I’m Scott McBreen, Domains Operations Manager at Name.com. With all the excitement regarding the New Top Level Domains (nTLDs) there are many people wondering how the new domains will be made available. Others may be curious if it is worth the money to register an nTLD for use as a personal/professional website, or even for investment purposes. Follow along below for responses to both those questions.
Registry operators, those that manage databases for Top Level Domains (TLDs) such as .com, utilize multiple strategies when making domains available to the public. Some registries will restrict who can register domains under their TLD, while others will make domains available to general public. Registries that open their TLD to the general public will typically make domain names available in stages when they are first released. These stages typically fall into the three categories: sunrise, land rush, and general availability.
The sunrise period allows applicants to apply for domains through accredited registrars, such as Name.com, if the domains meet certain criteria. Sunrise applications typically require a registered trademark on the string for which the applicant applies. In the caseof the nTLD, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will offer a Trademark Clearinghouse, which will allow trademark holders to protect their trademark. Registries may also offer an additional sunrise period which allows owners of strings under an alternate TLD to apply for the same string in the nTLD they manage. For example, if your accounting firm owns SmithandMcBreen.com you may be eligible for SmithandMcBreen.cpa during the sunrise period.
Sunrise period registrations typically cost more than general availability registrations. However, the sunrise period is the ideal time to secure a valuable domain.The sunrise periods is followed by the landrush period. This is the period during which domain names become available without trademark or alternate TLD restriction. Name.com will offer pre-orders for the landrush period. If you have placed a pre-order with Name.com, we will attempt to register your domain the moment the land rush begins. Name.com has had tremendous success capturing pre-ordered domains during both the .Tel and .XXX landrush periods, making many great domains available to our customers.
After the landrush period the nTLDs will enter the general availability period. This is the period when domains do not have any additional restrictions, and the registry charges their standard rate to registrars such as Name.com. Some registries will hold onto what they consider to be premium domain names, and will auction them off to the highest bidder. This can result in names being sold for huge sums of money. According to Sedo Holding AG. who managed auctions for the .mobi registry, domains such as hosting.mobi sold for $101,000 and taxi.mobi sold for $75,111 at auction. Other registries will accept petitions for use of their premium domain names from parties that agree to develop the domains into active websites. This can help build an nTLD’s brand, and result in excellent websites.
If you have made it this far, I am sure some of you are asking the big question “Is it worth it?” Not unlike higher education or a chicken burrito, the answer depends on what you put into it. However, I think we can agree that domains such as cupcakes.nyc and fishing.miami are far more brandable than many of the currently available .com alternatives.
As far as the investment worth of the nTLDs, it can be difficult to speculate. However, NameBio.com reports sales of .Org domains such as autoinsurance.org for $440,000, engineering.org for $198,000, and revolution.org for $120,000. One would imagine the individuals that registered these domains found them to be a sound investments.
We look forward to helping you with similar opportunities with the new TLDs and, as always, bringing you the same legendary customer support that comes with all our domains.