New gTLD Domains, the Walking Dead and Dying, ICANN FY15 Results

Chart of estimated and actual ICANN FY15 new gTLDs domain name registrations
Above: Column 1 - ICANN first estimated 33 million new gTLD registrations would occur in FY15 (July2014-June2015);
Column 2 - ICANN revised its estimate (in its adopted FY15 budget) to 15 million new gTLD registrations;
Column 3 - Actual new gTLD domain name registrations in FY15: Less than 5 million (see below)
Domain Mondo | 2 Jan 2015ICANN's New gTLD Domains Are Failing Badly, 2015 May Be Even Worse"Based on the trends thus far, new gTLD registrations for all of FY15 will not only fall far short of the ICANN budgetary estimate of 15,000,000, but in fact will be "lucky" to total even a third of that (5,000,000)."
July 1, 2015, the day after the close of the ICANN fiscal year (FY15: July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015), a good time to evaluate the hype and projections against actual results of new gTLDs. However, based on the absolute silence emanating from ICANN and the new gTLDs lobbyists (a/k/a stakeholders), as well as their shameless shills among the domaining bloggers, one wonders, "Who just died?" The answer may be some of the new gTLDs, RIP.

To review, Domain Mondo posted a chart above that shows FY15 new gTLDs (ngTLDs) domain name registrations, estimates and actual, as follows:
Column 1. Original ICANN projection last year for FY15: 33 million ngTLD registrations;
Column 2. ICANN's revised projection (used in its adopted FY15 budget): 15 million;
Column 3. Actual ngTLDs registrations in FY15: Less than 5 million. 
(Calculation based on actual ngTLD registrations in FY15--note that one must exclude 1.4+ million ngTLD registrations which occurred in FY14 (on or before June 30, 2014) from any calculation of FY15 registrations. Also note, Domain Mondo did not discount nor make any adjustment for the hundreds of thousands of ngTLDs given away for free in FY15, or those thousands of ngTLD registrations "warehoused" by ngTLD registry operators' affiliates in FY15.

Now to be sure, Domain Mondo believes there will be ngTLD survivors who may go on to financial "success"--Donuts, for example, which submitted 307 ngTLD Applications and secured an initial investment of $100 million in financing (source), appears to have a ngTLD Registry operator survivor's strategy of aggregating hundreds of ngTLDs, each of which may have only modest registration numbers, but collectively already total in excess of one million domain name registrations.

The new gTLDs teach the careful observer many lessons -- about narratives, emotions, hype, confirmation bias, investment choices and strategies, sunk cost bias"can’t miss opportunities," markets, innovation (what it is and is not), consumer choice, and story-tellers with products or services for sale. This is why you should never ever drink the Kool-Aid.

With condolences, and to aid the grieving amongst the new gTLDs, Domain Mondo offers the following which hopefully may provide some comfort and guidance in your time of bereavement, now or in the future.

In reference to the throes of the new gTLDs (new generic top-level domain extensions), it may be helpful to recall Kübler-Ross's five stages of death and dying:
  1. Denial — One of the first reactions is denial, wherein the person imagines a false, preferable reality.--This is the stage, in Domain Mondo's opinion, some of the new gTLD registry operators still are currently--a good example may be Uniregistry's Frank Schilling--"There is just a momentary illusion of oversupply right now because of all the launches. It will pass."
  2. Anger — When the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue, he becomes frustrated, especially at proximate individuals or organizations. Perhaps Fred Krueger (formerly with MMX) was in this stage when he wrote: "One of the advantages of leaving MMX is that I am finally done with ICANN — which is one of the single worst organizations I have come across on this planet..." (emphasis added). Statements like this feel much better to the person grieving than admitting one might have misjudged the market for new gTLDs or perhaps made an unwise investment choice. 
  3. Bargaining — The third stage involves the hope that the individual can avoid a cause of grief. An example which might have been overheard at ICANN 53: "If we all stick together and convince ICANN to launch a worldwide, multi-million dollar, new gTLDs marketing campaign using their net auction proceeds, we can all survive and new gTLDs' sales won't be so pathetic."
  4. Depression — In this stage, the individual may become silent, and spend much of the time mournful and sullen. Examples of this are the many (if not most) smaller new gTLD registry operators who have just a few thousand (or less) domain name registrations, and are quickly running out of money and hope, and are only looking for a "way out."
  5. Acceptance — In this last stage, individuals acknowledge reality or the inevitable. Examples of this include Google which dumped its new gTLD .CAR and has pulled back on other new gTLDs, as well as other new gTLD registry applicants or registry operators who have withdrawn or not pursued their applications, given up, or sold off their new gTLDs, accepting any resulting losses with the knowledge that it is better to "cut your losses" now than get "deeper in the hole"--see e.g., dotREISE, the "zombies," et al.  

Caveat Emptor!

See also on Domain Mondo:

                                                                                              edits 070415 and 07052015

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