Understanding the Dynamics of Domain Registry and Its Impact on Consumers
The management of domain names is not a monopoly, and the coexistence of different players in charge of different extensions, registries, gives users more choice, but also requires communication and differentiation efforts from these registries. ShortDot is the registry that manages niche extensions such as .bond, .icu, .cyou, .cfd and .sbs.
Eshan Pancholi, Vice President, Marketing at ShortDot SA, explains the registry’s role in choosing and promoting gTLDs (generic extensions) and building communities around these products. To create these digital identities, it’s necessary to identify the need for them, activate relays to make them known and respond to users’ needs, so that this feeling of belonging to a community serves their business and helps define their online presence.
How does a registry determine the potential of a new domain extension?
Eshan Pancholi : The process of determining a new domain extension’s success begins with identifying a gap in the market. For instance, .icu (I See You) was launched to resonate with a younger, more internet-savvy audience, offering a fresh alternative to traditional extensions. Similarly, .bond aimed at the finance sector, .cyou at the Gen Z demographic, .cfd (Clothing, Fashion, Design) at the fashion industry, and .sbs (Side by Side) for community and collaborative initiatives.
Market analysis, consumer behavior studies, and trend predictions were crucial in assessing the potential of these TLDs. The key was to identify niches that were not just profitable but also sustainable in the long term.
How does a registry decide whether to add a new extension to a its catalog?
EP : The journey of a new domain extension starts with assessing its viability. The market’s current dynamics, trends, and consumer needs are critical factors. It’s akin to unveiling a new character in a grand play, where each extension must have a distinct personality, resonating with its intended audience. For example, rebranding a domain like .icu to represent ‘I See You’ transformed it from a medical connotation (“intensive care unit”, editor’s note) to a positive, motivational phrase. It’s about creating a domain that’s not just a set of letters but a statement of identity and purpose.
What levers does the registry have at its disposal to promote this new extension?
EP : Launching a new TLD is akin to introducing a new character on a global stage. It requires strategic partnerships and innovative marketing. A crucial aspect is working with registrars, as they are the direct link to end-users. Providing them with compelling marketing assets and encouraging their active participation is key. A targeted marketing campaign that stands out was the takeover of Times Square with digital banners in collaboration with registrar partners. It’s a statement that says, “We’re here, and we’re significant.”
How do these efforts benefit the user?
EP : Beyond marketing, it’s about building communities. A TLD isn’t just a digital address; it’s a badge of belonging. The success of a TLD significantly depends on the community it builds. For .icu, community building involved engaging with young entrepreneurs and creatives globally. In contrast, .bond focused on establishing a strong presence in finance and investment communities. .cyou leveraged social media platforms to resonate with a younger audience, creating a vibrant, interactive community. .cfd and ”.sbs’ approached community building by collaborating with fashion bloggers and small businesses, respectively, providing platforms for them to connect and grow.
Is the changing digital environment helping to evolve what and how you promote new extensions?
EP : The synergy between social media and influencer marketing has propelled new domain extensions like .cfd and .icu to the forefront. These platforms have enabled domain registries to target specific audiences precisely and effectively. For .cfd, a domain tailored for the fashion and design industry, leveraging influencers like Lee Dahlberg and Mauve has been pivotal. These prominent figures in the fashion world use .cfd for their portfolio sites, serving as powerful endorsements for the domain. Their influence extends beyond personal use; they actively advocate for .cfd within the fashion community, particularly among younger, fashion-centric audiences. This advocacy has boosted the domain’s visibility and solidified its association with the fashion and design industry. Similarly, .icu, an extension aiming to resonate with young entrepreneurs and creatives, has benefited significantly from influencers like MJ Gordon and Amelie. These young female entrepreneurs are using .icu domains for their ventures and actively promoting them across social channels. Their advocacy underscores the domain’s appeal to modern, dynamic online personalities, greatly aiding its growth and acceptance.
A registry’s work is not just about selling to registrars available domain names. It’s also about building some communities and the identities it helps to forge. From strategic rebranding to innovative marketing campaigns, a registry’s work is both creative and strategic, striving to add value to products for registrars and users. A domain name is more than just a web address; it’s an important part of a person’s digital identity and a means of communicating autonomously with the whole world.
Eshan Pancholi is the Vice President of Marketing at ShortDot SA, the registry that owns and operates leading new domain extensions such as .icu, .bond, .cyou, .cfd, and .sbs. Eshan is also on the founding team of WebUnited and leads marketing at NameBlock.