Blogs about the domain industry and the various players and companies within it.

What's Going On At ICU?

Kevin Kopas and Lars Jensen from .ICU

In June I wrote an article on the new gTLD ICU and I believed that it would be successful not necessarily because of the extension but because two of the founders, Kevin Kopas and Lars Jensen. I thought it was time that I checked in on their efforts and to see if my belief in the both of them was warranted….

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For a start, I don’t think anyone has clocked up as many frequent flyer miles as either Kevin or Lars....and that's saying something coming from an Australian like me. In their efforts to promote ICU I think they’ve attended just about every conference imaginable around the world.

If you ever bump into them (and you will) then just ask them what time zone they were in last week. I wouldn’t be surprised if you receive a confused expression, followed by silence and then a reply of which one do you mean? I sometimes wonder whether ICU will be successful simply because of their brute force effort.

Putting aside all of the anecdotes, what are the numbers telling us? I hopped into ntldstats (great site btw) and checked out whether the dynamic duo have managed to get things moving forward. The first thing I noticed is that ICU has cracked the top 50 most popular extensions in just under 3 months….not a mean feat in itself.

ICU regsitrations

As can be seen from the chart there was clearly an initial surge in early registrations and then a constantly increasing number since June. In fact, you could say the graph is getting slightly steeper as time goes by. My guess is this is the result of more registrars taking on ICU and exposing it to a wider market.

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Defining Traffic Quality

In a number of past articles, I’ve spoken about the fact that traffic quality is entirely dependent upon the advertiser. If the traffic works for them then it’s high quality, otherwise it’s low. This has always seemed to make sense to me until I began digging a little further…..and now I think I could have been wrong...

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Over the last couple of years ParkLogic has been experimenting with how to best define traffic quality. We’ve tried quite a number of third party services that are used by advertisers and what we’ve found is there seems to be a lot of smoke and mirrors bundled with some hefty fees.

The problem is that many advertisers rely upon these services to determine whether traffic they are purchasing is of a high quality or not. It’s the very sophisticated e-commerce website that attributes a traffic source id to a click and then tracks it right through to a purchase.

For those advertisers that wave the flag of Google Analytics then think again. If you think about it, Google is essentially in conflict with itself by wanting search traffic to provide awesome results so that the advertiser will purchase more traffic.

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joezepy
Looking forward to seeing more about this. I think you are on to something that we all have known for years here but has been obs... Read More
25 August 2018
mgilmour
Thanks for that. I believe domain traffic is incredibly valuable and we have been tossing it towards large advertising networks as... Read More
25 August 2018
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New gTLD Madness?

Back in 2014 I was sharing the platform with a couple of the new gTLD registry representatives at a TRAFFIC conference (one of the last). Both of them were telling everyone at the conference that they needed to buy what they were selling before it was too late. I had a decision....should I gag myself or not?

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I listened as they both told the audience that the new gTLDs were the most awesome thing to ever occur on the Internet. To get into the gold rush all the conference attendees needed to do was secure their stake in the future of domaining!

After all the huff and puff I decided it was time for someone to bring some sanity to the debate and remove the self-imposed gag of politeness. So I waded in and attempted to pour a bucket of hard cold reality over the audience. A summary of what I said was, “There is no business model for investors in the new gTLDs.”

I then ticked off the business models. Do they have traffic? Nope. Can I buy one for $10 and sell it for $2,000? In a market of massive supply….unlikely. Can I buy a premium domain for $10,000 and sell it for $100,000? Nope. Can I build them out? I may as well build out the many .com domains I have.

Have some investors made money selling the new gTLDs? Yes. Just like some people win the lottery….but as a rule there is no sustainable business model for investors.

I then stated that I believed that as investors we were on at least a seven-year journey while the market decided which extension would succeed and which would fail. It would also provide some time to see which of the three major investment business models would become viable.

As I spoke a hush descended over the audience. I then said that some in them would ignore my advice and mortgage their houses to buy some of the new gTLDs. As their cash ran out I would likely pick up some of the domains for registration cost, post seven-years.

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mgilmour
Completely agree with your comments about the demand also the work dotCLUB and dotSHOP have done in their marketing efforts. The p... Read More
05 July 2018
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Does .ICU Have Legs?

I just received a press release from the backers of the new gTLD extension .ICU. I’ve received a lot of different releases from different new gTLDs and it was tempting to put this release in the circular out tray beneath the desk….but then a few things caught my eye that caused me to hesitate.

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Kevin KopasLars JensenFor a start, the people behind .ICU include Kevin Kopas and Lars Jensen. Both founders have massive amounts of experience in the registry and registrar space with contacts that would leave most new gTLDs incredibly envious. Combine the contacts with their unique energy and drive and you have a formidable combination destined for success.

According to the press release .ICU already has over 100 registrars selling the extension and this is growing rapidly on the back of having CentralNic providing the backend services. So it would appear that despite the inevitable ICANN delays the two founders have been very busy indeed!

And then there’s the extension itself, ICU which is an acronym of “I See you”. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw this was the blockbuster movie “Avatar” where the main character would say to one another, “I see you.” For those of you that have been living under a rock, director James Cameron, is currently filming the movie sequels so the term “ICU” will be well and truly in the vernacular.

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kosap1
@Guest - doob, It most definitely does stand for Intensive Care Unit, but also has other meanings. While I have no objection to an... Read More
15 June 2018
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Domain Investors Benefit From Global Online Advertising Trends

Each year, venerable venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins, releases a slide deck which has become the “State of the Union” for the Internet. Of the 294 slides, a number immediately caught my attention as they directly impact domain traffic monetisation.

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There are over 3.6B Internet users in the world which represents 49% of the world’s population. The growth in the number of new Internet users getting online is slowing from 12% in 2016 to 7% in 2017. Eventually, you would expect the rate of growth to asymptote at the rate of population growth globally.

What this shows is the Internet is the single largest marketplace in the world and more than that....it's accessible by everyone. Natural type-in domain traffic should continue to increase at similar rates to the overall growth rate. User sophistication and technological innovations will and has impacted this rate of growth. The challenge as always been how to best remove the junk traffic from the real traffic.....more on this in a future article.

Internet User Growth

Internet advertising spend for 2017 in the USA continued to move upwards by 21% to a peak of $88B. Since the growth in the number of online users in the USA is almost flat the value per user from an advertiser’s perspective is continuing to increase. This will place an upward pressure on EPC rates and make domains with traffic that much more valuable.

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