Alexa Raad Launches Consultancy For New Domain Name Landscape

When Alexa Raad resigned as the CEO of Public Interest Registry, the .ORG registry, a few months ago there were many who wondered where she was going next. Now we have the answer.

Raad has announced the formation of a consultancy called Architelos to take advantage of the new domain name landscape, offering her services to advise on new gTLD applications and in particular “vertical niches,” for example banking, where there are specific service, technology and security requirements. Architelos will also assist companies in the application process for new TLDs once ICANN finalises the application procedures.

More information is available in the Architelos news release below:

Former CEO Of .ORG Registry Predicts Deregulation Will Shake Up Domain Name Market [news release]
Launches Architelos to Advise the DNS Marketplace
RESTON, VA, March 10, 2011-Alexa Raad, who today announced the formation of a new company-Architelos, Inc., predicts deregulation of the domain name market will require current players to re-assess and likely re-position their businesses as the walls between wholesalers (registries) and retailers (registrars) crumble and the domain name system (DNS) expands with the expected introduction of many new top-level domain names (TLDs).

“The future landscape of the DNS market will be not only challenging but also promising,” Raad says. “Navigating the complexity of these strategic decisions is Architelos’ core strength.”

Raad, who will be attending the ICANN meeting in San Francisco the week of March 13, is unique in the industry, having both launched the most successful TLD in the last round (.MOBI) and led .ORG to record growth as CEO of Public Interest Registry (PIR).

Architelos, a strategy and market development consultancy focused on the domain name industry, will leverage her experience and that of co-founder John Matson to provide competitive analysis, strategy development, benchmarking, organizational assessments, portfolio diversification analysis and business development support. Architelos has unique financial planning and decision support tools designed specifically for the industry.

The company will also advise organizations applying for generic TLDs for vertical niches, for example banking, where there are specific service, technology and security requirements. Architelos will also assist companies in the application process for new TLDs, once the program is finalized. That process, overseen by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), is expected to begin this year.

Nominet, the .UK registry, engaged Architelos for a horizon scanning review of the market and the potential impacts of the ICANN decision on vertical integration. Nominet’s CEO, Lesley Cowley, OBE said, “We were impressed by the quality and comprehensiveness of the work that Architelos produced for us and we look forward to continuing our relationship with them as we further develop our strategic thinking.”

Deregulation, Competition Limit Second Chances

John Matson has advised Fortune 500 companies on new business models for more than 20 years. His financial benchmarking studies of the Internet registry industry and prior generic TLD (gTLD) launches found that most missed their business plan target by 25-40 percent in the first year and by more than 80 percent in the fourth year. The first year is critical, he said, when 40 percent of all new TLD registrations occur.

“New entrants will get no second chances,” Matson says, “and the incumbents have immature business models that have not yet been tested by competition that deregulation will unleash.” Matson is a former partner with Ernst & Young and KMPG management consulting firms.

New TLDs May Help Deflect Social Sites’ Inroads

With the potential expansion of the DNS, companies with well-known brands must decide whether to apply for a gTLD (e.g., .BUY) for defensive or strategic reasons, or to simply fend off competitors from applying. Others must consider if having their own brand-specific TLD will help reverse the loss of traffic, advertising and transaction revenue to third-party social media sites such as Facebook. Raad says adoption costs are high, and an ineffective launch will be difficult to mitigate. In addition, all players are subject to a changing technology, political and legal landscape and shifting Internet user behavior and needs.

Architelos, Inc. is a strategy and market development consultancy that focuses on growth, brand, positioning and business development for clients within the Internet and DNS sector. Founded in 2011 by Alexa Raad, former CEO of PIR, the .ORG top-level domain registry, and John Matson, a veteran management consultant to Fortune 500 companies, Architelos brings wisdom and experience to turn rapid market change into innovation and success for its clients.