I’m a Little Bit Digital, He’s a Little Bit Traditional: The New gTLD .WEDDING And The Online Bridal Industry

FairWinds Partners —  June 28, 2013

Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” famously ends with an outdoor marriage scene; the characters earn their place in these scenes only after enduring tests and conflicts.  The audience let’s out a sigh of relief and all is right with the world.  And there we have (literary) tradition.

In the modern narrative of our digital lives, however, planning the wedding can be the test and conflict that ends in a relieved bride and groom getting married.

Wedding planning tests just how traditional you and your future spouse are – or rather, how traditional you are in relation to your future spouse.

For example, I’m a big fan of Paperless Post. It’s visually pleasing, efficient, eco-friendly and cost effective. Win, win, win – right? WRONG, according to my fiancé, who – to my surprise – was adamantly against using digital invitations in favor of “real”, hard-copy, snail-mailed invitations. I gave in on the printed cards, though I did order them online from Paper Wedding Divas, but held my ground when it came to not mailing little rsvp cards and envelopes (the online rsvp was our compromise – I like to think this bodes well for our future).

Digital tools for weddings – especially websites with built-in RSVP portals, etc. – have exploded. It’s big business: there’s online version of the glossy magazine The Knot, online wedding registries like Honeyfund, apps for mobile to replace human wedding planners, and much, much more.  This online wedding universe is likely to continue expanding if or when the application for .WEDDING is approved and the gTLD, launched.  Three companies have applied for the new gTLD .WEDDING: Wedding TLD, LLC, Wild Madison, LLC and Top Level Domain Holdings, LTD. Only one will get it. Since each company has passed ICANN’s evaluation process, these companies – each of which appear, based on the public portion of their applications, to plan on selling domains for a profit if awarded the gTLD – will have to enter into some sort of auction or come to an agreement (perhaps one pays the other two to withdraw, for example).

Given the stakes – that is, the potential for profit in this space – my guess is that the applicants aren’t going to throw in the towel without a fight. As Wedding TLD, LLC pointed out in its application, “Within the United States alone, there are approximately 2.3 million weddings each year, generating over 70 billion dollars in commerce annually.” Fortunately I wasn’t thinking about my contribution to that dollar amount when I recently walked down the aisle – but smart phones and social media apps certainly made it possible for friends and family to post pictures online before I could say ‘I do’.