The CEO and President of Verisign James Bidzos had some pretty interesting comments regarding the new gTLD’s and the effect they may have on .com and .net registrations during its earnings call today.
I have listened to the last several Verisign earnings call and this is the first time I can remember an analyst asking a pointed question about the new gTLD’s and their effect on the .com and .net registry.
The question was asked by JP Morgan Chase & Co:
Any thought to whether the gTLD program, whether people coming in for new sites might actually be thinking about an alternative gTLD for .com? And maybe that’s having some sort of impact?
D. James Bidzos, Founder, Executive Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Verisign:
“”As far as the new gTLD program, I don’t think that, I don’t see anybody who’s going to abandon the .com for a new gTLD.
There’s a lot of strong anecdotal evidence that, that may not be the case.
I can give you an example. So, for example, you may have seen that the U.K. paper, dailymail.co.uk, a very typical English configuration for a web address, using a company that U.K. configuration.
So dailymail.co.uk purchased dailymail.com.
They said that they purchased it because they wanted something that was more global that would allow them to get more traffic, especially in the U.S.
They paid GBP 1 million for it.
They bought it from The Charleston Daily Mail of Charleston, West Virginia, a 100-year-old Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper, who after they got their roughly $1.6 million for that domain name, were free to go out and buy whatever they wanted.
Then they chose to go out and buy CharlestonDailyMail.com.
If they bought it for retail, they probably paid about $10 for it.
So I think .com is very much the preferred, established reliable name.
I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future with the TLDs.
I’m sure some of them will do well, they’ll build some community.
But I guess I can give you one data point. If we look back, this is not the first time this has happened.
There have been some new TLDs before, and one of them that I think actually is a good idea of what success what might look like, a good example would be .co.
And I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with it.
.co is a short name, it’s just 2 letters. It’s a meaningful name that’s linked to company.
They went live in July of 2010.
They had a very robust marketing partner, they partnered with Go Daddy, the largest registrar.
They did 3 Super Bowl ads. They did, I thought, a very good job of marketing.
They did partner with Go Daddy on 3 Super Bowl commercials.
They have a substantial marketing budget.
They had no gTLD competition when they came out. And they’re not ICANN-regulated because they’re operating under contract from the ccTLD .co for Colombia.
So their history was that when they went live in July of 2010, they registered 100,000 domains in the first 10 minutes that they were live.
Less than a year later, in June of 2011, they had reached 1 million domains.
During that same period, by the way, that 11-month period, .com registered about 7 million.
Just under 2 years later, by April of 2013, they had gone from 1 million to 1.5 million, so they added 500,000 domains during those 2 years.
During that period, .com added 13.2 million. And then from April of 2013 until December 31 of last year, they added another 90,000 names, they closed the year at 1.59 million.
.Com added another 3.5 million during that time.
I think they’ve done a great job with .co. I think they’ve been successful there.
They ended the year at 1.59 million domains.
Their growth has slowed a bit, obviously.
But in Q3, we added 1.55 million names, that’s the entire size of the .co zone.
We added that in one quarter.
We typically have 5x the size of their zone in gross adds in a quarter.
So I think with somewhat in the neighborhood of, I don’t know, 400 or 500 gTLDs that are non-brand that’ll be distributed, it’s going to be a little bit more crowded.
They’re obviously more specialized and different.
I’m not sure where that’s going to end up, but I do know that we have at least one data point booked.
I think we’ve coexisted well and done well with .co, and I’m sure we will with the other gTLDs.
And I’m sure there’ll be a lot of excitement as they roll out over the course of 2014.
Mr. Bidzos of Verisign went on to say;
.Net is over 15 million registrations, so it is rather sizable.
.co, which I talked about, which I think, again, is an indication of what a successful gTLD launch is, basically between July of 2010, when they launched in the end of 2013, December 31, that 1.5 million names is not an easy thing to do.
But .net is still roughly 10x that size.
In General Verisign said they expected “.com and .net names added to the zone in the first quarter of 2014 to be between 1 million and 1.5 million names.”