.DESIGN is the iconic domain for designers! The King tells us why...

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Top Level Design is behind some really cool domains including .DESIGN, .INK, & .WIKI. The .DESIGN domain was in contention but the registry didn't bail out and it won. It was a hotly contested new domain with 7 other applicants vying for it. Raymond King, TLD CEO, explains why it was worth the fight!

Raymond King talks .DESIGN with EuroDNS

Hi Ray, we caught up with you last year when you were launching .INK and .WIKI, so thank you for meeting again. I’d like to talk with you today about .DESIGN, which recently went live.

At my desk, sat on my chair, looking at my laptop, drinking coffee, talking on my phone! We're surrounded by designs, meaning the .DESIGN extension has incredible potential. Having said that, my question now seems redundant but I'll ask anyway. How did you choose this extension that spans so many industries all over the world?

What makes “design” unique is that it’s such a meaningful and internationally used word and concept. As you pointed out, we’re living in an age that is obsessed with design. From the new Apple watch to customizable Nike sneakers, good design is at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

We recognized that it was a fantastic word, but it wasn’t until we began to dig in the .com zone file that we fully understood how great the potential was. The word “design” is the most common word in the .com namespace, examples include LauraSmithDesign.com or DesignsByLaura.com. Think about that, the MOST popular word in .com domains. That’s almost a million people off the bat who would want a .design domain. Not to mention, it looks fantastic after the dot, so LauraSmith.Design creates a much more elegant domain name, something that every designer can appreciate.

I understand it was a long and arduous battle for ownership. Did you ever weaken and consider dropping out of the fight?

If anything, that “battle for ownership” convinced us that it was worth fighting for. We knew that .design was going to be great, but seeing so many other registries going after it reaffirmed in our minds that this was going to be one of the best TLDs imaginable. So, no, we never considered dropping out of the fight. Besides, we are Top Level DESIGN and we’d have had to reprint a lot of business cards!

Battle for ownership is an excellent endorsement!

There are so many new extensions available but, dare I say, some are really uninspiring and I think the public is getting blasé about them. It’s going to take some persuading to adopt even the cool ones like .DESIGN. How are you going to convince the masses that .DESIGN is an excellent choice and here to stay?

I think the fact that designers are naturally more daring, creative, and savvy means that our fight will be a little bit easier than some of the other TLDs. Also, there are so many inspiring markets! Graphic Designers, Web Designers, Interior Designers … on and on, even Landscape Designers!

We’re also partnering with trade associations, showing up at design conferences, and trying to get the word out via guerilla marketing on design school campuses. I think .design will create a virtuous circle; every beautiful .design site that goes live will be seen and inspire more.

So, do you see .DESIGN as a worthy adversary to .COM?

Yes! .design is meaningful and relevant to more people in the .com namespace than any other domain extension. It not only works to the right of the dot, but it looks and sounds beautiful. Saying PhoenixWeb.design out loud is just as evocative as seeing it online. It has been a great launch and we have big ambitions. However, we’re not focused on taking down .com. We are a premium product that will appeal to people focused on their presentation. It just looks better than .com, and our target market gets that as soon as they learn about it. We’re all about people finding the best domain extension for them. For a lot of them, that’s going to be .design, but there’s so much freedom of choice, so, you know, if you’re even more unorthodox, maybe you want a .ink!

I agree with your comment about designers being naturally more daring and creative, and your new extension is feeding these characteristics; giving them a well-designed extension to compete with the mundane .COM.

We’re offering .COM for €15.99. With the promo on .DESIGN, it’s currently €39 *. Personally I think that’s cheap for such a prime keyword. Plus, with such a huge .COM crowd, visibility comes at a price. How do you intend to convince registrants that .DESIGN is a professional brand that’ll enhance any site using it?

Thank you for asking such a direct question about the price. We are not trying to hide our price, though we are excited to give motivated registrants a limited-time discount with EuroDNS. You cannot get a beautiful, marketable .com domain now. You either have to fork out thousands of dollars to the current .com owner, or settle for hyphens, misspellings and really long domains. You could go get a .xyz or .space or any new option for a low price, and I’m glad to see people doing that. However, there is only ONE domain for a professional designer - .design. It will become a recognizable symbol of a quality designer, and someone investing in their presentation and themselves as a business.

You get what you pay for, and quality comes at a price which yes, designers do appreciate.

Google rewards relevance and if you rank higher, you’re easier to find. Will registering a .DESIGN for a website increase its ranking in search engines?

A lot of people are pondering that question. There is limited evidence that new TLDs help search, but I think we simply don’t know yet. I would say, look at the fact that Google applied for 101 new TLDs, acquired .app for $25 million, and is a forward-thinking company. They certainly won’t punish you for using a new domain! And I think it will become a key differentiator as both search and Internet habits change. Since .design is so new, people are able to register really great keyword domain names. Domains like ParisGraphic.design and Responsive.design are incredibly discoverable because that’s what someone is going to be typing into a search bar. And don’t forget, .design looks better! I think that people do judge a book by its cover and .design makes for a beautiful cover when returned in search results.

We asked you this question a year ago, but a lot has happened so I’d like to ask again. How do you think all the new domain extensions have changed the domain landscape? And as a registry, how are you going to make your registry and domains stand out from this growing crowd?

The best new domain extensions are the ones that are meaningful, that people can identify with, and those are going to be the ones that really change the landscape. There’s nothing like seeing a URL that tells a two or three word story. We want the people using our TLDs to craft the best and most meaningful domains possible, and they can because .ink, .wiki and .design are all very unique and powerful. The domain landscape is changing, more and more people are recognizing that they have options outside of the traditional .com and awareness will only continue to spread. We’re going to work directly with our end customers and target markets to highlight their stories and build brands that people feel good about using.

Yes, I think the meaningful extensions are going to be the ones to watch. Plus, if people are parting with hard-earned cash for a relevant domain name, spending time and money creating a website and building their online presence, they’re gonna make sure it works.

Ok, last question and we’re done. Do you have any plans to participate in the second round of new domain extensions happening in 2018?

Many great strings have been chosen in the round, and yet, many more are still out there. We support greater choice and the new TLD program -- so plan to see us in future rounds!

Oh cool, I can’t wait to see what extensions you apply for next time!

Thanks Ray, it’s been inspiring and very informative talking with you, you’ve been very candid which I know our readers appreciate. Hopefully we can catch up again soon.

The King has left the building!

“.DESIGN improves everything we create…”

Demand is high for this specific yet all-encompassing domain extension. Register now and you’ll enjoy the branding benefits immediately.

quality | methodology | .DESIGN | creativity | functionality

The .DESIGN domain extension will focus attention on your creative expertise. Your domain name will include a significant keyword that'll give you an advantage over your competitors who’re still using a meaningless generic domain.

Top Level Design is creating passion-driven TLDs. Its portfolio focuses on art and creativity, powering greater individuality and meaning in how people identify themselves online. They are currently offering .INK, .WIKI, & .DESIGN; we’re waiting to hear if the registry will also acquire .LLC, .ART, & .GAY. Good luck guys!

* The .DESIGN promotion has ended.

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