Chinese Domain Market Newsletter

My wife teases me—or maybe I should say I tease her—from time to time that if I had married that cowgirl instead of her, I would have become an oil tycoon in the lone star state. After I went back to Asia, the cowgirl surprised me with an international call. For a reason I can never find out, her kindness was met with my scolding her for spending too much money on the phone call. That conversation sealed the fate of our relationship. Well, at least I can remind my wife from time to time that she should be kind to this tycoon-meant-to-be husband. Here's the post.

July 26, 2016 (Tue)

A piece of gem buried in a .club presentation

My American professor taught us the "content analysis" technique successfully used by the US military during the Second World War to find truth in materials published by the enemy. This skill has proved to be very useful in my life. As a student of the Chinese domain market, I read a lot of materials written by people of differing views and motivations. Yet, very often I'm surprised by the value of ideas buried in such materials.

The presentation by Jeff Sass, CMO of the .club registry, at Domainfest 2014 is a good example. In the talk, Sass said:

Clearly there is an opportunity for brands to have their .com in the middle. But, why couldn't a brand also have that points directly to their apps, or that points directly to their press releases and news information, or that points directly to their online store, or for their loyalty reward program? These domain names can effectively be used as shortcuts to make it easier for their customers to find what they are looking for.

What he basically said is that .com will remain as the center of the domain world of corporations, but a new extension can compliment .com by acting as a shortcut to a specific page on the corporate site. The given examples illustrate the natural flow of the names, which he also contrasted—later on in the same presentation—with the awkwardness of .brand which is semantically in the wrong order.

I had my aha moment when I understood his reasoning. His argument convinced me that both .com and non com have their own place; there is no need to debate .com vs non com. They can and will co-exist. I have used this framework to look at the domain world effectively. Lately, I have even modified the framework to become a hierarchy of domain names, which I described in my July 18 post and reproduced below.

LevelNatureContentExample (core),,,, 阿里巴巴.我爱你

In this approach, the focus is always the brand (the first part in a domain name), which is the anchor and so does not change. Chinese consumers only need to remember the brand; guessing the extension part is easy because by default they already know .com and .cn. This design is semantically correct; in both English as well as Chinese, we go from the general to the specific, and from the left to the right.

ps: The sad thing is that even though good information is freely available, very few people take advantage of it. The Domainfest 2014 presentation was uploaded on April 8, 2014, but it had only 426 views when I checked it this morning. So, if you have not watched this presentation, I suggest that you spend 30 minutes to watch it. You'll be surprised how much value is buried in this free video. Source: