In my opinion, it might take years until we finally have an answer to the “Is investing in new gTLDs worth it?” question. In other words, we’re talking about a marathon rather than a sprint and your business model should be adjusted accordingly.
What does this mean?
Simply put, it means that the likelihood of seeing profits right from the beginning is quite low. At this point, almost nobody knows that new gTLDs exist aside from domainers. Even among tech savvy individuals such as webmasters, there’s little awareness at the moment of writing.
Will that change?
Given the sheer volume of new gTLDs that will ultimately be in existence yes, there will probably be quite a bit of awareness eventually but for the time being, new gTLDs are mostly supported by domainer registrations.
I’ve been saying right from the beginning that domainers play a far more important role than most registries realize. A few registries understand this already but as time passes, it will be obvious to all companies that at least for the first couple of years, registries need domainers like humans need oxygen.
Domainers will have first dibs on the best keywords (leaving those that are reserved by the registries aside) but on the other hand, they have to be prepared to renew them for a few years because at this point, nobody knows (people might have an opinion of course but there are no certainties) whether or not investing in new gTLDs will prove to be worth it.
Think about it: your profits have to come from somewhere, they have to come after you sell the domains you’ve bought to someone.
Will “traditional” end users quickly appear? No, there’s little awareness at this point and it will take time until they get accustomed to the idea that many other new extensions exist.
Will webmasters (not “traditional” end users as in businesses for which your domain represents a good fit but not domainers either, basically somewhere in between) be interested right from the beginning? Probably not. They are more likely to hop on board sooner than “traditional” end users since we’re talking about a more tech-savvy group but again, there’s little awareness at this point.
Will selling to other domainers bring you those profits? Don’t count on it because the reseller market doesn’t have unlimited resources and for most new gTLDs, the likelihood of there being reseller market demand is low.
The message I’m trying to get across is simple: if your business model revolves around the idea that you will be profitable within the first year, it probably needs to be adjusted. Sure, there’s always the possibility that a sale or two will help you be profitable relatively quickly but those will be exceptions rather than the norm.