New Top-Level Domains: What They Are and Why You Should Care
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will make nine new top-level domains (TLDs) publicly available at the end of this month. Currently, there are 22 TLDs, with the most popular being .com, .net and .org. During the next few years, this number will grow to more than 1,400 as ICANN rolls out approximately 10 new TLDs per week.
New TLDs about to make their debut are:
This release comes on the heels of the October 2013 launch of four new TLDs in Arabic, Russian and Chinese. Major brands and cities have applied for domains such as .amazon, .google, .apple, .london, .boston and .tokyo.
According to the folks at ICANN, the idea is to make it easier for consumers to find what they’re looking for, and to provide organizations with an opportunity to create a stronger, more relevant online presence. As traffic from each TLD is analyzed, organizations can determine whether or not each domain name is creating value and worth keeping.
Why a Business Should Consider Securing a New TLD
Many new companies weren’t able to acquire the simplest .com website address. They may have a complex domain that includes extra abbreviations or hyphens in order to get a .com domain. Utilizing one of the new TLDs would enable an organization to simplify its web address and identify its business category, the area it serves, or characteristics of its target audience. In other words, a TLD could make your domain name both shorter and more descriptive.
While the jury is still out with regard to the impact of the influx of TLDs on search, Google and other search engines have been placing more emphasis on local search results. Consequently, a website address geared toward a specific city may be advantageous. Similarly, if your company serves an international market, it would make sense to register TLDs for specific countries that you would like to target.
Large enterprises, especially those with an international presence, are challenged to manage their domains – valuable corporate assets and intellectual property that need to be protected. Complicating the strategic decisions that need to be made on a regular basis are the complex and rapidly changing restrictions and requirements for domains. As a result, organizations should develop clear guidelines for domain portfolio management and follow these steps.
- Define your organization’s online goals
- Establish policies for registering domains
- Consolidate all domain names under one management umbrella
- Prioritize and protect domains that are most valuable
- Stay on top of international rules and trends related to domains
- Use a monitoring service to keep track of domain registrations and guard against abuse
The thousands of new TLDs on the horizon can present a number of business advantages, but they can also open the door for abuses that can damage your company’s reputation. Make sure you have a domain portfolio management strategy in place to help you achieve business objectives and protect your assets.