What’s in a name? Some Pros and Cons of new Top Level Domain Names

Just in case you aren’t aware, there’s a bunch of new TLD’s available and more are being released all the time. Examples are .systems (used on this site), .finance, .marketing, .xxx – there’s heaps of new ones. You can check out what’s available at your favourite domain name registrar. These are great, because they give us the option to brand our domain name as something more relevant to our business. There’s still lots of good names available for your new (or current) venture to get a more relevant web address.

The shortage of .com names has lead to some weird and wonderful combinations. In many cases, entrepreneurs have been naming their companies based on the domain name they can get, rather than the name they want to actually use. One very visible trend is the “…izely” fad for tech companies over the past few years. Take a noun or verb that relates to your product or service, add “…izely” to it and whammo – there’s your new business and domain name. I’m sure there’s been millions of man hours wasted by entrepreneurs when they start there venture agonising over creating a business name that they like, and is available as a domain name.

There’s a bit of land grab going on now with the new TLD’s by the domain squatters. They are quick to snap up the “good” ones, and then re-market the names for exorbitant prices in the hope that some poor schmuck will make them a bundle in a short amount of time. What’s working against them is the sheer number of TLD’s available – but they are cheap to grab so a determined operator can still make a bit of dent.

There are some drawbacks I’ve found with the brave new world of domain names.

If you are telling someone your new domain name in person or over the phone, they await with baited breath for your to add the “.com” (or .com.au here in Australia). People have been conditioned for so long to expect it that it will take some time to change.

The other main issue I’ve found is that many companies with sign-up forms on the web are stuck in the past and won’t recognise your domain name as valid. I’ve found this to be an issue with quite a few well known services such as bitly, GoToMeeting and Hootsuite. I’m sure there’s lots of others out there. That means you’ll need an alternate email address with an “old fashioned” TLD to sign up to some of these services. It’s a bummer, but until some of the established companies actually get their acts together and move with the times in supporting their entrepreneurial user base, it is what it is.

I think on the whole people will get used to the new names fairly quickly. It’s simply a process of education. Remember when we used describe web addresses verbally starting wiht “H T T P, colon, …etc.”? Didn’t take too long for people to get over that. The positives outweigh the negatives – having a memorable and easily recognisable name in most cases is a much better asset than an obscure abbreviation, acronym or modified word.

Even though Google is placing less and less importance on domain names in search results, having a relevant domain name for your business is much nicer than not.

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