TRP: Stephen Fry was one of the first to switch his personal website from .com to .uk. How important will it be for well-known individuals and organisations to lead the way in driving the popularity of new domains?
SM: Obviously there's always emulation, so if somebody public embraces a trend then that will help. The .uk domain is an interesting proposition as it's broader compared to .london. I like that fact that it's short - I never understood why there was the .co bit, which seemed like an extra complication.
TRP: What impact will .uk have on .co.uk?
SM: I think we'll see .co.uk continue to grow, and it could be a potential opportunity for businesses to come up with attractive domains that weren't available in the past - even though there are some restrictions.
if you live in the UK you have five years to buy the equivalent .uk domain. The response to .uk since it launched on June 10 has been extremely positive, and we haven't seen any form of cannibalisation of .co.uk just yet.
TRP: As a domain registrar, would GoDaddy advise people and businesses to grab a .uk domain now or decide at a later date?
SM: Our suggestion is to do the opposite [and buy sooner] as in terms of investment it's a very limited amount. On the other hand, if you own 500 domains then by definition it's going to be a very significant amount of money, but if you want to create different ways of getting in touch with your customers then you could exploit the opportunity.
TRP: How have cloud hosting and visual website builders made it easier for individuals and SMBs to get websites off the ground?
SM: It'll be even easier for them in 10 years, but even compared with two years ago it's fantastic. We all effectively have a personal IT department that's available 24-7 that's funded by large organisations investing billions of dollars into solutions that you can access right now, for free, from anywhere.
In the past - between three to five years ago - that was impossible. Now, you can set up your operations using available services out there. If you have somebody who can help you that has understanding or familiarity you can cherry pick them and create your digital presence fast while spending a very limited amount of money.
The cost levels are now acceptable, so not not having a digital presence for even very small businesses would still be a risky option for them.
Internet of things
TechRadar Pro: The Internet of Things is going to have a massive impact on the web and the amount of data generated - do you see a surge in domains off the back of that?
SM: I think that people will buy or use more applications. The planet will turn into a software planet that introduces more every day. Is there an implication for domains? It's possible - the popularity of these technologies will have an impact on everybody's personal lives.
Websites, both dedicated and specialised will appear in a sort of "ripple effect". It's similar to 10 years ago when the music industry moved from analogue to digital and the resulting implications around devices and consumption.
At the end of the day it could be a slow tide or a tsunami - we'll see - but there's going to be positive effects for sure.
TRP: Google is looking at moving into the domains business and possibly outing a unified CMS system like Wordpress. What would that mean for domain registrars like GoDaddy?
SM: Google is a large organisation and clearly entering this space means that it validates our proposition. We've been around for a while, so it makes sense to invest in the area of domains. I'm personally happy to see it happening, and I don't see any threat or competition coming from them. For us, it's motivation to do even better.
TRP: What's in store for GoDaddy in the next year?
SM: We need to become more local. It's strange for an Italian saying that we want to be more British, but this is our objective when it comes to domains. Our communications strategy has been pretty solid in the past couple of years - we've been working with local agencies here in the UK to fine tune the strategies and find new avenues to reach potential customers and reinforce relationships around existing ones. That's priority number one - pleasing our customers.
Sometimes, the problem with being a huge corporation is that you're just not that local. When it comes to domains, the issue with that is that it's a local buisness, which is being driven by the announcement of new geographical TLDs.
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