Top 5 Reason Domainers Resist New 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.