Forbes contributor Larry Myler highlights the branding benefits of not-com domain names for companies small and large. Read on here or below.
Every business is born with a unique mission and every entrepreneur has a personal goal. As start-ups are created, one of the first key steps, and greatest challenges, is choosing a name that conveys the business’ purpose.
With that comes another key step: choosing the corresponding domain name for your company’s website. When I founded my last six startups, there were limited choices in domain name endings, the most common being ‘dot-com.’ In fact, the conventional wisdom was that you had to use ‘dot-com’ because it had more cachet and was easier to find.
Now, there are a plethora of new domain name endings giving way to a digital land grab. Words like ‘dot-coffee (.coffee), ‘dot-fitness’ (.fitness) and ‘dot-marketing (.marketing) are creating endless naming options for businesses and brands. The most recent to enter the market was ‘dot-wine’ (.wine), which became available in January 2016.
The notion of ‘dot-com’ cachet has faded into oblivion since no one looks for a website by typing in the web address any more. Instead, we type key terms or parts of the name into the search engine bar and up pops the list with our target business. I haven’t typed in ‘http://www.amazon.com’ in years. In fact, in the past three years, I bet I haven’t even gotten farther than ‘amaz’ before the link comes up for me to click.
Since we don’t need to use the standard web address suffix any more, a window of marketing opportunity has opened. You can use your web address suffix as branding.
According to Jeff Davidoff, CMO Donuts (that’s www.donuts.domains), more than 12 million “not-com” names have been registered. “We’ve seen a tremendous increase in the registration of ‘not-coms’ over that last two years,” reports Davidoff.”
Davidoff added that since January 2015, total new domain registrations have grown by 300 percent and the average monthly registration rate has tripled.
Seeing this new branding opportunity, some of the savviest marketers in pop culture have jumped on the bandwagon.
Other recognizable brands, larger more established companies and individuals that have adopted “not-com” domain names include Google GOOGL -2.77%’s new holding company ABC.xyz, world famous golfer Lee Westwood, ‘www.LeeWestwood.golf’ and Oprah Winfrey’s ‘www.WhereAreTheyNow.buzz.’ Apple, Amazon, Sony, Barclays, General Motors, Marriott, McDonalds and Taco Bell have all utilized new domain name endings in the past year.
If the big fish can capitalize, so can the small ones.
“A large number of ‘not-com’ users are entrepreneurs and small business owners looking for the perfect domain name for their startup,” says Davidoff. “We see some huge benefits in the use of a creative ‘not-com’ name: meaning, memorability, performance and availability.”
Being able to call your fitness business Best.Fitness or your dress shop Lovely.Clothing is preferable to bestfitness.com and lovelyclothing.com, right? And you don’t pay any price in SEO either. According to the Google Small Business blog, “New domain name endings are not treated any differently than traditional domain name endings.” And with so many new alternative endings, the number of possible name choices you have for your new business is enormous.
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