Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Domain Name Extensions Can Tell Your Story

If you have a website or blog, you probably took some time to carefully select a domain name for it. After all, this is your address on the web, so it should be something that lets the browser know what it’s about. 

Once that creative endeavor is completed, it’s easy to accept the usual .COM, .NET or .ORG extension that goes at the end. After all, these generic top-level domain (TLD) names give information about the business; .COM is for a commercial entity (Originally intended for a for-profit company.), .ORG is for an organization (It was originally intended to designate a non-profit.), .NET stands for network, .BIZ is for business, .EDU stands for education, .MIL is for the military, and .GOV designates government sites.

If you wanted to really stand out, you could have selected an extension for the country you're in since each country in the world has its own specific TLD. (The United States is .US, Australia has .AU, and Spain has .ES.)

But now you can get a bit more creative with your domain name by varying up the extension and using it to promote what you’re all about. Industry-specific website endings are becoming available!

This year, the wine industry jumped on-board with the website endings of .WINE and .VIN. According to Donuts Inc., (Donuts.Domains) the largest registry for new “not-com” domain names, these industry-specific domains “provide a more descriptive and creative means for domain owners to brand their businesses, products and services.

The advantages of using a .WINE or .VIN extension are many. First, wine consumers can type it in to locate anything related to wine: wine shops, wineries, vintners, wine growers, grapes, wine reviews, wine events, even wine classes. (Suggestions for usage include: WhereToBuy.WINE, Champagne.VIN, and USA.WINE.)

The new designations also give wineries, and others in the industry, a simple way to reinforce their branding right in their domain name. That’s something .NET, .BIZ and .COM just can’t do.

According to Donuts, Inc. co-founder and CEO Paul Stahura, “.WINE and .VIN will enable wine connoisseurs and the businesses that serve them to build identities and vibrant communities where commerce and ideas can flow freely.

Business-specific TLDs are currently available for 28 industries including agriculture, construction, consulting, food, automotive, and retail. Be on the look out for not-coms like these: .RESTAURANT, .HEALTHCARE, .TECHNOLOGY, .AUTO, and .LIFE.

This doesn’t signal the end of .COMS; nearly 60% of Donuts, Inc. registered names still have the corresponding .COM address. But renewals for them are starting to wane. Certain not-coms have been available since 2014, and of those, renewal rates for industry-specific TLDs are 40% high than renewals for legacy .COMS.

Only time will tell if this is a fad, but businesses around the world are switching from not-coms to industry-specific TLDs in order to make their businesses more memorable, and meaningful to their clients.

~ Joy