January 15, 2014

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Boostability Voice - The .com alternatives are here

Can they give your business the edge?

By Bart Gibby, Boostability

January 15, 2014

Wouldn’t it be cool to have .guru, .sexy, .expert, or .marketing as part of your personal or business domain?  This year, that may very well happen.  Make way for “generic top-level domains” (gTLDs).  These new top-level domains are expected to replace or work alongside existing top-level domains like .com, .net, and .org.  For a list of these new gTLD’s visit name.com/new-gtld.

So here is an example of how this could work.  If my name were James, you can bet I would be all over James.Bond—but since my name is Bart I am currently looking to “pre-register” Bart.guru from Name.com for a fee of $34.99. That’s right, some of the domains are actually up for pre-registration right now! There are various companies who can pre-register you. They buy the domain in your behalf at the going retail price.

I am also looking at Bart.expert as an alternative to Bart.guru—but this domain name is not in pre-registration yet.  I am assuming that synonymous domains will be released one after the other to maximize profit if owned by the same registrar. If they aren’t owned by the same registrar, it could be that the domains will be released in tandem to compete with the other registrars’ TLDs–with the intent of recapturing their investors’ investments back as soon possible.

gTLDs by Industry

gTLDs like .lawyer, .attorney, .legal, and .law might actually be more reasonable to purchase for your brand name than you might think. Why? Lawyer and attorney as well as law and legal are synonyms and the words in each pair can be used in place of the other. This may be also be true of pairings like .dds, .dentist, .dental, .flowers, and .florist as these could potentially have multiple gTLDs.

gTLDs like .ceo, .doctor, .realtor, and .actor may prove to be a bit more difficult to buy for popular names. For example, Christian Bale may want the domain Christian.actor and could be willing to pay a heavy price if the domain is contested (likely triggering an auction).

gTLDs by Service Area

The new gTLDs will also make it possible to buy service area domain names such as SaltLakeCity.florist and SaltLakeCity.events. Since these are gTLDs, search engines will treat all of them like they treat current gTLDs. Simply put, gTLDs like .com, .org and .info are not given any opening or initial SEO value over each other.

It is currently assumed that domains like SaltLakeCity.florist will not be given search engine credit for the word “florist” but rather only given credit for “Salt Lake City” when their domain’s contextual relevance is evaluated by the search engines.

However, the benefit of using the domain is this: searchers will now most likely start to link to the whole domain like they would any other gTLD like .com, .net, etc. In this example, the words “SaltLakeCity.florist” would be the textual anchor for the link.  In this example, each word would have value in the search engines’ algorithms.

Cybersquatting Round Two

You can bet there are going to be many people who will register and sit on CEOs full names in the .ceo or even .management gTLDs. Problems will arise as these cybersquatters sell these domains to competitors, who could use them to publish negative remarks about the individuals that they should represent.

Get gTLD Ready

If you’re a CEO, a few dollars of your own money (or even company money) spent now might save thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, stock price volatility, or needing to pay a reputation management company later. More importantly, an investment in your domains now will help you manage employee and customer confidence in your company and executives. Don’t compromise your reputation by not quickly staking a claim on your digital territory.

Ponder the following. Google is buying control of 101 gTLDs and they will most likely sell these to the public. There is no doubt that this will extend Google’s already-powerful reach. But what will Google do with the gTLDs that aren’t brand related? Will they value these domains higher in their algorithm? Would that give them an advantage, and if so, how? 

It will be exciting to see how these new gTLDs will impact the way people search.  Be the first to stake your claim on this new type of online real estate by investing in relevant gTLDs and get an edge over your competition.    

Bart Gibby has served as Boostability's Vice President of SEO since 2010. He has over 8 years experience in online marketing and SEO consulting. Prior to joining Boostability, Bart worked for Provo Labs, SEO.com, and Orange Soda as an SEO consultant or an SEO Analyst. Through his efforts he has successfully helped thousands of businesses achieve top rankings on the search engines. Bart is widely regarded by his peers as an SEO guru.



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