You can tell an old-school New Yorker by their area code: If someone still has a phone number that begins with 212, they’ve been holding onto that number for years.
Once, all of New York carried the 212, but around 1992, 718 came onto the scene for the outer boroughs while 212 held strong. Eventually, there were just too much demand for new numbers. Now a new Manhattanite will be slapped with 646 before the rest of their number. It’s the sign of the times.
The same could be said for the “.com” era of domain names. At the beginning of the Internet, that domain moniker was the only real game in town. Soon .net and .org encroached on the realm in order for even more businesses to set up shop. It was still relatively easy to find a decent domain name.
Now, Top Level Domains, or TLDs, are letting users and businesses carve out a specific niche for their domain name. The race is on to capture the best TLDs. They are being scooped up left and right. This raises the question: Are they worth the investment? Here are the pros and cons.
Reasons for a New TLD
The Cool Factor
Why should you consider a TLD for your blog? Start with the cool factor. If you could add a .guru or .ninja to you web business it would certain stand out, even if your company is kitchentilereplacement.guru or accountant.ninja.
The TLD can add a kitschy kind of marketing boost for your web presence. You’ll have to act fast, because the great names are already being staked out for all kinds of blogs and businesses.
Getting To the Point
When used the right way, a properly placed TLD leaves no doubt in the mind of the consumer as to what your online business is all about. Take .kitchen for example. (Yes, that is an available TLD.) You could set up shop as BestRemodel.Kitchen, LetMeMakeoverYour.Kitchen or YourPerfect.Kitchen. Imagine what you can do with domains like .training, .management, .baby or .tips in the blogosphere.
Powered-Up Product Branding
Did you send an email today? Of course you did, and yours was one of 183 billion sent just today. There are a lot of addresses to keep track of. It’s easy to see how things can get lost in the cyberspace shuffle, especially when it comes to product branding.
However, if you add .book to ThePerfectPhotography.book business, you’ll make clear exactly what you’re selling and to whom. Brand reinforcement is crucial for survival in a crowded online marketplace.
TLDs aren’t just “things.” They can be places, too. When you can add a specific city like .London or .Berlin to your company website, you can bring the focus right back to that business and make it seem homegrown rather than global. Of course, there is nothing wrong with global, but if your business only involves limo rides in London, you don’t need a domain to take you around the world. Limorides.london will do nicely, and be great for keyword optimization, too.
Reasons Against a New TLD
It Doesn’t Feel Like a Domain Name
As with all things in life, purists purvey the Internet. Just like those old-school New Yorkers who don’t want to part with 212, many folks have grown accustomed to anything “.com.” A website that has established itself as a .com has an instant legitimacy that a .ninja or a .guru just doesn’t have yet.
When the Internet began, grabbing .com domains was a lot like the Wild West. The prevailing feeling was “anything goes.” With this new generation of TLDs, there are more restrictions. For instant, .amazon is a closed TLD – you can guess who owns that. Many of the TLDs for cities require your business to actually be based in that city. Going down the TLD path just means you need to be aware of those restrictions and make sure you won’t be hampered by the closed TLDs.
More Confusion, More $$
The wide array of TLDs can mean a wide array of confusion and headaches for a website owner. For instance, many of the TLDs also come in plural versions — you’ll have to decide between .review and .reviews. If you’re snatching up one, then you’re probably better off snatching up another. Since the new TLDs are typically more expensive than .com names, all those names are going to add up fast.
A TLD specific to cities and objects also increases the chances for misspelling. That can lead to misdirects and frustrated users. This might not be a problem if you’re typing in an address at your computer but trying to type in “losangelesrental.apartments” while you’re walking down the street can be an ordeal.
The thing to keep in mind about the Internet is that it is always evolving. The next generation of users might not be so attached to the .com world. They could also be dictating all of their destination searches. It might be better to grab the TLDs while you can!
Now it’s your turn – what’s your opinion on the new TLDs? Should bloggers love ‘em or leave ‘em? Share your thoughts in the comments below!