Waiting for the Big Push on New Domain Names

Google DomainsAt the recent NamesCon conference in Las Vegas, much of the talk surrounded a big question: “When?” As in, when will consumers start to seriously notice the 500+ new domain choices (and growing) now populating the Internet? Though there have been ads on TV, and promotions from registrars like GoDaddy, research shows that only 25% of people are aware of the new domains

Internet users in New York may have noticed promotion for .NYC since over 72,000 names have been sold. The people in Berlin and London may have seen ads for those domains. The team at .Club have been busy and have a success story with Coffee.club, which sold for $100,000 and which has been quite successful for the owners, who migrated from a less-branded .Com name. Private equity-backed Donuts, which owns over 250 of these domains, promised more PR and promotion of the new domains at a keynote at NamesCon. The DNA report claims over 60% of people want more choice on domains – but there are significant questions as to whether businesses feel the same way. Some of the new domains have brought customer confusion, typo-squatting, cybersquatting on brand names, and even malware sites.

But the talk in the industry circles has returned to “When,” over and over again. That’s not to say that big companies haven’t already started buying their own Top Level Domains (TLDs). Barclays and BarclayCard, Marriott, Bloomberg, Coach, IBM and Citi are just a few of the household names waiting in the wings to launch their own domains. Also under-reported, L’oreal took control of .Hair last week, which likely means they’re going to use it for their own internal purposes, and not have everyone registering their own “LookAtMyBeautiful.Hair” domains on the open market. But we don’t know when they’ll lather, rinse and repeat the news. GoDaddy’s likely IPO this year may bring some of the domain news to the forefront.

Those who want to sell domains, and who have bought interesting names in these new spaces want the value of their holdings to go up – and that won’t happen till there is demand for those names. Those who provide services, like DomainSkate, (disclosure: where I consult and act as COO) which monitors company names, provides alerts if a brand name is taken in a new domain, and helps solve the issue, want to make people aware that they should be looking to purchase names defensively, and monitor the rest for trouble.

Others, who just wish to use these new domain choices for better branding if the can’t get a desirable .Com name worry that consumers will type in their “NewWebsite.XYZ” address or “NewSite.Website” and follow it with .COM by rote memory – sending traffic to the wrong place. People may not trust these new extensions, or buy them, or protect themselves if there’s not a big push by an industry player to raise awareness that these new domains exist and that they have value. At the conference, the word was that “several large brands” are planning “big moves” with new domains they own, but that we probably won’t see that till late in 2015, or at the 2016 SuperBowl Ad blitz.

This week’s win for Google of .App could immediately bring that domain into play. “App” is the generic name for the small programs we all download to our smart phones. Apple’s App Store made the company over $4.5B in 2015, and, according to the NY Times Bits Blog,  Apple’s store “Serves 1.4 million apps for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices. Google Play hosts 1.72 million apps, according to App Annie.” While there’s likely a significant overlap between Apple and Android apps, and many companies sell more than one app, being able to sell .App domains to a potential 1+MM companies at, say, $20/year is a nice start – and a pretty quick payback on a $25MM investment. Not a significant sum of money when looking at Google’s bottom line, but remember, Google just started selling via its own registry this year, so they could take in a nice bit of change while selling their .App domains.

Let’s also remember that Google, which has stated that it doesn’t favor the new domains in search, has been known to change its algorithms and rules as needed. Buy a .App domain, get a little better result for your app when people search for it? Maybe in the future. And by the way, Google just started selling ads inside its app store. How convenient.

Whether Google is “the one” everyone is waiting for to promote the new domains, or one of the big household brand names starts the ball rolling, it is still unclear “When” people will become more aware of the new domains. How these names are treated will influence the level of trust that consumers have in typing in these names. While it is clear that all these choices mean more ways for brands to get creative on how they promote, there’s also more potential for confusion and mistakes. We will continue to report on what we’re finding, and share our research with you. Let us know what you’re thinking in the comments.

Exploring the (Samsung) Galaxy

I’m at the Samsung Blogger Lounge at the South By SouthWest conference and I’ve been given (*disclosure) a Samsung Galaxy Tab. It is a 7″ Android tablet, Samsung Galaxy Tabsmaller and about as thin as an iPad v1. The tab fits in my hand quite nicely, as you can see from the picture below. The screen is really bright, and the device “feels” solid. It does resemble a large cell phone in form factor, and has a front and rear facing camera.

The one thing I’ve noticed as compared to my own DroidX phone, is that, though they both have a 1Ghz processor, the Galaxy Tab is much, much snappier in response. At about 14oz it’s pretty similar in feel to the previous version of the Kindle, but is way more functional. In fact, I’m much happier carrying this around than I am my iPad v1, which, with it’s case, is closer to 1.8 pounds.

Additionally, the tab is attracting a lot of attention. I’ve shown it around a lot over the 2 days that I’ve had it, and everyone has picked it up and commented on the form factor. It has a great photo gallery app, and I really like the calendar and Gmail implementations.

One disappointment is that Skype still hasn’t released a client that works with video on Android – this unit has a front-facing camera that would make calling home fun.

I’m still testing this out, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to be carrying this unit around a lot when I get back to New York . Let me know if you want to try it out. And, watch for me being interviewed tomorrow around 4pm Eastern on the Samsung SXSWi website.

*Disclosure: The views and opinions expressed are my own and did not come from Samsung or their agency. I was compensated by Samsung with this Galaxy Tab for my review and use.

Making a First Impression Pt 2 – contest summary

So, I wanted to be even more clear about the contests I announced the other day on this blog under “Making a First Impression.”

Dell has asked me as a social media and small business person, as well as a long time networker, to help find some good answers regarding a project they’re doing, and also to promote their new Vostro V130 laptop.

Contest summary:

  1. Starting Thursday 2/24 at 8am and going until Friday 2/25 at 8PM I’m asking you to give your best tips on making a first impression via Twitter. One entry per person, please. Be sure to use the Hashtag #tradesecrets and to copy me, @HowardGr. It’s important you follow me on Twitter since if you’re picked as the winner, I’ll have to direct message you the details.
  2. Contest 2. A Real-time twitter chat on Monday 2/28 at 2pm. Same idea – I’ll be asking questions about first impressions and looking for your responses, also with the hashtag #tradesecrets. This doesn’t require one entry a person – I’m hoping for some good chat engagement.

See the rules in the previous post. I hope you will participate and get a chance to win this nice, light, hot red laptop that I’ve been enjoying over the past few days.

*As disclosed in the previous post, this is a compensated gig, and I get to keep the laptop for that compensation. My opinions about the product are my own and not those of the agency or Dell or anyone.

Live from the HP ePrint Event #LiveTheWeb

Below you’ll be able to watch my client HP’s ePrint event live. Here’s the press information (live Monday).  I should be on from around 10:30am EST till 11am, but the event should start at 10:15 and go through 12:00. My client, Elise Jones from babybites should be on around 11:30. We’ll be looking for you to email your questions in – and 3 people will be chosen to win a printer in each half hour segment. UPDATE: Looks like it will be the HP Officejet Pro 8500 e-All-in-One Printer.

Email your questions, suggestions or ideas to enud837eof7735@hpeprint.com and we’ll read them live on the air! People who email may win! See the rules in my previous post.


Here are tweets related to the event.

(For this event, HP is a client, and this is a sponsored conversation).

HP ePrint and Small Businesses

Tomorrow I’m going to be live on a webcast with HP about their ePrint product. (Check it out, you can win a printer. HP is a client.)

I started thinking about how I’d use this ePrint product. (Learn more about it in this Mashable article). As a consultant I work in 4 or 5 offices a week for different clients, ranging from a small office where 4 people share a big desk space in midtown NYC to a major non-profit that has 2 floors in one building and a different location uptown, to a major suburban office complex. Sometimes I’m doing project work for a client just for that day. And then there’s time at the University. It isn’t always possible to get on the client’s network, so I use a phone that creates its own wifi hotspot.
One thing that comes up a lot is a request to print a document before a meeting. This is probably ok if the client allows me access to their network, AND I’ve already configured a printer, AND it’s not in use. But sometimes I have to email the client a document and have them print it. I’ve had situations where we’ve wasted 10 or 15 minutes because I sent a document in the latest version of Word or Powerpoint and they didn’t have that version. Or some other tech issue that just makes stuff difficult.

The most appealing aspect of ePrint is the idea that a printer has its own email address, and I can send things in different formats and have them print automatically. It cuts out the step of having to email someone a document. The printers also can scan to Google’s cloud so I could scan something at the client’s location and have it show in my Google Documents for further work or sharing.

And don’t get me started about reading something on my iPad and not being able to print it. Now I can.

The printers also have apps like a phone, so you can print plane tickets and other important documents even if you’ve packed up your laptop.

What are you using ePrint for? I hope you’ll email us questions about this technology during the live event – look for the live event blog post going live on Monday morning for the details.

This post is part of my work with client HP as a sponsored conversation around their 9/20/10 event. I wouldn’t participate if I didn’t like the product and their approach to working with me and with the other bloggers who are participating.

Facebook and Blogs for Non-profit Recruiting and Communications

I recently had the privilege of speaking at the Association of Junior Leagues International‘s Leadership Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. At the conference my talks were on using Social Media for recruiting new members, retaining existing members, and promoting the excellent work of the organization does. One talk was on the Basics of Using Social Media for Non Profits, the other on Implementing Social Network Strategies.
One of the stories I heard there speaks to exactly the way that I believe all this new social networking technology can be used. In one of my sessions, a woman from the Junior League in a mid-western city mentioned that on her way to a new-member recruiting meeting, she changed her Facebook status. She wrote, “Heading to the Junior League recruiting meeting, contact me if interested or go to website” (with the actual website listed.)
From this 30-second action, done on her Blackberry, she got ten inquiries. From these inquiries, the Junior League in her area brought in three new members. That’s a ten-second per member recruiting return on investment of time. There was no cost. The best part of her story was when she said she told her board, “If you had all done this simple action and changed your Facebook status, imagine how many more members we could have had.”
This doesn’t mean I’m saying Facebook status is the new advertising or a substitute for your regular outreach. Certainly, your mileage will vary. But it is a clever way to use something people do every day to positively promote a good cause.
A different group of women at the conference told me that they keep a blog for their League, and update it 2-3 times a week. They found that this simple process was enabling them to avoid what they said was hundreds of e-mails, every week. Plus, people were attending events more often, and they credit this to the regular messaging and communication. Even though they also have a regular newsletter, the blog is helping them to get their communications out quickly and broadly.
Often, I hear people say, “I don’t have time to spend on Facebook, I don’t have time to write a blog”, or “I don’t have time to learn how that stuff is done.” It is real-life stories like these that show the advantage of using just a short amount of time to get a very large result.
Finally, to the point that “I don’t have time to learn how these networks work, or how this stuff is done” – ok, you don’t have to. But don’t block it. You’re a leader – enable one of your trusted people to do the communication for your organization, with regular reports and feedback so you know what’s working and what isn’t. Let them help you understand as much as you can. While you may not use these tools, your up-and-coming future members will be using them, and your success depends on communicating with your constituency where they are, in the manner in which they want to get that message.

Send me your success stories in the comments of this post.

WEVote08.com Tweetups on September 16th in 5 Cities

Tomorrow night, all around the country, the We Vote 08 Tweetups are happening. Join WEVote08.com and some top women bloggers at events in 5 cities. RSVP below.

New York: http://www.new.facebook.com/event.php?eid=25836653564
Houston: http://www.new.facebook.com/event.php?eid=29861742796
Boston: http://www.new.facebook.com/event.php?eid=25563852858
SF: http://www.new.facebook.com/event.php?eid=30530576603
Anchorage: http://www.new.facebook.com/event.php?eid=39410357168

I hope that you’ll join smart women who are learning about Voter Registration, talking politics and having a great social event.