What are the new GTLDs for? How do they affect my current domain? Where do I get them? What is sunrise?
If you have an online presence, you probably already know enough about managing and using domain names. But what about these new domain offerings such as .reviews, .guru, .photography and hundreds more – how can you make use of them, how many are there, and where is the list? Here is a simple introduction.
A domain name is an address on the internet which allows you to find specific websites. For example, if you type in “simplercloud.com” in your browser, you will be brought to the SimplerCloud web site. The term “GTLD” refers to “generic top-level domain,” a category of top-level domains (TLD) that are part of the Domain Name System of the Internet. Other than GTLDs, there are also country-level domain names (for example, simplercloud.sg) and International Domain Names, which are domain names responding to non-alphanumeric languages.
What are the “new” GTLDs?
The “new GTLDS” are the domain name extensions that are becoming available for registration as a result of an ICANN registration exercise two years ago. This unprecedented event allowed any organisation to apply to ICANN for approval to own and manage a domain name registry for any word in the GTLD space that they proposed.
A total of 1900 generic top-level domain name applications were received, and the final list of 1500+ approved GTLDs and their roll-out schedules was announced by ICANN in June 2013. The first approved GTLDs went up for live registration in January 2014 and there have been several new domain extensions released every month since. At this time, more than 300 new GTLDs are already live.
It will take up to 2 years for all approved GTLDs to reach public availability. This is because apart from the approval schedule,registries must introduce the GTLD to the public through a three-stage process that includes a closed stage that prioritises trademark holders for an additional fee (Sunrise), a stage that is similar to a reservation period (Landrush), and a general availability stage.
What does this mean for my business?
The new GTLD domain space is currently so underutilized that many businesses can still register strategic domains to boost online visibility, and by that token, sales.
A recent survey released in the same month the first GTLDs went live shows that almost 80% of small business web site owners still prefer a .com domain name. Ironically, this translates into tremendous first-mover advantage for business owners, as only approximately 1.5 million GTLDs have been registered so far, leaving many desirable and catchy options still available. Donuts, a new GTLD registrar, puts it best when they say that the new domain extensions are opportunities for anyone to register domains that directly “speak to who you are and what you’re all about.”
Here are three types of GTLDs that can vastly improve a business’ online presence.
Choose Short, Self-Descriptive Domains That Boost Recall and Memorability
e.g. ALANTAN.PHOTOGRAPHY *
Pick a suitable new GTLD to give your online business a catchier Internet address. Now, there are thousands.
In today’s saturated .com domain registration arena, domain names denoting industry, product or service can make simple and direct Internet addresses that enhance intuitive searches and user recall, making it easier for them to be found on the Internet. Self-descriptive domains like .car, .photography, .coffee, especially stand out to small businesses wanting to revamp their online presences in terms of exposure and memorability. They also work well for vanity addresses and marketing campaigns.
B2B businesses can also consider: .ventures, .community, .services, .solutions, .systems and many more.
“Functional” Domains like .web may work better than .com for some sites
e.g. SINGAPORECOOKS.CLUB *
Pick a functional domain extension to attract category-based Internet traffic.
Domain names denoting generic functionalities in ecommerce and the Internet, such as .web, .shop, .site, .news, .blog present changes to register shorter domain names that were previously unavailable in the .com space, making for shorter, more search-relevant, more self-descriptive Internet addresses. A first mover still has a high chance of registering HERNAME.blog if she has missed out on HERNAME.com
Examples in this category include .tips, .reviews, and many more.
Domains that infer locale can dramatically increase local business exposure
e.g. COMESEE.BERLIN / BEERHALL.BERLIN *
If you run a business that thrives on tourist traffic, get your location based domain name now.
Geographic GTLDs like .boston, or .berlin potentially enhance search engine results and increase business for users searching for localised results. These are great opportunities for tourist-driven businesses such as bars, tour agencies, food & beverage outlets, souvenir sellers, and many more. For our Asian customers, unfortunately we know of no .singapore domains, or domains based on familiar Asian cities.
The debate will continue on whether GTLDs will achieve the same level of popularity as current domain extensions such as .com, but one thing’s for sure, first mover advantage will be important.
* These domain examples are all available for registration at the time of publishing. Check your favourite domain registrar for available GTLDs to register, or check out our own registration page here.