ICANN has been considering opening up generic top level domains now for coming up on a decade. We’re all familiar with the common .gov, .org, .net, .biz, .us, .net, and so on. Well, regular old folks like you and I might even be able to get our hands on a domain name that’s more suited to a specific industry or business entity. ICANN has a whole website about these generic top level domains this by the way. Here you can see a list of ALL the applied for Top Level Domains. Just throw in a search for Apple and you can even download a copy of the Initial Evaluation Report from June 28, 2013 on PDF that reads “Congratulations”, I guess their money is green! ICANN has published a video of applied for generic top level domains on YouTube.
My latest adventure into researching this topic started at goDaddy.com where I was handling a domain transfer for a long time client. I noticed this Game Changer page advertising to get notifications when new generic top level domains opened up on the web so I could go snatch them up. If you’ve got a GoDaddy.com account and log-in you can have them send you notifications pretty easily when these new top level domains become available. I added quite a few to my list.
As early as 2008 I found articles that predicted all types of new top level domain name expansion lists. I would use the GoDaddy list as a reference, personally but I suppose the real question is what does that mean for businesses on the web?
There is a lot to consider when it comes to all these new top level domains opening up, a obvious marketing hurtle. It’s hard enough, if you don’t already own the “.com” version of your website to get someone to remember your web address in the first place. That’s one of the prime reasons the biggest companies shoot for brand-ablity as opposed to keyword specific names for their websites when purchasing and marketing a .com or domain name. Now there will be .auto, .autos, .car and quite a few others to be released, that’s just one industry, automotive. Competition is going to just get more stiff with domain names that are similar or have similar words in them arranged in different ways… a real reason to make your domain brandable as opposed to literal I suppose.
OK, now from an SEO perspective. What if you have a somewebsite.com that sells cars, but now your average person thinks it would be best type in somewebsite.car, keep in mind… your site is a .com.
How web search engines choose to handle this generic top level domain search functionality could have a real impact on how and if people can find websites easily. Not only that but rumors have circulated on the web that companies like Google.com are trying to snatch up common widely used top level domains to have them privately owned. I’m not just talking about a .facebook domain or a .google domain (instead of .com). We’re talking about google wanting to own .lol. Apparently they’re willing to part with a couple clams to get this done, ICANN is reported to charge $185,000 for just the proposal, they have to do quite a bit of review and research.
How will a company owning a top level domain like .lol affect the site traffic of a domain that has lol in the website name where currently many funny photo apps and Websites are top search results. Will consumers start to expect some type of Google service when the type in lol whether it’s as a top level domain or not? We just don’t know right now! But they could own it for better or worse where it concerns some of the web based companies.
So will google be able to purchase .lol? who knows! when i searched it in the ICANN domain name application registry it says there are more than one company vying to register that top level domain and even has the “Similarity Type” listed as “Direct Contention”. I hope it doesn’t come down to a pocket book, which I’m sure it will.
Enough scare tactics! It could be cool. Unless you’ve had tons of cash to shell out on a sweet, short and memorable domain name it might be likely this sounds pretty cool to you! All these new top level domains, one of which is likely to suite your business perfectly.