Exclusive Interview With .club

As you may know, .club domains just celebrated their first birthday! Our sister company, UK2.net, were fortunate enough to have a chance to ask Mr. Jeff Sass, Chief Marketing Officer for .club, a few questions.
Everyone here at Midphase has long been a fan of the new .club gTLD. We all cheered from the sidelines as the .club domain climbed its way to the top of registration chart, keeping all of our readers updated on each exciting .club moment. We were watching when the popular domain reached their 100,000 registrations milestone and celebrated with superstar rapper 50 cent. They’ve since taken second place in domain registrations.
So we were thrilled (albeit a little jealous) when our sister company UK2.net got the chance to ask .club’s Chief Marketing Officer, Jeff Sass, a few questions.Here’s what he had to say:
Congratulations on one year of .club! How did you celebrate in the office?
Ha! Great question.  We popped the cork on some nice champagne that had been sent to us by our friends at Neustar (our backend provider).  We also had an awesome birthday cake and a surprise visit from a bonafide superhero.
How did you know that .club would be a success? Was it your marketing creativity that gave you a leg up or did you feel that .club would succeed because of the gTLD alone?
Our CEO Colin Campbell had the vision to go after the name .club.  Colin believed (correctly) that .club would become a great domain extension because it is short, memorable, meaningful and has the same meaning and spelling all over the world.  “Club” resonates with anyone trying to build a community around a common interest or passion, so it works as a domain name with just about anything you might put to the left of the dot.  We’ve had fun and worked hard on marketing, but we have a great name to work with.
Raising awareness for gTLDs has been a struggle for most newly released domains but .club has shot to the top; what encouraged you to glamourize .club? Was it just for media attention or were you attempting to change the stigma associated with domains?
In a way, we are fortunate that we only applied for the name .club.  Focus is one of our secret weapons, as all of our energy and resources are pointed toward making .club a success.  From the beginning we’ve wanted to build .club into a global brand, and that idea is underlying most of our marketing activities.  We also want to leverage the fact that “Club” is all about community and coming together.  Leveraging well-known celebrities and sports figures seemed like a logical path as everyone who has fans or a following has a club, and can make great use of a .club name. And, on the awareness front, by nature of the fact they have large fan bases, when a celebrity uses a .club name it gets us lots of exposure for a great domain name in use.
Reportedly 61% of .club registrations have sites featured in English; do you have immediate plans to encourage international registrations or is .club focused at an English-speaking demographic?
Actually, nearly 70% of our current registrations are outside the U.S.  The market for .club names is definitely a global one, and we continue to expand our marketing activities in many countries including China, Japan, India, Europe, Eastern Europe and more.  From a language perspective we also plan to rollout IDNs for .club so soon you’ll be able to register domains in many languages and character sets.
The .club organisation seems to encourage entrepreneurial sites; what is it about small business that attracts .club? What advice would you give to small startups getting started with a .club domain?
We love startups and entrepreneurs!  We’re very happy that so many new businesses have already been created around a .club domain name.  We attend many hackathons and it is great to see the excitement and creativity as great .club websites and businesses are formed over a weekend.  Club is a great name for businesses that have membership or subscription models (which is very popular now) and anyone trying to build a community around a product or service.  We launched Startup.club to help entrepreneurs get a great .club premium name on favorable terms, and get marketing, PR and even development help from us. That’s how Coffee.club was launched.  Small startups can get a lot of traction with a great domain name that is memorable and meaningful.  If there’s a category killer name that really defines your business you should strongly consider going for it, like Coffee.club did.

To learn more about gTLD opportunites visit: Midphase.com