Almost a year after ICANN announced the introduction of generic top-level domains, or gTLDs, seven new web domains are officially making their debut.
The seven new domains are (drumroll please): .guru, .bike, .clothing, .holdings, .plumbing, .ventures, and, .singles.
While these new domains might seem kind of limited – unless you’re a plumber or own a bike store – there are many others on their way. Soon we will see everything from .lighting to .graphics. Let’s dive into the reasons for the new gTLDs.
We’ve Reached Saturation
More than likely, your business is competing with other businesses with the exact same name. Fortunately, search engines know your location and highlight your website to people in your area, but there are still occasional issues. Maybe you had to buy the domain JoeysPizzaChicago.com because JoeysPizza.com belongs to restaurant in New Jersey. Maybe you just wanted to by Joeys.com but that was already taken.
There are so many domains out there that we’ve reached a saturation point. The gTLDs will give us more options and bring organization to Internet chaos. Joey could buy joeys.pizza to clarify that he is a pizza restaurant, or even joeyspizza.chicago so users know that they have the right location.
It’s a 90s Problem
The Boston Globe reported that many large brands have applied for their domains, like .ford and .bmw. This is meant to keep consumers safe because they’ll know that they’re at an official site. The exact example they used was mustang.ford.
As a child, I remember typing in WhiteHouse.com to learn about the White House for a history presentation and getting directed to the porn site. I quickly learned to use the .gov suffix. These specific domains could evolve into President.WhiteHouse, BriefingRoom.WhiteHouse, and SOTU.WhiteHouse, which would make finding content on the Internet significantly easier.
This Means More Opportunities for Marketers and Microsites
The URL ford.com/mustang redirects to http://www.ford.com/cars/mustang/, but it’s unlikely that the average car buyer knows either of those, or would bother typing them out. In all likelihood, he or she Googled “Ford Mustang” and clicked whichever link looked best.
I would like to see these gTLDs encourage people to use their address bars again. Users looking to visit the sites of big names would know that it’s .CompanyName instead of guessing what the website is.
Think of all the microsites you made for different clients or campaigns. Sure some of them were specific to the event (ex. SamsBeachCleanUp.com) but a lot were probably attached to the main site (SamsBeachRentals.com/cleanup). The call to action loses its effectiveness when users have to remember a specific (read: long) website and the correct backslashes.
These might sound like first world problems, after all, getting redirected to the main site or Googling the event instead of typing in the URL isn’t much of an inconvenience. However, the impact on our search behavior and responsiveness would be significant.
Imagine a world where you type calories.mcdonalds, or coupons.ihop and get exactly where you need to go. At the very least, time is saved.
Respect My Authority
At the most basic level, these domains help businesses and individuals increase their authority and branding in their industries. .BobsClogs might not be available for years, but .plumbing is available now. Instead of BobsClogs.com, I would feel more confident that clicking BobsClogs.plumbing would take me to a plumber as opposed to a local clog salesman.
Impact on Search
I know in the above section I claimed these new domains will decrease our dependency on the search bar, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be Googling as much as we do now. It means that we will be Googling smarter.
If I’m looking for a local photographer for my family photos, I’d want to click on sites with .photography. This would reduce the risk of finding searches I’m unhappy with or stumbling across photographers who aren’t as reliable or committed to their craft.
The new domains will help Google and Bing serve relevant results to users because of the added clarity in the URLs.
Hold On to Those Old Domains
On top of buying domains like .Ford and .BMW for marketing purposes, brands also want to get a jump on cybersquatters.
Cybersquatting occurs when someone registers names similar to your brand in order to pull traffic from you. Pinterest recently won a $7.2 million case against a cybersquatter who bought 100 domains like Pimterest.com and Pinterost.com.
Major brands who are privy to cybersquatters will want to hold on to their old domains and get a jump on the new ones in order to prevent their visitors from accidentally going to spammy gambling sites because of typos.
I’m Getting Ahead of Myself
While I was writing this, I took a moment to reread the first sentence of the article. Today, only seven domains are available. I know that I talked a lot about where we’re going in the next few months and even years, but it’s exciting to watch the Internet evolve. Someday, using .com or .org might be a nostalgic memory from a bygone era.