The .web generic Top Level Domain recently sold at auction for a massive $135 million, easily beating the previous biggest, the $41,501,000 that GMO Registry paid for .shop. The buyer was the mysterious Nu Dot Co, that as many suspected, was backed financially by Verisign, the registry operator for .com and .net among others.
So what are .web’s chances in an increasingly crowded market with hundreds of options for consumers? Undoubtedly with Verisign’s investment and muscle backing it they’ll hope to make it big, if not the biggest of the new gTLDs, and a challenger to the current number one by registration numbers, .xyz. The loss of a court case to the XYZ Registry in late 2015 may even have been an incentive for the registry giant to back Nu Dot Co.
“Web” is also a term that’s recognised globally so it will have widespread appeal, including China where around half of all new gTLD domains are registered. We’re already seeing some very nice reported sales among some of the more generic of the gTLDs, with two .xyz and two .live domains, and in the last week or so a .ltd domain, topping the $100,000 mark so far this year.
So the likelihood is there will be strong demand for .web when it eventually launches, most likely in the first half of 2017, and particularly among Chinese registrants and investors. And with demand comes higher prices for investors, particularly among premium domains.
We would not be surprised to see .web cannibalise .net registrations to some extent although it probably won’t have a significant impact on .com. Since the launch of the first new gTLDs in early 2014, .com has continued to grow strongly in registrations numbers while .net, along with several other gTLDs, has seen registration numbers dip slightly and hover around the 15 million mark. However in recent months there has been a slight increase. So don’t be surprised to see .web have a noticeable impact on some of the gTLDs that existed prior to the launch of the new gTLDs.
Price will be a big determinant in the gTLD’s appeal to investors. So far Verisign and Nu Dot Co haven’t said anything publicly, but expect it to be competitive with other popular gTLDs.