Which are the New Domain Extensions?
The new domain extensions or new gTLDs (generic Top-level Domains) are the biggest change that has happened to the domain system so far. Initially back in 1984, there were only a handful gTLDs – the ubiquitous .com, the nonprofit .org, the educational .edu, and the military .mil.
In 2013 ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) formally announced the introduction of the first batch of new gTLDs.
It was the start of the biggest domain expansion ever – from 22 gTLDs to a gradual increase to 1,400 domain names or strings. ICANN aimed to improve competition, innovation and choice by providing new ways for organizations to reach their target audiences.
This means that new TLDs are topic specific. Examples include .auto, .agency, .cafe, .career, .media, .bargains, and many more.
What may be the Benefits of Registering a New gTLD?
The diversity of new gTLDs can certainly be overwhelming, so the question is no longer whether you’d simply like to go global or go national. There are good reasons to go ‘new’ as well:
– Availability and diversity
Since the better .com domains are either hugely expensive or already taken, choosing a new gTLD can be the solution for you. You’ve got a huge pool to choose from, you can register a few for future use and you can be specific in terms of industry and location.
If your business is primarily local, you can choose a city or regional extension such as .africa, .town, .swiss, .paris, .nyc. There are a number of domains in non-Latin scripts as well: .reisen, .moda, .онлайн, .орг.
Or, depending on your industry sector, you can go for .cars, .camera, .credit, .exchange, .bet, .domains, etc.
If you want to go global, you still can pick .site, .web, .website, .online. Because of the huge diversity, you’ve got a better chance to grab a short and memorable domain name than with the rest of gTLDs. Short .coms claim thousands of dollars while a new extension may cost as little as $30 or $50.
There is a huge potential for creating your unique clever names using your brand or keyword/s in combination with the new gTLDs. Among them are Ford.cars, Hilton, hotel, join.law, etc. The added value here is that URLs get shorter and easier to remember.
New gTLDs can come especially handy with seasonal promotions or targeted marketing campaigns. For example, you can use .blackfriday, .bargains, or more product-specific such as .coffee, .fish, or .beer.
For more on choosing domain names, you can go to <How to Choose your Ideal Domain Name?> and <What you should know before Registering your Domain>.
Can New gTLDs increase your Search Rankings?
The short answer is ‘No’. Search results are relevant to the query regardless of the top-level domain. A quick search into the real estate agents in London (a location- and industry-specific search) reveals that the first new gTLD, .london, comes only 19th in the results (excluding ads).
How do New gTLDs Impact Brand Protection?
There is no doubt that the expansion of the domain space has changed brand protection on the Internet. Defensive buying of domains across more than 1,000 gTLDs can no longer be viable. Brand owners fear that trademark infringement in the domain arena may increase leading to more reputation damage, cybersquatting, and loss of website traffic.
However, there are new protection mechanisms that owners can use. During each new gTLD launch trademark owners will be the first allowed to secure domains corresponding to their trademarks and they will receive notifications when someone else registers domain names containing their trademarks. They need to register with the Trademark Clearinghouse to record their trademarks there. Defensive registrations may help after careful consideration of countries, regions, cities that are important for your brand. One criterion may be to go for the new gTLDs that correspond to the country code extensions where you already protect your brand.
Developing a monitoring strategy is essential for medium and big brands. Trademark monitoring for domains means checking for domains that match or are confusingly similar to your trademark and alerting you about them. These services include surfacing owner details of the suspicious domains, as well as looking for other infringed domains with the same ownership. Depending on your brand’s needs, such services can be customized. Usually only specialized companies such as <Tool Domains> offer them.
What’s in the Future?
When all is said and done, the question remains whether new gTLDs are the future of the Internet. Thanks to them, your domain name can tell your location, industry, and even brand. While they are no match for the established gTLDs yet, it is hard to predict their future popularity. They’re exciting with their variety and availability, though. It may still be best to mix your domain portfolio and not put all your domain eggs in the new gTLD basket, but experiment with both old and new.