If you have been a keen follower of the developments with the .SHOP domains, you must probably have seen the Chinese rally in .SHOP domain registrations towards the end of December. Early in December when the .SHOP registrations hit 100,000, Chinese registrants were only 6,122, accounting for 6.12% of overall .SHOP domain registrations.
Over the last three weeks, the Chinese registrations have grown 50% to 9,546 and now account for 9.4% of the total .SHOP domain registrations. Part of this could be due to the fact that the GMO Registry secured Chinese government approval for .SHOP. The nod from China’s Ministry Industry and Information Technology means that Chinese domain registrants are now able to host their .SHOP websites on Chinese servers with all the implications that come with it. China’s registrars must adhere to the government’s censorship policies, for example. For many Chinese registrants, that approval by the MIIT gives them the ability to develop their domain names and that could be driving the current trend towards mass .SHOP domain name registrations.
The tables below show .SHOP domain registrations on December 12, 2016 and on January 5th, 2017:-
What is intriguing about these stats is that the Netherlands seems to have lost its overall domain count over the past three weeks!
While the other countries are seeing a much slower growth in the .SHOP registrations, China is currently zooming ahead and we expect it will overtake Germany, Japan and the Netherlands to become the top .SHOP country. China is also leading in the registrations of the other new gTLDs such as .VIP and .CLUB. .SHOP fits nicely into Chinese demand thanks to the rapidly growing cadre of domain investors and Chinese shop and ecommerce website owners.
There are many new gTLDs that have been rolled out in 2016 and some as far back as 2013. The main gTLDs that have seen considerable success include .VIP, .CLUB, .STORE, .SITE and .GURU. But my instinct tells me .SHOP is going to be the biggest deal ever. Here is why I am bullish about the .SHOP domain names and why I am busy stacking up on .SHOP domains like crazy:-
There are about 10 million domains on the internet that can be said to have considerable visibility or presence in the search engines. Out of these 10 million domain names, only 900,000 domain names contain the word shop such www.swissluxuryshop.com, www.topshop.com, www.do-shop.com, www.goodwillshop.com, www.mlbshop.com etc. So, even before the introduction of a .SHOP TLD, there was already an aspiration for a “SHOP” domain name. Additionally, many online retailers have been hosting their online shops or retail portals on a “SHOP” subdomain name. For these businesses, the .SHOP domain is imply a godsend!
Then there are the twining domain names. In the .COM namespace, there are probably tens millions of them and close to 1 million have the “SHOP” in them. In Germany, the .DE namespace has 2 million twining domain names out of which 50,000 have “SHOP” in them. These are businesses that would be very receptive to a .SHOP name ending in order to shorten the business names and give them the opportunity to truly express what they are about. There are also 6000 .DE domain names with a SHOP subdomain name in them such as http://shop.domain.de. In the .COM namespace, there are over millions of domain names with SHOP as a subdomain in the format http://shop.domain.com. Many businesses use a “shop” subdomain as a means of creating a merchant portal where they can sell items without steering away from the primary aim of the website.
Then there is the popularity of the word “SHOP” which has global relevance. It is used widely in Europe, Asia and Africa IN ITS ENGLISH FORM. Such names will therefore have instant recognizability among billions of internet users around the world. It simply designates the website as a SHOP that must sell something.
With the German speaking countries such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland that rely on ccTLDs and where branding across borders with .COM and .EU is not popular, the .SHOP offers the advantage of the geolocation in the search engines. They can now just .SHOP and not worry about trading across borders. Traditionally, positioning a website with an address such as www.domain.de in a country like Switzerland and Austria has been difficult. With the .SHOP, many businesses in the German speaking countries now have their business or ecommerce TLD that they can use across borders and which doesn’t have to be geolocalized in Google Search Console countries such as Austria and Switzerland through the acquisition of country specific ccTLDs for the business. In markets such as Austria and Switzerland where a large number of users search in German, there has been a poorer a click acceptance of a TLD such as .DE compared to the local variants .AT and .CH. The .SHOP TLD will get rid of the locality of the .DE, .AT or .CH allowing you a website with an all encompassing market in all of these countries. The same applies to the English speaking markets as well as the markets in Asia. In Japan, .jp might be highly localized but with .SHOP, Japanese businesses can brand on a global scale.
The .SHOP top level domain name can also be used with global generic terms for blogs, SEO and other uses the same way the .COM, .ORG, .NET and .INFO. The main distinction with .SHOP is that is already defines a very specific object and niche: a SHOP. That can be a boon for ecommerce business or a even a product review, dropshipping or affiliate website.
Massive demand: Don’t forget that 50,000 .SHOP domains were registered within two hours and that is an indication of the market perception for this TLD.
The Japanese-led team at GMO Registry have a quite a solid and extensive experience in the DNS industry spanning two decades. They have experience managing domain name registries, domain name hosting, domain registration and management, ecommerce solutions such as MakeShop and the SSL solution GlobalSign and this bodes well for the sustainability of the .SHOP gTLD. They are not just a fly-by-night internet entrepreneur who decided they want to own a domain registry which is the case with many of the gTLD registries. As the CEO has said in the past, GMO Registry is an internet company that is MADE OF STEEL. It has all the tools and expertise to make .SHOP a success over the long term. The team at GMO Registry make a good impression and inspire confidence that .SHOP is going to be a success not just for domain investors but for the hundreds of millions of shops globally.
From the hodgepodge of domains that have come to the internet with ICANN’s ambitious new gTLD programs, .SHOP is one of the very few gTLDs that make sense.
If you are a domainer who has been struggling to secure good names in the .COM namespace because many of them were snapped in the 90s and are now overpriced, the .SHOP namespace is like an Eldorado with lots of really good names waiting to be grabbed at dirt cheap prices. Don’t miss out on the opportunity. Check out http://whois.nic.shop to see if your preferred name is still available.
The country and market of great interest when it comes to .SHOP domains is definitely Germany. They had massive registrations early on after the launch and are still accounting for the largest share of .SHOP domain registrations with 29% of total .SHOP domains registered. Also interesting that the Netherlands, a much smaller country, comes second in .SHOP registrations. But let’s see at Germany’s .SHOP market.
According to Google search, there are currently 1.3 million web pages under .SHOP which is impressive for a TLD that is just three months old. How do the other new TLDs compare?
.VIP: 4.5 million
.STORE: 1.38 million
.CLUB: 14.3 million
.NEWS: 14 million
.SITE: 4.2 million
.GURU: 20 million
.DIRECT: 1.3 million
.CLOTHING: 0.6 million
.ASIA: 12 million
It is clear .GURU, .CLUB and NEWS new gTLDs have seen some serious development but .SHOP is only 90 days old. Given its target market, we are going to see a strong trend towards domain development in the .SHOP domain namespace.
A quick SEO analysis shows that the .SHOP domain name can rank very easily in the SERPs. Some of the first .shop websites on the web already have numerous pages ranking well on Google for the targeted keywords. That means that if you are running a global or cross border business, you have the chance to achieve an SEO-compliant internationalization of your business without the need the to register many domain names.
In many German speaking countries, .COM is not necessarily king. In Germany, .de is king; in Austria, .at is king and in Switzerland, .ch is king. .EU domain could be a unifying domain name but ,eu is really not a business name leave alone an ecommerce domain name. So for the German speaking business world and even in the Netherlands, the .shop domain name offers that chance of true internationalization with an address that cuts can across borders. That explains why .shop domains have had a great appeal for businesses in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland and not so much in the UK. The .shop domain name will have a great appeal for many European businesses, particularly the shops and small family businesses that trade across borders. It is even better if it is a German company that exports to Japan or China or Japanese company that exports to Germany in Europe because Japan and China are the other countries where the .shop domain name has a great appeal.
Explosion of .SHOP Domain Registrations
With just 110, 000 domain names registered, it is still the early days. Shortly after the approval of the .SHOP by the Chinese IT Ministry, there was an explosion of Chinese .shop domain registrations which has pushed China into the fourth largest .SHOP country. This is the RIGHT TIME to buy a .SHOP domain. The TLD is just taking off and brands and investors will just be beginning to learn that there is a cool new .SHOP TLD in 2017.
At just 110,000 registrations and a growth rate of roughly 300 domain names per day, there is a great opportunity for .SHOP landgrab that will land you some of the best domain names in the namespace.
I am seeing .SHOP registrations starting 2017 on a slow pace with 300-400 registrations per day and then hitting a peak towards mid this year as the TLD gets known and the marketing efforts by GMO Registry and the domain registrars takes effect. Many people have not heard of .SHOP and a lot of those who have heard about it do not even know that the TLD was launched three months ago. So they will be rushing to register the names once a GMO registry global marketing campaign takes effect. If you can register your .SHOP domains between January and March 2017, you are in a good position to “steal the race” so to speak.
.SHOP December 2016 Growth is a Good Indicator
A good indicator on the effect of promotions can be seen in the month of December when more than 10,000 .SHOP domain names were registered. On 12th December, 2017, GMO Registry announced that it had hit 100,000 domain registrations and by January 5th, the number stands at 110,000 domains. So the month of December has seen a growth rate of over 300 domain names per day. The cheapest .SHOP domain promos are currently available at Namecheap.com which sells the domain names for $6.88.
The current .SHOP domain name registrations are a mix of brands and trademarks as well as exact match domain names. There are several businesses that are now hosted on exact match .shop domain names which is good news for many domainers or domain investors who are still unsure about the prospects of the .SHOP domain name. A quick Google search reveals the following businesses built around EMD.shop:-
For years, .COM and the local ccTLDs have been the go-to domains for businesses that want to establish a presence online although businesses have always faced limitations and dilemmas when it comes to picking a suitable name with which to brand their presence online. Local ccTLD domain name such as .nl, .ca, .co.za, .co.uk or .ch are limited to the local markets in which they operate and in the .COM namespace which seems like a viable alternative, almost all the valuable names have been registered for use, parking or resale.
The point of the new gTLDs for was for ICANN to expand the namespace and offer global users more choice and opportunity to pick great names to express their presence on the internet. There over 1000 new gTLDs currently available for users to globally; some of which may not make much sense to users. However, some of the most promising new gTLDs include .CLUB, .WEB, .SITE, .VIP and the newly launched .SHOP.
Among these new gTLD launches, perhaps .SHOP seems like the most promising top level domain name that is likely to receive wide acceptance in the global business community. There are more than 50 million online retail websites on the web that .SHOP is targeting but the top level domain name is not just geared at the world’s online shopkeepers. The domain can also be used by a brick and mortar store to brand itself online such as by displaying its address, location and product catalogue. This could potentially double its reach to 100 million potential users globally. Many bloggers and domain investors are also buying up .SHOP domain names although we are yet to see significant aftermarket activity.
Just three months after its launch, the number of registrations has already surpassed the 100,000 mark and stands at 110, 195 at the time of the writing according to stats by https://namestat.org/shop.
There are many new gTLGDs that already crossed that threshold but .SHOP is now part of the club of the top new domain names. More than 150 countries in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa have registered the .SHOP top level domain names. The top 10 leading .SHOP countries at the time of writing include the following:-
Although the German .SHOP registrations dominate thanks to the appeal of the name in the country and the intense marketing of the top level domain name by one of the top German registrars United Domains, there is a general supra-national spread of the .SHOP registrations which indicates that this domain name is going to have the kind of global appeal that .COM has commanded over the years.
There are other good early indicators of future .SHOP success. The gTLD, run by Japan’s top internet solutions provider GMO Registry is competing for the shop, business or ecommerce market with two other TLDS, namely .STORE and .SHOPPING. Here is how these two have fared so far:-
.STORE: 83,055 registrations after close to 7 months in the market.
.SHOPPING: 4702 registrations three months after the general availability
The US registrations for the .SHOP domains have lagged behind considerably in the first few days after launch. It has been suggested that this is partly due to the fact that “shop”, while popular globally as the term for shops or small retail outlets is not as common in the US. In the US, the term “STORE” is more commonly used. But if that was the case, the US demand for the .STORE would have been greater. There just doesn’t seem to be good buy-in for the new TLDs in the US market currently. There has been an up-tick in US .shop registrations in the past month but at just 7.4% of the total registrations, the uptake is not as expected.