With close to a thousand new domain extensions launching by the end of 2016, getting the name that you want can be quite challenging. From finding the proper dates, the jargon-y launch phases, narrowing down the new domain extension that you want and actually registering the domain name, it can be overwhelming absorbing a large amount of information. To help you with your search to secure the domain name you want, here are 4 tips that will help you succeed.
1. Find out important dates and launch phases
If you agree that information is power, then you understand that information such as when the new domain extensions are available plays a critical role in securing the name that you want. As mentioned earlier, close to a thousand domains are launching and each can have up to three different availability dates to track – Sunrise, Landrush and General Availability.
Sunrise is simply the phase/period when a new TLD (top-level domain) becomes available to companies or people who own trademarks (known as the trademark holder) that matches the name they want.
Think of this launch date like the soft opening of a restaurant or soft launch of a product. Only a few select guests or beta testers are able to gain access to the food/product. In the case of the new TLDs, the products are the domains and the guests are trademark holders.
Landrush or Early Access
Landrush or Early Access is the second phase of a new TLD launch and can last from 30 days to 5 days. During this time, most of the “best domains” are typically registered. “Best” meaning most one-word and/or three letter combination of new domain names are registered during this period.
General Availability is the last phase that starts and never ends. When a new TLD enters General Availability (GA), they become open to the general public and anyone can register a domain name during this time.
You can think of General Availability as a free for all – thousands of people rushing in trying to get the same item at a store. The best example would be the Black Friday sales at a popular retail outlet in the United States. Usually, all domains are purchased on a first come, first serve basis, so the most popular ones are taken first even though more than one person is trying to get that same name with the same domain extension.
So with these three different phases, how do you get the information you need?
Most registrars publish the dates on their websites on a per extension basis. However, other registrars like Webnames.ca have collected and tabulated the information into a "Launch Schedule". A Launch Schedule allows you to filter out the new extensions based on a variety of criteria including their category, requirements, launch phases and dates.
Some registries will only provide one or two weeks’ notice of launch dates, so I recommend that you request that you be notified when your new TLD is available. Webnames.ca offers this ability to get notified of launch dates.
2. Take advantage of the pre-order systems
If you don’t have the time or patience to monitor the date when your domain becomes available, most registrars allow you to pre-order weeks in advance for the launch phase that you want for free.
So, how does a pre-order work? Domain pre-orders essentially function the same way as pre-ordering for a video game or a novel you are anticipating. When you place a pre-order for a domain, your registration request is sent the moment the new extension becomes available. For example, if I make a pre-order for Database.tips before the Landrush launch phase starts, my pre-order is submitted the moment that Landrush starts.
By using pre-order systems, you can, in essence, sit back and relax while the domain registrars work on your behalf to get you the domain name that you want.
Some registrars they will provide the ability to pre-order (in first come first serve basis) but have the ability to "jump the queue" by paying an additional price on top of the pre-order.
At Webnames.ca, we treat all customers equally and do not provide preferential treatment as it is not fair to other people who submitted their requests first. So, all pre-orders at Webnames.ca will be submitted to the registry in the same order we received them. That is why you are always better to pre-order as soon as we notify you that the new domain extension you are interested in is available.
Be aware that some registrars will charge you upfront for the cost of your entire domain name. I do not recommend pre-ordering with them as they cannot guarantee 100% that you will get the domain name you wanted.
3. Ask about the success rate of your registrar
You’ve been waiting 60 days to get your domain name so it only makes sense that you can finally get your hands on it, right? Wrong.
Just because you had placed a Pre-Order doesn't mean that you will automatically successfully register your domain name. Keep in mind that you will be competing against possibly hundreds or thousands of other people competing for the same domain name.
So how do you actually get the domain that you want? You need to ask your registrar what their success rate is. While in most cases, submission of your domain is on a first come, first served basis, bear in mind that you hundreds of other customers may have pre-ordered before you. This can severely affect your chances of actually acquiring the domain name that you want.
Instead, ask the registrar what their success rate is – for example, out of a 100%, what is your success rate? Asking this simple question is critical to choosing your registrar when it comes to the new domains. If that company doesn't want to tell you their success rate, find a company that will.
Webnames.ca is proud to say that our success rate each week averages at 95%.
4. Take advantage of Landrush or Early Access Launch Phase
Earlier in the post, I talked about the different launch phases and how they function. The last tip which I have relates to those launch phases and I believe that a lot of people forget or overlook the Landrush/early access period.
Each launch phase will usually feature a unique pricing scheme, and in the case of Sunrise and Landrush/Early Access Periods, these phases typically have a “premium” pricing. While we understand that a lot of people pass over the Sunrise Period due to the lack of a trademark, you shouldn't ignore the Landrush/Early Access Period.
A lot of the “best” domain names are frequently registered during this period and if the domain name that you want is a highly generic name (i.e. SocialMedia.Consulting), there is a good chance that it will be registered before General Availability begins. This is because a lot of businesses aim to secure “category killer” domain names to drive more traffic to their sites or to profit from the domain name they bought via brokering services.
By registering or pre-ordering a domain name during the Landrush/Early Access period, you are effectively increasing your chances of securing the domain name that you want. Depending on how the Landrush period was also formatted, you can also have the opportunity to immediately begin using your new domain name, before the extension even becomes available to the general public.
Be aware that the price to register a domain name during Landrush or an Early Access Period is divided into two parts; 1) standard registration fee (retail price) and 2) a participation fee. Note that most registrars including Webnames.ca will refund the registration fee of your pre-order if the domain name that you want is not registered successfully.
For more information about early access launches, please see the previous blog post called "The Early Access Program – Get your domains early!"
I hope these 4 tips will help you get the special domain name you want with the new domain extensions being released now.
If you are ever struggling to find out information, always feel free to contact your registrar as they have resources that can provide you the most up to date information available, if it is not already listed.