Last week, I shared my gTLD predictions, and today I want to discuss who I think will come out ahead when it comes to new gTLDs and why I believe they are going to do well. Ultimately, this is about who will benefit financially from the introduction and sale of gTLD domain names.
ICANN – At $185,000 per application plus fees from auctions, ICANN will certainly make a whole lot of money from the introduction of gTLDs. ICANN has also been mentioned in just about every tech and mainstream article about the new domain extensions, and that publicity probably helps the organization that is looked at as the “governing body of the Internet.”
Domain Registrars – Domain registrars such as Go Daddy, Name.com, NameCheap, and others are going to sell a lot of gTLD domain names. Domain registries are going to rely on consumer facing domain registrars for “shelf space” on the registration and checkout pages, and registrars will probably be given solid commissions for sales. I am sure the registrar executives will also receive perks from the registries to ensure good placement.
Domain Registries – The companies that sell gTLDs are arguably taking on most of the risk when it comes to the new TLDs. They have put up the most capital, and they have the most to lose. While I am quite sure there will be a number of registries that lose money, there are going to be plenty that make a mint. I also imagine there will be registry sales to larger companies once revenue streams are established. This is going to be a profitable endeavor for many.
gTLD Consultants – There’s an adage that during the gold rush, the people who made the most money were those selling picks and shovels to gold miners. There are a number of highly experienced domain consultants working with registries and auction houses on new TLDs. Because this market is so specialized, there aren’t that many qualified people to assist with applications, sales, and auctions. Therefore, these specialized gTLD consultants can charge premium consulting fees for their expertise.
Small Business Owners – Assuming Google will rank local business that use gTLDs in its search results, and I think it’s a safe assumption given Google’s own gTLD applications, small businesses will gain from having the opportunity to register better keyword (and possibly more memorable) domain names.
IP Lawyers – There will be lots of lawsuits I would imagine, and the lawyers will be paid win or lose. Lawyers with intellectual property experience who represent brands and trademark owners will be tasked to litigate, and they will make a fortune.
Sales Venues and Auction Providers – A strong aftermarket will help fuel gTLD sales, and registries will need the assistance of aftermarket sales venues and auction houses to hold special auctions.The market is going to get crowded with hundreds of new gTLDs, so these venues should be able to make out very well by brokering sales and holding auctions.
Domain Investors - As I said in my predictions, I think there is likely going to be confusion and convertible error traffic. I also think some gTLD users will want to buy the matching .com domain names and will have to pay domain investor prices. I also believe that gTLD registries will need to have domain investors participate in the launch, and there will be deals to be had and flips to be made as a result. With all of the attention being paid to domain names, I think it will bring new money into the fold, although I think caution needs to be heeded with respect to new investors.