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Branding with New gTLDs: The Next Marketing Frontier

Annalisa Roger

New gTLDs can be an efficient way to immediately propel a registrant's online relevance and profitability. Registrants are the companies, organizations and individuals who seek to better utilize the Internet to reach their goals. Marketing Professionals acting on their behalf should understand that protection mechanisms for new gTLDs have been created by ICANN, the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers. New gTLDs are powerful and inexpensive marketing tools that have improved measures of online stability and security, give relevancy to the registrant within the market sector, and are desirable to a new generation of Internet users.

The following 4 protection mechanisms have been implemented by ICANN to improve security and stability in new gTLDs:

  1. Domain Name System Security Extensions, DNSSEC, extension is implemented by all new gTLDs, and reduces the risk of phishing and fraud,
  2. Uniform Rapid Suspension, URS, system is a quick and low-cost process for infringement on intellectual property rights,
  3. TradeMark Clearance House, TMCH, and Sunrise Phase for new gTLD launches limits cybersquatting with priority registration.
  4. Emergency Back End Registry Operator, EBERO, recovery program renders the concept of failed new gTLD business models irrelevant to ongoing stability. Should ICANN need to, the registrant's domain names would be transferred along with the entire TLD to a new registry without affecting registrants. When it comes to investing in online branding with a new gTLD, there should not be a concern of stability or vanishing TLDs. Brands and registrants now have viable and exciting options in an improving Internet marketplace.

With the added benefits of ICANN's security and stability policies in place, the online brand strategy game is significantly changing. Registrants who look beyond defensive registrations can redefine themselves in parallel strategies by aligning their brand with new gTLDs. With skilled marketing expertise, research and multiple options, it is possible to leap ahead of the competition in reaching a larger customer base. New gTLDs are well suited to speak to your audience, further define your business in a secure online environment, and grow your market share.

Reaching your market involves Search Engine Optimization, SEO, an important component to online marketing, and the function of a domain name. Search engines are now updating their famous search algorithms to include new gTLDs when bringing up relevant content for the Internet user. An important distinction to understand is new gTLDs don't have to be favored to affect search ranking. As long as they are included, new gTLDs can make a difference among other criteria, such as relevant content.

Compared to an advertising campaign, the low cost of branding with a domain name that focuses on a particular target market can highlight your company's mission and, combined with relevant content, place you in an SEO ranking that can have a wide reaching and positive effect for your online product or business.

The world's largest advertising agencies and the most cutting edge businesses, as well as the world's leading brands, serve their customers by locating themselves in the minds of people with informative descriptors. Marketing with photos and taglines is effective, but being able to also do this with diverse new Top Level Domain name extensions is new. Staking out new Internet property with a new gTLD is akin to joining a community, an industry market sector, or a geographically or otherwise focused audience for your business.

For new gTLDs that designate a community, the benefits to registrants are compounded. Community TLDs bring added values. Trust and loyalty come into play when brands align with the beliefs and goals of a targeted audience. Not all new gTLDs represent communities however, but those that do can offer brands a unique value proposition. The opportunity to co-brand with a community, provided the content is relevant, can lead to the valuable position of becoming a recognized member of the community. People in communities recommend trusted brands as resources to their peer-2-peer networks.

Whether you're associating with an industry sector TLD, a geographic TLD, community TLD, or other new gTLD, there is no simpler or less expensive way to achieve your online business goals and reach a focused market than by adopting a plan of action around branding and advertising with strategic and memorable domain names. Names that are meaningful, trusted and relevant become brands in themselves and are names people use. Marketing is evolving to keep up with the demand of new Internet users and the way this generation interacts with brands.

ICANN, the governing body of the Internet, has put into place multiple key safety nets in order to stabilize this new and innovative direction the Internet is taking. A new landrush has opened to billions of people. Some big branding opportunities have arrived. The most exciting and most desirable domain names in Internet addressing are being claimed. Marketers, advertising agencies and registrants would do well to conduct their own studies (beyond defensive thinking) with regards to the availability and options relevant to their companies, products, events and markets to get an early start on branding with available new gTLDs.

By Annalisa Roger, CEO of DotGreen Community, Inc The .green initiative represents Roger's vision for the first Top Level Domain for social responsibility. You can follow her on Twitter @AnnalisaRogerVisit Page
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Source Jean Guillon  –  Jan 15, 2015 12:35 PM PDT

Hello Annalisa and thank you for this great article.

Do you have a specific source for this: "As long as they are included, new gTLDs can make a difference among other criteria, such as relevant content"?

Thank you?

Source Annalisa Roger  –  Jan 15, 2015 10:29 PM PDT

Hi Jean,
Thank you for the support, and I appreciate your question. I have enjoyed reading your posts as well.  Below is my response.

I stated in my article, ”An important distinction to understand is new gTLDs don't have to be favored to affect search ranking. As long as they are included, new gTLDs can make a difference among other criteria…”

Matt Cutts said, “Google will attempt to rank new TLDs appropriately,...” verifying that new gTLDs will be included in rank.  He also said, “… but I don't expect a new TLD to get any kind of initial preference over .com.” (Matt Cutts shared publically on his Google Plus page on March 14, 2012)

My point is that new gTLDs do not have to get favored over non-word TLDs to be included in rank - and by being included in rank, they can make a difference in SEO.

Please note, my position doesn’t assume anything about their performance in relation to .com.  However, I will make this observation along these two points 1. web crawlers seek words in domain names for relevance, and 2. most new gTLDs are words to the right of the dot.  If 1 and 2 are true, and if Google ranks new gTLDs at Cutts has said, then new gTLDs do not need to be favored over former non-word TLDs in order to be relevant in searches.

Roland LaPlante’s recent blog on SEO performance talks about coffee.club, which currently ranks on the first page of a Google search for “coffee club.” I won’t profess to know all the reasons why coffee.club ranks 5th (good) in a Google search, however, this domain name is a great example of two words existing to the right and left of the dot. This is exciting and new; both words are relevant to that domain name, and ideally so is its content. .club is relevant because it’s a word in a domain name. Therefore as a new gTLD, I would say it is included not favored in search.

Marketing professionals and their clients have long chosen domain names because of word relevance - and now they can also choose new gTLDs because of word relevance. New gTLDs that are words can be a win-win situation.

Thanks Jean Guillon  –  Jan 18, 2015 10:11 AM PDT

+1

Annalisa,I can understand why the industry ignores Alex Tajirian  –  Jan 16, 2015 10:20 AM PDT

Annalisa,

I can understand why the industry ignores critical and empirical posts, but why do you ignore a broader perspective of new gTLDs, especially when related to your .Green? See, for example, http://bit.ly/1G6kzT1.

coffee.club and ranking Christopher Hofman Laursen  –  Jan 17, 2015 2:45 PM PDT

"won’t profess to know all the reasons why coffee.club ranks 5th (good) in a Google search,"

It's actually very interesting, as it looks like Google reads coffee.club as coffee club. For further reading I just an analysis of this on our blog.

Similar analysis with .MUSEUM domains Jean Guillon  –  Jan 18, 2015 10:14 AM PDT

I came to the same conclusions with similar .MUSEUM domain names checks. On many cases, Google says it makes no difference but results demonstrate to opposite.

Google ranking Christopher Hofman Laursen  –  Jan 18, 2015 10:41 AM PDT

Google will always deny such rumours whether true or false. They want relevant results, not someone gaming the system. Imo the coffee.club example leaves no doubt about that domain names with a .keyword have influence on ranking

New gTLD's Can Add Clarity Max Menius  –  Jan 20, 2015 11:52 AM PDT

Not enough is being said about how new gTLD's add a greater level of clarity & specificity to the internet domain name system. While I think too many new tld's were released too quickly, that becomes a minor point when contrasted with the overarching benefits of having something like .business, .condos, or .loans available as the new paradigm. Moving away from non-intuitive abbreviations to full words makes sense on several levels.

Aligning brands and industry specialty with a matching internet address is not a new wrinkle. But this new wrinkle takes internet marketing to a much higher level in my opinion. I recently exchanged email with the buyer of Miami.condos. To own & brand with a domain name like this is self-explanatory.

~ Max (http://brands.business)

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