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The new Top Level Domains and what they will mean for your brand

3 min read
The new Top Level Domains and what they will mean for your brand

What the new Top Level Domains mean for your brand

Commercial websites have come a long way since the dial-up days of the late 1980s (remember the sound effect?) Since then, we’ve seen an explosion of websites popping up on a daily basis.

If you’ve been looking for a domain name that truly reflects your brand, chances are the domain you were after has already been taken by somebody else (frustrating). The good news is that this is all going to change in 2014 with the release of hundreds of new Top Level Domains (TLDs).

What are the new Top Level Domains?

Earlier this year, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) - basically the governing body for all things internet - started releasing extensions such as .partners, .healthcare, .lawyer and - the mischief-maker’s favourite - .fail in addition to the good old .com and .com.au extensions.

More power to your brand online

So if you are running a law practice specialising in litigation law you could soon host your website on www.litigation.lawyer (you can view the full and constantly updated list here). You can buy the new domain names from the usual suspects such as CrazyDomains or GoDaddy.

For big corporations and global brands the new extensions mean that they can finally rein in an often confusing mix of localised web presences. A good example is Monash University, who has been among the first organisations willing to pay the big bucks (you need $185,000 plus a very good business case) and secured their own branded extension. The university will soon be able to bring together all their websites under the .monash extension. And - importantly - nobody will be able to use this extension without their permission. Pretty slick solution, isn’t it?

With this price tag, the branded option is obviously not a viable solution for all SMEs. We here at Bc think that getting creative with already existing - or soon to be available - TLD’s is a much better option (www.baxter.healthcare has a pretty good ring to it). And with a $40 per year starting price you’re also keeping your accountant happy.

Protecting your brand

While the new TLD’s offer a lot of opportunity to get creative with your brand’s domain name, they can also pose a potential threat to your brand’s integrity: especially if you are operating in a very competitive marketplace. Just imagine, for instance, what a competitor or disgruntled employee could do with a domain like www.maccas.fail…

That’s why a lot of big brands have been thinking ahead and defensively secured TLD’s that could potentially be used against them. This is definitely a good option if you have some valid concerns that somebody might turn against you on the web. Another way to protect your brand is through the Trademark Clearinghouse, where you can register to your exact trademark for $160 per year.

Will the new TLD’s affect SEO?

The short answer is: we don’t know yet. It will all depend on how well the new TLD’s are adopted.

While it will take only a few dodgy websites to ruin the reputation of some TLD’s, it will also justtake a few shining brand ideas for them to succeed. And if internet users have the confidence and curiosity to click on new TLD websites, Google and other search engines will start indexing them favourably. We here at the Bc camp will definitely continue to watchthis.space (did you see what we did there?) and will keep you updated on how new developments will impact on your business.

Want to learn how to make the most of your Top Level Domain? We've listed the 12 must-have tools that every marketer needs in this handy guide - download it today!

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