Say what you want about the success of the new top-level domains so far, but they are still being introduced and it's really early on in their evolution to suggest that one day they won't capture some of .com's attention (if not dominance in the long term).
In many ways, it may already have started.
One of the new TLDs that industry watchers are paying close attention to is that of .WEB. There were several companies interested in operating the extension (including Afilias, Google, Nu Dot Co, Radix, Donuts, Schlund, and Web.com) and when that happens, the extension goes into auction.
That auction closed this week for the record setting price of $135 million. The winner? Nu Dot Co, LLC, which many suspect of being backed by Verisign. Why does this seem to be the prevailing thought? In its most recent quarterly report, included was a "Subsequent Event" section which read...
Subsequent to June 30, 2016, the Company incurred a commitment to pay approximately $130.0 million for the future assignment of contractual rights, which are subject to third-party consent. The payment is expected to occur during the third quarter of 2016.
Up to this point, the highest price (at least publicly) for a new top level domain was $41.5 million, which GMO Registry paid for .SHOP.
An interesting side note which shows just how competitive this auction was: the Donuts registry sued ICANN stating ICANN failed in its task to identify who was in control of Nu Dot Co.
The lawsuit was ultimately denied by United States District Judge Percy Anderson, and the auction proceeded, but it would make a great deal of sense for Verisign (which just so happens to operate .COM, the dominant and greatest threat to the expansion of the new TLDs) to diversify and .WEB would provide just that (and it certainly has the resources to support what many expect to be one of the domain name winners of the year.
As you might imagine, this specific auction and the rise .COM alternatives in general is generating greater interest within the digital industry. Founder and CEO of .CLUB, for example, recently stated:
“The .WEB auction exceeded our expectations on value. That being said, it is clear that strong domain extensions like .WEB have substantial value. Although there are hundreds of new extensions launching, there are only a finite number of really strong names like, .WEB, .SHOP, .APP, .BLOG, and .CLUB that are fairly generic but have meaning. The not-com revolution is happening, and the landscape of the Internet is changing forever.”
Does the .WEB extension stand a chance or is it going to be the next big thing in domains? Share your insights with a comment below!