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New gTLDs and Universal Acceptance

Universal Acceptance is the topic of the moment, explained in one simple sentence: in the new gTLD world, it means that various groups (the DNS, ICANN and a few others) are working hard to make new domain names better accepted by the existing technical Internet infrastructure. A video extracted from the “ICANN 52” meeting explains it in 50 slides but I suggest a pause on slide 17, because it shows where the issues are and what remains to be fixed to give the ultimate answer to that question: “why the hell my email was rejected?” ICANN offers another page to follow on the news on that subject.

The very buzz around new gTLDs

As a person involved in promoting and following all info related to new generic Top-Level Domains, I can say that it is a fact: the standard speech about new gTLDs is more negative than it is positive but I noticed two trends:

1) The speech is often biased as it is based on personal thoughts. I particularly like this study in which I read: “No matter the ranking order in search engine results, the brand appeal of .COM web addresses help to receive more clicks than a new domain extension address”. On the basis of such statement, should Brand strategists suggest to… avoid new domain name extensions at all costs? What about in ten years?

Domainers, whose business was based on selling .com domain names, also offer an interesting prose.

2) Numbers says the opposite. If we all agree that registration figures are not the one expected by many new Registries, we are finishing year one of registrations with Registrants (those who buy domain names) renewing their domain name in most cases. I do not call this a failure, I call this a success and I am confident that registrations are going to increase.

3) Intellectual Property in general pays more interest in the Trademark Clearinghouse: more Trademark agents subscribe and more marks are submitted.

Universal Acceptance is not just a technical question: the .CLUB example

The official definition given by the ICANN FAQs is “Universal Acceptance (UA) is the concept of removing all technical barriers that might hinder a user from accessing any name in any TLD from any web browser, email client, or other Internet application on any computer or electronic device.”

If Universal Acceptance relies a lot on technology to accept new domain names, it also relies on consumers adoption.

As the moderator of an important group related to new gTLDs on LinkedIn, I often “catch” articles related to new gTLDs, to initiate a conversation. Catching an article requires to copy-paste a URL in the Title field of the discussion but it only worked with “old” domain name extensions such as “.com”. It did not work with “.club” domain names until very recently and I had to generate “.com” URLs to redirect to the right article.

If LinkedIn can be thanked for this great improvement, such technical adoption by leaders of the Internet Industry is a very good demonstration that Universal Acceptance is now a fact.

By Jean Guillon, New gTLDs "only".

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Universal Acceptance Driven By Real World Use Max Menius  –  Apr 9, 2015 11:09 PM

Through all the biased opinion that does exist, mass adoption & acceptance will hinge largely on real world companies using new TLD’s as their main corporate website or to push products/services driven by consumer need. As this happens over time, awareness will grow and some of the newer TLD’s will be embraced.

One might say that “Universal Acceptance” will result in part from universal relevance. Domain names can have novelty appeal like with .guru or .ninja, but they can also represent a real world niche like .realestate, .nyc, or .flowers. There is a large audience for each of these who can easily make the leap forward to remembering & using a new TLD once they see it in action.

Show me the money John Levine  –  Apr 10, 2015 1:15 AM

The vast majority of new TLDs are corporate billboards (.eurovision, .spreadbetting), gimmicks to extract money from gullible fanbois (.beer, .tattoos), or cynical shakedowns (.wtf, .sucks.) They provide no value to my users. Why should we spend our money to support your business plan. If you want us to make your domains work, pay us what it costs us. So far, the best offer I’ve seen is $0 so don’t hold your breath.

Valid point particularly with the tld's you Max Menius  –  Jun 24, 2015 1:29 PM

Valid point particularly with the tld's you cited above. I see no value in the shakedown and fanbois examples. In my view, they are distinctly different from new tld's that represent a business classification or industry.

Great post, Jean. Did DotClub lobby to Christopher Hofman Laursen  –  Apr 13, 2015 8:42 AM

Great post, Jean.

Did DotClub lobby to make their TLD work at LinkedIn, or did LinkedIn check out which new TLDs are the most common?

Good question Jean Guillon  –  Apr 13, 2015 8:54 AM

I’d say LinkedIn makes its own choices and noticed that many other new gTLDs now work too (which was not the case before). New gTLDs acceptance increases.

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