I wrote a while back about how cities and regions especially could benefit from the new Generic Top Level Domains (gTLD) names that ICANN is in the process of ushering in.
It seems though some commercial entities intent on buying a city TLD – such as .sydney for example – in the hope of then finding businesses and organisations who want a website address that reflects their location (such as say www.disassociated.sydney) are jumping the gun somewhat by not seeking the relevant local government approval first.
However, recently we’ve noticed a trend emerging with regard to City TLDs where prospective applicants are spending time and money setting up businesses and marketing the City TLD to gather support, whilst neglecting to previously obtain the necessary approval from the relevant government authority. A giant oversight one would assume given this approval is a strict ICANN requirement.
The Dot Horse Project aims to bring about the creation of a dot-horse generic top level domain. Hmm, racing.horse anyone?
The .horse namespace will provide a safe, reliable internet community for all things equine – where anyone involved with the sport, business, or enjoyment of horses can communicate and share trusted news, information, and ideas. We feel strongly that the top-level domain “.horse” should be owned, operated and regulated by those in the horse industry – horse lovers who work closely with and truly care about the well-being, safety, and advancement of these magnificent animals.
Via Stephane Van Gelder.
A small number of corporate brand owners have expressed enthusiasm for the generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) which will be available for registration early next year, but 70% of respondents to a recent Melbourne IT survey expressed concerns as to how they will be received by their customers.
“Some of our larger corporate clients with sophisticated online brand and marketing strategies are excited about the opportunities that having their own branded top level domain name will present and are keen to start the process. At the same time, many of our clients are concerned that the new gTLDs will increase the cost and complexity associated with managing and protecting their digital brands.”
Is the practice of brands incorporating URLs in their logo pointless? A tweet by Sean Smith aka @nakedbearmedia on the subject caught my eye last week:
Likewise, I don’t think brands should use “.com” as part of their logo. It’s not 1999 where you need to tell people you are an online biz.
It makes sense. After all how hard can it be to take a company name, add a .com or in the case of an Australian business, .com.au, and – most likely – arrive at their website?
And locating a company’s website by simply adding .com to its name isn’t too difficult, thanks to the reasonably straightforward, and familiar, Top Level Domains (TLD) conventions currently in place.
Depending on the location of the enterprise we are seeking, it’s pretty easy to narrow down the URL, and appending either a .com, .com.au, .net, or .org covers off most of the options.
But what happens once generic TLDs (gTLD) start to come into use, and just about anything will go when it comes to TLDs? In addition to the familiar .com we could soon be seeing domain names ending with .lightbulb, .hamburger, .whatever.
If, for instance, you were trying to find the Kodak website would you type Kodak.com into your browser, or might that instead be Kodak.photos?
And if brands are going to start using their own gTLDs what would be one of the best ways to promote those until brand awareness is realised? By incorporating them into their logo.
So while at the moment making your brand’s logo look like a website address may be overkill, the advent of gTLDs may one day make it a necessity.
ICANN’s decision last year to allow the creation of almost any generic Top Level Domain (gTLD), or domain name suffix such as .com. or .net, stirred up more than a little controversy.
Among other things, critics felt the new system could result in a confusing combination of website addresses, while brand owners had concerns about safe guarding their identity online.
However there are instances where gTLDs could actually counteract both these concerns, despite the presence of a number of obstacles.
Let’s take real estate agents who are a part of a franchise-like operation as an example. Ray White and Raine & Horne are just two well known real estate companies in Australia with offices all over the country.
While the head offices of both companies (rightfully) own the .com or .com.au domain of their respective business name, this has left owners of offices in other locations with the task of devising a unique domain name for their operation.
The resulting domain is usually a combination of some form of the main company name together with their location. Take a look at the list of domain names that individual offices of Ray White and Raine & Horne are using to see what I mean.
For example, the domain name for the nearby Ray White office at Randwick is www.raywhiteeast.com.au, while Raine & Horne’s is www.rh.com.au/Randwick.
Neither URL is particularly intuitive however. And typing raywhiterandwick.com.au, for instance, which people sometimes do if they are searching for a company website, leads no where.
The plethora of differing URLs in use here cannot be much good for the overall branding or identity of these companies either.
This is where a gTLD of, for example, .randwick could become useful.
Were .randwick to be established as a gTLD both these real estate “branch” offices could continue to use their full company name together with the name of their suburb or locality tacked on the end, giving us www.raineandhorne.randwick for instance.
Customers wishing to locate the website of a particular real estate agent in a certain location would then only have to type the company name, appended with the office location, into a browser.
Of course as a way bringing uniformity to disparate URLs there remains, as I said earlier, a number of problems.
The hefty set up fee, currently proposed at US$185,000+ is one. Managing ownership of a gTLD that is potentially in use by competing organisations is another. Publicising the new URL structure would be another. And that’s just for starters.
In the meantime it’s easier – and probably will remain so – to let search engines do the work of finding the websites of the real estate agents we are looking for.