Is Having a “.com” Web Address Enough?

The answer is we don’t know yet. The release of more than 1,000 new gTLDs (generic Top Level Domains) is the biggest shake-up in the digital landscape since the Internet began 25 years ago. What it means is that there are currently 32 new Web address extensions available beyond the tried and true .com and potentially 500+ more to come.

The Good. 

New brands now have more options in naming their companies and products, with more Web addresses available. The availability of many more names will also deter the power of domain squatters, who buy up names in bulk and try to make a profit reselling them. When you type in a domain name to check availability and find that it’s only being used to advertise itself for sale, a squatter owns it. They typically target larger companies, but also watch domain names that are about to expire and quickly buying them before the owner can renew it. Some watch Web addresses searched on sites, like GoDaddy, and buy up everything someone is considering before they can make a decision. Talk to your Web hosting company to do the search for you from a source that’s more secure.

The Challenges.

Existing brand owners that have invested heavily in owning top dollar Web sites are not happy. The supply of Web address names going up dilutes the value of existing domain names. Established Web domain owners will need to secure additional gTLDs associated with their name before competitors do. Marketers will be looking at entire portfolios of Web addresses for the brands they manage in this new world order on the Internet.

What New Names are Available?

In early February 2014 .BIKE, .CLOTHING, .GURU, .HOLDINGS, .SINGLES, .PLUMBING and .VENTURES launched as the official firsts in the Internet namespace expansion. In the first week the clear leader in registered domains was .GURU with more than three times the popularity of the next highest TLD, .BIKE.  TOP 10 TLDs registered as of 3/19/14:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Names Should We Secure?

To date, a .com domain address is still the most common by far:  .com represents 75% of names registered, .net 11%, .org 7%, .info 5% and .biz just 2%. We don’t expect any of the new names to become more prevalent than .com, but it’s possible that the tride and true domain names may seem passé in the coming years. Because no one knows which way the trend will go yet, it’s smart to attain both. We recommend reviewing the entire list of names coming available and chosing one to three  that make the most sense in your category of business, such as .manufacturing or .agency. Have your Web firm at the ready to register your chosen names when they become available.

TLDs Available to Date as of March 19th, 2014

Will it Affect SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?

That is ultimately up to how consumers adapt. If they do engage with brands via the new extensions, then search and SEO naturally will follow. You should consult with your Web firm about your specific situation to weigh the pros and cons of multiple addresses and their impact your online presence and search rankings.

Who is Adding Names and Why?

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN, /ˈaɪkæn/ eye-kan) is a nonprofit organization that has been overseeing the maintenance of Internet-related databases and tasks since 1998. Their stated purpose of adding hundreds of new TLDs is to increase competition and choice in the domain name space. Time will tell how that pans out.