The domain dilemma: the pros and cons of new top-level domains

Posted by Holly Gilbert on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 @ 09:29 am

How can we, as leaders in a continually evolving and emerging digital marketplace, create our own brand identity online whilst keeping a personable and professional presence akin to core values you want to represent? Perhaps ditching the .com for a more personal domain will be the change you are looking for in 2015.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers are releasing new domain names in June of this year. It would seem that the days of the humble .com and .com.au are fading into the mundane and the average, and we can look forward to welcoming more specified top-level domains (TLDs) like .cafe .lol .design and .love. However, with internet porn being a $3 billion business, naturally the dark and dirty domain names such as .porn and .adult are also part of the move to create a less generic world within our search engines.

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Protecting your image

So, should we be safeguarding businesses from harmful domain names?

The likes of business mogul Richard Branson would undoubtedly say yes after buying up .porn and .adult to protect his brand from the nasty and potentially harmful connotations of a hypothetical virgin.porn site! Protecting your business from these kind of TLDs could cost your business as little as $99.

These can be purchased and then the decision can be taken to use the dirty little domain name to your advantage and use it as a redirection link to your actual website. Or alternatively, they can sit dead and dormant in the back of your office computer, and you can be safe in the knowledge that your whole foods website inspired by your granny isn’t being used to attract a less-than-savoury audience at inspiredbygranny.adult.

With a list of available and upcoming domain names that include: .adult, .porn, .sucks and .sex perhaps procuring a number of these names will actively protect your brand image and business ethos that is available for all the perusing people of the internet to see. Despite these domains being unavailable to the public until the 1st of June this year, some celebrities and companies have been afforded the luxury of purchasing the web names ahead of their general release.

With the likes of Taylor Swift securing not only her own name attached to these domains, but also that of her album 1989 and iconic lines from her songs. The songwriter allegedly registered her penned phrases such as “this sick beat” and “could show you incredible things”, as well as TaylorSwift.porn with the US government.

 

Clarifying domains

This new emerging trend to diverge from the traditional .com may well be harmful to your business, but there are also domain names that may enable you to specify your business, clarify the work you represent and services you provide, therefore enabling a more bespoke traffic type through your website. From a marketing perspective, this could be seen as a savvy business opportunity, as the scope to drive a deeper customer relationship with a more specific and holistic approach to domain names is undoubtedly a venture that has the potential to strengthen your digital presence online.

Unlike its more generic predecessors .info and .biz, the newer and more specific TLDs incite the idea that each domain represents a community (be it business or leisure) that consumers can instantaneously identify with depending on their needs and desires. As with any online forum, creating monopolistic control over a .design or .love domain will no doubt run into expansive and expensive territory. Trying to ascertain how damaging or advantageous a new and specific domain name may be will be made clear in the fullness of time once the market place is open to the public.

While the world of the .com still sits underpinning all of our URLs and holding our companies as close to page one on Google as we can muster, the evolution and expansion of the new TLDs available is merely speculative. However, with its endless opportunities to connect on a stage that more and more shines a spotlight on global commerce, perhaps a new TLD will present itself with new opportunities to grow, connect and expand. So while the decision to remain part of the steadfast .com approach to the internet or venture into the shiny new world of the .media and .digitals remains unclear, at least we can be sure that our next guilty Google search for Taylor Swift's finest fashion moments won't redirect us to some dark corner of the internet we never intended to go.

 

SEE ALSO: The Dark Web

 

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Domain Image via Shutterstock

Topics: Online Advice, Technology, Public Relations

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