This is a guest post by Jennie-Marie Larsen, Chief Executive Officer of DomainDiction.com
Jennie-Marie has an extensive marketing, PR & business development background in web-based products and services with years of experience launching new businesses through digital marketing and channel management. She entered the domain name industry 12 years ago as Head of Europe for NeuStar´s registry business and managed the commercial market introduction and development of their business for .BIZ, .US, and ccTLDs.
DomainDiction offers end-to-end marketing programs for new and existing TLDs.
As founder and CEO of DomainDiction, Jennie-Marie works with many of the new gTLD registries to create and develop their commercial brand and online footprint to ensure they maximize their marketing and sales opportunities, on an international basis.
Here is the guest post:
I was asked what I thought was the most bizarre question by a journalist today, and by a New Yorker at that;
“Do you think PR and marketing matter to the new TLDs? And if so, how?”
It’s their only job in my opinion. The new TLD program is largely unknown by the general Internet user, so education, demand creation and trust are the three main drivers to ensure their success. In other words, they will be pushing boulders uphill from day one. New Top Level Domains will have to actually build the demand themselves, making marketing and PR are the only cards they have to play at this stage.
The TLD industry (and this might be the first year the average person has ever heard such an industry even exists) knows precisely how much awareness and demand currently exists for new TLDs; very little indeed. But this program of close to 2000 new names will undeniably change how the Internet is used forever.
Evidence of big changes to come in the way domain names are bought and used, is the entry of major Internet real estate moguls like Google and Amazon, who currently dominate search and online shopping respectively. They are now making moves to carve out a niche within the traffic space (DNS). It’s a clever move to get your hands on that data: it tells you exactly where people go online.
Let’s not forget the opportunity new TLDs will give to smaller businesses and startups. Not only will they be able to buy precisely the name they want, but for a while, they will have the same opportunity as much larger competitors to be the first movers on brilliant domain combinations without paying the earth. Isn’t it only fair they should be made aware of this?
The average user has no idea just how often they’re already using most of the new gTLDs in their everyday internet usage. Most of the names applied for were chosen based on what keywords and word sequences were already popular online in search and existing domain names. These two things tell us precisely what’s popular online; what people look for (search) and where they go (domain names and the traffic to their sites).
The Internet is getting harder and harder to make sense of. Websites are getting denser and deeper; we’re all getting lost and distracted along the way to our original destinations. The new names are going to provide much needed indexing to find what you want more efficiently. Just type it in to the browser.
If you look at the list of new TLD’s for which applications have been submitted, (the link comes later so you don’t won´t distracted away from this page) you’ll see many new TLDs that make you think- “Why on earth would anyone want that one?”
My favorite example is .HORSE. I love horses, I know that world. My initial reaction when I saw it had been applied for was: “How bizarre. Who will buy one? And for what possible purpose?”
But spend a minute thinking about horses, or more specifically, the equestrian community. It´s a multi-billion dollar industry that spans across horse buyers, sellers and traders, equipment, properties, events, and all kinds of related industries in every country in the world, wealthy or not. There are extensive and deeply established networks online in horse communities. There’s a global ecosystem if you tie it all together; more than interested in carving out their unique space online
If I had a horse to sell, I might like to buy a .HORSE name (with my horse’s name), where all I had to do was register the name, upload a photo, enter some stats on the horse, and maybe a video. 20 minutes later, under $50, and immediately my sale site is up and published to the existing horse sale site networks. Think there might be a few people selling their horse this week? Not a bad name after all. Now apply that same logic in considering the size of other industries such as the .INVESTMENTS namespace, or .FISHING. You begin to see the wide-spread application for the most obscure sounding names because it´s obvious that a large international online community already exists for it.
New applicants know well that they are tasked with innovation and evolving the value proposition of a domain name. These names won’t do the same old things that current domain names do. They will do what is expected of them in their niche market. .GAY will make sure it contributes to the gay community- in terms of both technology networking, and the implied social responsibility .WEDDING may sell to websites geared to helping you organize your own .BOUTIQUE could be a name you buy with an inbuilt online store- complete with payment solutions and inbound marketing tools.
The new TLDs will also do big things for brands. Radical, important, and strategic things. So much so, that those brands who turned their noses up at the idea of applying for their brand as a TLD, will likely come to regret that choice later. The $185,000 fee to apply will seem like nothing when their competitors rebrand their entire online footprint with an authenticity and exclusivity only achievable through a proprietary top level domain name that only they control and use: if the site doesn’t end with .GUCCI, you are looking at a fake.
It will also be a much-needed tool to break up the miserably confusing sites in industries like travel and consumer goods. Must I really search your horror zone for support? A phone number? I look forward to just writing SUPPORT.AMAZON. For that matter, I might like to assume that IBM.SUPPORT is waiting for me when I need it. Or CNN.NEWS. The new TLDs will be the evolution of search – intuitive to the way we see websites and words on the Internet.
Seriously. “Do they need PR and marketing?”. New TLDs need to let you, the consumer, know how, when and why you should use their names. And then they should solve a few more problems for you- like what are you going call your new company, new food or fashion blog.
Of course, we may miss wacky new tech start up names like Woodledoo.com But that trend only happened because there was nothing short and sharp left in .COM.
Now you can look at the list of all the proposed new names. Try and pick your favorites. I´ll race you to it. Did you really think the Internet would never change?
This will be fun to watch.