With the first set of New gTLDs now in General Availability, I wanted to put together a few thoughts around what this opportunity could mean for you as a reseller.
The Opportunity for Resellers:
No Need for Thin Margins:
Every registry that we are working with is focusing on the value and the branding around their TLDs. An obvious strategy considering the need to differentiate and carve out a niche for their TLD but an extension of this thought is the pricing we see. At the moment, no one seems to be competing with .com. While this might change as more generic TLDs are launched, Registrars across the industry are maintaining healthy margins on all New gTLDs as well. Your strategy should be similar as well; you don’t need to focus on simply the price with these TLDs but rather the value they offer which means that you can keep a healthy margin for yourself.
You Now Play a Greater Role:
Your current role as influencers over your customers’ TLD choice becomes more challenging and important now.
- What are the new TLDs available and which ones are seeing considerable uptake?
- What is most important to your customer’s web presence – location/cultural factors, industry/profession identification or recall value?
- How much is your customer willing to pay for a domain, is it worth pitching an expensive domain to him?
These are a couple of questions you have to be able to gauge and answer for every customer moving forward.
Make a more Meaningful Pitch:
In the past with any proactive marketing campaign, both online and offline, you would have pitched “getting online” to SMBs across verticals with no targeted focus on a TLD.
With TLDs like .lawyer you can now make a stronger pitch that is specific to an SMB’s vertical. The TLD intrinsically offers a sense of identity and if used right, can be very convincing when pitching a web presence.
Absolutely Open Namespaces:
Because a lot of the existing TLDs have been around for so long, the available pool diminishes with every passing year. Customers that have their heart set on a particular string very often end up settling on a make-do based on what is a available.
With new so many new TLDs and brand new Namespaces, it is unlikely the customer will not find his preferred string in a TLD that fits his needs. You just need to make sure you are able to recommend the right TLD that matches the price they are willing to pay.
I admit this is a bit of stretch, but there might be some merit in going back to your existing customers and offering them their current domain strings in new TLDs that make sense to them along with portfolio management services. This makes more sense for large enterprises that have large portfolios that need dedicated management but optimizing your existing base is relatively cheap and someone who trusts you and has bought from you before is more likely to buy again.
There is a lot of speculation around how Search Engines will react to New gTLDs, mainly because search engines have been highly tight lipped about their plans. Considering both Google and Microsoft are applicants for New gTLDs though, they will most likely assign a positive value to TLDs that act as indicators for the website. For example owning a .london or a .doctor will most likely benefit the domain owner for related keywords.
A great indicator is how they have treated ccTLDs for local presence. Owning a .co.uk or a .in has a definite advantage in local results. We may start seeing such preference for professions and verticals moving forward.
Having said that, there has been an increasing focus on content as a greater signal than domains and other setup based factors. Also, we might see some link spam in the early days but as things settle, relevant content with a relevant TLD will be a great asset.
It is not going to happen. Not any time soon at least. It has taken a long time for even existing gTLDs like .org & .biz to be perceived amongst regular domain choices so don’t expect your .com numbers to drop immediately as these TLDs launch. The perception of website=.com still exists and most customers will go for their .com first if available before looking at other options.
You will get customers who are skeptical about new gTLDs in general and even questioning if they are real; be prepared. A lot of buzz was generated when this was initially announced so use it to your advantage. It is unfortunate that we have lost so much time since then but hopefully as they start going live, we get traditional media’s interest again.
Another important factor for trust will be if New gTLD registries are able to move large & highly visible brands to their TLDs. Seeing these TLDs in SERPs and ads will give the TLD credibility and create demand.
Right now there is very little being done for market creation. In the initial launch phase we will see mostly domainers, brands and early movers being active. In the subsequent months, if there are no market creation activities New gTLDs will simply eat into to the volume of existing TLDs. There will need to be a conscientious effort from everyone in the chain to grow the market if we want to see real growth in domain volumes.
To wrap this up, as an industry we need New gTLDs to work. It is a great revenue opportunity for all of us and a great means to get more people owning websites. For that to happen, as the sales chain we need to take an active interest and keep ourselves updated and actively educate our customers.
These were a couple of my thoughts on New gTLDs, I would love to hear your thoughts on it and whether you have already seen interest from your customers in the comments below!