An Interview With Ben Crawford, CEO of CentralNic

Source: https://iwantmyname.com/blog/2013/12/an-interview-with-ben-crawford-ceo-of-centralnic.html

iwantmyname.com

CentralNic is one of the world's largest domain registries, currently distributing popular domain names such as .uk.com, .us.com and .cn.com. But their portfolio is rapidly expanding with 60 gTLDs coming soon, including .wiki, .bar and .xyz. To get some insight into this expansion, we reached out to Ben Crawford, CEO of CentralNic and asked a few questions.

iwmn: The elephant in the TLD room is obviously .com. As fun and creative as other TLDs are, people keep going back for more of the old standby. What do you think the turning point will be to make alternative TLDs hit mass acceptance?

Ben: Alternative TLDs have already hit mass acceptance, and there are three reasons why.

Firstly, domains like .org, .de, and even SLD ("second level domain") extensions like .co.uk have all sold over 10 million domains, because they have a specific meaning that is different from .com - if you want to let people know you are a not-for-profit, or a German business, or a British business, then those domains are much better than .com. And there is no doubt that some of the new gTLDs will also be a more suitable domain extension than .com for large numbers of registrants.

Secondly, with 110 million .com domains registered, good domains are not available with .com endings, or only available on the secondary market for hundreds, thousands, even millions of dollars. So alternatives to .com like .us.com, .biz and .info already sell in large numbers too.

Thirdly, there is proven demand for domains at a lower cost than .com.

iwmn: Of all the TLDs you have coming out in the near future, which ones do you have the highest hopes for? And why?

Ben: It's important to understand that the domains that sell in the highest numbers won't necessarily be the the most profitable ones. That said, the ones we expect to sell the most of are our generics like .xyz and .website, which are suitable for any kind of site, and will also be price competitive.

iwmn: One of the hurdles we've seen with domain extensions is general public awareness. Do you have any plans in place to get your new TLDs into the public lexicon?

Ben: Marketing is absolutely one of the keys to success for any new domain extension. We encourage and often assist our clients in reaching out directly to their potential registrants through trade press, exhibitions, direct marketing, and other channels, depending on their target markets. For instance, .college is being promoted in the education sector, .bar and .rest for restaurants are being promoted to the food service industry, .ink in the tattoo world, .press to the media, and so on. On top of that, we provide our registrars with marketing materials for all of our domains, to help them introduce and launch our TLDs to their customers.

iwmn: CentralNic is known for alternative extensions such as gb.com, us.com or eu.com. What percentage of your business do you expect to come from new TLDs?

Ben: CentralNic actually supports three different domain extension types, and we expect growth from all of them.

Our distribution platform currently supports around 30 SLD extensions. Our latest launches include .mex.com for Mexico, .in.net for India, and .africa.com, and we plan to continue adding many more, as we only see the demand increasing for geography-specific and other alternative domains.

We are also supporting an increasing number of ccTLDs on our platform, as we offer a unique solution for country codes, with proven successes in .la and .pw.

At this stage we have fourteen uncontested gTLDs that we will be the exclusive distributor for, and we have more than thirty more still in contention. Our new TLDs include some of the best domain extensions ever launched, and our partners include some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the domain industry, so we do expect these domains to be our most successful to date.

iwmn: Last but not least (and because we get the question all the time), when do you expect the first of your domain extensions going live?

Ben: We'll start rolling them out in Q1 2014, starting with .wiki.