Plans began back in 2007 to begin the process of launching nearly 2,000 new domain extensions (.store, .facebook, .bank) and they are hoping to launch at the end of this year. Yet the marketing community has been very quiet about what is said to be the internet’s biggest shake-up in its history. So when these new domain extensions do arrive (and it may not be until 2014), what should marketers be wary of and is there anything we can do to prepare?
Hey, and welcome to this week’s whiteboard whenever. It happens to be a Friday, but we don’t talk about that because we might get in trouble.
Today we’ll talk about the generic top-level domains, 2013’s latest thing for the Internet. What are they? What’s going to happen, and how should marketers react are the things we’re going to look at today. I’m going to try to get through this as quickly as possible. So excuse me if I to talk too quickly.
First of all, an overview. These domains cost about $185,000 each. There are 2,000 of them almost: .facebook, .app, .store, .book, .shop, .bank, .trade, and loads and loads of others. The person who buys them for $185,000 will have full rights to them and can sell them on to people like you and me, who just buy domains with the extension. You’re familiar with .coms, .nets, .orgs. These are the new ones. They’re new as well, but they’re also not that new.
We’ve also seen things in the past like .mobi and .biz, which were released in 2001. Some people are saying the reason why these will fail is because things like .biz and .mobi didn’t really take off. Now I think that’s a fair argument, but at the same time, .biz and .mobi didn’t have huge companies backing them. .Facebook, for example, they’ve got money to market .facebook. Amazon have got .store potentially. They’ve got money to market these and really, really hammer home their new domain extensions.
There’s a real difference between the old-new generic domains and the new-new generic domains. So I think these might work. For that reason, we need to kind of look into if people do adopt them, how are they going to adopt them? Barclays, for instance, are they going to have just .bank? Barclay’s Bank, will they go for barclays.bank, and will they then just do everything off that domain?
But then you have to ask the question. Well, barclay’s is just a bank, but they also have an insurance side to them; so will they have barclays.insurance as well? Now this is where things get a bit confusing. They’ve got .bank. They are a bank. But they also then have .insurance, which is a completely separate domain. This is like having .com and .net, barclays.com, barclays.net. You can probably see now the issues that come up from a SEO point of view. And from a user point of view, it’s a bit confusing.
Is this actually a viable solution? Why not have just barclays.com/personalbanking and barclays.com/insurance in the traditional way? I don’t know. Is this new extension format viable? I would say probably not.
But what I think is a bit more interesting, and I don’t think this is going to work potentially, is more the kind of vanity URL thing that has been taking off for the last seven or eight years. There’s a chicken restaurant in the UK called Nando’s. Let’s take them as an example. They might have nandos.menu, and they might have nandos.offers. So they’ve got a menu and offers. Now they wouldn’t want to send users to these domains and keep them there, because it’s just massively confusing. The SEO efforts become a lot more, or more are required.
But the thing they can do here is, with a vanity URL, they can just redirect the user. On their offline leaflet, they can have nandos.menu, and then instantly someone is at the menu. It’s just redirected to the nandos.com/menu page, which makes it more memorable and easier to track as well. You don’t have to like go forward slash some crazy URL at the end to try and make sure you pick it up in analytics. You can just do nandos.menu easy. So that’s really kind of where I think things might head.
What can marketers actually do to prepare? Well, one thing I wouldn’t do is do what the guy did back when .mobi was released and buy flowers.mobi for
$200,000. At the time, it might have seemed like a really exciting decision, but the same thing might happen here. We’re going to have so many new extensions. There are going to be so many possibilities. People might get a bit excited and just go out and buy some really, really expensive domain. I would generally say let it play out for a bit, just work out maybe after six months what’s happening. I think you could probably go after this stuff, this vanity URL stuff. I don’t see any problem with that. But it does actually kind of like, “Oh hey, let’s move away from inbound.co.uk and move on to .inbound.marketing. That’s going to be a real big decision and could potentially really throw you back quite a few years or months.
Anyway, I think you should probably just let it play out just to see how things are going to go. It’s going to be a big shake-up, and everyone just needs to kind of sit back and take it in really for a bit.
That’s it for today. I hope you’ve learned a bit more about the new generic top-level domains, and I’ll catch you next time.