Domains of Interest

Website Magazine's Picks for the Hottest New gTLDs in 2014


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers' (ICANN) new generic top-level domain (gTLD) program will see the Internet name space changed forever. Top-level domains including .COM, .NET and .ORG will be joined by well over 1,000 new names or strings (although several hundred will be kept for the private use of the brands that requested them) and some will be quite appealing to the business and consumer public at large.

As any savvy Internet professional might imagine, the domain name shakeup is causing as much excitement as it is consternation, and raising as many questions as it is providing answers.

ICANN began delegating the first new gTLDs in late Oct. 2013 and has delegated many more since that time (delegation indicates that the strings were put into the Internet's Root Zone). There hasn't been a mad rush so to speak, but for many of the new TLDs the sunrise period has already begun, officially signaling that the long-awaited landrush is coming. The more you know about the coming extensions, the better choices your company will make in relation to its own brand.

So, which of the new gTLDs will be of interest to your Web-based company? Website Magazine has grouped the coming domains into categories and picked those that we're confident will make a big 'Net impression.



While most of the new gTLDs within the "business" category are incredibly generic (e.g. .company and .services) and won't inspire much in the way of action, there are some standouts including .studio and .agency that should both see immediate adoption, particularly from newer digital consulting groups desperate to prove they are different from the existing competition.



There are many new domains that fit within the "commerce" category, but few will likely see much interest from retailers. There are some exceptions however, particularly when it comes to specific campaigns merchants may be running. .Blackfriday, for example, could prove to be an interesting extension to watch during the 2014 holiday shopping season.



There is also a lot of possibility in the education category. Several appealing extensions exist for those looking to branch out from the previously restrictive .edu namespace. There are extensions for .degree, .mba and .phd as well as for less formal, but still educational initiatives, including .academy and .training.



Definitely one of the more appealing categories of the new gTLDs, extensions including .beer and .coffee are expected to draw immediate interest thanks to their mass appeal. Others including .soy are expected to be digital busts, however, as they just don't have the same level of interest or loyalty with consumers.



Without question the most aggressively sought after domains will be those of a geographic nature - from .abudhabi and .zurich to .boston and .vegas. For those brands with a little more international appeal, .world may be of interest.



Although there are not many domain names in the health category specifically, there are definitely some standouts. .Health and .medical will likely be attractive for many in this vertical, but others including .diet could also be appealing as it is so closely related to a multi-billion dollar industry.



One of the broadest categories is that of lifestyle. In addition to being one of the largest, it's also the most diverse - anything that doesn't fit neatly within another category ends up here. Some of the standouts include .club and .guide.



One of the primary draws toward the new generic TLDs is that specific namespaces can have far greater security controls. That will be ideal for an extension like .creditcard, which could be adopted uniformly across the finance industry.



The .pro extension (which is not one of the new gTLDs) will likely suffer even more at the expense of the rise in popularity of more specific extensions including .accountant, .attorney and .doctor.



When it comes to which industry vertical will have the greatest adoption, count on those in technology to lead the way. Numerous extensions will likely prove appealing including .click, .codes, .download, .hosting and even .tech.


While one Internet professional's guess as to which of the new generic top-level domains will be successful is as good as another's, it's hard to deny that it is an exciting time for the Web community. Use these domains in compelling ways, and they can serve as powerful channels to differentiate your brand.


Next: Discover where and how to buy and sell domains.