New domain extensions - what does the devil's advocate think?

It’s been two years since the launch of the new domain extensions. Whilst some people have embraced them with enthusiasm, others have reacted with undisguised disdain. Today I'm playing the devil's advocate, and I'm talking to myself...

by Meg - 09.12.2015

New domain extensions... they’re gonna flop!

When the idea of online shopping was put forward in 1966, it was dismissed. Whilst possible, remote shopping will flop because, “…women like to get out of the house, like to handle the merchandise, like to be able to change their minds.” TIME *

AMAZON?!!!

Yes, there’ll be casualties. Unfortunately the initial launch was significantly delayed and this may have forced registries to dip into their marketing budgets. This meant relying on word of mouth marketing for a product that was a mystery to many. For some registries it was a slow start.

Larger registries hit the ground running with their domains receiving regular press coverage. Registrations flooded in.

The new extensions were championed by the likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft who applied for a whole bunch of domain extensions. Trailblazers backing the new domain extensions, is proving to be priceless marketing.

Pfff, no one will trust the new domain extensions

Yeah, because I’ve never received spam from a .COM email address...

Neither the old nor the new domain extensions are immune to abuse. The .INFO domain extension was quickly contaminated and used for spamming.

Several of the new domain extensions demand qualification and vetting. Strict registration requirements ensuring relevance and credibility. The .BANK registry will only allow verified financial institutions to use the extension. Over time, when a user searches for a bank they'll choose a .BANK website over any other extension because they'll know it's genuine and secure.

Search engines prefer the long-established domain extensions

Well no... Google stated that it will treat the new extensions just like any other. A .NINJA has the same chance of a page one ranking as a .COM.

What will make a difference is the age of the domain name. Second hand/used domain names will have traffic, online reviews, link juice - domain authority, all page ranking factors. This applies to any domain extension though. A brand new .COM will be treated the same as a brand new .GURU – neither having an online history.

For now, it’s impossible to register an old new domain extension. Meaning long-established domain names with an online history, have the advantage.

Hmmm, Google applied for 101 domains. Do they know something we don’t?

Some are too long, we won’t be able to remember the name & extension

Will we be able to remember domain names that have an extension with more than three letters?  Will we need to? How do you find websites, with a search term or via a link? I don’t think I’ve ever typed in a domain name that included the extension. Think about it, brandtechnology.com can now be registered as brand.technology!

So what’s the point of them? Do a search for something and if the extension is a keyword in that search term, it’ll be in the results.

SEO company Globe Runner, studied the search engine marketing implications of the new domain extensions. The study revealed that the extensions are starting to beat .COMs. Take a look, it's an interesting read.

There’re too many

It’s all about supply and demand and there are hundreds and thousands of new companies launching every day, all around the world. They want websites. They want meaningful and memorable domain names, and now they can have them.

Near-duplicates, plural, singular, or UK vs US spelling will cause confusion

This one's tricky and I think it's too early to say...

Examples include .PHOTO, .PHOTOGRAPHY, .PHOTOS, .PICS, .PICTURES, .CAR, .CARS, .REALTY, .REALESTATE, .REALTOR, .ATTORNEY, .LAW, .THEATRE, .THEATER.

Currently, .PHOTOGRAPHY leads the image race, followed by .PICS. Bringing up the rear are .PHOTO, .PHOTOS, and .PICTURES . But do we need them all? Do we need a singular and plural version of photo? I have my doubts, but others obviously disagree because they're all getting registrations.

Would .CAMERA have been better with an S? .ARCHI vs .ARCHITECT, do we need both? What about the UK vs US version of theatre?

And seriously, how many estate agent online spaces do we need? Won’t the credibility of these spaces be devalued?

The .LAW registry will only approve domain name applications from qualified lawyers and authorised legal institutions. The high price of the domain reflects this. The .LAWYER extension is 'technically' unrestricted and cheap by comparison. Which would you trust?

Maybe these are points to discuss with ICANN, who approved the applications.

The future of the new domain extensions

There can be a reluctance to accept new technology. Remember listening to music on vinyl and how vehemently we fought against CDs? Now we're happily downloading music and movies to our phones and computers...

The .COM domain has been around for over 25 years, it’s familiar. But when Google registered abc.xyz the industry and the general public took notice. Suddenly everyone was talking about the new domain extensions.

There’s a second round of domains planned. Yep, let's hope lessons have been learned! If the price doesn’t increase dramatically, I think big companies will start to consider that having their own domain is the next ‘must have’ - company pen, company mug, company domain extension...

Is it possible for one of the new domain extensions to challenge the dominance of .COM? I'm not sure at this early stage and with some registries giving freebies, the figures are skewed. But as a group, yes they're disrupting the existing market.

There’ll continue to be those who think the web = .COM. Hey, it was a while before people accepted that they wouldn't fall off the edge of the world.

Photo credit

* It’s 1966 man, sexism was FAB!


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