CLUB

Expert Insights: Jeff Sass Of .club Domains

May 18th, 2015 by

Following the release of the new gTLDs, one has stood out as a clear popular choice. UK2 spoke to the head of .club domains to hear more about what makes a successful domain…

Over the past few years a series of generic top level domains (gTLDs) has changed the way we browse the internet. Challenging popular domain names like .co.uk and .com, these domains were introduced to provide businesses and individuals with more options to personalise their online presence. With a finite amount of .coms available, these gTLDs provided the world with alternatives.

Of these gTLDs, .club has stood out from the rest with its success story. Released in May 2014, the .club domain name has been registered over 200,000 times; in the first 24 hours of release over 32,000 .clubs were snapped up!

We were lucky enough this week to grab a chat with Jeff Sass, chief marketing officer for .club domains. We found out more about the genius behind their marketing efforts (in da .club won them the title of ‘Domain of the year’ with UK2 this year!) and how .club managed to become such a wild success.

First off, we wished Jeff Sass and the .club clan a happy first birthday! Having reached their one year milestone in the domains industry just two weeks ago, the team at .club have had plenty to celebrate…

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Congratulations on one year of .club! How did you celebrate in the office?

Ha! Great question.  We popped the cork on some nice champagne that had been sent to us by our friends at Neustar (our backend provider).  We also had an awesome birthday cake and a surprise visit from a bonafide superhero!

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How did you know that .club would be a success? Was it your marketing creativity that gave you a leg up or did you feel that .club would succeed because of the gTLD alone?

Our CEO Colin Campbell had the vision to go after the name .club.  Colin believed (correctly) that .club would become a great domain extension because it is short, memorable, meaningful and has the same meaning and spelling all over the world.  “Club” resonates with anyone trying to build a community around a common interest or passion, so it works as a domain name with just about anything you might put to the left of the dot.  We’ve had fun and worked hard on marketing, but we have a great name to work with.

Raising awareness for gTLDs has been a struggle for most newly released domains but .club has shot to the top; what encouraged you to glamourize .club? Was it just for media attention or were you attempting to change the stigma associated with domains?

In a way, we are fortunate that we only applied for the name .club.  Focus is one of our secret weapons, as all of our energy and resources are pointed toward making .club a success.  From the beginning we’ve wanted to build .club into a global brand, and that idea is underlying most of our marketing activities.  We also want to leverage the fact that “Club” is all about community and coming together.  Leveraging well-known celebrities and sports figures seemed like a logical path as everyone who has fans or a following has a club, and can make great use of a .club name. And, on the awareness front, by nature of the fact they have large fan bases, when a celebrity uses a .club name it gets us lots of exposure for a great domain name in use.

Reportedly 61% of .club registrations have sites featured in English; do you have immediate plans to encourage international registrations or is .club focused at an English-speaking demographic?

Actually, nearly 70% of our current registrations are outside the U.S.  The market for .club names is definitely a global one, and we continue to expand our marketing activities in many countries including China, Japan, India, Europe, Eastern Europe and more.  From a language perspective we also plan to roll out [internationalized domain names] for .club so soon you’ll be able to register domains in many languages and character sets.

The .club organisation seems to encourage entrepreneurial sites; what is it about small business that attracts .club? What advice would you give to small startups getting started with a .club domain?

We love startups and entrepreneurs!  We’re very happy that so many new businesses have already been created around a .club domain name.  We attend many hackathons and it is great to see the excitement and creativity as great .club websites and businesses are formed over a weekend.  Club is a great name for businesses that have membership or subscription models (which is very popular now) and anyone trying to build a community around a product or service.  We launched Startup.club to help entrepreneurs get a great .club premium name on favorable terms, and get marketing, PR and even development help from us. That’s how Coffee.club was launched.  Small startups can get a lot of traction with a great domain name that is memorable and meaningful.  If there’s a category killer name that really defines your business you should strongly consider going for it, like Coffee.club did.

If you have your very own club, or wish to set up a community within your business – or indeed in your personal life – get started today by registering your .club domain with UK2.

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