What new gTLDs mean for your brand

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Adaptation 4: What about great keyword .com domains?
In the current domain name space, keyword .com domain names are incredibly valuable. Many enterprises are willing to pay top dollar for great category-defining keyword domains because they automatically convey a sense of legitimacy and allow their owners to essentially own the whole category online: Just think of The Weather Channel's (TWC) Weather.com, for example. Owning this domain conveys that TWC is the online destination to get information about the local weather, or weather anywhere in the world. To get an idea of what a company is willing to pay for a great domain name, look no further than Salesforce.com, inc., which purchased Social.com for $2.6 million and Data.com for a sweet $5 million in 2011.

Digital experts are beginning to wonder whether great keyword .co domains will retain their value in an era of keyword .anything extensions. Will Weather.com remain as valuable in a space that also includes domains like Cleveland.Weather, Alerts.Weather, and Travel.Weather? My answer to that question is yes, at least for a little while.

I believe that keyword .com domain names will retain their value in the new gTLD space. As great as keyword domains in new gTLDs might be, I still believe that .com domains will convey a unique level of legitimacy that comes with .com being, for so many internet users, synonymous with the Internet itself.

Additionally, there are multiple businesses that have built their entire brand around great keyword .com domains. Cars.com, for example, is not likely to rebrand itself just because a .cars gTLD becomes part of the domain name space. The continued existence of these companies, and their continued use of these brand names, will also help to maintain the high value of keyword .com domains.

These are just a few examples of how new gTLDs will likely change the way businesses and consumers interact with the internet. With the proper preparation and diligence, both those companies that acquire new gTLDs and those that do not can keep up with these changes and utilize them to continue to grow and prosper in the new digital space.

Adaptation 5: Innovation has barely begun
New gTLDs will transcend marketing, legal, and IT concerns, and will require companies to consider the bigger picture beyond just branding or trademark protection issues. It's difficult to say what new innovations new gTLDs will bring with them, but my guess is it will be worth it for companies to stay tuned into the new developments in the space to find out. We've already seen inventors file at least one patent for new technology to help strategic enterprises with a gTLD registry do new things online, and I suspect there are many creative minds who are already thinking up new ways for global brands to tap into information and provide services previously unavailable to them.

Joshua Bourne is managing partner of FairWinds Partners, LLC

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Comments

Kate Hutchinson
Kate Hutchinson February 2, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Joshua has made some great points in here, and I give him a lot of credit for moving beyond the typical nay-saying regarding new gTLDs. This is something that internet marketers and branders will have to pay a lot of attention to.

I have written a short piece on how to work with customers for companies applying for a .brand TLD. You can read it here: http://blog.ud.com/2011/11/a-guide-to-promoting-and-using-your-brand-tld/