Why the .Sucks GTLD Doesn’t Have to Suck according to Bloomberg

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Bloomberg has a nice article on Why Dot Sucks really doesn’t have to SUCK… I remember when I started out in domaining before I learned about TM names etc. I bought GoogleSucks.co.uk & AmazonSucks.co.uk – They both got traffic not a lot but anyway after learning about my mistakes I dropped the domain names and Amazon purchased AmazonSucks.co.uk however as of today GoogleSucks.co.uk is available for registration… I wouldn’t recommend hand registering this domain name unless you actually plan to develop a forum or platform if you have it parked or try to extort money from Google you will probably be hit with a WIPO case against you.

Dot Sucks now has 6000 .sucks domains registered but most are dormant, either redirected or parked… I am not sure many people will actually build businesses out of Dot Sucks domains, I am sure some will be successful and below in the article there are few examples but I just can’t see the Dot Sucks lasting forever especially at $2.5K for TM holders annually.

In terms of revenue I am not sure how many are owned by TM Holders but if 1000 are x 2,500 – That is $2,500,000 per year before additional 5000 domains at avg $200 per domain renewal for non TM names – 5000 x 250 – That is another $1,250,000 – This business could earn in terms of revenue $3 Million Annually. Maybe their plan is to sell this onto another registrar but I can’t see the domain costs staying this high forever, can you ?

Do you own any Dot Sucks domain names?

 

The launch of the “.sucks” domain back in March sent a wave of panic through company public relations teams.

The idea that someone could tarnish a brand name by cyber-squatting on, say, Vodafone.sucks, ManchesterUnited.sucks or LloydsBank.sucks led to a flurry of registrations by the companies themselves. To take control of their trademarks on this domain, firms had to cough up around $2,500 per year (it’s much cheaper for non-trademarked names) – leading to complaints that Vox Populi, the firm that manages the registry, was holding brands to ransom.

Brand protection company NetNames.com filed a complaint with the European Commission, saying Vox Populi had created a “predatory pricing model” in a “blatant attempt to extort revenues from brand owners.”

Despite the furore, more than 6,000 of the domains have been snapped up. While most have been bought for damage limitation purposes and simply parked, inventive companies are exploring more creative uses of .sucks.

“Sucks is a very strong keyword,” explained Richard Winslow, brand director at British domain registrar 123-reg, pointing out that people consistently search Google for “brand name + sucks” to see what people are saying about their businesses. That habit is evident from Google Trends data.

Winslow believes that bold companies shouldn’t simply buy up the .sucks domain, but they should actually build a website to gather feedback from unhappy customers. Those customers would be writing negative things online anyway, so Winslow suggests the companies use it as an opportunity to improve customer service.

Self-promotion

Vox Populi itself is pioneering the art, with the creation of a self-effacing Dotsucks.sucks website, where people can give feedback about what they think of the launch of the new top-level domain.

It also created a provocative advertising campaign playing on one of the biggest rivalries in baseball. A huge billboard that reads “NewYork.sucks” was placed alongside Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox, while New York Yankees fans can see a “Boston.sucks” sign on the expressway passing Yankee Stadium.

“Boston responded more aggressively than New York,” said John Berard, CEO of the Vox Populi registry. “Maybe it speaks to the different sensibilities of the city.”

Memorable and Rebellious

Others to take advantage of the new domains include insurance broker Greg Sasine, who bought LifeInsurance.sucks. He is using the site to provide policy advice to those who don’t like “well-trained, overly groomed” sales people.

Insurance broker Greg Sasine bought LifeInsurance.sucks to differentiate his services in a cluttered market
Insurance broker Greg Sasine bought LifeInsurance.sucks to differentiate his services in a cluttered market
LifeInsurance.sucks

“If you go online you can find 10,000 people selling life insurance online. How do you differentiate yourself in an overly pursued market? I like the rebellious side of it and the fact that it stands out in the crowd,” he said.

Buying CysticFibrosis.sucks was an obvious investment for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, although the site is still under construction. The same applies for Dyson.sucks and Hoover.sucks, both of which have been registered by their respective vacuum cleaner manufacturers.

The domain was also a perfect fit for This Meeting Sucks!, an app designed to let people review meetings anonymously. In this case, the name of the app came before the discovery of the domain, but the team liked its “edgy appeal” and the fact that the domain helps raise awareness for their business.

The name of the This Meeting Sucks! app came before the team had heard about the .sucks domain.
The name of the This Meeting Sucks! app came before the team had heard about the .sucks domain.
This Meeting Sucks

“We do not have issues with those who troll the internet using the .sucks domain. As far as we understand, the internet is pretty much fair game,” said Rico Lajom, founding partner of Chicago-based Align Us, which built the app. “ThisMeetingSucks.sucks is still available!” he joked.

Christopher Hofman Laursen, Founder of European Domain Centre, believes that .sucks provides a “huge opportunity for startups to get noticed.” However, for established businesses already using .com it’s “a very tough choice,” and tricky to sell internally, he says.

Speculation

Some are being more speculative. Tristan Tremblay bought MyEx.sucks and plans to turn it into a forum for people to share stories about disastrous former flames. “If the site takes off, it could become a focal point for people with similar experiences, which would then make it a good place to offer services targeted at their particular needs,” he said.

James Walthall, chief executive officer at New York-based Digital Branding, has spent around $10,000 on a range including: Eating.sucks, FastFood.sucks, MyLoveLife.sucks and Sleeping.sucks.

“Think of it like an ETF that trades in the futures of .sucks TLD value. If one of these domains is interesting enough for a branding play, its value will pay for all of the purchases,” he said.

Software developer Tal Shprecher took a similar view, snapping up HealthInsurance.sucks and Law.sucks, among others. He said: “I thought they could be valuable one day.”

Hofman Laursen isn’t so sure: “When it was just .com there was value in speculation because of the scarcity, but there are now so many domain extensions [more than 1,000] that it’s very difficult.”

About the Author

Robbie
Robbie Ferguson is an Internet Entrepreneur, Domain Investor, Domain Broker, Blogger and founder of various websites and eCommerce businesses such as ScreenProtectors.co.uk

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