Flood of New TLDs Continues

Stephen Yagielowicz

LOS ANGELES — Numerous new top-level domains are making waves in the world of content branding and discovery by providing a more globally accessible alternative to traditional .com website addresses.

Whether because their company name or concept theme is unavailable as a .com, or because they need a non-English or non-Latin character name (such as Cyrillic characters for targeting the Russian market — as well as their counterparts in Arabic, Chinese or other languages), online marketers and merchants are adopting a fast-growing range of new, topical and internationalized top level domain designations.

For an idea of the scope of this TLD onslaught, popular domain registrar GoDaddy.com lists more than 1,000 TLD options. The company notes that Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) in particular, allow merchants to market their products in the native language of each of the countries where they are doing business, while strengthening their brand’s global recognition through registering their domain names in different character scripts.

Among the most popular of the new extensions are financial services terms, such as .investments, .cash and .tax. Also popular are a range of new city name extensions, such as .london, .nyc, .vegas, .yokohama and more, with the global branding opportunities of these new identifiers being nearly limitless (and will only increase in the future as new domain options continue to come to market).

Adult entertainment professionals even have their own TLD options in .xxx and .sex, soon to be joined by .adult and .porn — providing much clearer signals as to a site’s content than does a more generic TLD — such as .guru or .net.

This can aid in content discovery, which is becoming more important as ongoing algorithmic changes at search engines such as Google, upset online adult marketing’s status quo.

Less “adult” specific, but perhaps holding some appeal to porn promoters, are names such as .gallery, .pictures, .reviews, .singles, .webcam and more, with the marketer’s creativity and knowledge being the limiting factor in choosing an effective domain name.

That knowledge should not be taken for granted, however, as XBIZ recently reported that Americans were the least informed major market when it comes to new TLD availability: falling behind their peers in China, Germany and the U.K., when it came to awareness of these fledgling options.

While those fortunate enough to have a good dot-com will be well advised to maintain it, the lack of this valuable asset is no longer the hindrance to commerce that it once was — especially as consumers are educated to not just append a .com to any name given to them.

For example, telling less experienced surfers (the kind that may be most likely to pay for porn) that your site’s URL is “porn.pictures” may indeed result in their typing in “porn.pictures.com” into their browser’s address bar — a situation that time, and the launch of more new TLDs, will (pardon the pun) “address.”