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This post could be subtitled: “The Wisdom of Elites.” I polled some people I know in the domain field (plus Andrew Goodman, who wondered what the hell I was going on about). I asked them a simple question:
“For the record, how many new TLD applications do you think there’ll be?”
Only two people shot back the very funny “42.”
Most of these people know the domain name world very well, but from different perspectives. Journalists, registrars, intellectual property attorneys, domainers, registry operators, TLD aspirants, entrepreneurs, domain aftermarket auctioneers, civil society activists. And only one woman — a reflection of the state of the domain industry, and that the clever ones avoid me…
Most answers coagulate around 100 - 150, but they are counterbalanced by very pessimistic estimates on the one hand, and mega-prophecies on the only. Many refused to name a number. The “crystal ball is cloudy,” as David Maher says.
The comments are great; they are at least as valuable as the
estimateswild-ass guesses about the number of applications. Did Bill Mushkin really say that? (Yes.)
We can all expect to remain baffled about what the price will be for a while, since ICANN has said that price will depend on the number of applications. But, as my refused-to-be-named source says, the number of applications will correlate strongly to price. And so the push-me-pull-you chases its own head.
Here then are the results, in no particular order:
|Milton Mueller||37||Are you counting the “fast-track” IDN ccTLDs? If so, we are looking at no less than 200. If not, my “wisdom” tells me somewhere around 37|
|Bret Fausett||165||A single number or a range? I’ll go 165 and/or 150-200.|
|Tim Schumacher||20||I have no idea, honestly. 20.|
|Elliot Noss||150||42. kidding. 150|
|James Woods||100||I’d be willing to bet about 100+ but I only know of about 10 so it’s a stretch for sure|
|Elliot Silver||12||LOL… I will say 12.|
|David Maher||n/a||My crystal ball is cloudy, but my best guess is that there will be lots. Of course, the cost of applying will have some effect, but it seems likely to me that the major trademark and brand owners will want to establish a presence.|
|Michele Neylon||20||I suspect that there are a huge number of organisations that would like to get their own TLD eg. .sco et al, but I think only a very small number of them have any idea of the costs, bureaucracy and timescales involved. If I was to give a ballpark figure I suppose I’d have to go for something like 20, but realistically I’d expect over 50% of those to drop out fairly quickly|
|Andrew Goodman||n/a||Antony, can I trouble you for a couple of links to relevant background?|
|Ron Jackson||Zen||Ron: I really haven’t given it any thought personally. It will be what it will be.
Antony: Ok I’ll put you down for “zen” then.
|Michael Mann||n/a||My comment is that .com will always be king other than net and org for select purposes and brand protection. Also select uses of select ccTLDs. Otherwise I don’t find value in the rest of the TLD space although I may not be totally current on all the opportunities. I think it would be foolish to build any potentially perpetual brand without owning the exact .com match for the brand/business name. In fact a chapter in my book addresses this specifically…|
|Michael Ward||n/a||purely for illustrative purposes, if I were .INFO, would I want to think of protecting my registry and not dilute my brand (ok .INFO has a horrible brand, but work with me here), should I consider registering .DATA or .FACT. These are not confusing similar to .INFO so would pass that test, but if somebody else came along with .DATA, what would that do for .INFO?|
|Bill Mushkin||325||Bill: 325… that is based on a $50-70k application fee.
Antony: No caveats! Commit!
Bill: I’ll commit, I’m committable, but that said I’m probably high.
|David R. Johnson||150||I have no idea. But since the “wisdom of crowds” requires the presence of random errors in all directions, I’ll pick a number for you: 150|
|Ken Taylor||50||I say 50.|
|Dirk Krischenowski||35||from the perspective of so-called GeoTLDs I expect to have around 10 initiatives or less going to apply. Many of the initiatives have made good progress but many do not have the funds to proceed through application process. I expect to have some 10-20 gTLDs like .web or .shop and then a hand full of specialized TLDs like .bank.|
|Ali Farshchian||500||I think the number of new TLD applications will be high enough to the point where ICANN is apparently not expecting that it can depend on staff alone to sort through them. I don’t know… 500+ maybe (and if this seems humanly manageable, I’d go higher)|
|Wendy Seltzer||n/a||I still don’t know enough about what the procedural hurdles will look like to have a prediction. Waiting for more info!|
|Richard Tindal||300||Assuming the one time application fee is around $200K, and the annual ICANN fee is $25K to $50K, I think there’ll be 200 to 400 applications, so let’s say 300|
|Danny Younger||150||Tough question to answer in view of the many possible IDN applications that may be tendered… but if this were a contest, i’d pick 150 during the first round.|
|Tommy Ho||100||It’s a shot in the dark, but I’ll say 100 new applications.|
|Pinky Brand||9-22||If you are going to pin me down I’ll make two predictions. The first is my “irrational exuberance” opinion. It says there will be 22 applications. The logic goes that there are plenty of nutty people out there in the current market thinking they too can make millions running a domain registry. If it ends up more than that then holy Alan Greenspan we’ve got to contain this thing! My fallback position says there will be only 9 new TLD applications. I base it on nothing more than a hunch that the nutty people come to their senses. Unlikely.|
|Keith Teare||50-100||My guess is more than 50. Perhaps more than 100.|
|Refused-to-be-Named Registry Person||50-200||Number of applications will directly correlate to the application fee. Lower cost (around $50k), could be over 200. Higher cost (over $250k), lucky if they get 50 applications. These are not unique TLDs, my guess is that there will be multiple applications for generics. I am guessing that there will be many specific use applications from companies, associations etc. It will be very interesting. See you in Paris.|
Thanks to everyone who agreed to be martyred for this post. Want to throw your hat in the ring? Comment away…