WHAT ARE THE NEW DOMAINS?
10 years ago, the good people of the Internet decided that there should more name choice for consumers and so they allowed anyone to apply for their own Top Level Domain. A Top Level Domain (TLD) is the identifier at the end of your web address or email, like .com, .co.uk, .de and .fr. There were 1,930 applications for these new TLDs, ranging from portfolio applicants, individual entrepreneurs and many brands, including Google and Amazon most notably. All of these applicants are pioneers in entirely new, unchartered territory. At DomainDiction, we work with these applicants to help them to launch their new Internet brand through PR and many forms of digital marketing and industry consultancy.
BENEFITS OF THE NEW TOP LEVEL DOMAINS TO CONSUMERS
As of last year, the first of the new Top Level Domain extensions were released and now available to buy in the global Internet space. Consumers can finally give their online business specificity with smart online naming. A plumber’s merchant operating in London for instance would do much better with www.plumbingsupplies.London than www.plumbingsupplies.com or .co.uk.
View the full listing of all the new names here. Contact us if you wish to register your brand under any of the new names.
Harness the power of domains
Search is transforming. Using a descriptive word to the right of the dot tells search engines how to categorize your site and can be matched to keywords to further boost your ranking.
Use descriptive links to specific destinations on your site in social media or other marketing activities to direct different audiences to different places on your website - mybusiness.news, mybusiness.reviews.
Many of the major cities and cultures around the world, now have their own domain. Tell your customers that your business is based in .London or a .NYC. Launch your international presence with a .Global. These names tell search engines to rank your site higher in a search mentioning those cities.
TRUST & SECRUITY
Create greater customer trust and security by using domain endings as a "safe" place for your customers to interact with you.
Check out some videos
The Domain Name Association
So the DNA, The Domain Name Association is the first-ever industry trade association to represent the interests of the domain name industry and will promote, advance, and support the common interests of the industry with regards to the provisioning, expanded adoption, and use of domain names. They aim to play a key role in helping consumers, business, public-benefit organisations, and others understand the benefits and take advantage of the upcoming expansion of the Internet name space.
They have done a simple graphic that breaks down the ecosystem that makes up the domain industry, depicting who is who and how they fit in. Take a look at their site to get some more information.
What the TLDs may look like
On the 26th-27th of September 2013, Momentum events held The Digital Marketing & gTLD Strategy Congress in London. It was here that Jennie-Marie Larsen, our CEO and Frank Schilling the founder of Uniregistry, spoke about naming strategies and how to ensure seamless user navigation to your new TLD and maximise traffic potential.
Here are a few examples of what the new TLDs may look like once released into the wild.
Jennifer Wolfe's gTLD Strategy
While there is much debate about what impact the new top level domains will have on how consumers use the Internet, one thing is certain. When our Internet universe expands from 23 top level domains to several thousand, something will change. The companies that have applied won’t just sit on the sidelines waiting for people to come – they will drive change. With Google, Amazon and other digital leaders making bold moves, savvy businesses understand that while change may be painful, it is inevitable and companies that will be successful must adapt and evolve.
While many want to take a wait-and-see approach, we advise that companies begin to think about their digital strategy in the next generation of the Internet to be prepared to adapt quickly. We can help you identify key assumptions and then map your brand in a digital age. Soon, consumers will navigate their digital lives via apps and mobile devices, social media networks, and new and segmented landing pages and domain names. Search and navigation will continue to evolve and digital strategy must holistically incorporate these changing spheres of how you manage your company’s digital world.
gTLDs as a catalyst for creating a better digital experience
The gTLDs are a perfect catalyst to foster innovative thinking about the digital experience. As many brands are moving through the contracting process, they are likely beginning to think about how to use the gTLD.
The gTLD can be used as a platform with many different strategic advantages. To build out a clear plan, you need to identify which are right for your organization. Consider these platform based strategies:
- Channels of Distribution. The gTLD, as your brand backbone, can become a channel of distribution of content. Content marketing has become a key strategy in digital marketing. Most companies are distributing content as part of their strategy. Consider how consumers will soon surf the Net from their couch using Chromecast, Apple TV or Roku, and many people already some use their phones as a remote control. While apps may be prevalent in this experience, many will still resort to browsing the internet and your TLD becomes the perfect channel to help them experience your digital world from the comfort of their couch.
- Social Networking. Brands are quickly becoming frustrated with performance and costs of ads on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social networking sites. As digital marketers realize their advertising other companies every time they list a Twitter handle or Facebook page, they may begin to consider creating independent social experiences that they own. gTLDs become a perfect place to build out unique branded social experiences. For example, jcrew.wedding, run.nike, or secondact.open.
- Authenticity and Security. A clear strategy platform is to market the gTLD as more secure or more authentic. While technology will surely be developed to enhance the security of the gTLD for brands, consumers can instantly feel more secure in knowing that only your company can issue domains names in your TLD. For financial companies, pharmaceuticals and luxury goods, plagued with counterfeiting and phishing sites can easily use this as a platform strategy. This is clearly a top strategy for those industries.
- Better digital experiences. Retailers and consumer facing brands can easily build out better digital experiences by using microsites tailored to specific audiences and products rather than trying to be all things to all people under one .com. By understanding data points about how consumers live in your digital world, you can actually create a better place for them to be with names that are more memorable and tied to the experience they seek. Want more examples, check out this short video “What will you do with your dot brand”
- Data Mining. Brand gTLD owners will instantly have access to important data points:
- What search queries go unresolved in their TLD? When people type something into a browser looking for you and it is unresolved, you will be able to know. This can help you spot trends or search indicators that you didn’t know existed and build out spaces to meet those needs.
- Traffic across your spaces. While current data is typically reserved to your own .com space, you can now track across an unlimited number of domain name possibilities in your own space to help you understand how consumers navigate from various aspects of your digital world. This means that if you build your digital assets in your own space, you generate more data you can own and use.
Future technology will be developed to better mine data in the gTLD environment.
- Disruptive Innovation. Of course, for all brands, the gTLD serves as a point of disruption – what new products or services will be needed as a result of this paradigm shift. How can you remain on the cutting edge?
- Internal Usage. Another often overlooked platform strategy is to see the gTLD as an internal backbone or intranet for you to use. With limitless domain names and spaces you can truly create a knowledge sharing environment in a secure platform that you own.
- Cloud Computing. If you provide cloud based services, having a gTLD should provide easier architecture and naming conventions for your consumers and give you the platform to create new layers of security.
- Speed of Resolution. While untested, there is a theory that a gTLD might perform slightly faster since users are only resolving queries in your TLD with other people in your TLD versus the millions of people querying a site in .com every single second. Combined with Net Neutrality debates and bandwidth debates, this is surely something to consider for every gTLD owner.
For brands, the gTLD can be used in many different ways. While there are many steps in building out a solid data driven strategy, understanding the basic platform strategies is an important first step. Determining how you will leverage or monetize the asset is another. Considering best practices for new campaigns, SEO and digital optimization, assigning new domains within your organization, tracking data and how you partner with other companies in your digital world are all important considerations as well.
A cross-functional team is essential. Outside experts can help in pushing thinking, particularly with cross functional teams that may have different budgets and plans.
Most essential is to realize the gTLD is an opportunity to rethink the digital world you have created. In most companies the home page was built ten or more years ago. Apps were probably added. Social media was integrated. There may not have been a centralized cohesive approach to creating this digital world back then. But the time to bring those all together is now and the gTLD provides a blank canvas to rethink what really works for you and your customers in a modern digital world.
- Written by Jennifer Wolfe