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Domains, Domains, Domains x 1000+

by  David Dwyer on  24/03/2014    1497 Reads

Why new General Top Level Domains can bring new opportunities

This spring marks the start of the gold-rush release of over 1000 new generic top-level domain (gTLDs) names over the next few years. Domain Name registrars and Web Developers are naturally very excited. And you should be too!  
 
Why? Just what are gTLDs, anyway?
gLTDs are the suffixes on web addresses. Until this spring there were only 22 ‘generic’ ones (the very familiar .com, .org, .net and so on), as well as over 280 geographic ones (.uk, .ca and so on). 
 
OK. I understand that. But why the big deal about new ones? Can’t I just choose my own? 
No – because the Internet would be chaos! Suffixes are controlled by the non-profit body ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. They control the ‘names and numbers’ of the Internet’s address book to make sure we all connect to each other as we should. They decide which suffixes are allowed, when they are released and who gets to use them.
 
Fine. So why are they releasing new suffixes? Have we run out of web addresses?
No, not at all. The idea behind the new names is:
‘to boost competition and innovation’. 
 - The Economist (8 Feb 2014, p. 56)
 
How will having new gTLD domains do that? 
Simply put, business and individuals will now be able to:
 
• personalise their sites a bit more
• help their sites stand out from the crowd
• give users a better idea of their precise location. 
 
Why choose .com when you can have .plumbing or .photography? Or .co.uk when you can have .scot?
 
Will Google give me a boost if I have a specific gTLD?
This is currently an unknown. However you should remember that Google's business model is premised on returning relevant websites for relevant queries based on your physical location. Ask yourself: Will a .com or a .plumbing domain have greater relevance for a plumbing website? 
 
My view is that it will influence the algorithm change, but how much we don't yet know.
 
Which new names are available?
Too many to mention! But in general, ICANN has launched dozens more industry-specific suffixes, such as .hotel, .villas, .bar and .dating. There’s also a whole range of more specific geographical ones, like .tokyo, .nyc and .scot. Inevitably, there’s also .sexy  and .adult, and a whole lot relating to technology (.support, .systems, .email). There are also suffixes suitable for a variety of groups and organisations (.club, .soccer, .tennis and so on). 
 
If you want to see some of the latest releases, head to https://newgtlds.icann.org/en/program-status/delegated-strings, or give us a call at Inspire and we’ll talk you through the most relevant ones for your line of work, as well as when they’ll become available. If you’re interested in .bike or .clothing for your retail business, for example, they’re available now – but you’ll have to wait until later in April for .repair or .boutique.  Call us today to make sure you don’t miss out! 
 
What about the name of my own company? Can I use that as one of these new gTLD thingies?
If you’re the holder of a registered trademark, you’ll be able to register your business name as a gTLD to protect your brand. There’s even a ‘sunrise’ period, designed to give trademarked businesses a head start and avoid the land rush of others registering third-party domain names and cyber-squatting. Apple and Ford have already applied to turn their names into gTLDs, and other big players are sure to follow. 
 
I like the sound of that. What do I need to do with my current domain name?
I’ll tell you in my next blog …
 
David Dwyer is Managing Director of Inspire Web Development. He has years of experience in a range of web and IT roles plus seven years in sales and marketing in a blue-chip FMCG company. David’s academic and professional qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Business Economics (Personnel & Ergonomics) from the University of Paisley, an MSc in Information Technology (Systems) from Heriot-Watt University and PRINCE2 Practitioner-level certification. He is also an active member of the British Computer Society, Entrepreneurial Exchange and Business for Scotland.
 
Follow Inspire on Twitter @inspireltd and @developersos
Generic Top Level Domains, gTLD's, The Evolving Web, Web Design
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