Frank Schilling on gTLDs
Without a doubt, Frank Schilling owns one of the most lucrative private domain name portfolios (maybe the most lucrative). His company, Name Administration, annually sells millions of dollars worth of domain names, and it most likely generates into the 8 figures in PPC income per year.
Last year, Frank founded an acclaimed domain name parking company, Internet Traffic, and his Domain Name Sales platform that was opened to the public has received considerable praise from its users (myself included).
Recently, Frank announced the creation of Uniregistry, a company that has applied for a number of gTLD extensions. Clearly, Frank is bullish on the market for gTLDs.
Earlier today, I posted an interview with Mike Mann, who has a differing opinion on gTLDs. I reached out to Frank with the same questions I asked Mike, and I want to share some of his thoughts on gTLDs. My questions are bolded below.
Will companies adopt descriptive keyword gTLDs and re-brand websites?
Yes, slowly at first. Companies will use them as novel marketing tools in advertising, but then gradually the ship will turn and you’ll see then used more frequently as the anchor-domains for corporate sites – and as primary sites.
How long will it take consumers to understand what gTLDs are?
That’s a good question. Nobody knows for sure, but technology has people learning quicker now and there will be a ton of marketing from all corners once these are out. 5 years or so? Definitely less than 10 years.
What is the path to success for a gTLD operator?
The Uniregistry model: Low fixed price registrations, delightful ease of use and utility, hands-off (open, free, greenfield) governance, coupled with strong rule of law and abuse mitigation safeguards.
How do registrars and registries sell their names?
Registries will pay registrars to carry their products (as they do now) but Uniregistry plans to have a relationship with registrants for renewals, transfers and management via the Uniregistry website. We plan to encourage people to deal with their registrar but want our registrants to have a delightful ease of use and the ability to engage in name administration at the registry level if they wish. We plan significant marketing incentives for registrars to promote our strings. The TLD process will be very good for those capable of selling names.
Will brand gTLDs help make consumers aware of the right of the dot?
Absolutely. When consumers drive down the freeway and see billboards with justdoit.nike and drink.johnnywalker and drive.bmw it will change the way they feel about website addresses.
Will you be investing in registries and/or acquire various domain names in different TLD?
Uniregistry is the only registry aside from Verisign, Affilias and Neustar who have built their own registry software and infrastructure. We’ll be offering those services to other comers in round 2 and beyond. I do not plan to invest in any new tld based SLDs. There will be great opportunities to acquire strategic names in strings (used.cars, AnythingYouCanThinkOf.free) but I won’t be pursuing them. I would be participating there if I had time, but I’ve made the commitment to run registries so plan to focus all my energy there.
How can domain investors make money when it comes to gTLDs?
Focus on the Registries that are run as I described in the success model above and purchase strategic names at registration price, and then do as you would do with existing sld’s: monetize them and engage in development and resales.
Do you think marketing dollars spent on gTLDs will be good for the domain industry as a whole?
Absolutely. Anything that promotes domain names on such a grand scale, will help to educate the general public about their value.
Will land rush opportunities bring more people and capital into the domain investment space?
This is also an unbridled YES. There are going to be many more domainers in the future, from all walks of life, and from many more corners of the World.
What will happen to the money domain investors spend on gTLDs?
gTLDs? or SLDs? I think if you buy the right SLDs which rhyme with the types of names you see in modern marketing you will make money. If you buy the wrong names you will loose money.. The game is the same as it ever was only the position of the dot and the price of entry is changing.