Forbes: Why, Even After A Year, There’s Still No Land Grab For New Internet Domains

Jan 22 2015

Representatives at Verisign (originally thought it was Forbes as my PR rep has the same name,) sent me over an opinion piece that was just published this morning.  I don’t necessarily agree with the piece, but I do agree it hasn’t played out exactly as the new TLD owners had expected.   Here are a few of the excerpts from Roger Kay’s piece that I found interesting.

Consumers appear to be comfortable with existing domains and remain hesitant to visit websites with non-traditional domain extensions.  In a recent study conducted by Moz, 62 percent of Americans, 53 percent of Australians, and 67 percent of marketers said they were unlikely to trust a quote from .insurance based on the domain alone.  So, it’s possible that consumers aren’t ready to place their full faith in the new domains.  In addition, industry participants have observed that, despite some claims to the contrary, the new names offer no discernible improvement in search-engine-optimization (SEO) results.

And if consumers aren’t flocking to the new domains, commercial entities have their own reasons to be wary of them.  A greatly expanded domain universe opens up a multitude of opportunities for cybersquatters to snatch up names that appear to be related to legitimate businesses.  In some cases, pages put up at these addresses are made to look like those of established websites, but are then used to steal visitors’ information, including login, password, and credit card data.  A study by World Trademark Review analyzing the top 70 of the world’s 500 most valuable brands indicated that in almost four out of five cases a private individual not associated with the brand registered at least one brand-related domain.

And as if that weren’t enough, the new domains can breed confusion through something as simple as the distinction between singular and plural names.  Not only will there be suffixes for both singular and plural word forms (e.g., .car and .cars), but also synonyms (e.g., .realestate and .realty) and different verb forms (e.g., .vote and .voting).  If a would-be customer tries to visit, but accidentally ends up at, David’s small automobile restoration business could lose a customer.

There’s also a cost aspect to this problem of prismatic domain names.  If David wishes to register, he also has to register, just to keep someone else from grabbing it and causing reputation damage or a loss of business.  And these costs include not only potentially inflated upfront costs, but also less obvious costs associated with standing up a new domain, like new letterhead, business cards, and other branded documents.

To make matters worse, Web surfers may not even be able to see some new domains, since they may be blocked for security reasons.  In some companies, internal servers are currently using names that have already become or may soon become new external domains, causing internal traffic to be directed to the outside — potentially without the user’s knowledge.  Some IT managers have begun to block these external domains out of concern for security.  The International Trademark Association recently noted that the potential for unintended misdirection increases dramatically as more new domains come onto the scene.  So, businesses considering an investment in a new domain have to contend with the possibility of having that name blocked for some proportion of their potential audience.

In contrast to the slippery territory of the new domains, the existing names are solidly established.  The .com extension has been around for almost 30 years, and every Fortune 500 company has a .com registration.  The top 50 global brands direct customers to a .com homepage.  Almost all educational institutions use a .edu suffix.  And others, like .org, clearly stand for nonprofit organizations.  People have come to rely on these familiar domains and are more than a little hesitant to incur the costs and uncertainty of venturing into new territory.  Not a single leading brand has switched its online identity to one of the new domains, despite all the hype surrounding their introduction a year ago.

Perhaps this situation will change as more branded domains come to market, but it might not, as even supporters of the new names are not as sure as they once were about their prospects.

He goes on to say stick with the old tlds which I pretty much expected.  Hard to disagree with the overall sentiment of the article but as we all know this is a long term thing.  I also know he had no interest in exploring any of the success stories like .Club and the emergence of Uniregistry as a top tier new Registry in such a short mater of time.  The other positive?  Konstantinos got a great backlink from Forbes in the article


HERE is a link to the full article

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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