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Paul Stahura and Domainer Polls on gTLDs: “Dot .com is in relative decline”

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In the ongoing “War of the Polls” between Rick Schwartz and Mike Berkens two domainer behemoths – one comment response stands out as the most detailed and honestly articulated.

Paul Stahura of Donuts, Inc., the biggest gTLD applicant by far, responded on Mike’s post that was titled ” I Love You Rick, But Your Poll Results Are BullSh*t“.

Stahura’s comment raises the concern that on the wake of a wave of domain name changes brought forth by the introduction of hundreds of new gTLDs by ICANN, a lot  of top tier domains up for sale are saturating the domain market, on concern of an upcoming market deflation.

On the subject of polls, we think domainer polls are bullshit, due to their insignificant sample: there are billions of potential customers around the world, and domainer polls only target a handful of hardcore domainers and investors, with a significant bias towards their respective modus operandi.

Here is Paul Stahura’s comment for your perusal:

Rick’s poll, I believe, sorta resulted out of the discussion on his blog of .com being dead (or not).

As an old man, Mark Twain famously said “the reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated”.
He actually died a few years later.

Obviously .com will never outright dry up and completely die. Even .su hasn’t died and the Soviet Union is long gone.
But: we ARE living in “peak .com”… plus or minus a year…

I really do not think “the powers that be” think that .com is somehow benefited by new TLDs (from traffic or whatever reason), because if they did, then why did they delay this vast expansion of new TLDs for 15 years? If you think .com is in its ascendancy, then stop selling .coms – buy more!

I, for one, don’t think it is. I think .com is in (or soon will be in) RELATIVE decline.

Why?

I think names in the new TLDs are better than names in .com. They are shorter, more meaningful, more memorable, more specific, more unique.
They have more affinity. Its a fact that people have affinity to “church”, “family”, “club”, “gay” and yes horse lovers have an affinity to “horse” and for pizza companies “pizza”.

Who, really, has affinity to the string “com”?

Folks really don’t *want* to be in .com. Because up till now, unless they are a “biz” or a “tel” or an “info” or a “museum”, they have to. They really have no other choice. There are no TLDs for which they have any affinity whatsoever (except, if they live in Germany lets say, in which case, they’ve got one other one – .de, and btw, they pick .de over .com). Until now.

Look at .AU. Before Australia liberalized its rules (so that anyone can get one), .com had huge market share in Australia (lets call it 90%), after .AU was opened-up, just the opposite happened – now .AU has 90% and .com 10%. Apparently people there have an affinity to “AU” over “com”. I suspect people in New Zealand have an affinity to “Kiwi” vs “NZ” vs “COM”. And country affinity is just one type of affinity. Each of us is more than just a citizen of a country. We are members of a church, a company, have a hobby, a specialty, an occupation, a family member, a pet lover, and any type and shape of other human endeavor or activity.

New TLDs are why I sold my .coms (such as clear.com) years ago (I thought new TLDs would’ve come sooner). I imagine that is why others are selling their .com’s now. I love the, lets say, unconventional Rick-polling-method, so if he included me in that “poll”, then I’m marked down as having abandoned .com (also since donuts uses “.co”).

But forget a survey/poll, BS or not: how about getting some real data?

Find out how many folks reading this thread (or Rick’s) are selling their portfolio .coms to people not reading these posts, and compare that to the same thing a year ago, and then do it again next year.
Just look at which names are trading, and from whom and to whom. Look at, for example, are the professionals selling their .com names that contain a new TLD substring? Like “web”? “flowers”? “bet”? ‘tours”?”power”? “club” “pizza” “shop” “tennis” “green” “golf” “house” “cloud”?

Here is just the most recent list of weekly sales: http://www.dnjournal.com/domainsales.htm – Even “bike” is on the list, and that’s only this week’s few top sales which were made public.

If they are selling such names (I believe they are), are they selling them to other professionals (people “in the know”), or to people clueless new TLDs are soon approaching?

Ask yourself would tennisweek.com sell for $10K when tennis.blog, tennis.report, tennis.today, tennis.news, news.tennis week.tennis, weekly.tennis, usa.tennis and on and on are available for much less? Its econ 101: more supply will put downward pressure on the price. Plus, names in these new TLDs are shorter, more unique, more memorable, and more appropriate (in this case) for someone with an affinity to tennis & reporting, than tennisweek.com. Those in the know have figured it out, no matter what they *say* in a poll. Track what they are *doing*.

I believe there are more .com portfolios selling now to folks who don’t know what’s coming, than ever before.

That’s your REAL “poll” results.

Rick I’ve known you for, what?,10 years since first meeting you at the first (or was it 2nd?) TRAFFIC conference and one thing I think we can both agree on is the permanence of the domain name space and all the huge opportunity that is still out there and is yet to be tapped. But as a friend, don’t be fooled with mistaking domain name system permanence with the permanent supremacy of any TLD, even “peak .com”

This post is 100% true!

This post is 100% true!


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Comments

5 Responses to “Paul Stahura and Domainer Polls on gTLDs: “Dot .com is in relative decline””
  1. Konstantinos Zournas says:

    “Ask yourself would tennisweek.com sell for $10K when tennis.blog, tennis.report, tennis.today, tennis.news, news.tennis week.tennis, weekly.tennis, usa.tennis and on and on are available for much less?”

    YES! And if tennis.blog is offered at $12,500, tennisweek.com will sell for more than $10K.

    And what is this about .com being sold. .Coms were always being sold. And will be sold…
    They are sold because people want them. Not just because sellers want to sell them.

    The problem with new gTLDs, for domainers, is not that they are worthless. The problem is that the domains will be so expensive to buy that there will be no room for profit. Of course there are end-user problems that may or may not go away in a few years.

  2. Bill Kara says:

    If you look at the results of domain auctions, its very clear “domain investors” stoping being major buyers years ago. The stories of domain investors making big purchases are long over with a few exceptions. You’ll always have breakout domain sales, to end users, and in more rare times to collectors/investors but nothing close to the pre-2008 days.

    gTLDs will change the market, handreg-5000 dollar .coms will be crushed in value. It’s simply supply-demand. People are shifting to a mobile/tablet first market were app stores are the main content discovery method. Along with more choice on what domain to buy it’s clear to see peak .com days are not here, they are in fact behind us.

    Shift happens, adapt. The gTLD roll outs are not a 1-2 year thing. This is a 5-10 year type thing before we get a sense of the winners and losers.

    Many people are hung up on .horse and other odd ball gTLDs but really the incremental cost of adding another gTLD gets low enough that a 200k~ investment won’t break the bank. I suspect many of these names are just that, a bit of variety and certainly not the gTLDs that are going to lead the industry, just add some flavor to it.

  3. Patrick Hipskind says:

    End users are not going to rush out and buy into the gTLDs. If that is one of the assumptions in Donut’s business plan, I can guarantee you it will be proven to be a false assumption. The new gTLDs will survive for the first three years on domain name investors’ money. This fact alone makes Rick’s poll relevant and useful. Since domain investors will support these registries from the beginning they represent the population that should be sampled. As a domain name investor I want to have data about how many gTLDs are being bought into, what gTLDs are being bought into, how much money investors are planning to spend on the gTLDs, etc. At least having some information allows me to determine my level of risk. Who is going to invest thousands of dollars without having some sort of data to make an informed decision upon?

  4. DomainGang says:

    A diversity of opinions. Thank you all! 😀

  5. Richard says:

    What.s the next .io? I need to jump on that bandwagon 😀

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