Jul 27, 2021 - by Elisa Cooper
As a Client Success Manager at GoDaddy Corporate Domains (GCD), Heather Berryman is a true industry veteran. She has worked in the domain name industry for 2 decades and has worked at GCD since 2018. Heather connects with GCD’s clients on a daily basis, overseeing a broad range of activities and consulting engagements. From domain consolidation projects and transitioning clients from other registrars, to registering new domains or extensions - she is at-the-ready to assist clients with whatever they need.
I recently spoke with Heather as she shared her insights on the state of the domain industry, recent trends, unique challenges domain professionals are facing, and the impact of the pandemic on domain name management.
Elisa Cooper: What kinds of corporate clients does GCD typically work with?
Heather Berryman: We work with companies from many different industries including pharmaceutical, banking, technology, media/TV/broadcasting and insurance companies, just to name a few.
Elisa: Going back over your 20 years in domains, starting with the early days of domains to the present, how do you think things have changed on a macro level?
Heather: There was tons of activity going on when I started in domains back in 2002. Back then, there were a lot of generic .coms and everybody was going after every gTLD (Generic Top-Level Domain) extension and a few ccTLDs (Country Code Top Level Domains). I noticed major shifts when .eu launched in 2005 and again when .xxx launched in 2011. After that, the biggest event was when new gTLDs were launched about 8 years ago. That really changed everything. It’s not that domain professionals weren’t ready for new gTLDs, but everything was so unknown, such as what was going to be coming, who was going to be managing the new gTLDs, and what were they going to acquire. At that time, there was an awful lot of relearning about domains and adjusting to what would be coming over the next few years.
Elisa: Now that we’re in this new world and the next round of new gTLDs are coming, what will the next big shift be?
Heather: Honestly, it’s hard to predict when the next round of new gTLDs will be coming out. So, I guess we’ll see what happens when the rollout is imminent. As for dot brands, we do have some clients using those but it’s certainly less than half of our client base. At GCD, we’re consulting with clients, taking them through the “ins and outs” of getting their own dot brands, so that they can make informed decisions.
Elisa: What effect do you think that the COVID pandemic had on domain names? Can you point to things that changed as a result of the pandemic, other than people working from home, which affected everybody?
Heather: Looking at the existing clients that I manage, I have seen an increase in domain registrations and domain purchases, all due to COVID. During the pandemic, certain organizations seemed to have more budget. They were spending more money to acquire domains. In particular, I saw an uptick from pharmaceutical companies trying to acquire domains associated with their brands and in relation to COVID, too. This increased activity in pharma was not just coming from companies producing COVID vaccines - it was across the board.
During the pandemic, we have also seen budget and activity upticks with insurance companies. They have started to move into the COVID realm and purchase domains relating to their organizations. Because the pandemic has impacted so many different pieces of every industry, companies were obtaining domains specific to their industry, mostly prompted by COVID factors.
Elisa: What do you think the biggest challenges are for domain name professionals today?
Heather: Domain professionals are still facing so many challenges which have been compounded by the pandemic. These challenges include managing domain budgets, addressing infringements, and right-sizing portfolios.
Elisa: How does the GCD platform handle security?_
Heather: GCD has excellent security enhancements built into our platform so when customers come on board, they can choose from a variety of different security options. They can choose the level of security at several different price points. Since we are dealing with corporations that have very high priority, high level domains, we want to make sure our customers feel protected when they log into the system. We have extra security built right in by default. If a customer wants to use single sign-on, they can have that even as an extra level of security as well. That way, anyone within their organization only has selective access to login to the platform based on their access authorization.
Elisa: In terms of GCD’s product and service offerings, how do you keep in touch with clients to tailor your solutions to their needs?
Heather: Within GCD, we hold quarterly meetings with our clients and ask them what they need and pinpoint where their greatest struggles and hurdles are. We take action on this information to evolve our GCD platform which further streamlines the process for clients and makes their workflow easier. Typically, we receive a good volume of feedback and our engineers have developed several additional services based on client requests. We do our best to enhance the technology platform to optimize the customer’s experience.
Bringing with her 20 years of marketing experience, Elisa Cooper joined the company in 2017 to lead the organization’s marketing strategy and execution. A domain name industry veteran, Elisa has worked closely with many Fortune 1000 companies in assisting with domain and brand protection policy development and has spoken and written extensively on these topics.