“This is cool. What is it?”
That’s what we heard when Vox Populi Registry, the company behind dotSucks internet domain names, made our first visit to an essential expo for advertising technology, Ad:Tech.
After spending our first year talking mostly to intellectual property lawyers, Vox Populi Registry turned its attention to others who can make real and effective use of the platform: advertising. But after years of talking to (and being talked at) by people who understand top level domain names as well as we do, it was startling to get such a basic question from an industry thought to be, well, plugged in.
The business model for Vox Populi Registry remains the same as the day we filed our application to manage dotSucks. Companies can use the names to better understand the mood of consumers and build loyalty, advocates can use the names to expand their reach of contributors and influence, and advertisers can use the names to get a word in edgewise.
Each is easily understood, but it is clearly advertising that was first to see the active value in “sucks” not as a pejorative but a call-to-action.
When Taco Bell promoted its hand-held menu under the cover of “Sharing Sucks,” when Jolly Rancher and the NFL agreed that “Being a Rookie Sucks,” and when Snap Kitchen understood the colloquial value of “Healthy Eating Sucks,” it was, as George Harrison said in “A Hard Day’s Night,” an early clue to the new direction.
We just didn’t know how new.
Our mission at Ad:Tech ’16 was to begin the conversation to convince the advertising industry to overcome its reluctance at speaking commercially the way many of their target audiences talk personally.
It worked. By the second day we had to add a kiosk to allow attendees to register names right on the spot. And they did.
But as the question above makes clear, there is still a lot of work to be done to explain, defend and promote the new gTLD program overall. There was a general understanding of the existence and value of .com, even .nyc (not strange considering Ad:Tech ’16 was held in New York City’s Javits Center, but not much when it came to any of the hundreds more.
We were happy to do our part.
Vox Populi Registry’s marketing focus right now on marketing is timely. Advertising is moving from television to digital mobile – digital spending will surpass TV ad sales this year for the first time and mobile is the biggest part of it.
And those mobile, digital devices are in the hands of a target audience that is younger, more inclusive, less willing to accept the status quo and comfortable being familiar. An audience that understands when something sucks and aren’t afraid to say so.
We think that’s a recipe for expanded dotSucks success. Based on our visit last week to Ad:Tech ’16, so do they.