Afnic Give the 7 “A”s In Determining A TLD’s Success

A post on the Afnic blog this week is intended to give food for thought on what makes up a successful top-level domain, suggesting one way could be via the 7 As – awareness, amplitude, advantage, access, adoption, activity and affect.

For each TLD, the post by Loïc Damilaville notes, there are
different metrics. Legacy gTLDs, new gTLDs and ccTLDs are all different, and
even within the differing TLDs there are differing metrics – success for a .brand
gTLD is completely different for a generic gTLD or ccTLD. And even with generic
gTLDs there are differing metrics.

So a summary of the 7 As as outlined by Damilaville, who is a Deputy Director General at Afnic, manager of the French ccTLD .fr as well as 17 new gTLDs and a number of ccTLDs for French territories, are:

1) Awareness: the most well-known market factor as well as
relating to an objective reality: “domain names in general such as new TLDs
still suffer from a certain lack of awareness among the general public” and “individuals
are simply unaware of this precious tool for consolidating their online

2) Amplitude: refers “to a TLD’s volume potential in terms
of target audience and catchment area.” This varies from highly restrictive
TLDs to open generics such as “the highly restrictive .BANK, to the .COOP for
cooperatives, for example, which cannot really be consider as ‘failures’ when
they achieve tens of thousands of names. As for ccTLDs, which usually have
local reach, Amplitude will depend to a large extent on the spread of the
Internet in the particular country.”

3) Advantage: “the advantages generated by the TLD for both
clients and the registry with its registrars. It’s the ‘value-added’ in the
wider sense that will explain why registrars will be more or less inclined to
suggest this TLD to their clients.”

4) Access: this refers to “market access, meaning their
capacity for being listed with the right registrars for the target audience.” This
varies for .com that is available through almost all ICANN-accredited registrars
while by “way of contrast, some TLDs are only issued by a handful of
registrars, which can compromise their development. ccTLDs are often marketed
by their own local registrar networks, a minority of which have the sole status
of ‘ICANN registrar’, although this does not prevent them from developing a
dense network across national territory.”

5) Adoption: is the TLD seen as a “must-have” or “nice-
to-have” when it comes to Internet presence? The answer Damilaville notes “will
often depend on the target audience, but we can look at the example of .CORP /
.BRAND, which are currently ‘nice-to-have’ for major groups but might become ‘must-have’
in a few decades.”

6) Activity: “a TLD will last if it is economically viable,
but also if it can be sure of a good renewal rate. This relates in part to the
use that owners make of the names. Is it sites providing content and
functionalities that can extend as far as e-commerce? Or is it just parking
pages or websites generated automatically but of no interest to visitors?”

7) Affect: lastly “’Affect’ is also about the renewal rate,
representing the retention rate that goes beyond the actual level of usage.”

To read Damilaville’s column Key success factors for Internet extensions: an evaluation grid in more detail, go to:

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