animals are displeased with the fact that they have to change their habits, unless they do they will die. This is what is happening in the domain industry at the moment and there is a lack of acceptance by domainers who are still heading to the same watering hole looking for a drink.

Short term objectives – the stagnant pool

The new gTLDs represent a change that is going to happen over the next 10 plus years. Domainers are looking at how this will impact on them today. If you look at the evolution of the domain industry over the next 10 years something has to change, it can’t remain the same or it will become a stagnant pool of the same old same old. Domainers should be looking to the future and looking for the next big thing. They should be embracing innovation of the DNS rather than looking at it as a threat. The biggest threat to domainers is not the domain industry but a lack of an evolution of the domain industry.

 

Old Thinking – Innovate or die

The reality is that the entire internet has changed tact and moved to a different dimension. It’s not even going to be the same domain industry any more. Embrace the change, look for the opportunities, be creative, and think outside the square. The domain industry is nothing more than a technology that can be relaced by something new and the expansion of the TLDs is about securing its future by making it more relevant to more people. Domainers need to embrace this or they are “cutting off their nose despite their face”. If the domain industry doesn’t evolve it runs the real risk of becoming irrelevant. If the domain industry becomes irrelevant due to a lack of innovation by a new technology that supersedes domains then all domainers will lose, so innovate or die.

5 Critical Factors New gTLD Investors Need To Consider:

Image courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1500 new gTLDs will launch at roughly the same time and the owners of these have to consider how they are going to deal with this glut. Millions of dollars are at stake and those that can stand tall will do so by taking into account certain risk management strategies to make sure they come out on top.

Here are some things for those investors in gTLDs to think about.

  1. The vast majority (80%) of the global community don’t even know that new top level domains exist
  2. Of those that do know many have no idea what they would do with a .xyz or a .love
  3. Owners are often more in love with their own business plan visions for the gTLD string than the wider community is, so there’s the likelihood that although it makes sense to the owner, it’s going to be harder to sell a domain than they think.
  4. With so many options available, how are their new gTLD strings going to stand out from all the others?
  5. The industry is dangerously incestuous with long term industry advisors, specialists and consultants that are almost entirely from within the domain industry itself. There is a real risk of a lack of innovation, creativity and missed opportunities as each TLD is treated with the same thinking from years of insider industry experience.

SLAM Strategy is different:  we present a new, fresh set of eyes, ears and ideas. We don’t come from the gTLD community; we are not formed by well-established industry insiders, whose thoughts and ideas are based on a history working within the technical of the domain industry itself. We are an Internet Strategy company focused on return on investment strategies for businesses wanting to find new success online. Our strength lies in our real world experience on the front line of the business community – of being found online by your target market and converting them. We are a specialised, leading edge strategy company built by business people with business ideas and a focus on finding ways of maximising our client’s conversions as cost effectively as possible.

The Internet is about to move into a higher gear, as it’s about to change from being a technical function into a main driver for society. Right now, the need for new players like SLAM to step into the fold and provide fresh eyes to a fresh industry could never be more important. No longer are gTLD an administrative function but a full blown business process that requires a new kid on the block to help drive business.

Risk vs reward of owning a new gTLD

Image courtesy of Anusorn P nachol at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Anusorn P nachol at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Risk vs Reward

During ICANN47 in Durban I spoke with a cross section of applicants involved in the new gTLD process. I asked one question “Will your gTLDs be successful?”

The general feeling amongst all the applicants was yes, and why wouldn’t they say that, when they had spent at least $185,000 for their applications. One of the main reasons for their confidence was based on a risk versus reward analysis of what the break even cost was to run a gTLD successfully vs. the number of minimum registrations needed at an attractive price.

It’s estimated that you would need about $50,000 a year to cover your costs of running a new gTLD. So as long as the applicants felt that they could cover those costs with a minimum number of registrations based on their business plan, they felt that the upside was well worth the risk.

Here’s the logic

The thinking in many cases was based on a worst case scenario that if you sold 10,000 second level domains for $5.00 each you reach your $50,000 to cover your costs. Any registrations above that would be considered profit.  Considering that one of the slower performing TLDs on the market place like dot.aero currently has nearly 10,000 registrations, getting to 10,000 would be considered realistic and the risk reasonable.  Also through the largely untapped emerging BRIC markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China, the demand for registrations in the coming years is thought to continue to grow strongly. Sounds like a pretty straight forward plan right?

Possible errors in gTLD applicants thinking

Although SLAM Strategy is very much an advocate for the new TLDs program as a whole, we do have our doubts about the viability of some of these new strings. Not because they can’t be successful but because of three main and very real issues.

  1. Domain Supply vs demand concerns – There will be approximately 1,000 new domains available to the public in a very short time frame and although there will be considerable demand the supply is going to vastly outstrip demand with a flood of string options. Owners need to see this as a long term strategy that could take 5-10 years before they reach their breakeven points.
  2. $1 for a dozen domains for sale – Further to that, owners need to consider the fact that ICANN has mentioned subsequent rounds and the price for entry to own a domain likely to drop. This could further put pressure on existing owners trying to reach their break even points and extend or even make it impossible for some TLDs to ever reach their minimal requirements. A glut of registration options could lead to some offering a dozen domains for a $1 just to move stock.
  3. Risk of extinction – Anything with a small population is at risk of being wiped out if it is unable to adapt quickly enough to survive a changing environment. This is something that is a serious issue for the new gTLD owners as they are relying on a small pool of long established, existing Internet advertising and marketing companies to help them. In an environment where innovation, creativity and new thinking are paramount, the new top level domain name community is dangerously “short of options”, increasing the likelihood of catastrophic failures if they pick the wrong company to partner with.
    To some degree, a cookie cutter approach is inevitably going to be used by many of these companies who know no better, resulting in fewer registrations than anticipated and more importantly possible failure of the entire gTLD business model. All new gTLD applicants need to be wary of this and think outside the square. To understand this in detail you only need to look to the industry’s past and you will see that until the approved release of these new generic top level domains in 2011, the industry was tiny with only 22 top level domains and 250 country code top level domains which were drip fed into the system and snapped up by an almost inexhaustible demand for domain names. A fledgling and largely administrative driven industry was able to be serviced by a small number of Internet and Advertising providers who performed what would now be considered to be basic functions.
    The industry is now set to suddenly and massively expand into a very different and almost hostile digital landscape of dog eat dog and over supply. However, the number of new and external Internet Advertising and Marketing experts available that understand the gTLD industry but are not from the industry hasn’t really grown at all, and could almost be counted on one hand. Many of the people working in these companies have either worked at a registry, a registrar or at ICANN itself at some time in the recent past. While these companies and their specialists really are very, very talented with many years of industry experience, their greatest strength is also possibly their greatest weakness. Many of the current internet advertising and marketing companies providing support to the gTLD industry are providing advice based on their prior experiences from within the industry itself, as that is all they know. As a result, a lot of the same, repetitive and conventional industry thinking is likely to be offered, limiting any real competitive advantage that the gTLD owner may think they have. There’s no doubt these existing companies are extremely talented with amazing insight of the old gTLDs industry. However, the industry is rapidly changing and morphing into something very different from its past, requiring a more diverse approach to create real wow factor and excitement in the mainstream world of the average consumer.

How to make your new gTLD an Internet success story with fresh ideas

Yes this is a plug for SLAM Strategy but only because the new gTLD industry is a perfect synergy of business in the real world and the virtual world and creating ROI strategies in this space is where we see the future of online. We are an Internet Strategy company that could see instantly the potential of the new gTLDs on the global stage from a business strategy point of view. With over 23 years of experience in retailing, advertising and marketing and Internet strategy, the CEO of SLAM Strategy, Shaun Le Cornu saw an opportunity to give businesses an edge on the new Internet frontier that was clearly missing. Fresh thought is needed with a new approach by an Internet marketing company from outside the industry. There is a different game to be played that has not been played before and the current players could be lacking in vital real world experience.

The dotbrand Revolution – Interview with Nick Morris and Shaun Le Cornu

The New Top Level Domain names are almost here and this video interview with Nick Morris and my self Shaun Le Cornu goes into detail about how these new domains will affect all business. It is well worth anyone with a trademark who are interested in understanding what is coming to watch this video so that they can start to ask the questions about how their brands are going to deal with these new domain names and how they are going to integrate this change into their business and capitalise on it.

SLAM Strategy is an Internet Strategy company focused on not only helping businesses to navigate this new change but we are also the leading advisor in Adelaide South Australia on new top level domains.

Using our collaborative connections and combined skills some of the industries best new top level domain strategists, SLAM Strategy is a leader in this field. Focused on producing ROI results for our clients we help those businesses who ahve already purchased new top level domains to market and advertise their New TLD’s both on and offline to the right target market ensuring that their TLD is seen by the right people resulting in increased registrations of their domain.

Watch this video