Everyone uses dot com (.com) while surfing websites on the web. There’s little question that it is the most recognized and successful domain used around the world. As the online community and its niches continue to expand across the web, the need for an evolved domain naming system has become more and more apparent. When it comes to the snow sports industry, dot ski (.ski) domains are set to debut in 2013, and have the potential to become the domain of choice throughout the industry.
Leading the charge is Dot Ski North America’s Robert Rozicki, founder of Adrenaline Top Level Domains. Rozicki came up with the plan to implement five new domain names for the online action sports community (.ski, .board, .skate, .surf, and .bike). Recently, Adrenaline TLD changed its name to Dot Ski North America to focus on building up the initiative. So far, things are looking good for dot ski. Less than two weeks ago, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) accepted their application to establish .ski as a domain name for next year.
In light of this major step towards the realization of a .ski domain, we caught up with Rob Rozicki to discuss the potential impact of such a online classification system and what it means for the snow sports industry.
The Ski Channel: Talk about your company Dot Ski North America and its role in bringing about this new domain structure? What inspired you to take on this initiative?
Robert Rozicki: Dot Ski North America is the American arm of a global initiative and it’s funded by our parent company Starting Dot, which is based in Paris. I’ve been a skier and snowboarder for a long time and I’ve skied in Europe, Australia, and spent many years skiing some of the best mountains in the world.
About eight months ago, a French company had a very similar idea. Together, we decided that the best thing to do to build a community and take this initiative global was to become Dot Ski North America. The goal is to grow awareness for dot ski and build a business in North America, as well as Australia and New Zealand.
TSC: Have you noticed any interesting statistics in your research on ski community URLs?
RR: We looked at the web address of over 1500 global ski resorts to see if they owned the exact name of their resort in the .com extension. Of the 1500 resorts we looked at, 71% of their names were registered which means that over a quarter of resorts globally still haven’t registered the exact spelling of their name and it is free to register. Over 60% of .com names that corresponded to the resort name did not belong or point to back to the resorts’ homepage. In North America alone, over 40% of .com registrations that were the exact match of the resort name were owned by someone other than the resort. We looked into the names of various Olympic medal winners to see how they were being represented in the existing domain name space and found some surprising and sad facts. Over 63% of medal winner have their names registered in the .com domain name extension, but 59% of those domains are registered to 3rd parties.
TSC: As we move closer to the 2013 launch, what are some of the methods being employed to generate interest, exposure, and ultimately the adoption of this new domain?
RR: We’ve been growing awareness for dot ski over the past two years, and have reached a critical time for the initiative. The goal is to educate the community on the value of having a web address ending in dot ski. As an Internet business, we employ social media and digital marketing to get our message out.
TSC: What methods are being employed to safe guard the domain and ensure its success? Are there going to be any restrictions to individuals purchasing a .ski domain?
RR: We’ve learned a number of lessons from past situations in the domain name industry. Issues such as cyber squatting and gaming the dot com system are a constant threat. To prevent this, we request that when people buy names is that they point it to a site, and don’t just register it to have it hoarded. We’ve implemented rules and regulations that will ensure brands and companies involved in the ski sports communities will get their names first. Interested sites must have something to do with the ski sports world. If we can keep it at a purist level, I believe it will build the integrity necessary to ensure relevancy and increase adoption in the market.
TSC: Do you feel that the tight-knit nature of the ski industry will contribute to the success of .ski?
RR: The close relationships within the global ski community are what helps maintain its relevancy in the market. In North America esepcially, that tight-knit nature applies to the ski resorts, resort owners and the community they serve. The skiing demographic has its own language, feeling, and vibe. Dot Ski seeks to provide the ski sports community their own online identity.
TSC: What has been the response so far? How many ski resorts, professional organizations and athletes have shown interest or are currently signed up to be a part of .ski?
RR: We’ve been really happy and surprised with the positive feedback we are getting. The interest amongst ski resorts has been great, with some of the largest in the United States showing interest. I would say 15 or 20 resorts in the US that are looking on becoming somewhat involved in the community with some expressing definite interest in acquiring .ski domain names. We have also received endorsements from the Ski Areas of France, General Counsel of Savoy, Tignes, and French Alpine skier Antoine Dénériaz.
TSC: Where do you see .ski going in the short-term? What is the big picture?
For the short term, we are concentrating on spreading the the word over the course of the next six to nine months. We want to make sure as many people as possible know what we are about and what is coming in 2013. We want to ensure that the resorts, organizations, and governing bodies within the industry are aware of the opportunity. When we start assigning domains in 2013, we aim to get these parties their domain names as soon as possible.
Over the coming weeks, we’re going to be reaching out to the ski resorts community as one of our core constituents, but we also encourage the resorts to stay in contact with us to ensure they are up to speed with any news. The long term plan is to see Dot Ski become the globally recognized domain name extension for the ski sports world. For the community, by the community.
- End of Interview
Dot ski appears to be well on its way for an early 2013 launch. Once released, this new naming structure has the potential to organize the entire ski community under a unified domain. It’s not just about the major ski resorts or popular winter clothing companies getting a dot ski site, but also about the father who wants to share his ski trip photos with his family or the up-and-coming snowboarder who needs the site to help earn sponsorship.
Anyone can get a .ski website, as long as it’s connected to the ski sports world. If you are interested in getting your own .ski website, then go to Dot Ski for more information.