May 16, 2016

A Search for A New Name

One of the things that I think is holding my business back is the lack of a good name/corporate identity. I track my incoming links pretty closely, and I’ve noticed a tendency for users to be more trusting for websites that look corporate rather than personal. That’s bad news for me as my business name is my name.

Frustration is finding a perfect name, and discovering it had been registered just days before you came with it.

When my search was coming up incredibly short, I started thinking about branching out from the standard dotcom/commercial names. The past couple of years has seen an Explosion in new top level domain names. These are corporate sponsored (application prices started at $185,000). The expansion of new domain names was build as good to companies as they could have greater control over their brand, and good for consumers since there would be more choices. I’ve always been a little skeptical of additional top level domain (gTLD) names – (how often can two corporate identities succeed while have the same name?) – but I now have a new reason to be skeptical. There may be more domain names technically available, but that doesn’t mean there are more functionally available.

As I was thinking about the domain names, I came across the .space extension. How cool would data.space be? And it wasn’t already registered! To my dismay I realized that even though it was unclaimed, it would cost me at least $5,000-$6,5000 A Year.

To back track a little, the price for a new dotcom domain (if you can find one) is relatively low at around $10. That’s because there are thousands of registrars who can offer dotcom names and competition is a consumer’s best friend. Competition puts pressure on registrars to keep their prices low. Some registrars will register what they consider premium domains so they can resell them for a higher fee, but there’s nothing from keeping a customer from transferring between registers once they acquire the domain to keep the future years’ pricing down.

Registrars who wish to sell dotspace domains need to be accredited through Radix. Radix, a for profit entity, can set the price as they see fit, and has decided to set the price relative to what they think a domain is worth. Sarah.space would also be 5k/year. Piano.space would be $1k/year. The much less cool Datam.space would only be $10 a year. As the company who applied for the dotspace gTLD from ICANN, Radix has full control.

This discovery has me a little nervous about trusting new (gTLD). While the expectation is for the price of these domains to come down, there’s no guarantee. There’s no guarantee the price wouldn’t rise in the future. It’s a risk I’m not willing to take when it’s already so difficult to build a brand.

It’s back to the drawing board for me. I’m currently considering a phonetic spelling of a dotcom name I like, but is registered and unused. At least there will be some cost certainty.

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