I first connected with Christa Taylor back in 2018. She’s a dynamic and accomplished figure in the domain name industry. With a potent blend of academic acumen and professional prowess, Christa’s background is as diverse as it is impressive. She’s a data science enthusiast, a number cruncher, and a business leader with an MBA and a Master’s in Predictive Analytics. Christa has built businesses from the ground up, shaping dynamic brand identities and messages along the way. Her experience spans private, public, and not-for-profit organizations across sectors as varied as the Internet, software, oil and gas.
Co-founder of TLDz, Christa Taylor has made significant strides in the domain name industry. TLDz is renowned for its innovative approach to top-level domains, offering unique solutions for businesses and individuals alike. Under Christa’s insightful leadership, TLDz has become a trusted name in the industry, known for its commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction.
Mike: How has the domain industry changed since we last connected back in 2018?
Christa: That’s an interesting and challenging question. One of the most remarkable changes we’ve observed is the industry’s maturation, marked by a stronger emphasis on regulatory and governmental initiatives, including Whois, GDPR and abuse prevention. For the most part, industry players have come to appreciate the importance of quality registrations, realizing that it’s not solely about quantity.
Additionally, we have seen a substantial focus on innovation, where cutting-edge technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence have taken center stage. It’s clear that the digital landscape can experience swift and transformative shifts, steering us and the online world into new directions in the blink of an eye.
Mike: What inspired you to co-found TLDz?
Christa: The inspiration stemmed from witnessing the recurrence of the same mistakes from the first gTLD round. We firmly believe in the potential of new TLDs to become invaluable business assets. To realize this, we emphasize the importance of rigorous analysis, thorough consideration, and careful planning to ensure that the selected domain string can deliver its intended benefits, with a well-defined strategy for realizing that value.
As we look ahead to the next round, it’s apparent that, although it may resemble the past, it will introduce a completely new setting. The competition for registrar shelf space among open top-level domains will be more intense in this environment, alongside the exciting possibilities introduced by groundbreaking technologies like web3. Within this evolving landscape, there lies an immense opportunity, especially for brands seeking to set themselves apart by prioritizing the delivery of exceptional customer experiences.
Mike: Give us the details into exactly what TLDz does and how you help your clients achieve their goals.
Christa: TLDz specializes in guiding organizations to realize the value and benefits of owning a top-level domain.
Our TLD Class™ program is a comprehensive approach that enables organizations to identify the inherent value and benefits of TLD ownership. This involves developing a robust business case and crafting implementation plans. The subsequent phase involves the completion of the ICANN TLD application process. Finally, we help with the successful launch of the TLD, helping to realize its full potential.
Additionally, we offer the Zen report, which serves as an invaluable tool for decision-making. This report assesses the viability of a chosen string based on a multitude of factors, offering a score that helps organizations determine whether it’s a sound choice or if exploring alternative options might be a more prudent path forward.
Mike: How has your background in data science and your experience across various sectors influenced your work with TLDz?
Christa: My background in data science and my diverse experience across various sectors has influenced my work with TLDz in several ways.
First, my ability to connect the dots from different perspectives has been extremely valuable. It has taught me to approach challenges with a holistic view, considering a range of factors and potential outcomes. When something doesn’t feel right, I trust that feeling and take the time to understand why. This intuitive approach often leads to more informed decisions.
Secondly, my extensive experience, which includes involvement in over 50 applications and the launch and operation of over 40 registries, has allowed me to apply my data science background to analyze the success of domain promotions. It also enables me to leverage my skills as an accountant to analyze specific industries to determine how a TLD could deliver benefits.
Ultimately, my experience has been an excellent teacher, guiding me on what steps to take next and how to make more accurate decisions. It has been a rich source of insights that I use daily at TLDz and with our clients.
Mike: What trends do you currently see in the domain name industry or what trends are you predicting for the near future?
Christa: I foresee several notable trends in the domain name industry that are likely to persist and gain momentum in the near future.
First, the significance of data and its transformative potential will continue to grow. This trend will lead to the emergence of innovative products and services, ranging from domain name spinners, the growth of niche premium names, and future TLD strings. The increasing use of large language models will continue to fuel this trend and future offerings that will shape the industry.
Secondly, the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will lead to a surge in cyber threats. Consequently, cybersecurity and the establishment of customer trust will become paramount concerns. Organizations that prioritize and excel in building and maintaining customer trust will be well-positioned to gain a strategic advantage.
Mike: Can you share a success story from your time at TLDz? Can we adjust a bit: What is TLDz currently witnessing?
Christa: Currently, there is a noticeable upswing in the number of individuals and organizations gearing up for the upcoming round. They are aligning their plans with the prescribed timeline, optimizing the composition of their teams, and strategically allocating resources. This allows teams to develop their strategies thoughtfully, especially for organizations that are considering multiple applications or that need additional time to secure financing.
Mike: How important are TLDs in branding in today’s market?
Christa: TLDs play an exceptionally crucial role in branding in today’s market. They not only differentiate your brand from the competition, but also have a lasting impact. With consumers having an unprecedented array of choices and easy access to vast amounts of information, anything that aids in brand recall, drives traffic to your website, enhances trust, or assists consumers becomes vital. This is especially true today, where your competitors are just a click away.
Mike: What advice would you give to someone new to the domain name industry?
Christa: My advice to newcomers entering the domain name industry would be to pursue your passion. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have worked in this industry for over a decade, and my passion for it has been a driving force in my career.
What truly distinguishes the domain name industry is its collaborative spirit. We often extend genuine assistance to others, including our competitors, understanding that such efforts benefit the industry as a whole.
Though the industry is still relatively young, it plays a vital role in a world that is increasingly reliant on the Domain Name System (DNS). The commitment, enthusiasm, and relentless efforts of individuals within this field have helped to elevate it to the level of significance it holds today. It’s an incredibly dynamic space to work in, offering ample opportunities to make a meaningful difference.