Donuts Builds Domain-Name Business Amid New Land Grab on the Web
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similar domain names ending in the standard-issue .com, .net, and .org. (So, anywhere from $30 to $50 a year for typical new gTLD Web addresses versus around $10 for the legacy names.)
“We’ve priced the product higher quite simply because we think it’s significantly superior,” Tindal says. “We think of this product as three or four times better than the equivalent .com, and at this point, the market is telling us we’re right. They’re paying those higher prices for our superior product.”
Tindal says customers picking new gTLDs are doing so because the names are “fresher, more memorable, better looking, easier to read, easier to understand, and to their customers, it looks modern.”
While some of the new domain names are broadly appealing—.club, .website, for example—others are valuable for their specificity. Professional photographers, for example, have flocked to .photography, one of Donuts’ most popular gTLDs. “If I have a .flowers at the end of my website, people are going to have no doubt about what it is I’m offering to them,” Tindal says.
That said, Tindal acknowledges that right now anyway, few people know about the new domain names.
“We’re not talking complete ignorance, but we’re talking typically about awareness levels below 15 percent,” he says. “That’s our challenge for this year, is to generate a higher level of public awareness of the product.”
Donuts just opened a new office in Chicago to run direct-to-consumer marketing. It has about 15 people in its Bellevue headquarters, 10 in Los Angeles, and a handful of others in Europe and elsewhere.
A key consideration with any Web address is how it will perform in search. Tindal says it’s still too early to make a definitive pronouncement on search effectiveness, but says a handful of recent studies found the new gTLDs perform as well as or better than similar .com names, all else being equal.
Meanwhile, as the roll-out of new domain names continues, ICANN is hashing out disputes about control of domains that have the imprimatur of specific authority or expertise.
A financial services-backed group, fTLD Registry Services, gained control of the .insurance name last month and intends to operate it “in a highly restrictive manner with strict eligibility requirements designed to ensure that the space is used by verified insurance industry members,” says fTLD managing director Craig Schwartz in a news release.
And Donuts is challenging ICANN’s plan to limit registrations ending in .doctor—which is set to be auctioned in April—to medical doctors, excluding PhDs, veterinarians, and businesses using the word in their names.
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