Securing a new and original domain name can be a tricky task – especially when you consider there are 276 million registered domain names already taken.
Anyone who has attempted to buy a domain ending in ‘.com’ or ‘co.uk’ recently will likely have experienced a slew of ‘sorry, that domain is not available’ rejections from the registration site.
Demand for new domains isn’t slowing down either; in the first quarter of 2014, an additional five million domain names were added to the internet.
The increased demand for domain names, coupled with changing browsing styles, has resulted in significant changes in the domain name world. Over the past year, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved 617 new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) for the internet, and will continue to introduce hundreds more.
A gTLD is simply the suffix on a domain address, with traditional ones including ‘.com’ or ‘.co.uk’. With the introduction of new gTLDs, we are already seeing far more diverse website addresses, including those ending in ‘.ink’, ‘.photography’, ‘.wiki’ and ‘.club’ .
For newer businesses looking to establish an online presence, the introduction of the new gTLDs has proved interesting news. Companies have demonstrated themselves keen to capitalise on the greater breadth of domain name choice, and take a more creative approach to securing a relevant and memorable web address.
Traditionally, larger companies and early adopters had the advantage of securing the ‘choice’ domain names, with start-ups and newer market entrants having to adapt depending on what’s available.
>See also: The changing domain landscape: five questions companies should be asking
Buying the domain ‘www.printerink.com’ remains impossible for most new businesses; but now, not only is the new ‘www.printer.ink’ domain more likely to be available, it is actually a better domain name too.
Customers react well to branding that is personalised and specific, and the slew of new domain names on the market is great news for businesses wanting to capitalise.
During the application window (which closed in 2012), many larger corporations successfully applied for a gTLD that included their brand name – something that is likely to result in a further wave of new sites using these suffixes.
BMW for example, having secured the ‘.bmw’ suffix, could set up the webpages www.wheels.bmw or www.excursions.bmw. The brand could use each page to target a specific audience, or offer insight on a particular product.
Adopting a specialised gTLD allows the company to enjoy a broader online reach, whilst engaging with customers in a more specific way.
At a smaller-business level, the new gTLDs also allow for a more personalised approach. A local printer business could register their website as www.PrintCentral.Ink, for example, leaving prospective customers in no doubt about the types of products they could get from that site.
The introduction of the new domain names is a great step towards opening up levels of competition within the online branding space, and provides food for thought for those businesses wanting to engage in a more personalised way with their customers.
The landscape of the internet is changing, and businesses now have a real chance to influence the way it is shaped.
Sourced from Ray King, founder of domain registry Top Level Design