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Friday, May 4, 2012

Dotxxx fails on all fronts

Two months ago we already blogged about the dot-xxx tld and how "the over-hyped tld turned out to be a massive failure". The last few days we've seen other bloggers reach the same conclusion.

On Monday, DomainNameNews opened with ".XXX domains, The Hard Numbers". They analyzed the registration numbers for the dot-xxx tld and the Alexa traffic stats for those domains. They found that not only are there hardly any developed dot-xxx domains out there, those that have been developed have almost no traffic.

Three days later, Kevin Murphy from Domainincite tried to prove that the numbers aren't that bad. In an almost surreal article titled "Is .xxx really that crappy?" he mentioned that compared to dot-tel, dot-xxx is actually pretty doing good. I have no idea what the guy has been smoking or what he's trying to prove, but it's not the first time he's tried to put dot-xxx's failing numbers in a better light. In his December 2011 article "Was .xxx's launch disappointing?" he wrote:

While .xxx clearly hasn't yet smashed estimates in the same way as its sunrise did, I think early indications are that it's looking pretty healthy.


ICM CEO Stuart Lawley has previously predicted 300,000 to 500,000 registrations in the first few months, and that's still an achievable goal

According to RegistrarStats, 116,914 have been registered so far. ICM Registry released a different number last month: 215,835. This apparently includes over 80,000 defensive registrations. Trademark holders paid a onetime fee to have their trademark blocked for a period of 10 years so ICM Registry won't be seeing any annual renewal fees for those defensive registrations.

A number of 100,000 or even 200,000 registrations after 6 months doesn't even come close to Lawley's prediction. It certainly won't be enough to make ICM Registry that 200 million dollars in profit Lawley once predicted the dot-xxx tld would bring in.

To put the number of 200,000 registrations after six months even better in perspective we could take a look at the Russian ccTLD. That new tld, aimed at the local Russian market, registered 200,000 domains in its first six hours when it was launched in November 2010.

At ZDNet, the lovely Violet Blue hit the nail on the head with her "Numbers show dot-XXX sites are a sham" article:

New data from ICANN and six months of dot-XXX traffic in stat sites reveals the TLD is an oversold bust.

The writing is on the wall. The numbers confirm no one wanted the dot-xxx tld. Registrars are already lowering their prices in an desperate attempt to get a few dot-xxx registrations. Even people outside the industry are starting to notice. The only ones that refuse to admit the truth are ICM Registry and a handful domainers who invested money in dot-xxx domains no one is willing to buy from them.

One domainer replied to the DomainNameNews article with the following comment:

I own I wanted to develop them but can not find any adult content provider to provide content. One place says its against their Terms of Service to provide content to .xxx domains and that they do not accept traffic from .xxx domains. Its like the adult industry wants nothing to do with them.

No doubt there's a lot of domainers like him out there. Maybe Kevin Murphy is even one of them. Only 6 more months and we'll know how many of them face reality and decide to cut their losses and how many will still refuse to accept the obvious truth: Dot-xxx failed.