Not more than a decade ago, the idea of using the internet to do business was somewhat farfetched for the companies. Only a few dared to tread on such strange waters and for those who did it, they were still wary of the repercussions like customers with bad credit history, return of items and timely delivery of products and services. Ecommerce was not the most welcome ideology at that time. But technology gradually coerced us into accepting internet as the future of business and now we live in an age where it is difficult for a business to survive if it does not make its presence felt online.
Talking about making your brand visible on the internet, how often have you thought of the domain extension? If you are thinking of setting up a business and you are ready to take it online, then choosing the domain extension can be just as important as choosing a name for your business. If you end up choosing something that does not have the right domain extension, then your potential customers may end up on a different site, may be a competitor’s site. This can be bad for business and it can have some very heavy repercussions for your brand’s visibility on the internet.
Is .com going to topple off its long taken perch?
By now we have accepted the all-powerful nature of a .com domain extension. There is no arguing about the fact that if you had your business registered on a .com domain then you will find it easy to direct your customers to your website with the least amount of errors. .com has been one of the best TLDs, short for Top Level Domain. Customers find it easy to type in a .com than anything else. This is probably because the internet ensued the use of .com right from the beginning.
It became synonymous to the World Wide Web and users found themselves typing in .com almost involuntarily when they typed in the name of a brand. Some of the most common .com domains were sold for millions. So you either have to be extremely creative about your domain name to ensure that you can get a .com domain extension without making it sound so common that you end up breaking a bank for it or settling in for something less than the ideal website name so that you get a .com website.
New Domain Extension – A pinch of creativity and lots of ideas can make them the face of future websites
With so much going on in the universe of internet, something had to be done about domain extensions to ensure that everyone found a place on the internet. So the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, ICANN, which is a non-profit organization accountable for the distribution of domain names, came up with a solution in the form of new TLDs. In the past couple of years, ICANN has received thousands of applications for creative new TLDs and it has removed most of the restrictions around creating new TLDs.
This is to incorporate the enormous shift of brands from physical stores to online stores and the manner in which businesses are flocking the internet. Every celebrity, famous personality, blogger or business wants to own a unique website on the internet where they can direct their users. Now, the creation of TLDs is easily and anyone can apply for their own TLD extension. There are numerous companies who have already started registering their trademarked names. Now you can choose from domain extensions like .hobby, .flowers, .shoes, et al.
These domain name can be particularly good if you use them effectively to promote your business. For example, lillian.florist will give you the chance to promote exactly the kind of business you are into than Lillian.com. This will help in promoting your business more effectively and it can also give you the chance to direct your customers to your website easily. But because we deal with a world of stereotypes, chances are you may require solid advertising and a strong campaign to ensure that your customers do not end up going to Lillian.com instead.
.com has had a huge effect on our minds. We are almost programmed to feel that a website must end with .com. even if we talk about geographical domain extensions, the most we hope to see is the short form of the country name at the end. But we recently have domain extension like .berlin that are doing very well. In fact it was one of the most sold domain extension among the new TLDs.
So when Google’s parent company chose their domain as abc.xyz, it was seen as a clever move, and everyone loves the idea of typing such a domain name. While this is one of the examples, there are many other brands that have started taking advantage of the new TLDs. Adding the names of the products and service you market or choosing your brand name as the domain extension is being considered as a great way to market your products.
The only thing is that ICANN has not been able to realize the potential it sees in these new TLDs yet. While ICANN has already made it easy for registering new domain extensions, brands seem to be tied to using the common ones even now. This may be because they fear that they may go unnoticed or they are not confident about the success of these new TLDs. While I can see why every brand wants to take fewer chances going on the path less travelled, I strongly believe that .com websites are nearing a slow demise.
ICANN has so far made less revenue from the new domain extensions. While it was hoping to find a lot of money pouring through because of the relaxation in TLD regulations, there hasn’t been a lot of appeal in the public. Only a few companies are able to find ways to utilize the availability of these new domain extensions which can give their website a unique name.
The universe of internet is very dynamic and the users have always been hungry for something new and interesting. When domain names become interesting through their extensions, we will easily take a liking for them and then it will not take very long for .com to be moved to the obsolete category. Although it will always be remembered as the biggest and most daunting predecessor of the new domain names, we may soon be done with the usual .com websites.
Let us look at a few pros and cons of these new TLDs too
If creativity is the key, new domain extensions can be used in a million ways by brands. This means that they have more opportunities and businesses will not have to look for workarounds like adding or reducing the characters on their brand so that they can find a suitable domain name for themselves.
Innovative brands can create great domain names which blend creatively with the domain extensions giving your brand a better website name.
It can be easy for your users to associate your brand with the products and services you provide based on the domain extension you choose.
With users having an affinity for brands that are futuristic, you can use a new domain extension and let your customers know that you like to stay abreast with technology.
It will take time for your users to adjust to the changes. While we all love the idea of new domain extensions, users are still going to end up thinking of .com as the first possible domain extension for a brand. Your business may face the same problem when you choose a new domain extension.
The fact that your users are habituated to typing in .com, means that you may have to spend more in campaigning and marketing your website effectively to increase the number of visitors to your website.
If you are dealing with an audience that usually does not accept changes very well, then you may have difficulties in choosing a new domain extension for your brand and succeeding with it. While creative and tech savvy users will find new domain extensions to be cool, others may find it cumbersome to type in a different domain extension every time when they are so used to typing in .com instead.
If your competitor owns a .com version of the same domain name that you are using then you may end up directing your potential customers to your competitor’s website.
Take Home Message
While .com domain extensions are gradually declining, they continue to hold a powerful position in the internet world right now. On the other hand, new domain extensions are catchy and creative but they need time to create a niche for themselves. But to answer the question, do they matter? The answer is undoubtedly, yes. These new domain extensions may not be displaying the amount of revenue that ICANN expects from them right now, but they have a potential that is slowly being explored and in the course of time, they will matter a lot more.