It’s a familiar scenario. Business A wants a website. Business A comes up with a great web address. Business A finds out website address is already taken by another business. Business A has to abbreviate their address or alter it to the extent that it loses meaning.
What if your business could finally have a short, memorable domain name that customers won’t fumble over? New top-level domain extensions (nTLDs) are now available for reservation that will make this problem disappear. Expect clear, concise domain extensions to provide you with better search engine placement and, ultimately, more website visits and customers.
- nTLDs allow you to tailor your website address to your industry or region, and thus your target market. For example, BestBaker.BAKERSTOWN or BestCoffee.SEATTLE.
- A truly unique domain name can help you increase brand awareness.
- nTLDs are intended to help you create a website address that fits both your company and business category. Instead of being a .biz, .jewelry tells customers you are in the jewelry business.
- nTLDs have a number of security benefits. Most new TLDs will be launched with additional owner validation to ensure end-users the domain is secure. Additional security measures, such as full verification of postal address and owner ID, have been proposed.
- nTLDs, such as .sports and .cars, could serve as “communities” – connecting audiences who share a similar interest.
- Branded nTLDs, like .Nike and .Jeep, would protect the trademark rights of brands, plus give consumers quick access to segmented browsing.
- Possibility of fraud. A competitor could buy up misspellings of your web address, taking traffic away from your site.
- Restrictions forcing you to use a specific extension. For example, a specialty market being forced to use .grocery.
- Investors are quickly reserving nTLDs to gain control of internet real estate, potentially worth billions of dollars in annual licensing fees.
- Possibility of widespread ‘‘name collisions’’ – where domains used by internal corporate computer systems (i.e., .cor’ or .home) are assigned to the web more broadly. This could cause systems to fail, blocking access to e-mail or other internal programs, and could open sensitive information to theft.
- Risk to domains such as .med or .center that might be critical to medical systems or emergency-response networks.
In light of the positive and negative, how should you proceed? ICANN warns of pre-reserving nTLDs with companies that promise you’ll be able to register, as availability cannot be guaranteed. While you might do well to document the domains you’re interested in for later purchase, for now, keep an eye on watchlists for domains as they become available. At Pathfinders, we pay attention to watchlists on Network Solutions and Name.com.
Will you consider registering a new domain or domains for your website?
How many domains would you consider registering? Share your opinions with us.