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Four TLDs to Watch in 2015

Stuart Lawley

The Internet's expansion is well underway. Just three years ago, nearly every web address ended in either .com, .net, .gov, or .edu. Fast forward to today where the number of Internet suffixes, or top-level domains (TLDs), is soon to exceed one thousand. In an instant, the Internet went from overcrowded to potential overexpansion. The question brand owners are asking themselves is — which TLDs are worth claiming a web address on? And what tools are out there to help monitor domain name registrations in these new TLDs?

TLDs to watch in 2015 will generally fit into one of four categories — geographic, popular, identifiable, and utility.

Geographic domains, or geos, have received the bulk of the new domain attention. The strategy behind .nyc — a municipally run domain — has been closely watched by other cities (i.e. .berlin, .london). There is little doubt about the intuitive effectiveness on consumer awareness when it is a geographically focused domain. Seeing a site with a geographically identifiable domain gives people instant assurance that the business, products and services are relevant to the end-user's location.

Popular domains are the ones which have seen an uptake in new website activity. The domain .club, though it lacks an instantly recognizable category for web consumers, is one of the top new TLDs in terms of domain name registrations. One of the measures of a TLDs success is the number of businesses and service providers that use that TLD; domain name registrations are one of the metrics used to track that adoption by business owners.

Identifiables are the domains, which, based on the name of the TLD alone, are instantly recognizable. There is no mistaking what someone will see when visiting a site on the .porn domain. Knowing what to expect when you see a web address increases a browser's willingness to visit a website and also serves as a clear indication to end-users who are not interested in seeing the content, products or services. Few sites are as self-explanatory as .porn, and as one of Google's most searched for terms, there is little doubt .porn's popularity will create a successful TLD in 2015.

Utility domains are the TLDs which are already being used effectively. Much like the popular domains, TLDs that already have visits by consumers will continue to grow in 2015. While .tv may have begun as a country code domain and may not have initially been regarded as a TLD "success," the recent development of mlb.tv and nba.tv as the main sites for live streaming broadcasts of professional baseball and basketball games have created consumer awareness among fans, which in turn leads to greater adoption of sites in this TLD. As a result of these important "cornerstone" brands using TLDs in innovative ways, TLDs like .tv are likely to grow.

Consumer awareness of all new TLDs will get a turbo boost throughout 2015 and into 2016, when major brands launch their own TLDs and drive marketing and awareness campaigns.

Tracking new TLDs is a huge headache for brand managers! The new Domain Check Tool is free service brand managers can use to ensure timely registration of domain names in these new TLDs.

By Stuart Lawley, Chairman and CEO of ICM Registry

Related topics: Top-Level Domains


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What is the value in this new Alex Tajirian  –  Feb 05, 2015 12:36 PM PDT

What is the value in this new classification? The categories are confusingly overlapping :(

Agree with Alex on the classification of Doug Mehus  –  Feb 10, 2015 3:32 PM PDT

Agree with Alex on the classification of new gTLDs. The verbage is overly verbose and descriptions end up being confusingly similar, with little example(s). :)

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