• What to do with all those new TLDs?!?!

There are so many new top level domains it's mind-bloggling, it's exciting, but it also introduces a marketer's dilemma.

27 September, 2015

There are so many new top level domains it's mind-bloggling, it's exciting, but it also introduces a marketer's dilemma. How should a marketing and brand positioning strategy change to make the most of new gTLDs? Should it change at all? And do they provide any advantages over what we're currently doing?

First off, let's get the Google positioning document here : https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/1347922

Cut to the chase, what does this mean in the end?

Your choices of domains has now exploded.

The somewhat arbitrary limitation imposed on the internet for the ubiquitous .com followed by the somewhat maligned .net, .biz, and .info additions were helped, but only somewhat, by the opening up of country-based TLDs such as .ca, .uk, .mx, .us and so on around the late 1990s.

Even so, there was a psychological barrier imposed on marketers and that brand positioning discussion tended to centre on a somewhat "either-or" scenario.

"If I only focus on ".com", will my other markets think I'm ignoring them?"

 Of course this is just another version of the scarcity dilemma. Instead of having a race for the .com of choice before, it became a question of whether you should focus on .com or .ca – and if someone chose .net people were known to look down at that option thinking "Who would bother with that?".

But with nearly 500 new TLDs coming online it's the equivalent of a property developer in Bermuda discovering an entire new landmass the size of Greenland appearing next to them that they'd now have the opportunity to develop. It changes the idea of what a brand position can be.

new gTLDs as a choicePostioning as a wide open strategy - a.k.a. Flooding the market

Let's say there are two companies : Trillium Lighting Company, and Trillium Photographers. Given the heavy use of "Trillium" as a symbolic flower, there are many many more than just two.

In the olden days these two would likely have tried to register trillium.com, then trillium.ca, then trilliumlighting.com and trilliumphotographers.com but would have wondered if the name was too long – then would wring hands over trying the .ca ("but what if we go fully global, how will that be hurt?").

Valid concerns.

Now, everyone can live together as the diverse businesses that they are.

trillium.photography and trillium.lighting – two similarly named businesses but in completely different sectors and therefore TLDs.

Now consider the dozens of new generic top level domains (gTLDs) representing other industries, sectors and interests giving international businesses and organizations the ability to specialize cleanly with gTLDs such as .finance, .clothing, .florist, .contractors, .cab, .construction, .plumbing, .graphics, .christmas, and .blackfriday. There are now nearly 500 new TLDs in all and they keep growing so specialty business, products, campaigns and brands can all specialize more cleanly without the artifical constraints of a limited mindshare of top level domains.

 The Impact on Marketing and Mindshare

From a technical marketing perspective Google treats new gTLDs – just like a .com or .org. It is also important to note that regional names in a gTLD such as .amsterdam, .melbourne, and .quebec will be treated like any gTLD and not as a geo-specific target. If there is a desired regional target for any gTLD including ones that appear geo-specific it would need to be appropriately configured within the technical marketing set up in the search console.

This is in contrast to ccTLDs such as .ca, .mx, .in, .eg, .us as well as .ਭਾਰਤ using internationalized domain name (IDN) alphabets which are now supported. These ccTLDs are (with some exceptions) treated as geo-specific.

For marketing strategists, and branding professionals this, now provides a plethora of opportunities for primary site properties, internationalized branding, and specialty promotional landing pages, provided clarity on SEO treatment at a search engine technical level.



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