Published - 11th March 2014
In the next two years there are going to be 617 new generic top level domains (gTLDS) available to buy. Considering that only 22 gTLDs have been released since 1985 this is set to change the internet for not only users but also brands and organisations where an online presence is key.
It has become increasingly difficult to find a domain name that isn’t taken, particularly with the .com extension, and a little creativity has been needed to establish a strong yet short URL which isn’t full of hyphens or ending in the dreaded .info. This is set to be a thing of the past though as domains such as .agency, .food and .photography, as well as branded domains such as .google and .playstation can provide a solution. This can not only help to establish the sector the business is in but also summarise specific content that a user can expect to find on the site.
However, there will be more need than ever for brands to ensure that users are clear they are on the right site rather than on a competitor’s or a spammer’s. You couldn’t expect anyone to remember which was which if you were to buy photography.agency and a competitor bought agency.photography. Whilst a strong brand image and SEO are crucial to help alleviate this problem, there’s also the option to buy all similar domains in a costly defensive move. But then where do you stop? How many domains will you need to buy to cover yourself? Do you also purchase all related names as well just to be sure? Whilst the prices for the new domains are not yet known, desirable domains will certainly be sold at a premium, so careful consideration is definitely needed.
There is also the chance that buying a new gTLD could damage your brand. It’s only a few years ago since .info became available cheaply and subsequently used for spam or poor quality sites, resulting in low rankings on Google. If one of the new gTLDS became similarly associated it could have negative effects for related domains.
Whilst the new gTLDS will allow for keywords, phrases and names to become available there’s no doubt that a .com domain will remain the powerhouse for the immediate future, allowing business owners to build strong .com URLs.
The new gTLDS are certainly a welcome and long overdue addition that could have clear benefits to a brand’s online presence. However, it doesn’t appear that a new business strategy needs to be adopted but instead the current one adapted and sensible caution applied in the decision making process when registering a new domain.
It will certainly be interesting to see what happens and how brands will use the new domains available to them.