7 May 2011

2 + 2 = 100,000

Bottom of the Class

On 10 March 2011, RegistryPro announced that .pro had "surged passed" 100,000 registered names. This had been previously announced on YourSEO.name on 23 January 2011. Like the homework of many underachievers, RegistryPro's announcement appeared to be late, incorrectly spelled, and the numbers didn't add up. Total.pro decided to investigate.

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Summer Lovin' Happened So Fast

Between July and August 2010, the number of Hostway registered .pro domains in ICANN's Registry Operator report increased from 0 to 43,491. Although Hostway and its sister company, DomainPeople, both offer .pro registrations, only DomainPeople registrations had been previously reported. In our total .pro stats, we had always assumed DomainPeople reported for both companies. A 43,491 rise in one month seemed odd, we contacted ICANN to flag what we thought was an error and deducted these .pros from the total we reported.


2 April 2011

WHOIS Searches Jump Threefold in 2010

.pro Domainers Party Like It's 1849

Average daily .pro WHOIS searches jumped threefold in 2010 to near landrush levels as interest in the extension hotted up. Total .pro registrations rose 31% as new registrars including eNom, 101Domains, and RU-Center signed up to sell .pro domains. Total.pro readers can now track average daily WHOIS searches by month on our home page.

In November 2010, RegistryPro announced it was cutting the wholesale price for .pros to accredited registrars by 25% so growth looks set to continue into 2011. Prices for registrants have now fallen from $99 to $9.95 for new registrations and $14.95 for renewals.

Total.pro founder, Andrew Campbell, commented "provided it is passed on to customers, this wholesale price reduction should bring .pro registration prices into line with other gTLDs and make it more accessible to small businesses and entrepreneurs. There is no commercial or economic logic for pricing alternative extensions at a premium to .com. Although long overdue, we welcome this latest development and believe it will drive further growth in 2011".

© Total.pro 2011


5 November 2010

RegistryPro to Auction 12 LLL.pros at Namejet

If At First You Don't Succeed...

In February 2010, RegistryPro trumpeted the "historic" and "highly anticipated" release of 1, 2 and 3 character "ultra premium" .pros to an "eager public". Applicants were required to submit a business proposal and a non-refundable fee for RegistryPro to consider the goodness of their intentions.

RegistryPro's Wonka-esque .pro Eggdicator whirred for 4 months separating future Mark Zuckerbergs from minisite developers and domainers. Eventually, they confirmed that "9 names are being allocated to individuals and companies who uniquely represent the future of .pro". The 9 .pros were E1.pro, Tic.pro, 411.pro, Loc.pro, SFR.pro, AED.pro, Top.pro, Dom.pro and OVH.pro. Currently, OVH.pro redirects to OVH.com, SFR.pro redirects to SFR.fr, and 411.pro, Tic.pro, and Dom.pro don't resolve leaving the "future of .pro" in the hands of AED.pro, E1.pro, and Top.pro. Time for Plan B.

...Try, Try Again

RegistryPro have now announced the auction of 12 previously unreleased 3 character .pro domains at Namejet on 15 November 2010. The domains for sale include Eco.pro, Dog.pro, DUI.pro, Ale.pro, Eye.pro, Tea.pro, Ask.pro, Run.pro, Sax.pro, Ear.pro, Hip.pro, and SSL.pro. Comments among .pro enthusiasts ranged from "why bother?" to "have they misspelled sex?".

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24 October 2010

Financial .pro Keywords Snapped Up

Record .pro Bids at Snapnames

A drop of premium financial keywords at Snapnames in September ended with RealEstate.pro selling for $14,000 and Insurance.pro closing at $6,500. Other notable sales included Mortgage.pro at $4,300, Bank.pro on $2,010, and Loan.pro adding $1,800 bringing total sale proceeds to approximately $30,000.

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8 November 2009

.pro Scores 10 out of 10 on Aftermarket

$2,800 Average Sale Price

Against a backdrop of crippling restrictions, uncompetitive registration fees, lack of registrar take up, and registry apathy, .pro achieved an astonishing run of aftermarket sales in October 2009. All 10 sales reported exceeded $1,000, the average being $2,800.

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Top of the shop was Game.pro at $5,000, followed by eBooks.pro at $4,500, the singular eBook.pro on $3,900, Link.pro $3,040, Arte.pro $3,000, Switch.pro $2,000, Moda.pro $2,000, Antique.pro and Antiques.pro at $1,600 apiece, with Reality.pro bringing up the rear at $1,118.


3 May 2009

RegistryPro Announces Best of .Pro Contest

The Winner Takes it All, The Loser Has to Fall

RegistryPro are running a Best of .Pro contest for .pro web sites in May to "highlight the rich content that has been developed since the TLD expanded eligibility in September 2008". The winner gets;

  1. Exclusive use of The Best of .Pro logo.
  2. Exclusive post-contest placement on the contest page.
  3. A featured quote in the contest closing press release.

© Total.pro 2011


2 May 2009

Catch a Falling Star at SnapNames

How it Works

SnapNames now offer a drop catching service for .pro domains. To use the service, log in to your SnapNames account, go to My Auctions, select Search for More Names, then Advanced Search. At first, you won't see .pro listed in the extensions available, click See More and .pro is revealed. Deselect .com, .net, and .org, select .pro, leave the search form blank and click Search. Snapnames will bring up all the .pro domains dropping soon. Click on Bidders twice to rank by existing bids to see the most popular drops.

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You must bid a minimum of $59 to join an auction. When the .pro drops the auction is open for about 5 days, you will be emailed the closing time and date. Whoever places the initial $59 bid wins the auction if nobody else bids more. Bids within the last 5 minutes extend the auction by another 5 minutes so sniping isn't an option.


13 April 2009

Pro Daddy Rises From Phoenix

Biggest .pro Domain Collection

Daniel Parsons, President of SurplusEQ.com, a high tech asset recovery company in Phoenix, Arizona, has registered 1,118 .pro domains through DomainPeople. The domains are listed on DotProDomains.pro and parked at Sedo, the sample I checked were registered in early November 2008.

Several .pro registrants have 200-300 .pros but this collection is in a different ball park. If you type "Pro Domains" or "Pro Domain Names" in Google, DotProDomains.pro appears as a sponsored link, this is the first time I've seen somebody using Adwords to promote a .pro site.

© Total.pro 2011


10 April 2009

A Dish Fit For the Gods

The Importance of Keyword Extension Fit

One of the things that first attracted me to.pro was the goodness of fit between the extension and a breadth of keywords. By fit, I mean strength of association or semantic logic. For example, if there was an extension .butter, Bread.butter would fit due to strength of association because bread and butter often appear together in a block of text. Conversely, Garlic.butter fits because of semantic logic, you can say the two words together in a sentence and it makes sense.

Fit is often mistaken for a domain hack but the two are completely different. For example, Rat.es is a hack, the two parts are meaningless individually but together form a word or phrase, in this case the word rates. In contrast, Rates.info, is a natural fit between the keyword and .info extension. People want rates info or information on rates, you get both strength of association and semantic logic fit.

For .com, fit doesn't matter. Blockbuster .coms can combine any keyword with the omnipotent .com brand. No distinction is drawn between keywords that fit and keywords that don't fit. Domainers analyse value in terms of search volume, click revenue, commercial value, popularity and type in traffic.

For alternative extensions, fit is critical. A quick survey of the highest selling domains across alternative extensions illustrates the point; Travel.info sold for $116,000 in July 2007, RingTones.mobi sold for $145,000 in October 2007, Fishing.net sold for $52,500 in January 2008, and University.org, sold for $100,000 in October 2006.

Multi-Layered .pro Fit

.pro takes fit to a new level. Firstly, you get forwards and backwards fit. For example, the domain Poker.pro, makes sense read as "Pro Poker" and "Poker Pro". You also get full and abbreviated fit. For example, Golf.pro, works as "Golf Pro" and Golf Professional". In comparison, "Net Fishing" makes no sense, neither does "Fishing Network", "Info Travel" and "Information Travel" have strength of association fit but no semantic logic, and RingTones.mobi only excels read backwards in full as "Mobile Ring Tone".


5 April 2009

Cinderella and the Chocolate Teapot

The Cinderella Extension

Arguably, the most beautiful and brandable gTLD, .pro has lived in the shadow of it's ugly sisters since its initial launch in June 2004. Excluding registry held .pros, there were just 1,296 .pros registered by February 2005.

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On 2 March 2005, Encirca launched its $99 Pro Forwarding service which allowed people to lease .pro domains without having their professional credentials verified. In the first month, .pros registered through Encirca rose ninefold from 310 to 2,777. On 24 March 2005, ICANN wrote to RegistryPro, questioning whether the Pro Forwarding service "violated the spirit of .pro" and offered to amend the registry management contract to close the loop hole.

The loop hole wasn't closed and for the next 3 years Encirca collected $99 a year for most of the 6,500 .pros registered, with RegistryPro taking a 50% cut.

The arrangement between RegistryPro and Encirca achieved 3 things;

  1. .pro survived. However, with just $325,000 per year in reg fees, RegistryPro was presumably relying on the support of its parent, Hostway, to plug a funding gap.
  2. Only a few thousand blockbuster keywords were registered. Even speculators balked at the $99 reg fee.
  3. Very few domains got developed. Building on short lease land is risky, the safest bet was to keep your head below the parapet and wait for the rules to change.
Failure to Relaunch

In May 2008, RegistryPro announced that ICANN had agreed to its expansion proposals, opening up .pro "to tens of millions of licensed and credentialed professionals and entities across the globe". Registrants would self-certify their professional credentials prior to registering a .pro, comply with a Terms of Use agreement, and subsequently provide their registrar with license details.

Since the official relaunch in September 2008, take-up has been sluggish, with total .pros registered rising from 10,000 to just 30,000 between August and December 2008. To put that into perspective, .asia received 266,000 applications in the first 24 hours of landrush in February 2008. We question why Asia Registry can sell 10 times more domains on the first day of landrush than RegistryPro can sell in 5 years and 2 landrushes.

Premium Pricing Doesn't Work

One of the main reasons .pro has failed to gain traction is overpricing. Although, this has been partially addressed and reg fees have fallen from $99 to $30, .pro is still four times more expensive than other gTLD's. This price premium cannot be justified. .pro is a substitute product to .com, to persuade professionals to switch, pricing must be more competitive.

The counterargument is that $30 is a small cost to a business and that .pro is a gold standard and justifies a higher price. Businesses select domain extensions based on popularity, acceptance, and awareness. On that basis, .pro is an also ran. To gain popularity, acceptance, and awareness, a registry either has to spend tens of millions of dollars on advertising or rely on enthusiasts and part timers to develop sites to put the extension on the map. This type of user is extremely price sensitive, their sites either generate no income or a small amount of revenue from Adwords, and given the choice between a $30 .pro and a 99 cent .info, they will choose the .info.