Let's Be More .MX
Seamosmas.mx, translated as "Let's Be More .MX", is the recent slogan used by NIC Mexico, the official registry operator of the newly liberalized .MX ccTLD. The idea behind this slogan is to showcase users of .MX, in an effort to reach and educate the Internet public in Mexico, as well as, highlight the change from third-level (.com.mx. ,net.mx and .org.mx) to second-level .MX availability. These recent iniatives and campaigns show the aggression that NIC Mexico is going into the market with. The Mexican domain market really has some great potential.
To share their thoughts and knowledge on .MX, we were fortunate to have garnered feedback from Sergio Igartua and Mike Culver. Sergio Igartua operates a successful marketing and media firm in Los Cabos, Mexico and also operates a very popular blog called DomainerBlog.org. Mike Culver, an active domainer and is also a publisher of domain sales and aftermarket research, specifically on .MX. Mike also runs Sales.Mx.
HEXONET wants to sincerely thank Sergio and Mike for their insight into the .MX ccTLD. It is clear that .MX is still at the early stages of adoption, but there is a tremendous and latent potential with the ccTLD.
Question and Answer:
HEXONET: As of September 2010, there were 446,421 .MX domains registered (.com.mx accounting for approximately 75% of these registrations). This still seems like a relatively small number compared to other ccTLDs, your thoughts?
Sergio Igartua: The reasons for this are many. But, in my opinion a lot of it has to do with the current economic and business climate in Mexico, and people's resistance to change. Mexico's Internet users (those with domains) probably started out with a .net or a .com early in their Internet careers. Mexico is also heavily reliant on free web-based email services such as Hotmail, Yahoo!, Terra, etc., and many small to mid-size businesses have in the past preferred to start out with a "freebie" page rather than invest in a full-blown website. Culture is a big part of this. Domains are seen as expensive and therefore, unnecessary, due in big part to the way people do business here. Most towns and regions are local or micro-economies and are heavy on one-and-one communication: web based email, online chatting and cell phone usage, not to mention the classic face-to-face (interaction). It's a social business climate where people want to see and interact with whom they do business with personally. The irony is that even though most Internet users in Mexico are heavily reliant on the Internet, they still do not see the value of investing in a custom domain and professional web identity. This does not include big business in Mexico, of course, which is very active in branding through the use of our own ccTLDs.
Mike Culver: It does seem smaller by comparison to many established ccTLDs. Although Mexico has a large population (about 112 million) its Internet penetration is currently at about 27%, relatively low. The price of registration for .MX and .COM.MX domains is also relatively higher than many of the other ccTLDs. I think this has kept speculating down as it is harder to invest too deeply into the extension for the average domain investor.
HEXONET: What are the most predominant extensions used in Mexico. We hear that it is .COM and .COM.MX, not .MX yet as it is still relatively new. Is .MX still too new?
Sergio Igartua: I would agree with that. Anyway you look at it, .COM is king with the .com.mx in as a close second. Years ago, .net was very strong in Mexico, but this has changed since the introduction of .com.mx. From my perspective, the .com.mx has had a strong positioning in recent years and the price is now much lower than the newer .mx domain. People's habits (being used to the .com.mx) combined with the higher price of the new extension are, in my opinion, the two principal factors that have prevented the rapid explosion of the newer .MX extension in Mexico. This is a price driven market, more so than an image driven market.
HEXONET: How active is the domainer market in Mexico?
Sergio Igartua: I would say the domainer market in Mexico is pretty much non-existent at this point if you compare it to the US or European markets. At its best it's in its very early stages. Personally, I haven't encountered a single domainer dealing with our ccTLDs that I believe to live and work in Mexico. I've encountered Hispanic or Mexican-American domainers that dabble a little with the extensions, but they are mostly coming from the US or other countries. I'm sure there must be a few, but in my personal experience this is not common place.
Mike Culver: We (Sales.MX) helped organize a .MX domain auction recently and although I did see a bit of chatter about it on some of the Spanish language domain forums, overall the results were not as strong as I'd hoped. Until we start to see a more consistent volume of high dollar sales for .MX domains selling on the aftermarket and being reported in places like DNJournal and Sales.MX I believe many domainers, at least globally speaking, will be watching .MX from the sidelines. Sales are happening, but the market is not very mature yet and it will take time. But for example, Cablevision of Mexico recently acquired Cable.mx along with cable.com.mx, both on the aftermarket, and the domain RentalCars.mx is right now up for auction at Sedo with at $5,000 bid. As more of these types of sales occur more domainers will start to see the extension as a better opportunity for investing. At the same time there are also good investment opportunities in other emerging ccTLDs right now, which is another competing factor.
HEXONET: Are there any trends regarding the .MX ccTLD that we should be made aware of?
Sergio Igartua: I belive the .MX extension has a future in Mexico with local and small to midsize companies. It's a natural and obvious transition from the classic .com.mx domain. However, for this to even begin to happen, a significant price drop must take place with the new extension. As more and more people and businesses make the transition from .com.mx to .MX, more will surely follow. I do not see a future for our two extensions outside of their native realm, unlike other ccTLDs that acquire a more generic value outside of their respective countries (such as .co, .tv, etc.). In Mexico's case, its ccTLDs will hold value only to a native and local audience due to its signature. However, a potential market of 100+ million people is nothing to sneeze at either.
Mike Culver: No trends concerning the actual TLD itself that I am aware of, but I think Mexico's economy is possibly a trend worth watching. For example, Mexico is now considered a NIC (Newly Industrialized Country) along with other countries like India and South Africa, both of which I feel are being seen by domainers as increasingly healthy ccTLDs. Also, Mexico already has the world's 14th largest GDP by country.
HEXONET: What challenges or obstacles do you see for .MX moving forward?
Sergio Igartua: I would say the only challenge I see is in pricing and time. Other than that, I really like the extension and already hold a handful of names in it. The only obstacle I see is that it only works in Mexico and for Mexico. I've seen generic English language domains being registered in the .mx extension recently and this, in my opinion, does not work. The extension, like its older brother, screams Mexico and maybe that's as it should be.
Mike Culver: Someone recently pointed out to me that the cost of Internet service in Mexico is quite high relative to the average income. Additionally, and perhaps as a result, the average broadband speed in Mexico is one of the slowest in the world. It's possible that those factors could mean the Internet growth rate in Mexico remains stable/low for some time and a stronger market for .MX takes longer to develop.
.MX at a Glance
Available Domains: .COM.MX , .MX
Pricing: Click Here
Requirements: Anyone can register
Registration Period: 1-5 yrs.
IDN Capable: No