Thursday , August 11 2022

What to make of this strange trend in new domain regs?

Are people getting the shortest domain possible when they register in a new gTLD?

Every month uber-registry Donuts publishes data about its portfolio, such as which gTLDs are most popular, in which region, what its most popular premium names are, and what keywords are most commonly registered at the second-level.

For the past few months, I’ve noticed what may be considered an unusual trend — many of the most popular SLD keywords are already gTLDs in their own right, suggesting registrants may not be getting their optimal domain.

The top 10 second-level keywords in February were: today, meta, letter, first, digital, verse, online, club, life, and home.

Put a dot in front of them, and five are also gTLDs — .today, .digital, .online, .club, and .life — some of which Donuts actually manages. One of them, .home, has multiple outstanding applications but has been essentially banned by ICANN due to high levels of name collision.

It’s even more noticeable in January’s numbers, with seven gTLD matches — online, life, digital, free, green, shop, world — in the top 10 SLD keywords.

In December there are six — today, group, online, digital, world and life. In November, four — online, digital, life, group. In October, six — digital, online, life, tech, shop, group.

It shouldn’t be hugely surprising that there’s a crossover between gTLD strings and popular SLD strings — one of the ways Donuts and others picked their gTLDs was by scouring the .com zone file for the most-common SLD endings.

The idea was that if Peter owned, or was thinking of registering, peterspickledpeppersonline.com, he might reasonably want to upgrade to the shorter peterspickledpeppers.online.

Donuts consistently says that the domains it sells are 20% shorter than domains registered in .com over the comparable period.

But its data suggests that this they’re not always getting their optimal domain. People are registering in new gTLDs, but they’re often not using the gTLD that would make their overall domain shorter.

I wonder why this is.

Cost could certainly be a factor. There’s not a massive amount of difference between a .online and a .live, and both are typically more expensive than .com, but it might be an issue for registrants on tight budgets.

It seems more likely that a lack of awareness among registrants may be the main issue — they don’t know the full breadth of options available to them (hell, even I don’t, and this is my job).

Registrars’ name spinners aren’t always helpful raising this awareness.

I typed the string “peterspickledpeppersonline” into the storefronts of seven popular registrars, all of which carry new gTLDs, and found that two of them didn’t offer peterspickledpeppers.online among their suggestions at all.

On some, the domain was way down the list, after far less-relevant suggestions, even though it is shorter and carries a higher price.

The post What to make of this strange trend in new domain regs? first appeared on Domain Incite.

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