In my opinion yes, they will. Now of course, everyone would love to own the category killer dot com but realistically speaking, most end users definitely can’t afford it. Therefore, I think that for a lot of end users, new gTLDs will represent an interesting alternative.
Will all of the end users who can’t afford the category killer dot com look for new gTLD alternatives?
Some will look for alternatives in the dot com extension, so for a longer dot com. Some however will gladly reach for their wallets to buy a new gTLD alternative if the domain makes sense and the price is right.
Don’t ask me to tell you how many people will choose the first option and how many will choose the second one, I honestly have no idea. The bottom line is that as far as end users are concerned, new gTLDs can represent a decent alternative.
An important thing to note is that search engines will treat new gTLDs equally, the only advantage a dot com has is the fact that the domain in question is most likely older but nowadays, the age of a domain is hardly an impressive advantage when it comes to SEO. Therefore, from an SEO perspective, we can pretty much say that there won’t be any important differences between new gTLDs and dot coms.
Ok, so what about branding?
Well, from a branding perspective, you have to understand that it will take time until the public gets used to the fact that new gTLDs exist. With so many of them coming to the market, people are bound to figure it out but this will take time. Therefore, dot coms have an advantage but it’s only a temporary one. Also, clever webmasters might be able to turn the novelty factor associated with new gTLDs into an advantage, something worth keeping in mind as well.
What about let’s call it prestige?
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the category killer dot com is definitely the most desirable option. Owning the category killer dot com helps you open doors for sure (potential partners are more likely to take you seriously and things like that) but in a lot of cases, the benefits in question aren’t impressive enough to justify the costs. If you have to spend most of your budget on a domain, that leaves little room for things like marketing and while the category killer domain gives you an edge, it can only do so much for a business. It’s nice to have for sure but not enough.
The bottom line is this: end users would obviously love to own the category killer dot com but only a few of them can afford to make such a purchase. Therefore, I’d say it’s safe to assume that yes, end users will adopt new gTLDs and reach for their wallets if the price is right.