The Importance Of Top Level Domains To Your Brand Marketing Strategy

The Significance Of Dot Porn, Dot Sucks, And Other gTLDs When Choosing A Domain Name

DotComThe launch of hundreds of new Top Level Domains (TLDs), like .science and .win, as well as the possibility for brands to apply, albeit at considerable expense, for their own dot brand extension has made choosing a domain name more of a challenge than ever before. But, it also means greater opportunity for those with a keen eye on brand marketing research.

More Than Just A Dot Com

Once, you had to choose whether you wanted the global appearance of a .com domain or the more local appearance of a .co.uk. You also had to decide whether to pay a few pounds a year extra to buy branded domains like .info and .biz. When .mobi became available, this muddied the waters a little, but the choice was still relatively limited.

Now, however, you not only have a huge number of top level domains to choose as your primary domain address, but you have to consider whether you want to invest in brand protection by buying .sucks and .porn branded domains, and prevent cybersquatting by buying up additional top level domains. What used to take a couple of minutes on a domain registrar site now requires consideration as part of your overall brand marketing strategy.

Dot Com Domains

Despite the rise of trendy new top level domains, Dot Com still holds the major market share. According to w3techs, more than half of all websites are hosted on dot com domains.

The figures are recent, but are likely to experience considerable change when details of recent domain sales are announced, and as new TLDs become available for general sale. Also, these figures use the top 10 million websites according to Alexa rankings, so figures are also likely to change in a few months’ time when new sites on new TLDs have chance to bed in and gain traffic.

The dot com TLD was once considered an essential purchase, giving a global and professional appearance to a website. While this remains largely true, the proliferation of mobile devices and the increased popularity of some domains, as well as the sheer number of TLDs that are now available, means that potential visitors are less likely to instinctively expect a .com domain.

Local Domains

Where a local extension was once considered to be the country-specific domain for a website, e.g. a .co.uk website for businesses in the UK, it is possible to go even more local in some cases. Dot London domains, for example, can now be purchased. These could prove beneficial to local businesses, but part of the beauty of the .com TLD is that it is short and easy to remember, will this remain true when we expect visitors to use a .Lancashire TLD extension?

Dot Brand TLDs

It is even possible to buy a dot brand TLD, enabling the likes of AXA to buy a highly branded domain extension. At a cost of $180,000 plus management costs, which is roughly equivalent to £100,000, though, this really only remains an option for big businesses with a lot of money to spend on a brand marketing strategy, or on brand protection.

Prevent Cybersquatting

One brand marketing strategy that has been effectively employed when choosing a domain name is to buy a dot com domain as the primary address, and then to buy the same dot UK, dot biz, dot info, and dot net domains before redirecting these domains to the primary domain.

Redirecting a dot biz domain to your primary dot com domain will not necessarily improve your marketing, but it will prevent others from buying one of those domains and benefiting from your branding efforts. When visiting Nike.net, for example, many website visitors would believe this to be owned and managed by the Nike brand.

Prevent Negative Branding

Dot porn and dot sucks are two of the new top level domains that are now available for general registration, and there are obvious connotations attached to both.

Celebrities have started buying their own dot porn domains, not because they envisage a change in career but to protect their brand. The site can be left blank, it can redirect to another domain, or it can be used for almost any other purpose the owner sees fit, but the main point is that it prevents adult content becoming associated with the celebrity’s name.

Disgruntled clients and even former employees and business partners have long registered BrandNameSucks.com and filled it with negative press and poor reviews of a brand, and a smart brand marketing strategy is one that protects against this kind of brand attack. The dot sucks TLD has a very obvious use, and major brands have already started to buy these domains in order to protect their existing positive brand.

Buying Domains As A Brand Marketing Strategy

When conducting your brand marketing research, it is well worth considering the protection of your existing and future brand. Buy the .porn and .sucks TLD extensions for your brand name, and include a bundle of the most relevant gTLD extensions that have already launched. Reasonably, it isn’t necessary to buy all of the hundreds of new top level domains that have become available, but by buying those that are relevant to the industry you serve, the products you sell, and the services you offer, you may be able to ensure the continued integrity of your brand.

Matt Jackson

Matt Jackson is a professional content, article, and news writer with nearly 10 years' experience writing for individual websites and agencies. Enjoy high quality content for your site or follow his work at brandingmedia.co.uk.

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