Donuts are the largest new registry for gTLDs. They are currently releasing on average 5 new TLDs each week and expect to launch over 300 during the next two years. I caught up with VP of Donuts Mason Cole a couple of weeks ago to talk all things Donuts and new gTLDs!
Morag: Firstly, I wanted to ask if Donuts was set up before the idea of new gTLDs, or set up for the release of new gTLDs?
Mason: Donuts was created specifically to apply for new TLDs. There were 4 co-founders that started the company back in 2010 and they were all people with industry experience either on the registry or registrar side.When ICANN started the new TLD programme these 4 joined forces specifically to apply for TLDs.
Morag: So a long time coming! How did you find the ICANN application process while applying for so many TLDs?
Mason: We started with around 3,000 candidate TLDs that we were considering and narrowed it down to 370 that we eventually applied for – it was a very long, intensive process. The application process itself was tedious and very detailed however we thought it was appropriately so – if you’re asking to be entrusted with a piece of the internet infrastructure you should definitely know what you’re doing and have your resources behind you. As you may guess, to apply for 370 it took us a long time but we got through it and now we’re finally getting TLDs out there.
Morag: How did you make the decision of which gTLDs to narrow down 3000 candidates to 370 applications?
Mason: It was a lot of science and a little bit of art. We used a lot of data and it took us quite a lot of time to figure out the tlds that we should apply for – we didn’t have an end number of how many we wanted to apply for, we just wanted to arrive at a group of tlds that we knew we would be pleased with and we thought people would be pleased with. I think we got there but it did take a lot of examination and a lot of time.
Morag: Well all those released so far have definitely been very popular! In terms of the release of new tlds, is there a strategy to which you are releasing first or is it purely based on the ICANN release process?
Mason: We’re bound somewhat by the prioritisation draw that ICANN conducted, but where we have the opportunity to group names together that are relevant to each other we may take the opportunity to do that. We had a good section of domains, for example, like .photography, .gallery and .lighting which are all artistic names and somewhat related so that was nice!
Morag: What made you go for the portfolio approach that you have taken, rather than some registries that have gone through a single application process for one gTLD?
Mason: Like I said, our co-founders have been involved in this going on 9 year now, and they very much believe in the goals ICANN set up when deciding the expand the name space online. They decided if they were going to get into it they were going to do it in a big way. If you’re going to expand and enhance name space then by god do it!
Morag: As I’ve said already, we’re very excited for the expansion of the name space for registrants and the internet itself. How do you think this is going to affect the way we search online and use the internet?
Mason: The search question is still very open – Google and other search authorities have said ‘don’t worry about it, we’re going to adapt’ – the objective is for people who are searching to find relevant data, products or services or information and the new gTLDs will assimilate themselves within the search environment. It’s a big change to the internet but I don’t know if it’s going to change the internet itself. It will probably take a year or two for everyone to get accustomed to these new tlds, but that’s happened before and this will happen again now – just on a much larger scale.
Morag: And what do you think it means for current .com and .net owners?
Mason: We’re not trying to compete with .com and .net. There are something like 110 million .com registrations so there’s no way to measure against that. We have no particular interest in beating those numbers, but making sure people who don’t have relevant naming choices right now, that are specific and short for any particular interest have these options available to them. They haven’t had these options open to them for a very long time and now’s a good time for this to start happening.
Morag: Do you have an end date in sight, where all gTLDs will be released?
Mason: Not an exact date, no. Most of the TLDs that we know we’re going to launch will be in 2014 but there are other variables that are in play such as contention resolution!
Morag: Of all those you have released so far, do you have any favourites?
Mason: No! I don’t think anyone in the company does. We took a really broad approach to this – the analogy that we always draw is that we’re putting up a shopping mall. Inside the mall you have different stores that appeal to people with niche interests – for example .plumbing, .lighting, .photography. So our interest is getting this ‘mall’ set up rather than one particular TLD.
You can find out more about Donuts by visiting their Website or following them on Twitter. You can find out about all releases and pre-orders with Donuts as well as all other registries by visiting our gtld portal. You can also keep up to date by following us on Twitter or Facebook!