For some quick background, the the right-most label in a domain name (e.g. www.icann.org) is referred to as its “top-level domain” (TLD). TLDs with two letters have been established for over 240 countries and external territories and are referred to as “country-code” TLDs or “ccTLDs.” A list of all ccTLDs can be found here. TLDs with three or more characters are referred to as “generic” TLDs, or “gTLDs.” A list of all gTLDs can be found here.
Examples of some of the new domains (around 1,800) that will be available in the coming two years are here.
The categories of the new GTLDs are:
- Food and Drink
- Geographical and Cultural
- Identity and Lifestyle
- IDN (International)
- Money and Finance
- Real Estate
- Recreation and Leisure
Why should you care about the new Global Top Level Domains?
If you are a brand, you don’t wan’t anyone buying your brand terms. So for brands, the new domains initially are a defensive play. Does Coca-cola want another beverage company owning coke.drink?
However for marketers, the new domains create a unique opportunity to create compelling memorable SHORT vanity domains that redirect to a convertible landing page.
Right now, if you want to use vanity url for marketing, most everything memorable is taken. You typically have to add “-” between words. That is ugly and may not represent your brand as you wish.
Imagine, though, having a new menu campaign for your restaurant and using the domain [restaurant name]Lunch.Menu. It’s short, clear, and can easily drive traffic to your primary site’s lunch menu.
Challenges of the new Top Level Domains
Old behaviors die hard. For example, New York City used to only have the area code 212. You knew if you dialed 212, you were calling someone in New York City. Then with the proliferation of fax machines and mobile phones, New York had to open up the list of area codes to 646 and 917. The saving grace in this growth was the growth at that time of the PDA (palm pilot) and ultimately the smartphone where you never had to remember someone’s phone number.
I gather the overwhelming number of domains will cause potential confusion and people will gravitate to .com websites at least for the near future. If you doubt this, read the book, The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz.