Running a business where I purchase domain names (and set up web hosting) on behalf of my clients, I’ve had quite a few emails from domain name registrars trying to market the new tranch of Top Level Domains (TLDs). I must admit that I’ve been far too busy to really take much notice of these new TLDs.
For the record, my personal portfolio consists of plenty of .COMs and a lot of .CO.UKs with the odd .NET, .ORG and .ORG.UK and my professional clients are the same.
I will admit I am the owner of some .CO.UK and .COM domains which I registered many years ago and have done very little with other than have a holding page or a modest website. However, some 18 months ago I received a very serious call from a potential buyer of a set of domains in my ownership.
I considered selling the domain names but decided against doing so because I still have very real ambitions for these domains. The enquirer was very gracious, understood and respected my position and then set up a new website under some very different names. I like what he’s done and I think he’ll be very successful. For the keyword term the domain was set up for I’ve already seen him ranking #1 in the Google SERPs so I think he has already achieved one of his aims and now all I have to do is compete head-to-head with his project in the future.
But I digress… In an already crowded marketplace, the alternative to owning a .CO.UK, .COM, .NET, .ORG etc is to either find some alternative spelling of the domain name you are looking for or to find a completely different TLD. This is where the problem lies – there is still much prestige in early TLDs and, in my own personal and professional opinion, .COM and .CO.UK still rule. The .NET is a TLD I still believe should be used for tech/IT sites and I’ve used .ORGs and .ORG.UKs for social organisations.
That doesn’t leave much and the last round of TLD releases were hardly inspiring to an old school techie like me either. The .INFO and .BIZ domains were used for spammy websites such as the “Made for Adsense” websites that plagued the rankings a few years ago. Besides, .BIZ is to business as Baz is to then name Barry or Gaz to Gary. Enough said.
However, some of this latest wave of TLDs are a bit strange. ICANN released a raft of 27 new TLDs in February and amongst them the .bike, .camera, .clothing, .graphics et al have their uses. The weird ones are .diamonds and .sexy plus there’s the .guru domain which I find slightly obnoxious. I’d wager that the success (or not) of the .guru domain will act as a testbed for the next wave of .evangelist, .ninja and .rockstar domain names.
Another minor issue with these new top level domains is their string length compared to the traditional extensions: .photography is 11 characters and if Paul Mackenzie Ross owned one of those you know he’d be doing a lot of typing.
So with .construciton, .contractors, .directory, .enterprises, .equipment, .estate, .gallery, .kitchen, .land, .lighting, .plumbing, .singles, .tattoo, .technology, .tips, .today, .ventures and .voyage, those are the new TLDs for February. And if that’s not enough we’ll see .academy, .builders, .cab, .careers, .centre, .ceo, .company, .computer, .domains and a few others released in March.
And my prediction is that, once these are snapped up, which I can’t see because they are too specific and narrow a beam, I’d say that we’ll one day get the TLD of your choice and that anything will go. Who’s up for a .ross domain name?
As I said, personally and professionally, I’m still a big fan of .COM and .CO.UK and I shall be continuing to advise my clients to be imaginative with their choice of TLDs. Also, anecdotally, I don’t see so many unusual TLDs ranking particularly well, but I could be wrong.
So, what do you think? Will the new TLDs take off? Will they be a flop? Are they just for spammers? Will they rank as well as other TLDs?