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Follow the (domain) dots: Jeff Sass guides us through the new internet names

No matter what business you're in, you need a website. If you're like me, and most of our Kidscreen world, your website probably ends in dot com, dot org or dot edu. Jeff Sass, chief marketing officer of .Club Domains, a company formed to own and operate the new ".CLUB" gTLD, says this is all about to change.
April 30, 2014

No matter what business you’re in, you need a website. If you’re like me, and most of our Kidscreen world, your website probably ends in dot com, dot org or dot edu. Jeff Sass, chief marketing officer of .Club Domains, a company formed to own and operate the new “.CLUB” gTLD,  says this is all about to change.

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which is the regulatory body for the Internet namespace, has opened the door for hundreds of new domain name extensions to be introduced.  The domain extension, also known as a top level domain (TLD), is the word or characters to the right of the dot.  Com, biz, org, net, info, edu are all top level domains that we ‘re familiar with.  There are also country code top level domains such as .us (United States), .uk (United Kingdom), .co (Columbia), etc.  What’s exciting, says Sass, is now there are nearly 1,000 new domain extensions being introduced that not only include brand names like .ABC and .FOX but also include generic top level domains (gTLDs) with terms like .club, .guru, .photography, .dance and even .toy.

What does this mean for businesses, clients and marketers?  While .com certainly has been the “default” domain name of choice, it’s been increasingly difficult to get the .com name you’re looking for, says Sass.  Furthermore, that extension doesn’t necessarily identify or clarify what someone will find when they visit a website.  After all, most people don’t even know what .com stands for (“commerce,” by the way). These new domain extensions can now give true meaning to a web address, and there will be far more opportunities to find and secure the perfect domain name for a business, person, product or campaign.

With meaningful extensions, new domain names can be easy to remember and thus better choices for marketing and promotion.  For example, instead of club.princess.com the brand could use the shorter and more natural sounding princess.club. Want to have your product stand out in search results and elsewhere?  Perhaps a productname.toy web address will be ideal.  Domain names that follow natural language are also easy to remember.  Domain names that put meaning on both sides of the dot can be shorter and more to the point (think JohnDoe.Photography vs. JohnDoePhotography.com).

Does this mean you should think about giving up your current domain name and start all over? Not so fast, cautions Sass. The introduction of new domain extensions is an opportunity to create a strategy that includes multiple domain names to make it easier for searchers to find you.  For example, use YourName.club to point to a fan page in addition to the existing .com page you’ve been promoting up until now.

“The next chapter in the Internet domain name story is being told right now, and smart, creative marketers will find smart, creative ways to use the new domains,” predicts Sass.  It may take a little time, but just as in the early .com days, once brands start using brand.whatever (or whatever.brand), the Internet name space will be changed forever.

Would love to hear your opinions at wendy@sandboxsummit.org.

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