A whole new world of opportunities for new Top Level Domains

11th November 2010  

Yesterday, ICANN announced it lifted a major restriction on new Top Level domains (TLDs).  Under the previous rules, a TLD operator, like .sport, could not have been a domain name registrar (a retailer, for short) at the same time. The new rules lift that restriction.  This opens a new world of opportunities. Let’s examine that.

For one, the purposely small TLDs, serving limited communities, will be able to sell directly. Registrars are mostly interested in selling TLDs that would significantly contribute to their sales. Small TLDs take up “shelf space”, each having its own set of technical and administrative chores. If the sales are low, small TLDs may not be a wise choice for registrars.

The so-called “Brand TLDs”, i.e. TLDs operated by a company for their sole use, will be able to manage  the entire process in-house. Hence, if a company like IBM applies for “.ibm”, they will not need to involve third parties in the process and will be able to manage the whole chain internally.

For the start-up TLDs, there is often a chicken and egg situation. As explained above, many registrars do not wish to invest too much energy in new TLDs that have no proven high demand.  On the other hand, if the users cannot buy the domain names easily, this could hamper the success of the TLD.
Under the new provisions, start-up registries will thus be able to sell directly. Once they have reached the stage of building a critical mass of registrations, it will be much easier for them to convince registrars to carry the TLD, too.

This also opens up new opportunities of partnerships between registries and registrars. One of the major problems that the new registries are facing right now is to find investors. The domain name market is quite specialized. Generic investors , with no experience in this sector tend to be very conservative. Registrars, on the other end, have a long experience in the sector, and can more easily assert the risks and benefits of associating themselves with new gTLD operators.

What does that bring to sport community, you ask ? A major benefit is that .sport domains will be available from day one.

And what does that bring to DotSport itself ? All of the above, we would say.