Today’s the day. Dot LAW (.law) is released. Should you run out and spend $200+ to reserve your firm’s spot? Guest poster Igor Ilyinsky breaks it down for us.
Have you ever felt like you missed the big wave on some business opportunity? For me, as a techy, that’s a daily feeling as I watch kids become billionaires off of silly apps and websites. This all started for me when I was a kid myself, in 1997, a junior in college with nothing but time. As the internet geek I was, I used to spend that time trying to look up random domain names on Network Solutions to see if they were available for purchase (not that I actually had the thirty five bucks per year to register them). I recall stumbling on the availability of “business.com” thinking it was a meaningless domain name (this is 1997 mind you). Imagine my dismay when I learned that someone who purchased it only a few months later flipped it for $7.5 Million in just two years. Still, the business of squatting on a domain seemed very seedy for me to get involved (at least that’s what I told myself). Fast forward to 2015. The ICANN (look it up) has announced that the “.law” gTLD (again, Google it) will be available for sale, throwing lawyers and legal marketers all over the world into a frenzy. Do we buy a domain? Is this the next internet gold rush? Not so fast! Gone are the days when it cost $35 to buy a domain (actually they were free before 1995, then they started charging at $50/yr, then dropped to $35 two years later, and now they are pretty much free again with the hosting of a website). These days getting in early on a premium gTLD can cost you tens of thousands of dollars, plus a lot of headaches as the new registration system works itself out. Specifically, according to Minds + Machines, the company that owns the “.law” extension, you’ll need to pay a premium of $12,500 per domain to get first dibs (source: https://join.law/). However, if you’re willing to wait a few days, the price will go down. After 5 days, the cost for access is only $125, and if you wait one whole week, there is no additional price beyond the actual yearly registration of the domain. Oh, you thought the $12,500 includes the registration fees? Silly! Those vary depending on who you choose as your registrar, and what their “cut” will be. You see, in order to get that highly coveted domain you want, your registrar must be the first to request it the exact moment it goes on sale (Noon ET on Monday the 12th). In order to assure that someone will be at the ready to do this for you, your paperwork must be prepared well in advance, and it’ll cost you a pretty penny. One registrar I spoke to tacked on almost $3000 in additional fees for a Monday request. What if you don’t get the domain you want? No worries, you get your money back, minus a “we tried our best” fee which in most cases was only $50-$100. There’s a list of accredited registrars, not including their pricing, on this page: http://nic.law/registrars/ (note: the “Sunrise” period already ended last month, Monday opens the “General Availability” period, also known as the landrush). So is it worth it?