How Do Hundreds of New Top Level Domains Impact Your Branding Strategy?

Tad Chef
Tad Chef writes for SEO blogs from all over the world including his own one called SEO 2.0. He helps people with blogs, social media and search, both in German and English. You can follow Tad on Twitter @onreact_com to get his latest insights daily.

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    You might have heard of them and wondered what the hell to do now. What am I talking about? New Top Level Domains. So it’s not just the common TLDs we got used to like .com .net .info, local ones like co.uk, .fr or .de or even fancier ones like .co, .is. or .io – now literally hundreds of new Top Level Domains can be purchased.

    This wave can be both a problem and an opportunity.

    It depends on who you are and how established you are online. Of course domain grabbers love that.

    I’m talking real business owners here. So in case you want to know how to get rich quick with registering and reselling domains don’t read on. I want to show how you can adapt your branding strategy and brace for the impact, whatever it might be.

    The short history of TLDs

    First let me summarize the epochal change we’re witnessing now. Until 2013 it was really difficult to get a proper domain name. The choices were limited, not only for .com domains and the shady domain grabbing practice was running rampant. So most probably meaningful phrases with common sense domain endings were gone when you searched for them.

    There have been efforts at establishing some alternatives to .com over the years.

    Some failed ones are:

    • .us
    • .biz
    • .co

    - not that these domain endings are bad per se, they just didn’t become main stream. I use a .us domain for my blog for example.

    1. People did not want to create local .us domains. The Internet has been invented in the US so that the .com ending has become the preferred American TLD.
    2. .biz sounded too much like taken from a Gangsta Rap song for legit businesses to use so it ended up mostly to be used by spammers who would come with domains like best-seo-company-new-york.biz until Google has updated its algorithm to discount so-called exact and partial match domains (that match keywords people search for on Google).
    3. .co domains get mistyped a lot because people just out of habit add the “m” of .com so your users end up on some domain grabber’s site.

    Inventive website owners even used local domains in a way initially not intended by redefining them.

    Some small countries at the end of the world actually became prosperous by selling their domain names. Island nations like Tonga of .to and Tuvalu of .tv are great examples. There is nothing wrong with that but it’s in a way a workaround. Now these times are over. Virtually anybody can get a proper domain name with the ending of choice.

    From new generic common sense TLDs like

    • .web
    • .site
    • .page
    • .blog
    • .news

    to funny ones like

    • .and
    • .boo
    • .cat
    • .lol
    • .xyz

    there is a lot of choice when it comes to short and memorable domain names now. Most of the new TLDs are actually specific and topical ones like .bar, .farm or and .health. , .music or .sport

    I could go on forever showing you examples but you rather look them up here.

    You will also notice some really long domain names like .engineering or .healthcare or .productions

    There is even an easy way to bad mouth you online with the .sucks top level domain. In fact it’s way too much choice. It’s overwhelming. Many people will tend to do nothing because of that in my opinion so that soon these domain names might get cheaper. On the other hand, now is the best time to get that short domain name you always wanted. Even Google itself offers some of their domains as a full fledged registrar now.

    yourbrand.sucks

    Google itself offers .boo while there is also an even more outspoken TLD called .sucks now. So in case you represent a larger brand that has some adversaries or even enemies you might want to secure this domain name for yourself. Other clear cases for online reputation management of significant brands are .fail and .wtf

    In case you remember all the fake death reports on Twitter celebrities had to debunk also consider buying .rip

    So you need to buy at least 10 new top level domains, the most common generic ones like .web, .site ‚etc. (see above) and the five most negative ones mentioned in this paragraph.

    Some brands will have to take care of domain names that resemble their brands, like fox.news or news.corp too. This also affects personal brands with the likes of

    • jack.black
    • snoop.dog
    • rand.fish

    Get Shorty!

    Have you been suffering from a long domain with hyphens or wacky additions like “online” or “24”? You can of course get a short domain now. You don’t have to do anything with that immediately either. For example I registered with .us and .co.uk domains with Namecheap and redirect them to my main .com domain. So just buy your favorite short name (or try getting a few, some may be gone already despite the avalanche of new TLDs).

    Personally I’d even suggest some minimalist TLDs like .dot, .one or .now for example. Other slightly longer options like .here, .home or .click are not bad either.

    Getting a short domain doesn’t make much sense when the TLD is longer than your name, brand or keyword. It looks awkward. So think twice before getting something .construction or .consulting because it’s insulting for the eye to even view such a prolonged string after the dot where you learned to expect a succinct two or three letters over the last 15+ years.

    Have some .fun

    Humor can be one of the most powerful weapons. No joke! During the dictatorship in Poland (I lived through) the only way to practice free speech was by spreading jokes. Funny domain names or name and TLD combinations are the most memorable ones. Just consider who.is

    Now there are plenty of options to have some .fun and I don’t just refer to this one example.

    Consider some Captain obvious ones like

    • click.here
    • geta.life
    • pong.ping

    Rhyming can also help a lot when it comes to memorability:

    • seen.green
    • snail.mail
    • think.pink

    Let go of your ego!

    I know I’m into Zen, Taoism and the likes too much recently but please refrain from getting overtly self-confident with TLD choices like

    • .cool
    • .guru
    • .top
    • .vip
    • .wow

    etc. There are plenty of such flattering options now but be honest to yourself: do you want to really ridicule yourself by declaring yourself to be cool or a guru? Let others do the judging and keep the neutral and descriptive terms for you.

    Even a domain name like yourtrade.expert is too much of shameless self-promotion for others to take you seriously.

    Local patriotism

    Not only can you get all kinds of city names like .nyc, .london, .berlin or geographical descriptions like .town but also “foreign” character sets like

    • Chinese
    • Arabic
    • Russian

    When using these “Internationalized TLDs” remember that not only Chinese, Arabs or Russians living abroad will have difficulties typing them into their browser bar. So use them as a welcome addition but not as your sole domain name.

    When using local or geographic domain make sure that your site has local relevance. Just because I was born in Poland or live in Germany doesn’t mean I use .pl or .de either.

    SEO related domains

    The first bummer: there is no .seo yet. Also Google has claimed .goo so you can’t poke fun at them. There is .link though! Also there is .organic — probably meant for healthy food — but of some meanings for our trade too.

    A domain I can think right now is also seo.rip!

    Just kidding. seo.lol would be much better. Any better ideas? Add them in the comment sections.

    Creative Commons image by ozz13x

    Tad Chef
    Tad Chef writes for SEO blogs from all over the world including his own one called SEO 2.0. He helps people with blogs, social media and search, both in German and English. You can follow Tad on Twitter @onreact_com to get his latest insights daily.

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