The first-ever NamesCon event in Las Vegas in 2014 was also the largest-ever domainer conference, attended with great anticipation by hundreds of people who make their living buying and selling domains. The big buzz in the domain world in 2014 is the introduction of hundreds of new domain extentions, which is potentially a fundamental shift in domain name dynamics.
Since domainers started buying and selling domains 20 years ago, the game has pretty much remained the same - good .com's are like beach front property and everything else is swampland, but in 2014, taking a queue from Dubai, .google is one of dozens of new man-made islands that google will soon own and control, more private, more control, you decide who can visit or stay.
During the two day conference, I asked dozens of presenters, exhibitors and attendees what they thought would be the top new top level domains (TLDs) and why. After listening to some of the greatest gurus on the subject, I compiled below what I think might be the top 10 most important TLDs to be introduced this year.
.CLUB - You got me at "there are 600 million facebook groups" and then the icing on the cake was to realize that "club" is an almost universally understood word in nearly every language. And, while non-profit friends groups will no doubt purchase many of these, I personally think the biggest purhasers will be companies who want to create loyalty clubs.
.GURU - I have to admit, I am pretty biased on this one, but since this is one of the earliest releases and there is already a very long list of pre-orders from people who are investing in domains hoping to flip them, I think this one has a great shot.
.LAW - 300,000 domains end in law.com, essentially most of the law firms in America, and since lawyers are notoriously horrible typists, recording memos and relying on staff, I think shorter is better. However, .LAW has competition with .LAWYER, .LEGAL, .ESQ, and more.
.BLOG - Bloggers are the superusers of the internet, and I expect them to buy .BLOG domains in droves. .BLOG also allows companies to push the social media side of their business onto a separate domain, isolating the opinions and user generated content from the commercial or marketing content.
.NYC - If I had any business in New York city, I would be latching onto a NYC domain instantly. Imagine being a local generic easily spelled cafe in NYC who has to compete with the same cafe name in hundreds of cities -- NYC is the answer, and it is the answer for optimizing for local search. The same applies to .LONDON to a lesser extent because it is more letters and there are lots of .UK.COM domains available, which is not true of .COMs in the US.
.SHOP - Good availalble online shopping domains are few and far between, at least until now, or in some cases, .shop is an alternative to microsoftstore or playstore or googlestore. .SHOP is coming out before .STORE, and this is an example of first mover advantage.
.WEB - This one will be successful for any generic keyword for which the .COM and all other major variations are already taken, like doctor.web.aura
.RESTAURANT - I have owned and sold many domains ending in restaurant (in fact, I sold one yesterday). Of all of the domains I own, I will probably look at liquidating these domains as quickly as possible, because I think the extension is as good as the .com. I do not feel the same about my domains ending in blog or club -- in those cases, I think the .COMs are better, and so if someone buys the .blog, they would probably ALSO buy my *blog.com (I sell these fairly cheaply anyway).
.HOTEL - The theories behind the potential success of .LAW and .RESTAURANT apply here too, although there are far fewer independent hotels than there are lawfirms and restaurants.
.NEWS - If you want to build a credible news site and avoid the appearance of bias, .NEWS is for you. We are a news organization, and we will probably pick up a few of these.
And finally, my favorite of all are the thousands of gTLCs which will be purchased are the corporate identity domains like .google, mostly to remove phishing schemes. Imagine a future where you every ligitimate email or or website interaction with your bank ends with .chase or .wellsfargo.