What does the small domainer do ?
Over the last month we have heard a lot about the new tld program. We have seen which companies have applied for which strings. We have heard who is pro new tlds and who is anti new tlds.
Frank Schilling's blog post entitled, "Lady Gaga and New Tlds – Why Google Has Assured Their Future" is the most important post in the last five years in my opinion.
Frank Schilling a "God of Domainers" quoting Michael Berkens in this comment, has flipped his opinion on domains as a whole. The comments that Frank made in reply to his reader's comments were more interersting than the post.
Here are some comments Frank made:
- ".COM has taken root a long time ago. I think that this is it’s high-water mark. Every major brand will have it’s own TLD in a decade."
- ".com is great today because the brands reinforce it. It remains to be seen if that will continue in a .ANYTHING world. I think this has the potential to be a defining moment online, not a flash in the pan. .COM will indeed always be the king of TLDs, in an SLD world – but it will be marginalized on the whole by every new string that gets delegated."
- "I have “Flipped” my view because this is different. We don’t live with 24 sh*tty .com alternatives anymore. There are going to be thousands of great ones. And all those people will be pushing in this direction. You can’t fight the tide."
- "today we’ve got 1900 tld apps, com is $7.35 and climbing 7% every 4 of seven years. .com will be near $50 in 2050.. I think .com risks marginalizing itself as it ratchets up prices. I like .com a lot less in a World of $50 registrations and .WEB — which will likely be free. We have reached the high-water mark for .com."
- "I think the debate around dot com being the center of the universe (as it is today) will soon change. I think this round of new TLDs will bring subsequent rounds and change things for the value of dot com in as-yet unforeseen ways. Prices may inch up from here but they will not go up as fast on a percentage as new TLD-slds will. This is like the moment FM radio came out and all the am stations pooh-poohed it."
- "You are looking at the light from a dead star. Yes sales are great right now. There are no other TLDs of merit right now.. just 1000+ applications for names.. when those are out and in the root and for sale the world will be a different place. I am betting on that. You have a runway. Then the World changes."
- "Dot Com names will not go away but look at RIM and it’s blackberry product in an iPhone world. Change can be sudden. FREE domain names in good strings offered by an A-grade provider like google, could dramatically alter the most popular domain name hierarchy .. much quicker than in the past."
- "I think in the long run this will elevate all names. .com value will not evaporate any more than 800 number did in an 888 877 866 855 world.. BUT it will provide a metering or valve-like top to the value. And over time it will marginalize weaker strings like .info .biz .mobi etc."
- "Dot com will always be king just like 800 is still better than 888 even though you only need one key on the keypad for 888, but a good series of APPS to get domain names in the hands of customers and get them traffic from a media property like google, that is definitely going to make inroads over time. I’m calling a high water mark here."
- "If you have a domain name today .. I think you will have your own TLD, somewhere down the road tomorrow."
Frank has now changed his philosophy and many smaller domainers who have followed him don't what to do.
If this is a "high water mark" for .com domains, what do they do ? Do they sell now before the tlds are rolled out ? Do they wait to gauge the environment once they are out and then sell ? Do they not buy anymore domains.
What if you want to flip with Frank ? This is a big money game, the small domainer could not start their own registry, you can look at investing in a public company with exposure but that requires a lot of research and there are still a lot of things to wait and see how they play out. Who will get what extension ? Which extensions will be stalled as companies go back and forth over who should get what ?
I thought the statement Frank made "If you have a domain name today .. I think you will have your own TLD, somewhere down the road tomorrow." Does that mean he sees the pricing coming down so low that eventually anyone can get their own tld ?
You certainly have to start planning now what road you want to take. If .com truly becomes marginalized and .com resales meter out or have a cap, big domainers would be slightly bothered but many have made their fortune. For the small domainer he or she may not have made their score yet and could find themselves in a negative situation.
No one knows how this will all play out, so it makes sense to start analyzing all avenues now and have a plan A and a plan B, and maybe even a plan C. The time to start planning your domain strategy is right now.