By Tony Kirsch
6 July 2015
An excerpt of this interview first appeared in the Domain Name Association’s (DNA) ‘State of the Domains’ Report, Edition 3 – June 2015. Access the full report on the DNA’s website.
The experiences of applying for and operating a new Top-Level Domain (TLD) are as diverse as they are complex. Each TLD takes its own unique path and faces individual challenges as well as those shared by the wider domain name industry.
I spoke with some of the industry’s most prominent TLD experts – and those TLD operators who are new to the industry – about their key lessons learnt from the first 12 months of operation. Today’s interview features Monica Kirchner of .luxury.
What have been some of the highlights of the process so far?
Monica Kirchner, CEO of .luxury: Thus far, my most rewarding experience has been getting .luxury launched, after what was a long and dynamic process. I am also really excited about some of the positive feedback we are getting for .luxury as a unique platform for the luxury industry online. Our success in generating industry and business PR has enabled us to engage in a number of meaningful opportunities and begin the necessary process of education around the new TLD program. The constant message we hear is how poised the luxury industry is for online innovation. We are going to be a part of that.
What was one of the key challenges you faced and how did you overcome this?
Monica: Our primary challenge is really building awareness for and helping define the value proposition of our new TLD. We’ve spent a lot of time going to luxury industry conferences, trying to learn what brand concerns and issues exist, and then have been working to further refine our messaging, ancillary service offerings and education materials to help people think through the migration process and potential benefit of joining our platform online. In this process we have engaged experts in a number of areas – including digital strategy, luxury marketing and intellectual property protection.
Was there an experience that reaffirmed your strategy or decisions?
Monica: Early on, when you are doing something really new, you are always looking for signs of validation. Fortunately, we’ve had some really good feedback – first with regard to the real need within the luxury industry for a more trusted, focused space for luxury brands and consumers to interact; next with regard to our strategic decisions around premium pricing; and lastly around where we’ve decided to put our initial marketing emphasis – on meticulously working to build our brand presence and in focusing on building awareness through PR.
If you could go back and tell yourself something before you got into this process, what would it be?
Monica: Be patient, be adaptable, be innovative, be fearless, and find a well-defined market niche – then be clear on the value proposition you plan to bring it. With that clarity, and some real passion and entrepreneurial spirit, you are going to be about as well equipped as you can be to embark on this exciting journey of reshaping the online world as we know it.