Interview with Neha Naik, Radix Registry

Radix is Asia’s largest new gTLD applicant and has invested over $30 Million in securing licenses to operate the new gTLD extensions. Radix has applied for 27 Domain Extensions in ICANN’s new gTLDs program.

Radix has executed their agreements with ICANN to operate 4 new gTLDs – .website, .host, .space, and .press and will be launching these later this year. Radix is also the Registry for the repurposed extension .pw – the professional web and – a new domain targeted at the Indian market.
We met up with Neha Naik, Sr. Manager, Strategic Partnerships at Radix, and asked her a few questions about the new gTLDs program, the market response and Radix’s plans for its TLDs for the future.

1) Why do you think it was essential for ICANN to introduce the new gTLDs program?
I think one of the main reasons for the introduction of the new gTLD program was the over-saturation of existing gTLD namespaces. For a long time now, .com and .net have been the popular choice for domain names and the focus for all registrations. It has become quite difficult to get a first choice domain or any of the shorter domains with these existing extensions. The introduction of the new gTLDs should help people finally get the short and brandable domains they want.

Non-generic extensions like .press, .host, .bar, etc. are aimed at specific verticals. Overall, the program gives customers a large variety and an opportunity to register good, quality and memorable names. A lot of big brands like IBM, BMW and NIKE have applied for their own extensions as well.

2) What is your take on the reception in the market to new gTLDs launched so far?
I think the new gTLDs have received a good reception in the market so far, 765,000 names have already been registered. Registrars are excited about offering the new gTLDs, expanding their own markets as well as product offerings, plus adding a new revenue stream. They numbers definitely represent the interest from end customers too! And this will only grow further with increasing awareness and more generic new gTLD launches.

3) Radix has applied for a bunch of new gTLDs, how has the response been from registrars and the industry to your applications?

The industry reception has been amazing. Radix had initially applied for 31 new gTLDs and currently we’re ready to launch 4 of these gTLDs – namely .website, .host, .space & .press. this year.
Of these, .website & .space has seen a very a good response due to the global mass appeal and the generic nature of the TLDs.

On the other hand .host has seen really great interest from wholesale registrars such as ResellerClub because generally most domain resellers are web hosts too! And basis the marketing we’ve been doing for .press, we’ve realized that a lot of individuals and companies that don’t have web presences currently are excited to get online with a strong identity via these upcoming new gTLDs.

While we’re gearing up to launch these four extensions, we’re also in the process of resolving contention for other TLDs through auctions.

4) Radix has been successfully operating and .pw TLDs for a few years now, what lessons from that expertise do you think will be most crucial in launching these new TLDs?
One of the most important things when it comes to operating a TLD is a strong distribution network. We’ve accomplished that via strong ties with Registrars across the world. And we have a good idea about how to work in sync with channel partners to make it as simple as possible for them to launch and offer your TLD.

5) One concern some people have voiced is that the extra domain name extensions can make the internet a more complicated place to search or to have even more duplicate content. How would you address that?
This, of course, is something new and people will need to be educated about this. There’s a learning curve involved. Registries and registrars are actively working towards educating end users. A few years ago, domain strings such as .co, .me and .xxx were completely unknown but have slowly and steadily gained popularity among the masses. In fact, search engines will be able to factor and adapt to the classifications of the new gTLDs to make the internet a more organised space. The internet usage is only growing and there are more and more people coming online. These new gTLDs will give these customers more options, variety and the opportunities to register better, first choice names.

6) Do you think the introduction of the new gTLDs will complicate the ownership of Intellectual Property for Brands?
I don’t think it would complicate things. On the other hand, brands need to be out there and need to be aware of all the new TLDs being launched. They need to take an informed decision of what TLDs to register based on several factors that make sense for them with regards to relevant industry verticals, generics with a mass market adoption and TLDs focused on certain geographical classifications. This is also a good opportunity to come up with some interesting branding strategies and working with TLDs specific to the vertical like a publication could get,,,, One of the new gTLDs that could affect brands is .sucks as all the competitors could acquire brand name domains and misuse them.

The introduction of the trademark clearing house service has made things simpler and more centralized for brands. Over and above this, the introduction of other Rights Protection Mechanisms like the Trademark Claims process, URS in addition to the UDRP give brands the option of getting their names back in their own hands. Though ideally, Sunrise is the best phase a brand should look at to avoid such hassles at a later date.

7) How is Radix planning to promote the launch of its new gTLDs?
We have been talking to registrars to help them with everything required to launch our domain extensions. Like I said, the distribution network is going to be one of our biggest strengths as a Registry. We’re also going to reach out directly to end customers for specific TLDs such as hosting companies and web service providers for .host & journalists and media houses for the .press extension. Once the awareness of the new gTLDs increases, the market will quickly adapt and create more demand.

8) What is the long term plan with these new gTLDs?
The long term plan is to create a sustainable namespace with a primary focus on quality as well as quantity. We hope to provide valuable domain names to businesses and people across the world.

.Website & .Press from the Radix stable will be getting into Sunrise by mid June this year.
If you guys have any questions, we would like to hear them! Please leave them in the comments below.