This Small Company Is Battling Amazon For The Next .COMBy: Chris Crum - November 15, 2013
XYZ.com is bringing the new domain extensions .xyz and .College to the Internet as part of the new gTLD program. It’s also in a battle with Amazon and others to bring .Now to market.
Do you expect to get any domains with new gTLDs? Anything in particular you’re leaning toward? Let us know in the comments.
The company consists of a small team of about five people battling against giants like Amazon, Google and Donuts. Co-founder Daniel Negari is the youngest gTLD applicant at 27 years old. The company is prviately funded by its co-founders, and has been going through the application process for a few years.
The company wants .XYZ to be the next .COM, as opposed to going after niche markets like some of the other players launching new gTLDs. We had a conversation with Negari about where the new gTLDs will take the Internet, and what role XYZ.com aims to play in that.
“The new TLDs offer Internet users choice when selecting a domain name,” he says. “There are currently over 250 million domain names registered in the world, and almost half of them are .coms. That means it’s nearly impossible for people to register their first, second, or maybe even 5th choice in a domain name, without paying potentially thousands of dollars.”
“Overall, we will see a lot of success from the new domain extensions because it is a win-win situation, especially for the average website user,” he adds. “The Internet has only existed for 24 years and is still in its infancy. The new extensions are a huge step towards getting more people online and leveraging all of the potential opportunities of being constantly connected to a stream of data, news, and information.”
Asked about the benefits to a business or webmaster in choosing a .XYZ domain over something else, Negari tells WebProNews, “.xyz is a low-cost, high-volume domain extension for every website, everywhere. Anybody can register the domain name they really want at a competitive price (we expect the base MSRP to be under $9.99).”
One important consideration in selecting domains for those who want global sites is using characters that are global themselves.
“.xyz makes sense as a globally adoptable domain extension since X, Y, and Z are recognized as the last three letters of the Latin alphabet,” says Negari. “There is no language barrier, unlike most other extensions, since XYZ serves more as a universal symbol than an English word with a dictionary meaning. It is also three letters like other popular extensions today, like .com, .net, and .org.”
“With .xyz, users are not limited or labeled by their domain extension,” he says. “As a flexible, ‘true generic’ extension, people can register .xyz domain names for any purpose and receive instant recognition. We have coined the phrase ‘Generation XYZ.’ This is the idea of combining the three major generations (Generations X, Y, and Z) to create a whole new generation inspired by the Internet and its limitless potential. We are introducing .xyz to the world so that people everywhere can sure their passions, cultivate knowledge, and express themselves. We think of .xyz as more than just a domain extension – it is a global community.”
As Negari points out, a lot of the new extensions coming out are very niche-specific, which makes them less valuable to some types of businesses and websites. Selecting such a domain has a several consequences, he says.
“First, because these domain extensions are not necessarily meant to be high-volume, they may have a higher price tag than true generic extensions (for example, .pw starts at $20, .pro starts at $26, and .tv starts at $30 on eNom),” he says. “Second, by getting a domain name with a niche extension, users are able [to] easily convey what type of website they are or the industry they are in. But what if they are in multiple markets? Or if there are multiple domain extensions with the same meaning (like .store and .shopping; .car, .cars, .auto, and .autos), people may get confused and visit the wrong site. Although there are obvious benefits in getting a niche extension, not all users want to be boxed in.”
“Third, because of these natural market limitations, most niche extensions may never see widespread adoption,” he adds. “While a specific extension may be best suited for a certain type of user, it can hurt the brand’s perceived reputation by having a domain name that isn’t immediately recognizable. Eventually, some of these users may choose to switch to something more popular.”
In addition to .XYZ, XYZ.com is launching the .College TLD, which obviously carries more of a niche connotation – one of education. One might expect this to compete with .EDU.
“.edu is a very specialized and exclusive domain extension, with only about 7,000 domain names registered,” Negari explains. “Only US accredited universities are able to register .edu domain names. And even they are limited to one .edu domain name per institution. That means universities can’t get individual .edu domain names for their colleges (approximately 18 on average per university), departments, campus programs, and staff. .College addresses this need, in addition to many others.”
“There are over 30,000 recognized colleges and universities in the world, which means about 23,000 are not able to register their institutions name under the .edu extension,” he says. “.College is a global education-related domain extension meant to create greater consistency in institutional presence online all over the world.”
“But .College isn’t just for schools,” Negari notes. “It is a 100% and unrestricted domain extension, meaning anyone can register a .College domain name for any purpose. It can be used by an unlimited number of organizations and individuals, including non-traditional education, tutoring services, online education, corporate training, recruitment, test preparation, events, special interest groups, university research parks, startups, and students.”
For some reason, Hamburger University comes to mind.
XYZ.com expects a million registrations for .XYZ domains in the TLD’s first year of existence.
“We have done extensive market research and analysis to determine how we can best position .xyz to succeed and maximize accessibility to all Internet users,” says Negari. “We understand how big the market is, and we have detailed strategies in place to attract individuals and organizations in every major industry.”
“Ultimately, we believe widespread adoption stems from ensuring affordability, generating early brand awareness, and connecting with the people all over the world who are interested in .xyz,” he says. “We are a small but experienced team playing the underdog role against big players like Amazon, and I think users appreciate our bold, expressive style.”
The company is marketing the TLD globally, and says it has received a lot of positive feedback from users around the world, but especially in countries with high internet usage and growth. Negari specifically names the US, Germany, China, India, and Canada. XYZ.COM itself is currently available in English, German, and Spanish, with Chinese, and will launch in other languages soon.
“Our preregistration tracking is in line with the timelines we have in place, and we expect these numbers to continue to increase, especially as we begin to go deeper into our multi-million dollar marketing campaign in the coming months,” Negari tells us. “My team and I have developed numerous longstanding relationships in the domain name industry with a very strong understanding of the market. We have acquired and sold over $100 million in domain names. We have already have registry operating experience after successfully launching .com.de.”
“ICANN has offered their key support and endorsement of our domain extension. .xyz has everything in place – capital, expertise, support, brand positioning, and dedication – to become a major innovator on the internet as it continues grow at an exponential rate,” he says.
While XYZ.com is still competing with five other applicants (including Amazon) for the .NOW TLD, it has already created a .Now website and Twitter account in preparation for the acquisition, as the company expects to win the auction.
“.Now is one of the few three-letter words that has the flexibility to be used across all industries and activities, and is generally a term understood by most people, even if they don’t speak English,” Negari says. “.Now is for companies who are trying to incite customers to action (i.e. buyit.now). But it can also be used for fundraising, events, interest groups, content sharing, or anything else people can think up. It’s can be instantly applicable to just about anything.”
“It makes sense for a large retailer like Amazon to be attracted to .Now domain names because it can be applied to multiple verticals, like general e-commerce, their new grocery delivery service, music and video downloads, and for their Android app store,” he notes.
Negari is excited, however, to be able to go head to head with giants at such a young age, and with such a small company.
What business benefits do you see to new gTLDs? Discuss in the comments.