[At-Large] [GTLD-WG] [CPWG] [registration-issues-wg] Planning for Round Two of New gTLDS is open?

John McCormac jmcc at hosterstats.com
Mon Jul 1 16:40:05 UTC 2019

On 01/07/2019 16:16, Kaili Kan wrote:
> Hi, Barrack,
> Thank you for asking.  If you look into the CCT-RT report, it will 
> clearly show that the gTLD market is already saturated.  As a mater of 
> fact, well over half of the new gTLDs are being parked, i.e., not being 
> used, but mostly for speculation.

Hi, Kaili,
The conclusions of the CCT-RT were based on faulty assumptions and poor 
methodology (classifying redirects as "parking" etc). There's a 
considerable percentage of websites that redirect to the HTTPS version 
of their site. Some NGTs are almost completely HTTPS. What the CCT-RT 
report called "parking" is often nothing of the sort.

The idea that all unused domain names are speculative registrations is 
wrong. Many businesses will protect their brand in relevant TLDs but 
will either point the domain name to their primary band site or leave 
the domain name undeveloped. ICANN and the IP constituency seems to 
think in terms of trademarks and service marks representing the bulk of 
brand protection registrations. This is wrong. Small businesses with no 
trademarks or service marks represent the bulk of brand protection 
registrations. This is why, for example, the most common registration 
pair is .ccTLD/.COM.

Many registrars now automatically park undeveloped and unused domain 
names on PPC services. Sedo, Parkingcrew and others have a registrar 
parking services to monetise these unused domain names. However, when 
the ordinary user lands on one of these sites, they only see PPC 
adverts. They don't know if the site is a speculative registration or an 
undeveloped domain name.

Some of the NGT registries chose to make discounting a central element 
of their business model and these heavily discounted registrations 
attracted problematic registrations that did not renew. The usage of 
these domain names was almost purely gambling and adult affiliate 
landers. The methodology relied upon by CCT-RT couldn't distinguish an 
affiliate landing page from an active website. Thus many of the NGTs in 
the report on which CCT-RT relied had real usage rates that were often 
below 10%. This usage percentage has been supported by the subsequent 
non-renewal rates in many of these NGTs.

Highly speculative registrations in a new TLD generally drop on the 
first renewal. This is the Junk Dump where those domain names that could 
not be sold are dropped. Many of the higher priced NGTs did quite well 
on their first renewal (50% to 78% renewals). The main focus of 
speculative registrations is .COM TLD. That has not changed since the 
NGTs were launched.

Grouping all new gTLDs as a single TLD is wrong. Some of the new gTLDs 
have ccTLD-like characteristics and equally high usage rates. Others are 
almost completely filled with low quality landers, PPC and holding pages.

> Regarding Africa, and the global South in general, I don't think the 
> problem is a lack of supply.  That is, the economic and social status 
> makes the demand relatively weak, and maybe also lack of necessary 
> skills, to apply for and run gTLDs.  Thus, instead of supplying more new 
> gTLDs, ICANN should provide assistance to Africa and the global South 
> for that.

The Africa and global South markets are extremely large. In terms of 
coverage and populations. Many of the ccTLDs are still in their early 
phases of development. In a recent gTLD website survey, there were more 
gTLD websites by country of IP address in the UK than there were on the 
entire continent of Africa. Even mapping gTLD website usage by IP can be 
problematic as A Dutch hosting company is using a lot of Seychelles IP 

The African and global South markets are developing in different ways to 
the global North markets. This is because a lot of Internet use in those 
markets are mobile phone based whereas the global North markets 
developed from desktop Internet and then incorporated mobile Internet. 
The African and global South markets often rely more on mobile Internet 
and that makes the development, and usage of domain names and TLDs in 
those markets different to the usual expectations. It might be a good 
thing for any planning to examine these dynamics in the African and 
global South markets. (Grouping the continent of Africa as a single 
market rather than a set of markets is not a good thing.)

I'm not sure that the gTLD market is saturated. It is the registrants 
and users that make a gTLD a success. Some gTLDs will succeed and others 
have already failed. The gTLD market is one of many different gTLDs in 
various states of evolution. Just on the .COM TLD, there are more 
deleted domain .COM domain names than there are currently active .COM 
domain names. The gTLD market isn't a monolith. It is closer in nature 
to a slowly flowing river.

The biggest flaw of the first round evaluation process was that it 
seemed to pay very little attention to the marketing budgets and 
abilities of those promoting the NGTs. That has to be addressed in 
planning for the second round.

Despite some on the list being against speculation, those people who 
register speculative domain names are doing something that the people 
who just talk about such things do not. They are registering domain 
names. They also promote these new TLDs and act as unpaid sales people. 
They are an important part of the domain name ecology. Without them, a 
new TLD will find it much harder to gain registrations.

John McCormac  *  e-mail: jmcc at hosterstats.com
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