Domain Staying Power for Information Publishers: Digital Branding and the Namespace Race
By Peter Prestipino, Editor-In-Chief
While dot com still rules, the new TLDs are emerging rapidly in terms of interest among the business community; but which of these new top-level domains has the greatest potential for information publishers over the long term?
Like in many cases on the Web, Google may influence the answer to this question, as Alphabet (its newly formed parent company) recently announced the use of abc.xyz as its primary domain name. High-profile support of .XYZ Â (despite questions surrounding the methods the registry is accused of using for achieving such a meteoric ascent since the extension's general availability - over 1.1 million domains and 15 percent market share among new TLDs) has left many wondering if it and the other new extensions are actually a viable option after all and give credence to the notion that there is life after .COM.
While the total number of new generic top-level domains still pales in comparison to the number of .COM sites, growth in the sector is most certainly on an upward trajectory. There have been more than 7.2 million* nTLDs registered (at the time of writing in early September) with just 278,000 upcoming non-renewals (3.8 percent). The problem is that most of those registrations are (seemingly) coming from domain name speculators, as nearly 60 percent of the nTLDs are currently being parked (no website).
There are some nTLD standouts of course. Blessings.buzz is ranked by Quantcast at 2,769, and 1000.menu (a Russian recipe website) comes in at 35,848 on Alexa. While the enterprises behind these domains are truly the ones responsible for the success to date, it does indicate that running a digital presence with one of the new top-level domains extensions is possible (once a domainer breaks through all the hype and identifies those with the most potential from a branding perspective).
DEFENSIVE DOMAIN ACQUISITION
If you are concerned about cybersquatting and misuse of your brand and trademarks, it is essential to engage in defensive domain acquisition. Find out which domains present the greatest threat to the well-being of an enterprise's good name at wsm.co/domainsdef.
Greater awareness of the new TLDs among consumers/end-users will be important, but it is anyone's guess which extensions will capture the attention of those in the namespace - the marketers, the advertisers and the 'Net professionals who make the Web work - over the long-term.
In the digital age of content marketing, this is particularly true for information publishers. If you are looking to differentiate the brand of an information publisher in compelling ways, consider these domains - and more importantly ideas - for your next digital project:
.REVIEW & .GUIDE - Information publishers are always looking for ways to stand out in the competitive content landscape, and domain extensions such as .review (#28 in popularity) could prove a compelling way to do just that. Either nTLD could, for example, be used as a content-driven site providing details on a specific type of product or service - from software tools to kitchen appliances.
.SUPPORT & .TRAINING - Consumers of products, services and information continually seek additional support and more extensive training, and the .support (#87) and .training (#86) extensions provide a terrific opportunity for information publishers to capitalize on consumers' tendency to conduct research online.
.CLUB & .SPACE - To achieve digital success, enterprises need to do more than just publish information; today's most successful brands are giving community building the same priority as content production - and .club (#4) and .space (#18) are both strong extensions - for this purpose.
Keep in mind that new extensions will not, by themselves, result in higher organic rankings for a website. They can, however, subtly differentiate a listing among the millions of others on search return lists or within a social media new feeds. With some thoughtful attention paid to the branding and creative aspects of domain name selection, there's a whole virtual world of possibility in terms of value that these extensions can provide.
*Data provided in this article sourced from nTLDStats.com