2015 was the second complete year of the gTLD movement. What went well for the new domain name extensions? Where is there room for improvement?
Ever since the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – or ICANN – started releasing new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) back in November of 2013, the domain name industry has seen big changes. 2015 saw several unique domain name endings hit the market, following the success of the program in 2014. 2014 was a big year for these new domain names as domain name investors and end users purchased millions of new TLDs. Did 2015 see the same kind of growth?
First off, let’s give a clear background on ICANN’s new gTLD program. gTLD stands for generic Top Level Domain and refers to any of the new domain name endings that ICANN is releasing to the public. Previously, only .com, .net, .org and a couple of other domain name extensions were available for people to register. However, as the internet saw more and more growth, it became hard for website owners to find a domain name that would suit their needs.
A gTLD can be used to house your blogs, business websites or whatever other project you’re working on on the web. Some of these newly released gTLDs are industry specific – such as .tech or .bike – whereas others are more generic, such as .xyz and .website.
Overall, the new program has yielded positive results for businesses and individuals alike by providing millions of new domain name options. These unique gTLDs have provided website owners with new avenues for their domain names. Many small and large businesses have even switched their web addresses to new gTLDs with the hopes of driving more traffic to their site.
What went well for new gTLDs in 2015?
Although overall growth of new gTLDs was consistent throughout 2015, the largest impact on the gTLD movement happened in August when Google announced that its new parent company, Alphabet, would be housed at abc.xyz. One of the largest and fastest growing companies in the world registered a gTLD for their new website, setting a trend for just about every other website out there.
The .xyz extension saw a huge boost in registrations immediately after the news. It was already the most registered gTLD before the biggest news, and Google’s business move just boosted it even more. It currently has over 1.7 million registrations, which is almost one million more than the second in line .top.
Some of the other gTLDs that saw significant growth in 2015 were .top, .wang, .club, .online and .nyc. Several of these domain names were offered at strikingly low prices throughout the year, which of course contributed to the large growth in numbers.
What didn’t go well in 2015 for gTLDs?
Although some gTLDs like .xyz and .nyc did quite well in 2015, some of the lesser known domain name extensions flopped. In fact, several gTLDs didn’t even reach 10,000 registrations by the end of the year. This could change as the public becomes more aware of new domain name extensions, but as of now, some gTLDs aren’t gaining much traction.
Most of the gTLDs that are priced higher than the traditional .com domain names haven’t seen much growth. For example, higher-priced domain name extensions like .gold or .luxury didn’t see a large boost in 2015 (however note that it’s all relative – each registration brings in significantly more money than other gTLDs). Other miscellaneous gTLDs such as .bingo, .rehab and .furniture didn’t really see much success either.
It appears that for the most part, the more multifunctional domain name extensions like .xyz and .site are much more successful than specific gTLDs (consider .com – it can be used for just about any website).
Where will 2016 take the gTLD movement?
Many domain name investors are predicting that 2016 will be the breakout year for new domain name extensions. It was expected that it would take a few years for these new gTLDs to really catch on around the world, so this year we could really see some of the less popular gTLDs gain traction. Although .com was unsurprisingly the most registered TLD in 2015, the future remains bright for new domain name extensions.
We predict that some of the popular gTLDs like .xyz and .online will see substantial growth in 2016 as more and more people become aware of the domain names available to them.
We wouldn’t be surprised if a few other major companies play into the gTLD movement just like Google did. Apple applied for their own gTLD last year (the purpose is unknown at the moment, but there has to be a reason behind it all), and Amazon has done the same. We also predict that many medium-sized businesses will switch to a gTLD in 2016 with the hopes of boosting their online presence.