We are all familiar with domains that end in “.com”. Did you know that hundreds of new extensions are coming this year room for billions of new domains?
What are those extensions called anyways?
The com in the .com part of a domain is known as a Top-Level Domain (TLD). Just like how your website uses name servers to create prefixes like “www.” and “m.” someone else has to add your domain to the corresponding TLD. The Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is in charge of governing these TLDs. Recently ICANN began the process of approving up to 1,400 new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD). For those curious, CNN Money has the complete list of proposed gTLDs.
So why are they making extensions for new domains?
Plain and simple it comes down to better branding.
Some of these new domain extensions are trademarks used by large brands. These large brands are only going to create new domains for themselves. You can’t get your own site that ends in “.google” or “.ford”. I would argue that these truly aren’t generic TLDs, but ICANN does not seem to care.
The new extensions that you can register for are actually very helpful for brands and consumers alike. They help reduce ambiguity. No one will confuse java.software for java.coffee or DrJ.dentist for DrJ.basketball.
Many domain registers are allowing you to pre-register for new domains on the available gTLDs. Pre-registering does not mean you automatically get the domain. If multiple entities pre-register for a domain than it goes up to private auction. This is similar to bidding on expired domains.
Now of course just because you’ve bought a new domain using a gTLD does not mean you need to make that your primary domain. You can simply set up the domain to forward old requests to your old site. Or you can forward your old site to one on the new domain. You can treat it just like any other type of domain. As with any new domain, for SEO reasons just must send a permanent redirect for all requests of the old site to the new domain. You will need to do this so that your site doesn’t lose any ranking.
Personally, I would definitely recommend registering domains for any of the new gTLDs that make sense for your business. If one of the new gTLDs is for a word in your domain then you definitely should register it. If it’s the last word then you’re lucky because you can actually shorten your web address.
Whether you use that as your main web address or not is up to you. But hold off on making that your primary email address. I have a feeling a lot of web forms out there that will report that addresses using these extensions are invalid. I highly doubt any email program like Outlook or Thunderbird will have problems with these domains. Webmail sites like Gmail and Yahoo aren’t going to have a problem either. But generic web forms will cause a little headache until websites adapt. Don’t cause yourself the grief.
Will you be registering new domains for any of the gTLDs? Will you make any of them your primary domain? Let us know your thoughts.