.shop Interview with Hiro Tsukahara, CEO, GMO Registry Inc.
Who are the target groups for .shop and how is it differentiated from other gTLDs and ccTLDs?
One of the reasons that we are excited about .shop is that it is a generic TLD with a very specific meaning and yet has such broad potential in terms of the large number of online and offline businesses for which a .shop name has relevance. .shop is one of the most highly anticipated new launches in the new gTLD program.
The target groups for .shop are quite simply anyone, anywhere with something to sell. Ecommerce is an important focus for .shop but its potential extends far beyond. .shop is also a great choice for other online businesses including digital content and ecommerce solutions providers as well as the growing B2B ecommerce market. The .shop TLD is equally relevant for offline shops looking to establish a web presence or offline services such as a hair salon or massage parlour. There are no eligibility restrictions to registering a name in .shop, so there is no requirement that the registrant is a shop. A .shop domain name could also be used for product review sites, shopping related blogs or shopping travel guides.
What is the potential for .shop?
The global ecommerce market has grown over 20% year-over-year for the past 5 years and continues to expand, yet in most countries ecommerce penetration is still in the single digits. .shop is coming to market at a time when we are still at the dawn of the ecommerce industry and is well positioned to grow in line with the industry.
There are over 100 million websites online today with domain names ending in .shop. This tells us that shop is an important and already widely used keyword for online shops.
What are the benefits of .shop?
As a short and meaningful TLD, Internet users will instantly identify .shop website as a place where they can shop. Add .shop to your brand name to distinguish your online shopping function from your corporate website or choose a generic term to instantly tell users what you are selling.
The word “shop” is recognized and understood in many languages and cultures around the world. A .shop domain name would be a great fit for ecommerce businesses targeting multiple countries. I believe that this universal recognition gives .shop the potential to truly become the global home of ecommerce. “Shop” is also a great term because of its versatility. As both a noun and a verb, .shop works equally well as a business identifier or a call to action. As well as being used as a primary address for an ecommerce business it could also be used for promotions such as a summer sale or other special event.
What do you think the internet will look like by 2020, in 4 years’ time?
This year we are starting to see names like .blog .web, .app and of course .shop preparing to launch. We know that these are high-value names as they are some of the most highly contended TLDs of the 2012 new gTLD program. I think that they will really help to drive awareness of new gTLDs. Internet users will become more used to seeing something other than .com or their local country-code on the right of the dot. Names like .shop with clear, meanings that are relevant to a broad cross-section of Internet users and websites will become more familiar and this will lead to greater recognition and trust in new gTLDs overall, so I’m confident we will see a much more diverse namespace in four years time.
For .shop we are also excited about what the next future holds in terms of growth and innovation in ecommerce. Developments in logistics, geo-location and social commerce are all contributing to ecommerce while innovations in payment services that offer payment methods for those that don’t have a credit card or bank account are driving ecommerce in new markets.
What are your expectations for the launch of .shop?
We are two thirds of the way through the .shop Sunrise and have already received over 700 applications. This is a great result and puts us on track to be among the most successful Sunrises of the new gTLD program to date. Throughout the month of September we have a special extended Early Access Program that will give all Internet users the opportunity to secure high-value, high-relevance names ahead of the rush when General Availability opens on September 26. Registration fees reduce in seven stages over the course of 26 days with each stage lasting 3-5 days to accommodate global demand. We are looking forward to working with Ascio and other registrars around the world to achieve a successful .shop launch.
Hiro Tsukahara, CEO, GMO Registry Inc.
Born in Tokyo, Japan Hiro was educated in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a BA in Economics. Hiro founded his first business at the age of 17. Since then, he served as the Chief Executive Officer in two investment firms before joining GMO Internet Group in November 2008.
Hiro was one of the founding members of GMO Registry, Inc. and has served as the Chief Executive Officer since October 2012. Based in Tokyo, Japan, GMO Registry was established in 2009 with the vision of building a secure meaningful and trusted namespace for ecommerce Today the company operates more than 40 Top Level Domains including tokyo and other Japanese geo domains, as well as dedicated brand domains for some of Japan's largest corporate brands.