Let’s be honest, total domains registered is a vanity metric, not a KPI


In the startup world we talk a lot about KPIs or Key Performance Indicators, things that can tell you and other people how well you are doing. At the same time there are “Vanity Metrics” these are metrics that are much easier to make look good, but don’t actually tell anyone how your business is actually doing.

Techcrunch wrote a great article about Vanity Metrics, in it they say:

“Vanity metrics are things like registered users, downloads, and raw pageviews. They are easily manipulated, and do not necessarily correlate to the numbers that really matter: active users, engagement, the cost of getting new customers, and ultimately revenues and profits.” (Source – Techcrunch)

In the domain name world new gTLDs are still new enough that people are trying to determine what are the real KPIs that can tell you how a new gTLD is doing, and what are the vanity metrics that are just big numbers meant to impress the press.

I personally think that “total registrations” is a vanity metric since it is so easily gamed. If one person owns a million .bongo domains and then twenty people each own one. Saying that .bongo is incredibly popular wouldn’t really be true, but the vanity metrics make it looks like it’s on fire.

The real KPI that I think truly should matter to a new gTLD (and their investors) is number of unique registrants. The reason here is that one person who owns 20,000 domains isn’t going to build sites on all those names, put them to use, or do many of the other incredible things that they new gTLDs were created to do. In the end, also the person who owns 20,000 domains is less likely to renew all 20,000 each year vs. someone who owns two or three who will very likely keep renewing them.

The time has come to look past the vanity metrics and focus on the KPIs and for new gTLDs I’m going to come out and say it – total registrations is a vanity metric, total unique registrants is a KPI.

Agree? Disagree? Comment and let your voice be heard!

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton