We entered 2010 with much trepidation about what was awaiting us in this year.
As it turned out the domain world made it through another year in a bad economy, once again proving that domains are like a commodities, which like gold and silver continued to rise in prices.
While unemployment remained high in 2010 (still is) and the real estate market hasn’t seen a real recovery yet, there were signs that 2011 will be a much better year.
The stock market performed pretty well in 2010 and if you invested in some of the right stocks like Apple, Baidu, Netflix and Sirius you could have actually made a lot of money in the market.
So now we are on to the next one and here are our predictions for 2011:
2011 will be a good year for domain holders.
I think it will be record setting year in terms of number of sales and total dollar volume of sales of domain names as more end users come into the market.
Now the only problem when your dealing with end users many of them don’t want the deal disclosed so as there are more end user sales and less domainer to domainer sales many of these will be under NDA and therefore not counted in the official Ron Jackson Totals. Still by the end of 2011 I think most in the industry will agree it 2011 was a record setting year.
There are going to be some big domain properties sold in 2011, including some businesses in the domain world.
In 2010 we saw a top 10 registrar sold in Register.com to Web.com, and some prime internet properties like Insurance.com and Sex.com sold. Look for even more of these deals in 2011.
Your going to see some familiar and well know faces moving around the domain world.
Of course you all know that one of the best known people in the domain world, Monte Cahn is leaving Oversee on December 31, in 2011 you will see quite a few people on the move many away from the big companies in the space to smaller companies.
Of course that should not be that surprising as a survey by Manpower released yesterday showed that 84% of all workers want to change employers in the coming year.
The Godaddy.com Superbowl commercial featuring .Co extension will help .Co break the 1,000,000 registration mark by June 1.
I think the auction of i.Co will hit $350K or more when it gets auctioned off in February of next year. I also think you will see the previously purchase e.co sell for $350K or more in 2011.
By the end of the ICANN March meeting the .XXX extension will be approved as will a timetable for the new gTLD’s under which applications will start to be taken by the 3rd quarter of 2011.
None of the new gTLD’s will be live until 2012 with .brand extensions and sponsored Geo extensions like .paris and .berlin which will be the 1st to be approved.
.XXX will be live in the 2nd Q of 2011. I’m going to predict at least 300,000 registration by the end of 2011.
Trademark groups will keep pushing for another bill along the lines of the Leahy bill of 2010, which allows the government to seize domain names for IP violations.
I think even without such a bill, law enforcement will continue to step up its domain seizure efforts, after all the Kentucky domain seizures are still pending in court, over 2 years later and the ICE domain seizures have gone unchallenged.
.So which will be relaunched in 2011 will be a total failure.
Besides being a pretty bad extension with minimal use, (the tag line SO What comes to mind) its the ccTLD for Somalia which as you wouldn’t feel comfortable trying to transport a pack of gum through without getting held up by pirates.
Other major issues to keep an eye on in 2011:
Anything is possible including a pure renewal of the existing terms, renewal with some modifications (my prediction), to non-renewal which would end ICANN authority.
Before you all start hoping for the end of ICANN the issue would be who would take over for ICANN it might be put in the lap of the UN for example. So the alternative could be worse.
The Kentucky Domain Seizure case is still in the courts and its outcome could greatly effect the industry. Like I said keep your eye on it.
Another case to keep your eye on is the CFIT case against VeriSign. The case which is now in the discovery process is looming while the VeriSign contract is up for renewal in 2012. Will 2011 bring a settlement? Keep your eye on it.
One caveat to all the predictions above.
As we all know there is heighten security around the world and several planned terrorist attacks have been thwarted.
A major successful major terrorist attack could change the whole year around.
Lets hope for the best.
Happy New Year!!!