Spotlight on the .VIP new gTLD

The .VIP domain name launched just over 2 months ago and is already a tremendous success.  Straight out of the gate, .VIP broke a number of domain name launch records. It now holds the title of fastest-growing new domain extension and the largest first month billings for the launch of a new domain name.

.VIP is now ranked #7 among all new gTLDs and has garnered over 437,000 registrations, the majority registered in the Chinese market. Recently, we had the opportunity to participate in a webinar sponsored by Minds + Machines to learn more about why VIP is such a hot property in China and why those outside China may want to consider this new gTLD.

There are several key take-aways for our readers:

1. In China, .VIP is considered a Chinese word. ‘VIP’ first entered China in 1965, as a word (not an acronym) meaning “honored guest”. In 1965, exceptionally few Chinese people knew even a single word of English, so the term “VIP” was codified as an acceptable and appropriate term for the Chinese language by the Central Government’s “Western Languages-Chinese Translations and Writings Ministerial Joint Experts Specifications Committee”, China’s highest authority for standard linguistic translations.

2. According to Minds + Machines, "When a Chinese person sees ‘VIP’ they do not mentally expand the English acronym to 'Very Important Person'. Thinking that ‘VIP’ means ‘Very Important Person’ in China is not accurate. You could poll any random million Chinese people in any average Chinese province, and you would be very surprised to find even one who knows that VIP is also an English acronym, and that it is an English abbreviation of “Very Important Person”. Kind of like General Tso’s Chicken and Fortune Cookies, which many non-Chinese assume are Chinese, but are completely unknown in China! Practically every Chinese company which welcomes customers into their premises, loyalty programs or experiences uses ‘VIP’ to give their ‘guests’ honor and face. Chinese consumers love receiving ‘VIP cards’ (the standard term for a loyalty card) and feel honored and appreciated by companies which issue them. Ask any average Chinese consumer to show you her purse or his wallet, and you will find a dozen or more VIP Cards inside!"

3. In Western countries, .VIP has also seen growth especially with sophisticated domain investors that understand the value this new gTLD will have going forward. It is also anticipated that international companies that have strong presence in the Chinese market will also embrace this domain extension. Furthermore, .VIP premium domains are attractive as they come with a standard renewal fee instead of a premium renewal fee.

Right now it is too early in the game to see significant usage numbers of actual developed .VIP websites, but the numbers are coming soon. China’s MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology) has slowed things down since it requires that every TLD registry acquire a license in order for their domains — registered and intended for use in China — to be hosted in China. 

The future looks bright for this new gTLD and we encourage our customers to consider adding it to their domain name portfolios.