Dollar Signs Ahead

FairWinds Partners —  February 1, 2012

Back in October, we published a post titled “The Right Registrar,” where we discussed which registrar partner brand owners should choose if they decide to apply for and operate a new gTLD. There, we advised that brands choosing to operate closed registries should, for the sake of consistency, stick with their corporate registrar partners. Brands choosing to operate an open gTLD registry, on the other hand, should shop around for registrars with better consumer-facing interfaces and customer services representatives. But in both cases, we warned brands against rushing to jump into bed with any registrar partner too soon.

Now that many companies are nearing the point of submitting their applications, they may feel like they are under pressure to sign up for registrar services. So we want to reaffirm our earlier advice. The costs for even the bare minimum registrar set-up and configuration are extremely high right now – in our opinion, unnecessarily so – but they are likely to come down.

What brands need to remember is, it is not necessary for them to name their registrar partner in their new gTLD applications. Practically speaking, they do not even have to select a registrar until they are ready to launch their new gTLD, which will not take place until early 2013 at the very earliest. While we have been advising clients on which registrar service providers will make the best partners for their individual needs, we have urged them to wait on signing any contracts for the time being. It is our belief that market pressure will eventually cause registrars to lower their prices, in the same way that registry providers lowered prices. Since there is currently no urgency to select a partner, brands should hold out and avoid committing too soon and missing out on a more advantageous pricing structure.

It’s easy to get swept up in all the urgency of new gTLDs, especially as the application deadline approaches. But this is one area where the best move brands can make is to wait and see.