As the internet has matured, the sheer number of relevant domains has started to dwindle. If you’ve registered a .com web address, chances are you’ve felt the pain of trying to find an applicable one-word or two-word domain that’s still available. With only about 22 generic top-level domains, the domain space was beginning to feel a bit crowded. Enter, new TLDs:
New TLDs provide novel territory for individuals and businesses who want to distinguish themselves among other websites. Some of these domain extensions have incredible utility by offering companies a more niche website or a creative take on their original TLDs.
What Are the Original TLDs
The old TLDs are the original domain extensions that are still commonly in use today. Each has a specific purpose and a certain domain space to which it is connected. A few of the most well-known examples are:
- .com – Often used for commercial businesses and individuals who are marketing themselves.
- .net – Short for “Network,” these are commonly associated with internet providers, emails, and umbrella sites that are connected to various smaller sites.
- .org – Nonprofits and charities will often use the .org domain extension. Other organizations like sports teams, community groups, and religions will often use .org.
- .edu – “Education.” Most schools, universities, and other learning centers will use this TLD.
- .gov – This is a restricted TLD used by the U.S. government. Any government site must have a .gov domain extension.
For a long time, these sorts of top-level domains were considered sufficient for covering all the subsections of the internet. But, of course, as the internet expanded, so increased the necessity for new TLDs.
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ICANN and its Role in New TLDs
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (or ICANN) is a non-profit that helps maintain the Domain Name System (or DNS). ICANN is the organization responsible for the decision to expand the internet domain space, by allowing new TLDS to operate.
Back in 2012, ICANN decided to allow businesses to apply for new top-level domains to promote growth. Some of the earliest applied TLDs included:
Since then, more than a thousand new TLDs have entered the public domain. Now the question is, which one should you choose?
6 Considerations For Choosing a New TLD
While these new TLDs are unconventional compared to the standard .com or .net, they have many benefits. Maybe you’re looking to stand out creatively from the other websites in your competitive space. Or maybe every domain idea you’ve had has already been taken. However you want to use them, new TLDs have incredible potential to boost your web presence.
- Modernized TLDs
Every so often some new technological advancement will come along that shifts the way something is done. In this case, what’s changed is the possibility of a new and innovative web address. Businesses have always evolved and by using these new TLDs, companies can stay ahead of the curve.
New TLDs — A Fresh Take
Therefore, it’s important to have perspective. Sure, right now certain traditionalists consider anything but the core group of gTLDs to be less desirable (.com, .net, .org, etc.). But as these new TLDs become more commonplace, this view is changing and having an up-to-date domain will save time. Companies who lag might later change their opinion too late and find out their desired domain has already been taken.
Of course, use this perspective with caution. How a business is perceived is always essential. Be sure to understand your audience and take them into account when registering a domain.
- Knowing Your Audience
Not all businesses are created equal. Different demographics will be attracted to different facets of a company. Marketing strategies toward senior citizens, for example, will be much different than marketing toward millennials.
Understanding your audience can help push you toward the right TLD. As a yoga center, one option is to register a .com domain extension. However, it would also be appropriate to register a .yoga TLD. This would generate authority within the yoga space. Some other new TLDs that fit a niche market are:
Each of these domain extensions hits their target market with a certain exactness.
Knowing what sort of business you run or what kind of service you are providing can help narrow down the TLD you want. The perfect domain extension indicates precisely what to expect when users stumble upon your website. Not only this, using a more specific domain extension can reduce the length of the website URL.
Some new TLDs that can help specify your web address are:
- .tech – With the increasing number of tech start-ups out there, having a .tech TLD can set your website apart from the pack.
- .design – Spice up an artist portfolio page with a .design URL. Or use this new TLD for any number of design professions like interior decorator, web designer, graphic designer, and more.
- .luxury – Fashion brands, high-end accessories, car companies, furniture, these are all services that can succeed under the .luxury domain extension.
- .restaurant – This TLD can separate your restaurant from all the other .com eateries. It allows the name of your restaurant to exist as the domain name and leave the “description” for the domain extension.
These are just a few of the numerous TLDs available on Domain.com. Each has its own space where it provides value. It’s all a matter of finding the right one and getting creative.
- Increased Creativity
With the sheer number of available TLDs nowadays, it’s possible to use them to upgrade your web address and boost it to the next level. Some examples of new creative web addresses include:
- [Your Name].cool
- [Clothing Brand].fashion
- [Cooking Site].recipes
As you can see, these are just a few examples of possible combinations. With over a thousand of these new TLDs, it’s hard to imagine not finding the perfect domain that is both creative and descriptive.
- Brand Protection
For those companies who already have their generic TLD domain name, it can be beneficial to scoop up similar TLDs that are available on the market. If a coffee business owns its brand name with the .com domain extension, they might also wish to purchase the .coffee domain extension as well.
The Necessity of Brand Protection
Unfortunately, with each new TLD, it becomes harder to protect a brand from those trying to benefit off of it.
- Brandjacking – Individuals will purchase relevant domains based around a popular website and use its popularity to drive traffic away from the intended website. An example of this would be trying to register starbucks.coffee before Starbucks does in order to exploit them or drive traffic to an opposing site. (In this case, Starbucks is a trademarked entity, so this would not be possible. It is more of a problem for smaller companies.)
- Typosquatting – Another form of brand protection that becomes harder to manage is typosquatting. This is when individuals will purchase web domains based on common misspellings of certain words. If enough traffic is driven away from the main site, companies are often forced to buy out that individual for the rights to the web address.
More companies are having to purchase additional domains despite already owning their business website.
With each additional TLD available, the domain space grows and more companies can purchase a short, memorable and descriptive web address. This is incredibly useful as almost half of all domains are registered under the .com domain extension while the next few TLDs don’t quite scratch 5% usage.
With Availability Comes Variable Pricing
Because there are so many TLDs available now, there are multiple organizations who monitor different domain extensions. This means that there is no one standard price for registering a domain name. Which is great for those domains that happen to be cheap. Others, however, can be quite expensive depending on how in-demand they are.
New TLDs vs Old gTLDs
So far, the focus has been on new TLDs, but how do they compare with the old, standard gTLDs?
- Benefits of gTLDs – Traditional TLDs are tried and true. There’s a reason .com still reigns supreme in terms of how many sites are registered each year. Having a domain extension .com, ensures a certain quality and reliability. Everybody knows and understands what’s involved when accessing a .com site.
- Downside of gTLDs – That being said, it is much harder to generate a desired web address with a gTLD. It’s then equally difficult for your website to stand out among other websites.
- Benefits of new TLDs – New TLDs are creative and fun. With new TLDs, it’s possible to express more than with the older gTLDs. The level of specificity achieved is more significant than what can be provided by standard gTLDs like .com and .net, and there are a lot more domains available.
- Downside of new TLDs – Because of how many new TLDs are being created, the demand for particular domain extensions can be significantly high. This pushes the prices up in an unpredictable way. Those who happen upon a popular TLD might end up paying considerably more than a traditional gTLD (whose prices stay relatively even throughout time).
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Registering New TLDs
With each new TLD, there is a procedure they go through before they’re available to the general public. Domain.com does offer their members to be a part of the early access group and pre-registration groups which is great for businesses and individuals seeking out highly-contested domain names.
Here are a few different methods of registering for new TLDs:
- General Availability (GA)– This is the list of new TLDs and gTLDs that are currently available to the general public. Of course, these can be purchased if no other entity has secured the domain already. You can search by domain name on Domain.com to see if the desired name is available.
- Early Access – The Early Access Period (EAP) is usually during the first week that a new TLD is available. As the week progresses, domains with this extension decrease in cost. This allows individuals and businesses to spend more in order to purchase a domain earlier. The time length generally doesn’t exceed a week.
- Pre-Registration / Priority Pre-Registration – There is another way to gain a new TLD earlier than general availability. This is by pre-registering (or paying a premium with priority). This gives users the best chance to acquire hotly-contested web addresses.
Trademarks and the Sunrise Period
The earliest possible time to register a domain under a new TLD is known as the sunrise period. This is a period of 30 days where an entity with a registered trademark can register early for a new TLD (trademarks must be registered with the Trademark Clearinghouse—an international trademark database).
By trademarking part of a business and incorporating it into the web domain, companies can further protect themselves against brandjacking.
Other Types of TLDs Available
There are some other types of top-level domains available that cover a different angle of web addresses. These include:
- ccTLDs – These are known as “country-code top-level domains.” They signify websites that are associated with a specific country. Common examples include:
- .us – United States
- .uk – United Kingdom
- .eu – Europe
- gTLDs – These are generic top-level domains. There are over twenty of these common gTLDs (.com, .net, etc.).
- sTLDs – Or “sponsored top-level domains.” Private organizations manage these, and in general, are not available to the public (.edu, .gov, etc.).
New TLDs are a fun, creative way for businesses to express their identity with the perfect website address. By sprinkling in some spice with a new domain extension, companies can upgrade their website and stand out among the countless number of sites around today.
With how many new TLDs are available, the options are starting to seem unlimited. If you’re looking to use the perfect new TLD for your web address, know that Domain.com has over 300 new TLDs from which to choose!
LinkedIn. (2017, Jan.). Brandjacking: What It Is and How to Avoid It. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/brandjacking-what-how-avoid-wink-faulkner/
Domain Name Stat. Domain name registration’s statistics. https://domainnamestat.com/
ICANN. (2011, June). ICANN Approves Historic Change to Internet’s Domain Name System | Board Votes to Launch New Generic Top-Level Domains. https://www.icann.org/news/announcement-2011-06-20-en