Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ll no doubt be aware that we have a whole host of new domain extensions to salivate over. The general consensus is that they’re good for the user but bad for the money-grabbing profiteers who like to make domain trading their business.
Stuck In A Rut
Up until recent times, we’ve been stuck with our regular country code domains such as .co.uk for the United Kingdom and the usual TLDs such as .com, .net and .org – couple that with the release of .biz, .info and .co in recent years you would think that the consumer would have enough to choose from when it came to domain names. Obviously someone out there thought differently as we now have a wealth of domain names to choose from and say what you will about the new extensions but they’re obviously gaining some popularity – even if overall the .com is still winning out as the primary extension. So which way will they go? Will we see hundreds of extensions in our search results or will they go the same way as .biz and die as quickly as they were released. Time will tell but for now, they’re the next big thing so they’re definitely worth looking into.
Are the new GTLD’s REALLY needed?
Some may argue that these extensions were not needed, at all. Some will argue that they’re a godsend or the best thing since sliced bread (these people tend to be those who couldn’t acquire their .com). Primarily you’ll hear that they’re the devil in disguise from domainers who are sitting on large portfolios of .com or .co.uk that they’re looking to sell or you’ll hear from the other side who think it’s fantastic that they can now register a domain containing their business name without getting extorted on Sedo http://www.sedo.com by a domain name investor who bought their business name as a punt 10 years ago and is now looking to make their £100 of renewal fees back.
The major issue when it comes to the consumer is the lack of availability in the .com arena. If you come up with any new company name or even search for your existing company name on the .com WHOIS database you’ll find that 99/100 times it will be already registered by someone else. The same can be said for most of the major countries specific extensions such as the United Kingdom and their .co.uk / .uk suffix. If someone has registered the domain in .com you’ll no doubt find it’s taken in .co.uk also. Particularly if your business name is somewhat generic.
So let’s take a look at some of the domains. You could argue that a LOT of them are borderline useless when it comes to business usage. No business is going to want to brand on a .ninja for example but if you’re a florist then having yourbrand.florist is a good fit or if you’re a clothing store having yourbrand.fashion may also work well. Whatever your business you can no doubt find an extension to suit but the question will always remain, is it really a better choice than the .com? Or will people see it as a poor alternative. It seems like whoever has come up with the options for the nGTLD’s has really done their homework and has tried to encompass every industry, every sector and made domain extensions available to them.
The Pricing Structure
So let’s look at the price structure. Regular domains such as .com/.net/.org have not been effected price wise by the new GTLD’s and the registration numbers are better than ever. Some example pricing from a typical web hosting and domain registration company can be found here – they’ll quoting between £4.99 for .co.uk and £11.99 which is reasonable. What strikes me the most is that the .co is significantly more expensive to buy than the .com. I mean sure it’s shorter but there is no doubt it is definitely a lesser extension than the .com. The new GTLD’s are also priced quite highly in comparison. This frustrates me as it’s obviously profiteering of the highest order as they’re obviously lesser domains than the .com but they’re more expensive. There is a simple explanation for this and it’s called supply and demand. They know the .com namespace is heavily saturated and the likelihood of a company being able to register their company name in .com has a chance of slim to none. And all that is assuming you can get one of the new extensions at registration fee. The domain aftermarket proprietors have not sat idly by and let the market slip away from them. They’ve registered domains themselves in abundance so any keyword or generic product/service domain you’re looking to acquire, even on the new extensions have been snapped up already. Especially the .expert extension and the range of financial service extensions.
There are also more generic options that came through with the wave of nGTLD’s but given the virtual death of .co, .info and .biz you have to assume that the success of these new extensions will be limited.
Some tout the introduction of the new GTLD’s into the public arena as the virtual death of the .com domain extension but if anything it’s helped solidify it as the primary extension and ultimately the first choice option. So with all that said it’s going to come down to ultimately two choices. Do you want the best possible domain extension (.com) and are you prepared to dig deeply into your pockets to acquire it or will you settle for a lesser, cheaper extension in the form of the new GTLD’s. The jury is most certainly out on what will win out overall but given the sheer amount of new registrations day to day and the limited amounts of availability the .com aftermarket has never been stronger.
You can find a full list of all of the new fangled domain extensions here along with an example of what they can be used for and their operating registrar.
It is worth pointing out that some specific registrars are seizing the opportunity to make money from their customers by using the influx of new domain names as a way to make a quick buck. If you do want to bite the bullet and purchase some options in the new namespace then be sure to shop around. Domain registration is a competitive business and the price between vendors reflects that.