Blink and you might have missed it. Thats right, .ski is one year old. To-date .ski domains have touched those passionate about snow sports in 83 countries. Everyday millions of people access websites that use .ski domains and those that want to launch a snow sport website can now use a relevant, short and memorable domain that elegantly tells the world what they are passionate about.
It's amazing to think how far we've come in such a short space of time. I remember one night seven years ago talking with friends about the potential of more domain name extensions than those available at the time, saying that this was one of the few opportunities the internet community had to make a real change and connect more people to communities across the globe.
Giving people the power to start, share and grow their online presence I will always believe is the most important aspect of the internet. Empowering people to build up their communities online themselves through a domain name extension that relates to them is the democratization of the internet and something we need to support passionately. Personally, I wanted to empower a specific community that I am passionate about. I wanted to empower the 125 million skiers globally, this was my personal mission.
I am extremely proud to have launched .ski for our community, the way we did it and all we have achieved with StartingDot. I remind myself everyday to make the most of this opportunity and the need to continue having the biggest impact I can to help grow the snow sports community.
When I reflect on the last 12 months, one question I ask myself is: how did we become the ones to launch .ski? As a team, we’d never launched a new domain name extension. We had fewer resources than other companies. If bigger, brighter and richer companies had focused on this problem, they could have done it. I always come back to one answer. We just cared more.
While some doubted and still do that giving people a choice in their extension is actually important, we were building a extension, talking to everybody in the snow sports community, from the world’s biggest brands and resorts to those sitting next to us on the ski lift. While others doubted that this would be successful or sustainable, we were forming lasting connections and spreading awareness on the mountains.
In one year we've achieved really significant milestones. We had the biggest sports extension launch day ever. We're the fastest growing sports extension, this is huge, especially if you think about how much potential market opportunity other extensions have. We've stuck to our community principles and integrity. We've seen a broad range of snow sports members launch new and exciting websites using .ski domains. Lastly, we've also successfully sold .ski to Afillias who's pedigree and experience in the domain market means .ski will have a lasting place in the snow sports community.
I'm even more excited about the next year and beyond than the last. The first year was about bootstrapping .ski, doing everything we can with limited resources to raise awareness. Changing the old models of selling domains and building new strategies to grow. Now we have the momentum and resources to help .ski grow leaps and bounds.
Today, over 200 of the world's ski areas such as Taos, Telluride and Val d’Isere actively use .ski domains. In the next year, hundreds more resorts and ski areas will connect to skiers globally through .ski domains as the popularity of skiing grows .
Today, many independent ski makers like Moment Skis and retailers are switching from cumbersome, long .com’s to short, catchy and relevant .ski domain. In the next year, more businesses will harness the marketing power inherent in .ski for marketing campaigns, landing pages and shortened URLs for social media.
Today, snow sports innovators and startups like Fluri, We.ski and Nicolas Vuignier are moving our community forward by using .ski domains. In the next year, .ski will become the de-facto way for anyone with a snow sports business or idea to promote themselves online.
Today, up and coming athletes like Willie Borm or Francesca Marsaglia are growing their online profiles and brands with .ski. In the next year, hundreds more snow sports athletes will communicate with their fans through a .ski domain name.
Today, we have only a few ways to purchase .ski domains. In the next year, you’ll be able to buy the perfect .ski domain name at ski stores, festivals, resorts and at many websites skiers visit daily like Newschoolers. In the next year, we’re also working on making the link between buying a .ski domain and building a website easier through partnerships with great companies like Squarespace.
It's been amazing to see how the snow sports community has embraced and used .ski as a tool to grow our community. Together we're making it easier to reach great content. Together we've launched new websites and kept our community connected. Together we've created new services, innovated and built businesses. Together, we've helped connect and grow our community online just like we do on the slopes.
I'm so grateful to have in some small way been able to help people in snow sports build their online presence and connect with the millions of skiers around the world.
As we enter the second year of operation and beyond, I feel a deep responsibility to make the most of my time here and serve you the best I can. So I promise that however big .ski grows, I will always fight for you and our online community.
Thank you for letting me and .ski be a part of your snow sports journey.