Three Tips to Successfully Market Your New Top-Level Domain – With Jennie-Marie Larsen

Hundreds of new top-level domains (TLDs) will launch in the next few years, but not all will survive. Many will falter and remain obscure to the general public, like existing TLDs .tel or .pro.

Jennie-Marie Larsen wants to protect your new TLD from obscurity. In this interview, Larsen provides three tips to successfully market your new TLD:

  1. Get up to speed quickly in the domain name industry.
  2. Don’t think locally, think globally.
  3. Empower registrars to sell.

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Jennie-Marie Larsen

Jennie-Marie Larsen, DomainDiction.comJennie-Marie Larsen is the CEO of DomainDiction.com, a marketing consultancy dedicated solely to top-level domains. Larsen has an extensive marketing, public relations and business development background in web-based products and services, with years of experience launching new businesses through digital marketing and channel management in Europe and North America’s largest markets.

First entering the domain name industry in 2000 as head of Europe for NeuStar‘s registry business, Larsen participated in the creation, market introduction and development of the TLD business when NeuStar was awarded contracts for .biz .us, and several ccTLDs. She established NeuStar’s entire EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) channel in time for the launch of .biz in the first round of new TLDs.

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Jennie-Marie Larsen Interview Raw (Non-Edited) Transcript

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Here’s your program.

Michael Cyger: Hey everyone. My name is Michael Cyger, and I’m the Publisher of DomainSherpa.com – the website where you come to learn how to become a successful domain name investor directly from the experts.

On Monday, June 20, 2011, ICANN approved plans to make changes to the domain name industry by increasing the number of generic top-level domains from the current twenty-two to potentially hundreds within the next few years. I interviewed David Weslow, a leading IP and domain name attorney who is following the proceedings live. His interview is on the website. I’ve also interview Juan Calle, Founder and CEO of the .CO domain registry, who shared many lessons learned about how to launch a successful TLD. And I’ve recently interviewed Stuart Lawley; the man who spent half a decade fighting to launch the .XXX top level domain and where they’re heading with that.

But now we’re at a much different time. Hundred or thousands of top-level domains may be launched within the next few years. The noise level is going to be a magnitude or two higher. And the only way that new registries are going to be able to separate themselves from their competitors is probably going to be through marketing, so I’ve invited a company today to help us understand the basics of TLD marketing. They’re experts in the topic and they’ve worked on many other successful TLD launches.

Joining us, from her business launch party, is CEO, Jennie-Marie Larsen from DomainDiction.com. Jennie-Marie, welcome to the show.

Jennie-Marie Larsen: Thanks so much, Michael. Glad to be here.

Michael: Jennie-Marie, we’re going to go over three different marketing tactics that you’d like to share with companies or organizations that are launching new TLDs that will help accelerate their market entry as new registries, get them more customers, get them more visibility, more top of mind with their customers, but let me start by asking you, since you’re better versed in the top-level domain process than most, how many new top-level domains do you anticipate we’ll see when ICANN does the big reveal?

Jennie-Marie: Well, I can tell you it’s a little bit more than the many insiders actually thought it might be. There was a guessing game; you probably heard of Sedari. Sedari did a guessing game on how many new applications there would be and it wasn’t expected to go over two thousand. So that’s a little more than everybody though, which is very exciting.

Michael: Yeah. So you think it’ll be over two thousand?

Jennie-Marie: Well, it looks like that. But given the number ICANN has released, it does. It looks like it’s going to be reasonably well over two thousand. Yeah.

Michael: Excellent. And how many are likely to be public TLDs that you or I can register a domain name in versus how many will be private, like somebody wants to own their brand?

Jennie-Marie: Well, I mean this is just a finger in the air based on conversations that we’ve had. So, I think it’s probably going to be twenty-five percent brands because it’s quite a heavy decision to go ahead and apply to run your own TLD and, really, the very committed brands who know that their name is sharp, it’s short, it’s smart, it’ll look good, it’ll look right, and their online presence is a critical piece of their business. I saw so many brands come out in the first round, but I’m going to say twenty-five percent.

Michael: All right. And, of the new public TLDs that are going to come out that regular people can register, what will separate the winners from the losers in your mind?

Jennie-Marie: Probably many, many months ago, when they came up with the name and came up with it based on the marketplace for it. The hardest project of all is try and come up with a great generic that serves the marketplace as the top generics have done so far. So I think the very, very clever new TLDs are going to be the ones that picked a marketplace, picked a niche, picked a geography, picked a community that they know intimately, they know how to speak to them, they know how to reach them, they know what makes that industry tick. I think those are going to be the smart ones coming out; the ones that really understand how to get your voice to the market place.

Michael: Great. And so, a lot of people have difficulty with that. They may see an opportunity in a certain area, but they may not be experts in that area, so they may not know what the voice of the marketplace is saying. I’ve read, in your press release, that your company is the first marketing consultancy dedicated solely to the top-level domains. Is that something that your organization focuses on; helping connect registry applicants with the industry voice?

Jennie-Marie: Well, I think a large part of great marketing, in general, is to find good partnerships. It’s to find good channels and friends towards the market, and figure out which of the organizations, which of the associations, which of the people that an industry follows that they respect, that they look up to, that they look for trends from. So, that’s going to be something that we aim to do on top of creating relationships with registrars and resellers. We want to make sure that new TLDs can be creative in the way that they go to market and I think that this will be very new to the way this industry markets, but to make sure that the relationships are industry-based versus domain industry-based.

Michael: Right. All right. Great point. So, what is your background, Jennie-Marie? Have you been in the domain name industry for a while with marketing and working with new TLDs?

Jennie-Marie: Well, it was almost ten years ago that I remember interviewing with Newstar and having done hours and hours of study on what are TLDs. What’s a registry and a registrar? And I have funny acronyms that I use for myself to remember all those funny works. And thinking, ‘what is this business?’ and having to explain to who was interviewing me at the time what I thought the opportunity was for .BIZ because that was in the very first round of new TLDs. And so, coming from the outside and trying to come up with reasons why that was going to be a successful new space and why it had a shot at competing with .COM; so the new TLD round feels very familiar to me because I was part of the very first new TLD round almost ten years ago. So, I was Newstar for a number of years and then actually left the industry entirely and moved to Norway of all places, and have done a lot of marketing, and PR, and business development for a variety of industries including digital music, and various technologies, and web-based technologies. So I’ve been in and out of the domain industry for many years, but I couldn’t stay away with the new TLD opportunities. It’s just too exciting to stay away, so I’m back.

Michael: Excellent. And you don’t look pale enough to have lived in Norway for the past ten years.

Jennie-Marie: I snuck off to France.

Michael: All right. And so, you’ve got a who’s who on your team at DomainDiction.com. I looked through the Executive Team. You really have some stellar players. Do you want to talk about just a few of the people and their contributions to the team?

Jennie-Marie: Well, I think we’re really, really – and knock on wood – excited about the team and I was really thrilled that everybody wanted to come on board with this opportunity that, to some people, may look like a gamble because it’s not a guarantee that new TLDs will be successful, but it’s such an exciting opportunity that I think the bright minds decided I have to give a go at this. So, one side that we’ve got a lot of experience in – I’m very excited about – is from the registrar marketing side; and not just necessarily ICANN accredited registrars, but resellers who were very big and are very big. So I’m excited to have John Kirkham. He’s got layers of experience. Started with HostEurope as their head of marketing and was with a marketing agency before that. And then, was with Melbourne IT and then moved to France to marry his sweetheart and actually built a registrar in France. So I think John’s experience is so broad that he can really contribute to many, many different pieces of the marketing, sort of, food chain. And then there’s Tina Lord; comes from Easyspace as she was Chief Marketing Officer for one of the big UK registrars. And Tina and I worked together in the launch of the new TLDs and she was one of the people who kept pressing and saying, ‘but wait a minute. Why do my customers want this? Tell me why they want this. What am I going to say to my customer that is going to make them want this? How do I present this in an intuitive way?’ So Tina asked the hard questions, which you have to. It’s critical. And another veteran that we’re very excited to have onboard is Pinky Brand. And Pinky is another extremely experienced individual that comes from the intellectual property registrar side, which he built years and years ago and later sold that; and has worked for registries, registrars, and, recently, was with Afilias and built .MOBI together with Alexa (Unclear 9:46.6) you’ve come across. So that was a really very dynamic team and I think one of the better examples of how to create added value for a TLD, .MOBI was one of the very first TLDs that does more than is just a domain name, so we’re going to use .MOBI in many ways to demonstrate exciting ways that you can make more out a TLD. So that’s a thrill to have Pinky onboard. And we’ve got Christoph Hausel. His affilias is marketing guru and I’m on borrowed time with him because he’s a consultant for us, but he and I worked together years and years ago in the German side of marketing and there’s very few people who have more press connection, more press dialogue than Christoph. So, when something new is happening, journalists come to him because he is the domain name voice. So that’s very exciting to have him onboard.

Michael: Okay. So, by understanding the expertise of your team, now people can start to see how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together to try and get any new TLD off the ground.

Jennie-Marie: There are so many moving parts, right?

Michael: There are.

Jennie-Marie: As a new TLD, you can’t just say, ‘well, I’m going to build some nice marketing material and I’m going to send some registrar channel, and they’re going to pick me up’.

Michael: Well, and I think a lot of people have thought that in the past. You know? And I don’t like to single out certain domain names, but if I were to go ask my mom if she’s ever heard of .COM, she’d say yes. .NET; yes. .ORG; yes. .EDU; yes. But if I were to ask her, ‘hey, have you ever heard of .AERO, .TRAVEL, .MUSEUM?’, she would say those aren’t real.

Jennie-Marie: That, what?

Michael: Yeah. Exactly. And so, before we get into the tactics, is it fair to say that some TLD launches have been unsuccessful even though the registry may be making money?

Jennie-Marie: I feel like that’s a conversation that has been ongoing; is what is a successful TLD? And I know that many share the opinion that a successful TLD is based on a TLD’s specific goals and it’s not necessarily about registering hundreds of thousands of domain names. It’s about registering enough domain names to cover costs, or to create a decent business that is sustainable. So that’s all in the eye of the beholder. I happen to be of the opinion that you need to sell enough that you’re noticed by your marketplace. So, if I’m marketing a TLD and one percent of the market is using it, I don’t think that’s a success. I want the market to have heard of that TLD, and when they’re registering a domain name, that they consider it because they know it’s a part of their market. That’s what I would consider a successful TLD. If it’s accepted; if it’s used.

Michael: Right. So, from a business standpoint, they need to make money. So they need to sell enough domain names in order to make money to support that registry. But then, from an industry prospective, does the industry, does the market that they’re serving know about the options so that they can then make a choice as to whether they want to buy that (dot) whatever, or go with a three-word .COM, or what have you.

Jennie-Marie: Yeah.

Michael: Enough top of mind recognition to realize that that registry exists. That that top level domain exists.

Jennie-Marie: That they’re not looking at it and going, ‘oh. What are you doing here? I’ve never seen that before’.

Michael: Yeah.

Jennie-Marie: And even if it makes sense to me, it’s part of the business that I’m in; that you wouldn’t consider registering it because you’ve never heard of it. That means the registry has been unsuccessful.

Michael: Okay. All right. Great. So, let’s start with some of the tactics that you’d like to provide the audience about how to make that happen. How to make new top-level domains be top of mind recognized by the industry? Your first step has to do with doing it effectively and you talk about in-house marketing and public relations versus outsourced. What would you like to share with the audience about that tactic?

Jennie-Marie: Well, I think, in any business, you need to understand at what stage of your life cycle you’re in. So, for example, are you in the startup mode? Have you established recurring revenue? Do you know that you can pay your salaries? Do you understand that this going to live for three or four years? And I think that, for new TLDs, none of factors are known yet. And even when they get the go ahead from ICANN and they understand when their delegation is going to take place and that they will go live, they hope that they’ll be successful. They have every plan to be successful. But when you hire someone, it’s taking on a being. It’s taking on a human into your world and you are now responsible for them and you must cultivate them. And I think that many of the TLDs – maybe even most of the TLDs – are going to find themselves very early in the life cycle without predictable revenue, without predictable metrics that outsourcing is just the right size, just the right fit, just the right flexibility for new businesses. And we’ve created quite a mixed team, so not everybody in the team is necessary for every single project. But, for example, SEO. Now, we all know what SEO is and everybody knows you do very well if you go to an experienced SEO firm. In fact, you do better than if you have someone in-house because they’ve got the network effective extended learning. But, in this situation, if you go to an SEO firm, they need to learn your business. They need to learn your keywords. They need to learn what works in which space. So what we’re trying to do is provide someone who’s already gone through that learning curve. Someone that you can just put on the task right away. They’ve already gone through the learning curve. They know what they’re doing, and you can test and you can have actual accurate data. So it’s not about is the TLD known yet because you can rule out SEO as an unknown, because you know that the one who’s done SEO knows how to do it for your space. So you then look at different pieces that may or may not be working. So what we’re trying to do is provide without the questions, take away the guess factor of the learning curve, of the getting up and running and understand the domain industry. We want to provide someone that you can go to immediately and they can hit the ground running because they understand your business.

Michael: Right. Okay. That makes sense. Everybody wants experts on their team. When you outsource, you reduce your risk. Sometimes it’s less costly because you hire the experts that can do the work more quickly and get it done right the first time. Often times when you hire somebody in-house, you need to educate them. It takes time to do that. Sometimes things are done right the first time, so you have to do them again. So all those factors come into play when people are evaluating it, and sometimes it much faster, less risky. You might have a higher expense up front, but if you look at it over the course of a couple of years, it probably isn’t as dramatic as many people might think it is, so outsourcing is definitely an alternative to getting the new TLD marketed and in the public much more quickly and effectively.

Jennie-Marie: It’s flexible. That’s what you need when you have so many unknowns.

Michael: Yeah. Okay. Your second tactic, Jennie-Marie, is, “don’t just think local. Think global”.

Jennie-Marie: Yeah. I think this is one of the more international businesses industries that exist that I’ve come across. The ICANN meetings; if you attend one of those meetings, there’s every language you can imagine around you. There’s representation from all around the world and that means that they are participating. That they are interested; that they are selling domains; that they are looking for new domains to sell; that they are all involved in this business. So, if you are strictly focused on your home market, your missing out on all the opportunities. And I don’t want to say that the North American market is saturated, but it’s certainly very sophisticated when it comes to domain names. And to find additional markets to target, to find fresh markets to target, you can look internationally and it’s very, very open to new pitches, so you’re missing out if you’re not looking internationally. And the registrars are in attendance at these meetings, so you have access to them. You can really reach out and develop International partnerships, but the people feel very close because they are a part of your community. So, in working with .BIZ, the strange thing was that .BIZ actually meant very little outside of the English language. I mean we’d go through these conversations with French and say, ‘what does biz mean? Is it biz? Is it kisses?’ It means nothing. To the Germans, what’s biz? Biz. It means nothing. However, we spent so much time with the registrars in Germany, in France, and we found that that personal relationship made all the difference. Because they knew that the support was there, and the additional information was there for them, and you pick up the phone and speak to them, and it’s always personal relationships. It makes all the difference. So, even if the name wasn’t actually all that attractive to them in their language, the motivation was there to find a way to sell it because they liked you. They like being a part of. It’s all personalities.

Michael: Right. Exactly. Much of business is done through personal relationships, which is why I always encourage the audience to get onto the comments. When this interview goes live, get onto the comments, ask Jennie-Marie a question, thank her for taking your time to talk to people about how to make their new TLD more effective; because when you reach out, your start to create a relationship. And then, when somebody runs into you at a conference, you might remember their name and then that starts off the relationship. I completely agree. So, let me ask you this with respect to thinking global rather than thinking local. And I don’t know the statistics, but if I had to guess, on all the GTLDs – so we’re not talking about the country code GTLDs like .CA for Canada, .DE for Germany; only the generalized TLD top-level domains -, aren’t most of them purchased by North Americans?

Jennie-Marie: Not at all! Not at all. So, I’m married to a Norwegian, right? And I moved to Norway for eight years of all interesting things to do. He also comes from this industry; funny enough. And I always looked at Norwegian sites in .COM and though, ‘why are you doing that? Why wouldn’t you have .NO? Your site is in Norwegian. Why would you have .COM? Why would you have .NET? Why would you have .INFO? Because their information is in Norwegian, so why wouldn’t you have a Norwegian website?’ But, the truth is, the world is actually so much smaller and so much more unified than people realize because they don’t leave their own home, but all of Europe understands generics, and like them, and use them. What do you think France uses? Because there isn’t that many .FRs registered. So what do you think they’re using? They’re using generics. The world uses generics. And IDNs have not been available in extensions yet. What’s everybody using? They’re not all using their country code. So, yeah; generics are popular everywhere.

Michael: All right. For the ugly Americans like me, you got to think global. It’s not just US residents that are buying general top-level domains.

Jennie-Marie: No. Not at all.

Michael: Okay. Number three tactic, Jennie-Marie. You need to empower the registrars to sell. What does that mean?

Jennie-Marie: Well, registrars; they’re very busy people and they’re doing their best to fit everything on to their websites to educate their audience, but the education process isn’t necessarily based on niche markets. So, an example is .BASKETBALL. So, if I’m going online to register a website or a domain name, I’m not going to choose .BASKETBALL unless I’m into basketball or sports. So wouldn’t it be more appropriate for a registrar to be given the tools that they need to demonstrate what TLDs are for. Be given the marketing material. Be given the creative documentation, the language, the graphics that they need, the logos to give them an understanding of how to market a niche TLD so that the audience that they are already in contact with because – big registrars, small registrars – they’ve got broad audiences. Sports users. Beauty products. Whatever. Businesses. So, find a way to help the registrar, help the resellers reach the markets within their audience with material. With a registrar kit, that makes it easy. That makes it simple. That makes it clear. That makes a registrar think, ‘oh yeah. This is easy. I can do this. I can sell this. I’ve got people that want this’. Do the jobs for them because they’re strapped beyond what they can handle with all the TLDs existing now. So how are they going to handle five hundred in the first batch, or however many that comes out be that registrars will sell? So help them.

Michael: So the registries that help the registrars who are the organization selling the domain names. That the owners of the domain name help the resellers sell the most are going to be the most successful. Because the registrars can’t figure out the industry, the terminology, who’s going to be the best market within their user base to purchase the domain names, so whoever can help them sell the most is going to win.

Jennie-Marie: Well, not just that, but they’re not really going to try. They’re going to choose what is natural to them, what makes sense to them, what is attractive to them, what’s simple to use, what back end they’re already connected to, what makes sense to them. So if your TLD doesn’t make any sense to them, you have to make it make sense to them and demonstrate to them that, in fact, there is potential within their customer base to sell your TLD and here’s how you do it.

Michael: Right. Interesting. Okay. So have you heard of anybody applying for .FOOTBALL yet? And whether it’s going to be American football versus the rest of the world football?

Jennie-Marie: That is actually something that I think I had that conversation like three days ago.

Michael: Oh yeah?

Jennie-Marie: Because I mean, you go to Germany and football is not American football by any stretch and England the same thing. It’s so funny to see the difference and the passions associated with word that have nothing to do with the way they’re interpreted in another country.

Michael: Right. Well, like biz. It means nothing in another country and football means everything in other countries. It’s one of the greatest past times in so many countries around the world, but outside of the US, it’s soccer. And inside the US, they’re not going to soccer games; the football fans. All right. So the biggest challenge is that new applicants are facing have to do with making sure that they get up to speed quickly, making sure that they don’t just think locally, that they think globally with respect to their new brand, and empowering the registrars to actually understand and want to sell their top-level domains. How in-depth do the registries need to go in order to help the registrars identify and profile their own audience? Is that something that even registries step into, or just you need to think this way and I’m going to educate you to help think that way?

Jennie-Marie: Do you mean will the registrars do some of that work for you?

Michael: Well, will the registries do some of that work for them? Will the registries somehow help them segment their list?

Jennie-Marie: Do you mean the backend registries, or do you mean the new TLD frontend business operators?

Michael: That is a very good question.

Jennie-Marie: That takes us into a whole other subject.

Michael: Well, the frontend operators are just working for the backend registries, right?

Jennie-Marie: So the frontend operators like the business front, the TLD investors, and the applicants; very few of them are creating their own registry backend. Most of them have chosen a technical backend that already exists, that is already connected to a registrar network, or is in the process of connecting to a registrar network. So I think I was misunderstanding your question to wondering if the backend.

Michael: I see what you’re saying. At the end of the day, it’s the applicants for the TLDs. It’s the TLDs that have been awarded to these organizations that are responsible for paying the bills and keeping the lights on, right?

Jennie-Marie: Exactly.

Michael: They’re paying the backend providers who are operating the registry and storing the data in the databases, and all that sort of stuff, but at the end of the day, let’s call it these people who are the applicants. Is it their responsibility to help the registrar do any segmentation, or is it only their responsibility to help educate?

Jennie-Marie: All of the above. Every clever thing that you can do to do the job on behalf of the registrar and give them the most complete package that they could possibly imagine; that makes them just think, ‘ah. Dream come true. I can make money tomorrow’. Because, I mean, development schedules coupled with website changes. I mean it takes time, it takes effort, it take energy, and you go for low hanging fruit. It’s human nature. You go for what you’re familiar with; with what you like; with what you understand. So make sure, as a new TLD, you are something that registrars understand; that they like.

Michael: Yeah. Definitely. Okay. So I’m going to ask you about your launch party that you’re getting ready to go out to that I’m keeping you from, Jennie-Marie, and I feel badly about it.

Jennie-Marie: Not to worry.

Michael: But first let me ask you this. And I don’t want to ask you about companies that you’re working with, but of the applicants that you’ve heard of, of the .TLDs that you’ve heard have been applied for, which are you personally most excited about? Is it a geo TLD? Is it a niche that you’re passionate about personally that you’re excited if something comes out that helps solidify the industry around? What are you most excited about?

Jennie-Marie: I’m a sportsman. I want the challenges. I want the new things. I want the niches. So what I’m most excited about are new TLDs that serve business niches. I’m also very, very excited about the new geographic markets. I’m excited about the IDNs. I’m excited to watch the Russian market take on .MOSCOW. I’m (Unclear 30:31.8). I’m excited to watch the new things happen. So, I’ll be interested to see which big generics are genuinely competitive with existing big generics. And there are some applicants coming out and we’ll see it all in reveal day, but there’s some applicants – some very experienced key insiders – who are applying for big generics and I’m very excited to see if they can make those big successes and recoup the investment that they’ve put forward. So I’m interested in watching the surprises. I’m also really interested in watching the new things that get done with TLDs. Like .SECURE or .BANK for example. Doing something above and beyond a TLD. So, serving a marketplace is really what I’m really looking forward to seeing and going above and beyond the domain registry-registrar ecosystem and showing the world, showing the business marketplace, the consumer marketplace how TLDS can help you segment, can help you define, can help you understand what you’re looking at. .DESIGN for example. Helping young designers. Helping interior design. Helping graphic design. Helping that become a space that grows businesses. That grows young designers into big designers. So I’m interested in watching thing grows, things change, and consumers and businesses accepting TLDs because they make sense, because they like them, because they’re right, because they help them grow their presence online, define their identities, etcetera.

Michael: Yeah. I agree. I’m a Capitalist and an entrepreneur, and I love to hear about new opportunities to try and develop and further an industry. Like .BANK; it would be great if somebody could take advantage of that and only allow certain organizations that are screened to use those so you could feel more comfortable and more secure interacting with somebody like that. But people are hard to change and people are used to their set ways, and it’s going to take a lot of education and convincing to make people understand what they’re offering. So, to your point, I am excited to watch how all of that is going to unfold in the many different industries and around the world.

Jennie-Marie: I think one of the key elements of success will be to get – and this was our eternal challenge with the first round of new TLDs – a trendsetter – a known thought leader – as someone in the industry that everybody understood, and respected, and looked up to to use the name. So, in a niche, in a geography, in a community, get a trendsetter to use the name. Let people in that industry see it up on billboards. See it online all over the place. Let that be visible. Let the use of a new TLD speak the message rather than saying this is the message of; this is why you like it. People follow trends. People look up to trendsetters, so use that human nature. Basic, basic marketing. The trade shows that demonstrate who’s on top. Show your domain right there.

Michael: Yeah. No. Definitely. When I go to a new town and I eat at restaurants that I don’t know, I am much more likely to look at a menu and sit down if the restaurant is half full or almost full than to sit down at a restaurant that’s completely empty. Why isn’t anybody else using it?

Jennie-Marie: Exactly. Yeah.

Michael: And so, if people want to learn more about that tactic, they can go watch the interview that I did with Juan Calle; the Founder and CEO of the .CO registry.

Jennie-Marie: Yeah.

Michael: And they branded their entire top-level domain. Well, the country code top-level domain as a domain for startups – for entrepreneurs – and they’ve done a fantastic job getting the notables and the influencers in the industry to switch from whatever other two or three-word domain name they were using in .COM to a single-word .CO.

Jennie-Marie: That’s the biggest uphill battle and hats off. That was very well done.

Michael: And they continue to do marketing. They sponsor South by Southwest every year. They are integral in the startup communities. So, a lot of the tactics that we’ve talked about today, that you’ve shared with the audience, Juan and his team have implemented and to their benefit.

Jennie-Marie: Yeah. Lorraine Wardy is certainly a force to reckoned with. She’s done extremely, extremely good things.

Michael: She is.

Jennie-Marie: No question.

Michael: All right, Jennie-Marie. This is the point of the interview where I remind people that if they have a follow-up question for you, if they want to ask you about marketing, if they want to ask you about public relations, if they want to ask you something specific related to, maybe, new customers that you’ve announced or new customer that have come out and said that they’re working with you, post it down in the comments below this show. We’ll ask Jennie-Marie to come back and answer as many as she can. If people want to follow you, are you on Twitter? Do you guys have a blog?

Jennie-Marie: I am. I am on Twitter. JennieMarieLarsen on Twitter. DomainDiction.

Michael: Okay. So you have two accounts. You have JennieMarieLarsen as one word?

Jennie-Marie: Yeah. JennieMarieLarsen.

Michael: And then you also have DomainDiction.

Jennie-Marie: But then you’ll also find me @DomainDiction.

Michael: Okay. Excellent. All right. Jennie-Marie Larsen, thank you for something on the show, sharing your tactics for successfully marketing new top-level domains, and thank you for being a domain sherpa.

Jennie-Marie: Thank you so much for having me. Thank you again.

Michael: I’ll let you get to you happy hour now. I don’t think there’s anybody left in the room. Is there?

Jennie-Marie: Well, there’s our CFO, who’s milling about in the background and sort of bouncing around like it’s time now.

Michael: All right. Well, I drink to you. Congratulations on your launch.

Jennie-Marie: Thank you so much.

Michael: And thank you for joining us on Domain Sherpa. Thank you all for watching. We’ll see you next time.

Jennie-Marie: Bye.

Watch the full video at:
http://www.domainsherpa.com/newtlds-domaindiction-interview/


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18 Responses to “Three Tips to Successfully Market Your New Top-Level Domain – With Jennie-Marie Larsen”

  1. Eric Jenkins says:

    Michael……

    Thanks for the interview. We will see coming months how it goes for the new TLDs.

    Thank you,
    Eric Jenkins

  2. Era says:

    There are so many takeaways from this short video. Not just for tld businesses but for all entrepreneurs & marketing professionals. You have so much to offer :) All I can say is – thank you Jennie-Marie and Michael for an excellent interview.

  3. Milon says:

    Excellent

  4. The unfortunate thing when you´re investing in TLDs is that they may only appeal to the RIGHT buyer. There are rarely many of those – like a house built just so – you need to market widely enough to attract the buyer that thinks you´re selling just what they were looking for.

    Luckily there are more and more clever organisations supporting the after-market. A few I like very much – Sedo, Pool and Right of The Dot. Use the services that are out there.

  5. Nasif says:

    very nice talking….going through

  6. Agreed… I payed 35 dollars for a 4 letter .co after o.co came out with Its new tld. I couldn’t sell it for half what I payed.

  7. This is extremely timely, Michael. Our company is trying to assess our strategy in light of the ICANN offering with over 2,000 new TLD’s coming out over the next several months. I am starting a discussion in this group to solicit opinions on strategy and expectations going forward in the Domain Name Industry.

  8. Poor Uncle says:

    Hi Michael — You are not an ugly American, but a handsome and very intelligent man. :)
    In light of what’s happening in Europe and elsewhere on the Globe, I encourage everyone (especially Americans) to read a new book just published: Still The Best Hope — Why The World Needs American Values To Triumph.

  9. Chuck Wallant says:

    Very interesting topic, although I’ll have no need personally. I’d love to learn more when “the great reveal” happens, which I assume will be very much like when “the great pumpkin” appeared to the Charlie Brown bunch. :)

    Great interview. Thanks Jennie-Marie and Michael!

  10. Francois says:

    Michael,

    Is the vertically stretched video a demand of Marie to looks still more thin?

    Ah! these women, they always want to impress us :)

    • I´ve been meaning to comment on your funniness. I´m far too un-technical to bother thinking of that kind of trick. But you can let me know how to for future thinning efforts I may one day have to make as the years tick along ;-)

      • Francois says:

        You know these stupid comments one can make sometimes to look interesting?

        It was simply that, but it’s too late, I written it.

        So now let me hide me behind my shame ;-)

  11. Joao says:

    Great one! Really enjoyed watching. There are some ceptic people about new gtlds, and honestly i am ceptic to most of them.
    My question for Jennie-Marie, if possible, is how many of the new gtlds, that arent subside by govs, will fall or be sold out in the next 5 years?
    Raw estimation please :)

    Michael, great subject. We are missing the “insides” of a registrar life! ;)

    Kudos

    • Thanks, Joao. Glad you enjoyed this interview. I find it fascinating too. Will continue to probe in this area.

    • Hi Joao,

      Thanks for your note! I agree with you, this who new shift in the world as we know it is just going to be exciting, no need for any nah-saying ;-)

      To answer your question: in this scenario you can´t look to historical data to measure or predict the success rate of the new TLDs because past new TLDs have been largely managed by big businesses who have strong revenue streams from other business lines that they use to support a slacking TLD. Nor, in fact, can you use a traditional ´9 out of 10 start ups will fail´ sweeping analogy that VCs and other entrepreneurial commentators use.

      I think it´s safe to say a strong number will fall out before they even hit the market. They will perhaps not make it past the objection contention phase, or the auction rounds will tire their cash reserves. Or the simple waiting game of the ICANN process (negotiate, award, contract, delegation, launch x months bleeding into years) will cause them to run out of cash or motivation to continue with the business. This could be as many as 20% of the names, possibly more.

      And then you have their actual market testing. This industry has the benefit of a long-standing and strong registrar channel. If the name is reasonably generic and they are picked up by many in the channel, the name should tick along over time. Look at .BIZ. Many of us gave up on it in the first year or two because it wasn´t really registering enough to cover it´s costs (nor our expectations). But Neustar is a big business and continued to run .BIZ and it´s now fairly successful with over 2 million names. Time and the registrar channel take care of a decent generic TLD.

      The ones to fail will be:

      - the underfunded, who don´t manage to make it out of the gate.

      - the understaffed/under ´strategised´- who haven´t understand their buyer´s market and behaviour clearly enough. This kind of ineptitude will translate to the registrars, who will say ´no thank you´ to picking them up.

      - those who died a death by policy-wonking. Businesses who just got caught up in the barbed-wire of the ICANN new gTLD evaluation, contention, auction, contract, delegation, + time, +time.

      A clever man said recently: Tears will run when this new gTLD goat rodeo plays out.

      • Joao says:

        Thanks for your kind reply.
        I think the main problem to domain investors is the fact that no one (and i really mean no one) can actually be sure to what will happen to the .com portfolios.
        We may lay down several options about the future, but one thing is for sure, the biggest opportunity, imo, will consist in grabbing the “wave” that the billion dollar industry will spend in advertising, in order to obtain some sort of advantage on general public recognition.
        Because, that’s what about to happen. General public awareness of the whole domaining existance.

        .com will remain king, but that doesnt mean other extensions wont have success, right?
        Look at co.cc, they arent even recognized as being a real extension, but already have 13 million domains registered. Thats 1/5 of GoDaddys total domain registration in their entire company life. And co.cc isn’t even a real extension…at the eyes of conservative domaining monks, plus they aren’t sold at GoDaddy!

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