Thursday, March 20, 2014

133- gTDLs: What are they all about?

gTDLs: What are they all about?

gTDLs: What are they all about?

Domain names are one of the first steps in creating an online presence for you or your business. Successful domain names give a clear message about who you are and what you stand for. They make it easy for consumers to find you, are memorable, and importantly relevant to what it is you do. This in turn means more visitors!

But with the internet becoming increasingly crowded, what if you can't get hold of the domain name you want? Or, what if it's available but will set you back thousands due to high popularity?

This is a problem for many, and is primarily why the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is allowing companies to register new domain names to secure their business online. These new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are an expansion on the more familiar top-level domains (TLDs) which included .com, and offer a greater variety for businesses.

This increase in online 'space' now means that you can replace domain name with one that describes your business or ideas more accurately. Here are some examples of new gTLDs which will be available:

Business - .hair, .company, .services, .studio, .agency

Commerce - .discount, .blackfriday, .shopping, .buy, .store

Education - .academy, .training, .degree, .phd, .mba

Entertainment - .guitars, .club, .film, .broadway, .fans

Food & Drink - .beer, .coffee, .food, .wine, .recipes

Geographic - .london, .international, .vegas, .boston, .abudhabi

Health - .health, .medical, .diet, .dentist, .doctor

Interest - .cooking, .condos, .flowers, .islam, .shoes

Lifestyle - .wedding, .kids, .living, .rent, .lifestyle

Money & Finance - .creditcard, .mortgage, .cheap, .financial, .cash

Occupation - .plumbing, .tattoo, .builders, .cleaning, .accountants

Popular - .amsterdam, .limited, .boutique, .menu, .network

Sport - .fish, .hockey, .run, .horse, .sport

Technology - .energy, .click, .codes, .download, .hosting

It means you can find a domain name that suits you, without having to settle for one that simply 'will do'. It means greater choice and availability, which is never a bad thing!

The new extensions can also help to increase customer trust when you associate your brand with a specific industry.

Before the new gTLD initiative, and since 2003, consumers could only choose from up to 22 possible TLDs, and most of these are geographic, for example, Now, more than 1,400 new gTLDs will be created, with 700 openly available to consumers and businesses.

The rest are mostly brands, which solely the relevant companies will be able to use.

A new gTLD can also help your customers find your business more easily, as your location can now be a part of your domain, for example, .amsterdam or .london. As of summer 2014, consumers will be able to register a domain name under .uk, making things shorter and simpler for the first time.

Whereas the original TLDs consisted of Latin characters only (mostly English abbreviations), the new gTLDs are introducing languages including Arabic, Chinese, German, and Russian. This means that internet users can now appeal to groups by language, redefining the Internet on an international scale.

These new domains are progressively becoming available, with some,, now open for pre-registration. The system works by applying and paying for your desired domain name, and then waiting a while to see if your claim has been successful - if not, your money will be refunded.

Despite much welcome response to the new gTLDs, some critics have deemed them unnecessary because consumers are used and the other original domain names. They believe the new domains will struggle to complete with those that have been in place for years.

It's also possible that introducing additional domain names creates a system open for abuse. For example, consumers could potentially purchase a domain extension in an attempt to appear affiliated with a brand to set up phishing sites. Although this should, in theory, be stopped by the Trademark Clearing House, there are sure to be some cases which slip through the net.

Further criticism suggests that these new domain extensions are simply a ploy to make money. Does it mean businesses will feel compelled to purchase further domains just for the sake of it, or to stop competitors getting there first?

What's your opinion? Do you think the new gTLDs are a great opportunity for those struggling to get a relevant domain? That more choice is a good thing? Or is the initiative a mere money-maker? Either way, it will be interesting to note the consumer response when the vast majority of new gTLDs become available in the coming year.

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