Domain names: Donuts takes stock of “notcom”

Domain names: Donuts takes stock of “notcom”

While in France, the top-level domain manager Donuts took the opportunity to take stock of the use of personalized domain names, which he refers to as “notcom”.

In 2012, Icann launched new first level domain names (gTLDs) allowing the opening of new more personalized domain names in different sectors. A turning point quickly negotiated by companies such as Donuts, which specializes in the management of these new custom domain names: in total, Donuts manages more than 200 gTLDs, ranging from  .immo to .finance through the famous .vin .

The management of this latest gTLD by an American player had also raised concerns from French players in the wine sector who feared the proliferation of sites offering counterfeits. Secretary of State Axelle Lemaire had weighed on the debate, but for the marketing director of Donuts, Jeff Davidoff, the controversy is now a thing of the past. “The concerns that were raised were resolved by the very people who had expressed fears,” he summarizes.

Donuts wants to show its good faith in the matter and took the opportunity to invite Miren de Lorgeril, CEO of the wine group Lorgeril to put forward his feedback. For her, the choice of the domain name responded to a broader logic of openness to the international. “Over the past 30 years, wine has become a much better known product internationally and is now being exported around the world. The choice of a domain name in .wine thus responded to this logic, in order to be better identified. ”


Everyone wants his piece of cake

Because it is of course this logic of identification that Donuts intends to convince its customers to abandon the classic .com for a more specific gTLD. But Jeff Davidson reminds that most of their customers are new entrants. “Our business is not based on companies with a .com and who decide to turn to a notcom. ”

Donuts wants to reassure customers first and worry about the emergence of these new domain names. Cybersquatting is thus not as widespread as one could believe in these areas, thanks to the “Sunrise” sales periods that allow brands to acquire exclusive domain names corresponding to their business by having a purchase priority when opening a new gTLD. During the Sunrise period, Donuts sold 782 domain names in .wine and 547 in .vin.

In the same way, Donuts insists that these do not influence the Google referencing, the search engine having specified that it would not penalize these new addresses. But we can remember that it does not favor them either, Google being rather agnostic in the matter. “The first concerns have been overcome and we are starting to see a more massive adoption of these new domain names,” says Davidoff. Donuts estimates that 10,000 “notcom” are recorded every day, 4.4 million between February and March 2016.

The new gTLDs are democratizing, but are they a true “business accelerator” like the vaunted Donuts? This seems more difficult to say: if the ion sees quite the interest for a brand to protect its image by ensuring the corresponding domain names, or for new entrants who wish to have a personalized address, the added value remains difficult to grasp.

The choice of a .wine or .io rather than a .com can be justified as part of a marketing plan to stand out from the competition or promote local ownership, as in the case of .bzh. It is undeniably a plus, but perhaps not a quick fix. As Elliott Gold, the entrepreneur behind the London start-up of coworking space rental summarized, “in a context as competitive as ours, we will do everything we can to stand out against competition. An easy-to-remember domain name can then weigh in the balance.