It's simple, I look to the customer for all my answers. The consumer is driving this train and the consumer decides when to stop. He decides to pull the wallet out or not. You can give the consumer snow skis for free but if he does not ski and does not want them and has no room for them, you won't be able to give it to him for free.
So I don't have all the answers, the consumer and the future does. The audience does. In this case you are both. And you are readers of RicksBlog.com and many of you are attendees at TRAFFIC and we are all domain investors for the most part. The answers come in one puzzle piece at a time.
So my questions are geared to answer the question at hand and in some cases answer a second question without ever asking it as the entire result draws an interesting picture for me in my mind. I'll do my best to share how I interpret the numbers. The numbers that count and are meaningful. Together we have come a very long way in filling in that puzzle and the answers below may give you a couple more that helps fill in the gaps.
Before we get to the main questions I asked some questions that could have gone either way and I am proud that you feel the way you do. Thank you.
Rick's Posts about gTLD's have been Fair and has brought up good points or Unfair and has brought up invalid points
I have worked hard to look at this from all angles. I know the noise will become overwhelming. I feel really good that after much invested time in this you see how objective I have tried to be and at the same time not allowing the obvious bullshit stand and go unanswered.
So 94% of you get it and understand my motives. Thank you!! 8 of you or 6% don't. So this is where i get to start filling in the gaps from some of the questions you will see below and it explains who might have a vested interest. That 6% or 8 people will be a variable you can use in some of the questions below.
You can start with this one:
Has Ricksblog.com been Beneficial to you?
There are my 8 friends again. But 95% of you say yes and anytime you run 95%, you are running good.
Just keep those 8 in mind as you read the results and perhaps revise with that in mind.
So the first question was very general and we had the most response. More than 300 of you chimed in.
How many gTLD's will you Buy Into?
From the actual voting I can draw two conclusions. First 71% said "None". It ran 77% all day. But the numbers changed a bit at night and I have an assumption on that. I think of full-time domainers that 77% number represent this group. However as it got later and later and later, the .whatevers gained ground. My assumption is that those with jobs and or are not yet full-time domainers, weekend warriors, are more apt to go toward the lure of the past trying to duplicate it. Again, that is my assumption. It does not mean I am right, it means I will use that basis for drawing certain conclusions until further info comes in that either proves or disproves it.
What would you give as an overall rating of the new gTLD extensions
So nobody, not one, thinks they are excellent. Well not until Sunday. It took 4 days to find one person to say yes.
Very few thought they were better than expected. Matter of fact it ran at ZERO for the entire first day of this poll.
However a 2/3 majority of 66% thought they were worse than expected or pure pigeon shit. Now when you add the 13.5% for "I don't know" (it was 27% for I don't know so I split the vote for 13.5% for each side) the 66% goes to 79.5%.
These numbers have been very consistent throughout. 75% - 85% of domainers see little value and little reason to invest in or believe that values will go up. At least 15%-25% that do. Of those the largest group of gTLD optimists seems to be those that came later into the business and those of course with a vested interest. If you were to exclude those with a "Vested interest" then I think you would see the numbers on each question would move another few points in favor of those that are more skeptical or give them no mind at all.
gTLD's are off to a good start, a bad start, I don't care
85% believe they are off to a bad start or don't even care. So who are the 15% that think they are off to a good start?And how many have a vested interest? It's not 0%. So that has to be factored in on all results.
Do you think gTLD's will Increase demand and value for dot-com or Lower demand and value for dot-com?
Now what is interesting here is we have that same 15% here. That greater that 0% is likely something to keep watching.
The next question is pure dollars and Cents.
If you are Planning to Invest in gTLD's, How much Money will be earmarked?
66% (113 of ya) said not a dime. Only 19 people, representing 11% of respondents were over $5000. And my friends of "8" could be the over $100k crowd?
The next question had the least responses.
If you are buying gTLD's I am buying to: Flip Immediately, Hold for 1 year and see what happens, Hold for 2 years and see what happens, Hold for 5 years and see what happens, Hold for 10 years and see what happens. Now let me finally give a tip of the hat for the "8". Hold on for 10 years. That is probably the right approach. Or flip immediately.
So let's see what happened so we can see what happens. I have 6 or 7 years into .mobi. Nothing happening there. Even tho they had the stage all to themselves and a great blue sky story to go with it. But that is what you do when you have extra funds. You invest. I mean gamble. I mean invest. Confused? So is the poll and everyone else. But oh save the day, in 3 years it will be CRYSTAL CLEAR.
I bought into .co, but as an investment, not my best pick. I bought into .xxx. I think we are at the 3 year test there. Let's see what's happening? I would gladly sell all my .xxx for 50% off. 75 off? They are prime. 1 word. Any takers?? I can use the tax loss before the 31st which will be my only tangible financial gain. I continue to dabble in several others. Can't say I have ever received an offer. Not even on my keyword.nets. So I would say the vast majority of those 70% in the middle, ME INCLUDED, will lose nearly 100% of their investments less the tax deduction.
How much of the TRAFFIC Agenda Should be Devoted to gTLD's?
This is where I really use the data to determine the proper balance for what I personally do. So here is what I can extrapolate from the data above. Here is how I would homogenize this info. Would I spend an entire day of TRAFFIC in gTLD's? No. Is one session enough? No. But I think about 85% would support 2 at this point in time and depending on the conditions in May, maybe 3 or 1. And as you will see by the next result, focusing on gTLD's is tricky.
The more time TRAFFIC Devotes to gTLD's the more or less likely I will come to T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
Again, there is a clear majority. But the minority is significant and there is a happy balance. So to get to 90%, I think 2-3 is the sweet spot.
But this next question gave more input and may be a bit surprising for some. I think the numbers speak for themselves at 91%.
Will the main reason you will attend a trade show in 2014 be to meet the gTLD Registries?
So who are the 9? The "8" plus 1?
How many gTLD's will be successful?
You can see domain investors are open-minded. 75% believe they will enjoy some degree of success. The only mixed signal is 75% are also consistently skeptical. But also 8 of the 14 that are more than 50 or 100 likely have a vested interest. Just my assumption. But I look at the numbers with that factored in and not. But it certainly has significant impact on the outcome.
Are Bloggers views slanted because of gTLD advertisers?
This was the hardest question I asked. Was not sure I would even use it. Did not want to have my fellow bloggers mad at me. On the other hand I wanted to show and warn my fellow bloggers that they risk their own credibility if they are perceived as carrying the water for these folks. I even wrote an entire blog post about it but have chosen not to publish it. But as you will see below, I may be on to something. 95% see my point. 5% don't. Where are my other 2 friends? So this is nearly unanimous feeling out there. I don't think it can be ignored. I am not pointing the finger at anyone. However, I do suggest you ask your own readers. It may be the most important thing you do for your blog. Maybe not. But I do see something some should be concerned about.
Our job is to remain as objective as possible but let no propaganda serve as fact. North still has to be north and should not be bent to suit. Facts are a stubborn thing so the next poll makes me personally feel good and vindicated in what I have been doing. Trying to be as logical as I can which lead me to ask the question about how many would be successful. Pretty wide agreement there. Most are gonna be flops or at least meaningless in the eco system. 90% believe it will be from 0-50 successes. That interprets to some 900 failures. So the way my primitive mind works, the first thing you do is eliminate the 900 that are going nowhere so you might be able to focus on the 50 that some deem as having a potential. Now when you have 50 on the table it is much less confusing. Just remember that 900 little Titanics won't be helping the 50 that might still be floating. There will have to have been some damage done in the process. Some drag.
From the 50 you might want to put that in a few buckets and segregate them further by size and strength and brandability and all the rest. So eventually your bucket should have 0-10 extensions worthy of chasing. 90-1 odds. But you will have help. Might be right, might be wrong.
The concensus so far is .web has the most potential. It would be hard to put another .whatever in front. Anyone?? Let's figure out the 10 right here. There is so much room, that it hardly gives your secret plans away. Will any .whatever beat .web and who is #2?
3 letters. 3 letters that mean and spell something. Seems like a perfect fit for those looking for a true alternative. But if you pick the biggest winner out of the 900, do you really have to go further or will you be consumed right here? How many of my readers have unlimited funds? I know I don't. If it is clear to me that .web is going to be the best of the worst, and I wanted to get into it, why would I choose another extension?
But maybe .shop, .blog, .App will become niches of some value. Maybe not great value. Some value. I have not studied the list at all. Just quickly browsed with few popping out at all.
I got a bit off track but the entire purpose of this is to figure it out and I am trying to do my process transparently so you understand how my insanity works. :-)
Which leads me to the path to follow or not:
In 2014 Rick Should: Continue to write about gTLD's, Stop writing about gTLD's, or Keep holding their feet to the fire?
88% of you think I should continue to post my thoughts on gTLD's. I then factor in that half of the 8 want me to stop. The other half may understand that my focus in this helps them. So that would bring it to just over 90%. And of the remaining, some just don't want me to waste my time and theirs on something they deem irrelevant. So I see that in this as well. But that group also understand more than any other why I have done this. Devoted well over a year on it. Methodically, objectively and sometimes emotionally. But from every angle that I could conceive all in the hunt to find answers unknown.
And what sticks in my mind the most is the few words that Lonnie Borck said that had the most impact in the gTLD debate. "They all have to sell something." Their job is to convince you to buy into their vision. If you don't they lose. And there is nothing wrong with that.
My job is not to like or dislike the results of any poll question. It's to draw conclusions. Draw direction Understand my audience better. Take a pulse. Not discount any including the 8. Factor it all in and come to conclusions and then match them with reality as it begins to unfold.
One thing I can tell by the voting pattern is that veteran full time domainers are the most skeptical. Those that are not full time or are weekend warriors are the most likely to buy into the new extensions. And even with all the chatter, when it came to asking how much money folks would pull out, make sure to divide by 900.
I am disappointed that so much of the conversation has been hijacked by the outrageous claims some gTLDS are making and ALL gTLD's have to live with. None are playing from a defined sheet of music and the crossfire is likely to be brutal. The intersections deadly. The crashes unavoidable. My job as always is to see things first and see them before they become fact. When you do that your risk goes way down and that is how you turn the corner from a gamble to an investment.
And to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. sponsors and partners that are depending on gTLD's in 2014 and beyond:
My job is to ask the tough questions, state what I see as the real answers and level with my readers and attendees. If that pisses you off to the level of not coming to TRAFFIC, that only hurts your efforts. As I have said, "We have nothing to sell but help facilitate your ability to sell and do business."
But that does not buy or sway my opinions in any way, shape or form. I can't be bought. You can certainly come and argue your merits and show us where I am going wrong. But selling is something you will find out needs to be done in a way that brings in skeptics like me. Ya know why? You can start with the FACT that nearly 100% of the outside the domaining world audience might be somewhat if not fully skeptical. If you can't overcome me, you can't overcome them.
If you are selling something and you run away from those asking the hardest questions, then you ain't selling at all. Your job is to overcome obstacles not run and hide from them. You can laugh at shop owners on Las Olas but that's your customer. Deal with it. Stop laughing at them. You can think the vast majority of domainers are wrong, but you won't sway a single dollar or gain an ounce of credibility with outrageous claims that just might strangle your efforts.
This is like watching a train with 900 cars and no real railways under them. None are connected, but all have a certain degree of association and a mis-step by one or more can derail one or more. I would not throw caution out the window.
On record for the record. In a few years, we can all look back and see. Obviously these results are not scientific but they give an excellent pulse of things. Thanks for being part of it.