An Interview with Predrag Lesic - CEO of dot ME
HEXONET recently had the fortune and opportunity to connect with Mr. Predrag Lesic, Chief Executive Officer of dot ME (DoMEn d.o.o. aka Domain.ME), to get his thinking on the .ME TLD. Predrag's insights on the .ME registry and where it may be heading are not only engaging, but also highly informative. HEXONET would like to share his thoughts in this post. If you have time, please read our last post, .ME Still a Sizzling Top-Level-Domain, as it provides a good context for this article, as well as, to why .ME has been so successful.
The .ME registry is quickly approaching the second anniversary of its "Go Live" this July 16, 2010, how many domains do you anticipate to have under management by then? Also, what main factor do you attribute to .ME's success thus far?
Well, considering the number of daily registrations we are currently seeing, we should expect to have approx. 430,000 Domains under management on our second anniversary. The main success thus far for .ME, besides it being a memorable TLD, having multiple varied uses, and the registry having outstanding relationships with its registrars, is the fact that Internet users have the ability to recognize not only the value of a domain name, but the value of a message sent through the name. The Web is becoming more personal than ever, and the ability to create online content personalization is an integral part of .ME
Your response is interesting, especially considering the advent of Social Networking and how .ME domains seem to be the ideal TLD for this growing social Internet. Our suspicion is that .ME domains, as a whole, have a large proportion of its domain with active content. And with content, your renewal rates will likely be much higher. Do you have any statistics on .ME domain utilization (live vs. parked vs. dormant?), if so, would you be willing to share?
We actually have the same view. The more content on .ME sites the better for our TLD. The registry with the help of Afilias ran a scan of all domains registered towards the end of last year and the results were very pleasing. According to scan more than 79% of all domains under management were connected to active websites, out of which, more than 50.000 were dedicated, i.e. having original content. We naturally had a certain number of redirections and referrals as well as parked domains. However, this year's trends show that we will see a great increase in the number of dedicated websites.
Where is the .ME Registry heading? What do you expect over the next three years for .ME?
Our goal is to build a recognizable brand which will eventually become one of the the most frequently used online destinations for personal usage and branding. So far .ME has proven itself to be a tremendous success. In the next three years we will direct our efforts to providing a more comprehensive approach for end users to more closely connect domain names, social media, and their personal usage together. We also expect a rise in the number of "call-to-action" domains. Companies, especially small businesses are increasingly moving their marketing activities online, and domain registration patterns like VERB.ME (e.g. "help.me", "printfor.me" or even "fixmycar4.me) are among the most popular. In addition to this, we are also planning to launch IDNs, and make even more significant impact on non-English markets.
The .ME registry has ran many successful premium domain auctions in the past, including, Traffic Conference Sept. 2008, DomainFest Global '09, Sedo Online '09, NameJet '09, and more. Do you still have many premium domains left and if so, what are your plans for the distribution these premium domains?
Yes, we have around 2500 premium domains left in the Registry. As the auction have proven to be extremely successful in the past, we will most likely auction off more names in the near future. Nonetheless, we would actually like to see our premium names developed into prominant web addresses. We got great exposure with widespread use of FB.ME and WP.ME, shorteners used by Facebook and Wordpress respectively, so our goals toward developing the premium names is a logical step forward.
A couple of months ago we launched our non-auction allocation procedure, which defines a development proposal, that makes development of a premium domain a higher criteria for allocation than auctioning. We are receiving applications on daily basis, and some domains have been already allocated. Very soon the web will get new social networks, a music marketplace and an online voice call application under a .ME domain. We are open to receiving domain development proposals from all over the world, so if any of your readers or customers are interested in one of our premium domains, please submit a development proposal.
Lastly could you elaborate on what you are doing to promote .ME within Montenegro?
As one of the leading companies in the IT sector in Montenegro we are concentrated on building awareness about the importance of I&C technologies. So far, we have donated PCs to Montenegrin NGOs and educational institutions, and last year we organized the summer school of computer science. At the moment, we are working on involving the Montenegrin Internet community in domain development projects. The idea is to build useful and reliable services under premium names which bear the meaning in our own language. We believe that this will contribute to raising awareness about the importance of the Internet usage and overall computer literacy.
In closing, HEXONET would like to sincerely thank Predrag for taking the time to answer our questions. Additionally, we would like to wish the team and the entire registry much future success.
The .ME Team from left to right: Predrag Lesic (CEO), Natasa Djukanovic (Sales), Vuksan Rajkovic (Registrar Relations), Sanja Lazovic (Accounting Assistant) & Zeljko Draskovic (CTO)
HEXONET is also pleased to offering a sensational .ME Price Promotion throughout the end of June 2010:
Best Price Ever
- PRICE: 4.76 (net price: 4.00) EUR per domain/year
- Start Date: April 1, 2010 @ 10:00 CET.
- End Date: June 30, 2010
- Only new 1 year registrations are eligible
- Excluded are transfers and renewals
Sign-up is free of charge without any commitments. If you have any questions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact us at Sales@hexonet.net.