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Who Really Uses New Domain Extensions?

Don’t look now but many of those swanky new domain extensions are finally available to consumers. That means along with .com and .org you can now register a site with everything from .bank to .insurance. As other top web development companies are giving their insights to clients about who really uses new domain extensions, we wanted to share our thoughts so you can decide if they are something that your business might benefit from.

What are these NDE’s?

The new domain extensions have been created as a way to help organize and expand a rather bloated aspect of the internet. Most everyone knows the original group of top-level domains: .com, .org, .net, .int, .edu, .gov, and .mil. The .mil is for military and .int is for international organizations.

For the most part the .com domain has gotten the most use with .net being the weird cousin people end up bringing to the prom when they can’t find another date.

But when you think about it, with the internet growing by leaps and bounds, it seems a bit crazy to limit things to such a small dot group. ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers spent a lot of time and effort to take applications from everyone and anyone for the new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and now we have a whopping 1205 total options.

That means you can find anything from .academy to .zone and that’s just considering A-to-Z in English. There are corporate identifiers, identifiers in Italian and other core languages, and even geographic identifiers around the globe like .tokyo or .madrid.

The full list can be found here on Wikipedia.

Why would you consider using a NDE?

In some instances there will not be a good reason at all to use a new domain extension. An existing business with a good name, branding and an established .com or .org website (or even .net) won’t need to spend the time or money launching something new.

However for new businesses or those looking to rebrand, the NDE market offers a fresh new world, somewhat free of the shackles created by the previous top-level domains.

Consider these ideas:

  • Branding for location – If your business thrives in a particular area, using a geographic indicator might be a much better choice than a .com alternative because it helps localize you more easily. For example, explains itself as a web address. There are rumblings that localized extensions could easily create online communities centered on geographical areas.
  • Branding for industry – This can be useful in many ways. For example, if your last name is somewhat common like Johnson and you are an accountant the address Rodger could be the perfect option for something simple and memorable.
  • Branding for niche – There are so many options now like .adult or .blog which can really help assign your site to a niche which can make it easier for people to find you. One aspect of new domain extensions is the expectation of adjustments to search engines where they will categorize sites in consideration of the domain extension they are using.

Are there downsides to NDE’s?

One of the more interesting aspects to these new domain extensions is that some can be very expensive. Think of it like a personalized license plate; you can have the base model or pay extra for a different color scheme and even more if you want it to say something specific.

While we haven’t price checked all 1905 options, we have found quite a few that charge $100 to $500 per year.

Another thing to be aware of is trademark infringement. Much like when people went crazy to register domains in the early days of the internet thinking companies would then need to buy them out, just using a new extension does not allow you to infringe on someone else’s trademark.

Finally, not all of the world’s technology is up to date yet with NDE’s. That means some existing software and services might not work as well or at all for the new web addresses or corresponding email addresses (yet).

What do we think?

If you have a strong brand and website then don’t fix what isn’t broken. You might consider grabbing another domain if a particular niche or localized extension would be a beneficial addition as you could simply point that domain to your existing site.

For new businesses or those looking to rebrand, follow the same protocol you normally would. If your favorite name is already taken, spend time researching who has that name, if they have a trademark and how much of an imprint they have on the internet already.

In some cases, an existing .com site can be of personal use and not much of a challenge to you if you use .food, .nyc or a .blog version. If that is the case then using a new domain extension will show people that you aren’t afraid to be unconventional and that you keep up with technological changes and advances.

The bottom line is that this is the beginning of something big. While it might take several years before the use of NDE’s really catches on, it offers the opportunity to buy some virtual real estate while the market is fresh. Right now, the people who really use new domain extensions are those bold enough to see the future and how they can make a strong impression upon it.

Be sure to check back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for great new Lounge Lizard blog articles.


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