Thursday, January 16, 2014

Are personal domains the greatest chance for the new gTLDs?

(And the most underestimated opportunity?)

It seems that majority of the new gTLD applicants are focusing on businesses. The end users, who could register personal domains, are IMHO, also very important target group.

How I would define a good personal domain? Simply: a personal domain is that one you could use in an e-mail address that you put on your C.V.

I was surprised that I found quite few of them that I would call "typical" personal domain extensions: .mail, .latino, .kiwi, .scot, .irish, .arab, .gal, .tatar and .blog. Well, there is a lot of geographical domain extensionss such as .nyc or .berlin that are also a good choice, but they aren't typical "personal identity" domains, because a person can move to a different location.

So, why the personal domains are the biggest chance for the new gTLDs?

The simplest answer

There are more individuals than companies in the world.

Unconventionality isn’t such a big problem

Many startup founders may still wonder if it is not still better to have a .com, they are just afraid that their customers will look for .com first. That may not necessarily apply for a personal domain. If one creates an e-mail, not everyone plans to operate a billion dollar business on it (as many startupists do). So people aren't too concerned to have the unambiguous .com. On the other hand, they still may want their addresses to look good, which is exactly what the new gTLDs can offer.

Imagine, if you are a blogger, wouldn't it be better to have smith.blog than, for example, johnsmiththewritter.com?

Google may help

Even Google, with it's Google apps and Gmail, seems not to focus on end-users enough. From tens of their gTLDs, there is handful of such domains. Those are .family, .wow, .dad, .you, .free, .baby, .fun, .wow and the already mentioned .mail, though I can imagine maybe two of them could be used on the resume :-)

It seems Google applied for them to offer them to their paying Google apps users. When it will mean couple of clicks to own an e-mail address like john@smith.mail, with no need to configure the DNS which is a huge problem for most BFUs, while knowing that they own the domain and could move their mailbox elsewhere, then probably much more people will take advantage of it. (I hope Google won't be the only registrar). Just that could be enough to raise awareness or even to start a personal domains hype.

Recent development

The recent development on the internet is a chance for new gTLD marketers: They could point out that:
  • There were blogging services such as posterous.com that were discontinued. People who put a lot of efforts to get audience on their blogs, lost a lot of value of their work. If they had their blogs on own domains, they wouldn't have problems.
  • NSA affairs: If you have an e-mail and realize it is monitored by someone, you can move to anywhere else without changing the address.

So, what you think?

I would like to ask you:
  • Do you agree that the personal domains are the biggest chance for the new gTLDs?
  • Do you agree there are not as much personal gTLDs, as it should be?
  • Do you know any other that could you use as personal ones?
  • Which personal domain extensions do you miss? (I mean, do you have any ideas for such gTLDs?)
Discuss bellow or tweet to @JungleNavigator

6 comments:

  1. "Google may help" : I would not be surprised to see websites better indexed with TLDs owned by Google. A family blog on Blogger will probably become a must-have.

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    1. I don't think they would dare to do this, though it would be hard to measure if they rank it better.

      Also, their significant income won't still be probably from the TLDs

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  2. Great point. You forgot .kim, which is like Smith in Asia. 1% of the world population owns domains, so there is a huge potential both for companies and indivuals.

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  3. Without a context for each and every TLD's business model or service levels, IMHO it would be difficult to draw a broad conclusion across all of the applied-for strings, or any string for that matter that "personal domains are the biggest chance for the new gTLDs? Suffice to say that while while a personsname.blog makes practical sense in the blogosphere, would a person who is gay (even if they weren't "in the closet") be motivated to register theirname.gay? Without any connection to this previous example, would a person who has been diagnosed with HIV register, let alone use a myname.HIV without fear of the consequences that inevitably exist, albeit unfounded or unfair as a matter of prejudice? Perhaps there are a number of strings where these issues need not apply, although again, depending on the business model or pricing structure which applies, justifying the value case to the individual consumer or business person that might use it to promote him/herself by name represents the underlying value case consideration that must be made to answer this question with any degree of validity...

    Having only recently registered myfirstlastname.com, i'm not surprised that this concept hasn't yet taken off in the existing landscape of available TLDs. Some existing registries (like .me for example) "personalize" the value and use case but if someone were to examine the registrant segmentation for .ME, my sense is there are far more businesses than individuals using it for a "personalized" reason.

    Scanning the publicly-available list of applications on the ICANN New gTLD site, there are perhaps dozens of TLDs that presumably would be more attractive for individuals to use on a "personalized" basis vs. "businessname"

    7 applicants for .LOVE
    1 applicant for .DATING
    1 applicant for .DATE

    Presumably, an author or writer would find mylastname.author to be attractive at face value, albeit for perhaps personal or business reasons (e.g., help shop a manuscript or sell their book). Amazon applied for both .book (8 others did too) and .author :-). Lets also not consider .CEO as falling into the "personalized" category of opportunity, as would .LAW or .DOCTOR

    Potentially, any new gTLD could logically make a value case for personalization at the 2nd level. Value, pricing, marketing, business cases and use cases will ultimately reveal the answers to your questions.

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    Replies
    1. OK, maybe the personal gTLDs aren't the biggest chance, I just wanted to point out that I think they are the underestimated oppotunity

      At all I am not saying that the other gTLDs would'nt be interesting

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