Target and Toys R Us posted overall sales declines during the holidays.
With .luxury priced at $800 or more per year, .menu is a bargain at $50.
The floodgates are starting to open and producing a rush of new top-level domain names—with .luxury, .build, .menu and .uno among the first ready for pre-registration. These new domains, experts say, will soon alter the way retailers and other businesses market themselves on the Internet.
“This is the biggest change so far in the way we use the Internet,” says Mike McLaughlin, a former eBay Inc. executive who is now vice president of domains at GoDaddy.com.
GoDaddy, which caters to small businesses—typically with three or fewer employees—is already seeing businesses beginning the process of registering web addresses that use the .luxury, .build, .menu and .uno domain names, McLaughlin says. He declined to be more specific about the number of businesses starting the registration process. The .luxury domain name is especially popular, he adds, among businesses that sell items like jewelry or pricey apparel.
But .luxury doesn’t come cheap, at $800 or more to register a domain. The more popular the domain name, the more it’s likely to cost, McLaughlin says.
Compared with registration prices typically under $20 for common domain names like .com, .biz and .org, the new crop of domain names tend to carry premium prices. In effect, users pay more for a web site address that designed for their market.
GoDaddy, for example, is charging registration prices “as low as” $799.99 per year for .luxury, $99.99 per year for .build, and $49.99 for .menu and .uno. Those fees are based on GoDaddy’s reseller’s price combined with the fee charged by each domain name’s registry, the company that that has contracted with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, to manage the domain. The .luxury top-level domain registry, for example, is Luxury Partners LLC; the .menu registry is Wedding TLD2 LLC.
GoDaddy is one of hundreds of companies accredited by ICANN to register web sites with domain names, such as .com, .org, .biz and, for viewing on mobile devices, .mobi. ICANN lists its accredited registrars on its web site at ICANN.org. But while there are millions of web site names that already use .com as their top-level domain, or the letters to the right of the dot, what will seem like “an infinite number of new names will become available,” McLaughlin says.
Over the next two years, he says, registrars will begin selling web addresses for some 1,400 new top-level domains. About half of those will be set aside for brands, such as .Canon for the camera manufacturer and .Nike for the sportswear company, while the other 700 will be available to the public. Among the latter group will be many domain names tied to specific types of businesses, such as .menu for restaurants, .bike for bicycle retailers, .plumbing for plumbers and .photography for photographers.
In recent months, several new domain names have become available for pre-registration, with many more to follow over the next several months. By pre-registering for a particular top-level domain, web site operators can be assured to meet deadlines early next year for final registrations, which will start in the first quarter with different timetables for different domain names.
One of the largest registries, Donuts Inc., recently completed contracts with ICANN to offer 14 new top-level domains, or TLDs. Half of them will become generally available to the public on Jan. 29, the other half on Feb. 5. As is generally the rule with new TLDs, however, they will all first be available during a 60-day “sunrise” period exclusively to companies with trademarked names, so that a company such as camera maker Nikon Corp., for example, could have first crack at getting the web address Nikon.camera for its trademarked Nikon brand.
Following the sunrise registration period, there is generally a week or so when anyone else willing to pay an extra fee above the regular registration cost can take advantage of a “priority” pre-registration period to get a TLD before general registration is open to the public. For .luxury, for example, GoDaddy’s priority pre-registration rises to $1,199.99 from the standard $799.99; for .menu, it rises to $349.99 from $49.99. But an applicant might have to pay still more for a particular web site address with a new top-level domain—such as Mikes.pizza—if more than one applicant applies for the same address. “There can be only one Mikes.pizza,” GoDaddy’s McLaughlin says. Registration fees are refunded if an applicant is unable to get a requested domain name.
Information on all sunrise periods for new top-level domains is available through the Trademark Clearinghouse at sunrise.clearinghouse.org. Jan Corstens, a partner at consulting firm Deloitte and project director of its Trademark Clearinghouse practice, says it's important to register brand names early. “Opting to wait may leave trademarks unprotected, as it can take up to 30 days for submissions to be processed,” Corstens says.
The following TLDs from Donuts will become available through registrars for a sunrise period running between Nov. 26 and Jan. 24, followed by an interim pre-registration period, then general registration starting on Jan. 29: .bike, .clothing, .guru, .holdings, .plumbing, .singles and .ventures.
The next batch from Donuts will become available for a sunrise period starting Dec. 3, followed by an interim pre-registration period, then general registration starting on Feb. 5: .camera, .equipment, .estate, .gallery, .graphics, .lighting and .photography. Donuts lists more than 30 participating registrars on its site, Donuts.co, including GoDaddy, 101 Domain, 1&1 Internet, Domaininfo and Host Europe Group.
GoDaddy sought and received ICANN accreditation for registering .luxury, .menu, .build and .uno because they were ready for pre-registration filing, even though their registration periods are expected to begin at various times over the course of the next few months, McLaughlin says. A spokesperson for ICANN says those dates have not yet been set.
But GoDaddy, which also provides web site development and hosting services, expects to offer web addresses for many more new top-level domains. “Our goal is to have dozens of names available early next year, and hundreds by the end of next year,” he says.