In the late ‘90’s – early ‘00’s, Borland Software boasted and circulated the tagline “Go .com yourself” to advertise their web oriented software . It was a brilliant depiction of the “go go” era of booming (and dying) .com start-ups. I was so inspired by it that I wrote the company to get one of the bumper stickers they produced. I have held on to it for over 15 years as a souvenir of my early entry into the world of eCommerce and online marketing.
.com is what is called a Top Level Domain, or TLD and is one of over 20 current “generic” TLD’s that are coordinated by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). In addition, TLD’s exist for most, if not all countries to be used as designators by those individual governments. This TLD is the extension that goes at the end of a URL (web address) so that the computer request initiated through a web browser is routed correctly. The .com extension is certainly the most pervasive and while originally derived for commerce oriented sites, it is used by any, and all sites regardless of commerce activity.
Most people in the world do not give the extensions on website URL’s a second thought. Often people search for a company and click the result in the search engine results page (SERP). When people do take the time to type an address in the web address line on a browser they typically append .com as a default since so many sites are, in fact, .com sites. According to W3Techs, over 50% of all domains are .com.
Wednesday February 5, 2014 marks a very interesting day in the evolution of TLD’s. Announced a while back, and now after months of processing, a new and fresh batch of TLD’s are being rolled out to the general public. It will be a few at first with several hundred more following in the coming months. Moving past the traditional .com, .org., .net, .info, etc. will now be TLD’s like .luxury , .bike and .clothing. A company like Nordstrom could create domains like Nordstrom.luxury or Nordstrom.clothing. Essentially this gives companies another opportunity to refine branding while directing web users to more refined results….in theory.
From my perspective, this is a refinement that is not necessary. Here is the thinking –
- Domains are not as important from a SEO perspective as they were several years ago. If companies are not ranked #1 or #2, the SEO real estate is lost.
- When prior TLD’s have been released that were more generic, companies swooped in to buy them to sort of protect their turf. However, the domains themselves are never really pushed with the new TLD’s. Overstock.com tried to go to O.co and this failed miserably.
- This just creates more confusion for customers that are looking for a simpler way to shop. Now she has to wonder – If I am on the .luxury page, is this different than the .com page for this product? Am I missing an offer or other colors/sizes?
ICANN and their representatives (all those domain companies out there) are the ones that need a proliferation of new TLD’s. If a company is paying $10 per month for one domain, why not try to get them to pay for 100 domains? Don’t be oversold on something you likely do not need.
.com is, and will continue to be the de facto foundation for online properties. Everything else, as they say, is worthless.