New Top Level Domains (TLDs)
In 2013 and 2014, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) delegated more than 400 new top-level domain extensions. These are Top-level domain extensions which function similar to the .com, .net and .org domains you’re already familiar with, but these new extensions have much more varied and descriptive terms such as .club, .energy, .band and .science.
You may have received spam email inviting you to register a domain under one of these extensions. But at Alpine, we believe that registering a top-level domain other than .com is a pointless, frustrating exercise that offers very little value to most businesses.
It might seem wise to register the same domain name under many different extensions. There are arguments for “defending” your brand against other, less-reputable companies registering under your name and stealing your identity.
However, this strategy may be futile. First, are you willing to secure and maintain mybusiness.art, mybusiness.auto and the other, current 400 variants? What about when there are 800? 1000? At $10 each, it would cost $4,000 per year… Cost prohibitive.
One of the pioneers in domain name law, PepsiCo aggressively asserts ownership of related domain names to maintain their brand. They have sued for control over pepsicola.com, pepsibillions.com, and pepsi.biz. But as of this writing, they do not currently own pepsi.work, pepsi.ads, or even pepsi.energy.
PepsiCo. has adequately demonstrated that our existing legal framework is more than sufficient to address brand identity theft.
Multiple domains can be counterproductive also from a search engine optimization standpoint. To a search engine, multiple active domains results in the same content on different, multiple websites. Consider mybusiness.com and mybusiness.pharmacy… two domain names, two sites, same content.
Search engines such as Google may see this as a spammer’s tactic and apply a duplicate content penalty.
Internet users are unfamiliar with new top-level domain extensions. After years of conditioning, most people are unaccustomed to typing anything other than “.com” when they want to visit a website. This is why you rarely see television and radio stations using .tv and .fm domains; doing so would result in decreased traffic.
An example, the Internet retailer Overstock.com was rebranded with the much shorter domain O.co in 2010. By 2011, the venture was deemed a failure because too many consumers had attempted to visit the new website by typing “O.com” rather than “O.co.”
The O.co domain turned out to be a costly mistake; don’t repeat it.
The Internet of Things
Although you may be able to access a non-dotcom domain name using a browser on a desktop computer, people access online services using a wide variety of applications and devices.
These other applications may not be fully compatible with the latest top-level domain extensions and may include email clients, mobile phone browsers, firewalls, spam filters. More and more, browsers are embedded in consumer devices such as refrigerators, cars, and exercise machines.
If you register a domain using a new top-level extension, some of these applications will be unable to access your website at all.
To sum up, we would suggest that a dotcom domain is simple, familiar, and most compatible with the future.
Alternate TLDs come with a built-in branding issue. Unless carefully taught otherwise, most consumers will assume dotcom.
Dotcom domains remain the best choice for your business, even with hundreds of other domain extensions are available. The new top-level domain extensions do not provide enough usable value for a typical business website.