If you’re pondering this question, you’re ahead of the game. The answer to this question will likely be very important in the near future. First, what exactly is a top-level domain (TLD)? The TLD is everything that comes after the dot in a URL, the most familiar of which is .com or .net. Over the years the number of TLDs has grown to include TLDs such as .agency .ninja and .guru. Recently Booking.com who clearly sees a change coming paid 2.2 million dollars for the exclusive rights to manage the .hotels TLD. Currently, no domains ending in .hotels are available for purchase or use.
Many of our clients who stay up on business news now ask if they should be buying new TLDs and the answer is an interesting one.
The biggest challenge for the companies running these new TLDs is that legacy domain extensions like .com and .org are habitual now for the general population and habits are hard to change. There is a need to build consumer awareness that other domain extensions are possible and credible. Who will begin to educate the masses with regard to TLDs?
Our next challenge: predict how people will interact with the web in the future. For example, take a look at what happened to .mobi. The extension .mobi was made unnecessary by device-responsive programming. Rest in peace .mobi. Will TLDs be made redundant by new technology?
Now that we’ve identified the challenges, let’s look at the benefits. We can often build a strong case that a new TLD is more than a name, but a new way to further define your identity. Using unique TLDs to build very specific landing pages that serve a niche need for your customers is one way to leverage this.
There is also a case for a brand protection strategy. Recently Taylor Swift began buying up .xxx and other unsavory domain names in an effort to guard against misuse of her name aka, her brand. If your brand names are adequately protected with copyright, then you should be able to retrieve a hijacked domain. But why wait and use legal resources when you can ensure its protection today for minimal investment?