5 With… Jay Westerdal, CEO, .Movie
Many months ago, I interviewed DomainTools founder Jay Westerdal in one of the first “5 With…” interviews I did. Since then, Jay sold his company to Thought Convergence, which has moved right to the top as one of the domain industry’s leading companies. Their services run the gamut – parking (Trafficz), conference (Domain Roundtable), domain auctions (Aftermarket.com), tools (DomainTools), and many other products and services.
Jay is also involved in another project as CEO of the .movie registry, which hopes to secure the .movie gTLD. The general premise is that every year, hundreds of movies are released via different channels, and many struggle to match the .com domain name with the title of their movie. The .movie extension would allow production companies to choose the name of their movie in the .movie extension. An example of this would be that Paramount Pictures could register StateOfPlay.movie instead of the dumb domain name they chose, StateOfPlayMovie.net.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I interviewed Antony Van Couvering, founder of Minds + Machines, a gTLD consulting company, and CEO of .NYC. If you have any interest in gTLD domain names, that’s another interview you might want to read.
EJS:1) Who is involved in .Movie and are there any movie studios involved as partners or passive players?
JW: We have talked with a number of studios so far and they like our vision. There are six major studios which we have a good working relationship with at this point and expect that to grow. We have raised or got commitments for just over $5 Million dollars from Investors and we might be interested in raising more. I am not going to mention the investors by name but most people reading your blog would recognize their names. Our vision is very clear. We want to create a namespace where movie goers trust that they can direct navigate to a movie just by knowing the name of it. BacktoTheFuture.movie would work in this situation along with every other example of a movie name. We are going after two TLDs .Movie and .Film and with one registration the registrant would get both domains.
EJS: 2) Will the .Movie registry have a directory of .Movie sites classified by genre, release date…etc?
JW: No, we are a pure registry with no special tools. We will leave organizing the world’s data up to smart people like Google, Yahoo, MSN, or the like. We want to be just a TLD for movies. Every movie should have a type-in domain at our registry with no speculators allowed.
EJS: 3) Will the .Movie registry offer special development tools for website owners?
Nope, we offer nameservers for the TLD and the things you would expect from normal TLDs like .COM or .INFO. Just the basic DNS stuff along with a ultra strong UDRP which favors studios.
EJS: 4) How will .Movie compete with Movie.com/Movies.com?
JW: We are not competing with Movies.com, we are a TLD for movies. Every domain in our TLD will be owned by the movie owner. We are not operating a website, we are enabling direct nav websites for movie studios. I think the vision for this started because I was a domainer with a lot of ICANN experience, I got frustrated looking at trailers for new movies coming out and seeing that they had horrible domain names. So I decided I would help the movie industry and create a TLD
just for them with no outsiders allowed in to clog up the good domains.
EJS: 5) Do you expect to run a TM landrush, and how will domains be awarded, ie CasaBlanca.movie where a TM might not be valid?
JW: We expect Warner Bros. Pictures will register Casablanca.movie. We are not encouraging registrations inside this space unless the registrant owns film rights to a movie of the same name. We will present big hurtles to register in the space and we expect only a few outsiders to come in, domains like Google.movie might actually go to the Google search engine which indexed the movies rather then a film about Google.
Our goal would be to allow movie companies to register great names like Ducks.movie for just $10. Keeping speculators out will require the mind of a domainer because we want to keep the space open for anyone but only encourage movie studios and special edge cases like search engines. We would not want Google coming in and registering Search.movie they should be using their trademark instead. Generic domains would go to a studio that had a film named Search or The Search. Unless you had a trademark in the space don’t expect to come it. Even with a TM we know there are loopholes like registering TMs just to come in and speculate; we will guard against that and throw speculators out. More information can be found on our website www.dotmovieregistry.com.
EJS: 6) How long do you think it will be until we see these type of gTLD approved by ICANN?
JW: I expect this TLD to be approved in 12-24 months and operating in the root.