Changes to Web, Changes to Your Website?

“It’s happening – the biggest change to the Internet since its inception”

-Akram Atallah – president, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – Generic Domains Division

 

So What Is ‘It’ That’s Happening?

The end of the ‘.com’ era.  Well, it’s less an end than an evolution, but still, ‘it’ is a pretty big deal.  Before this big change, your website could end with one of about 22 abbreviations – the ubiquitous ‘.com’, the lesser-known cousins .’org’, ‘.net’, and the relatively new kids on the block like ‘.biz’ and ‘.tv’ among others.  What’s coming is a new set of website address endings, known formally as ‘generic top level domains’ ( and known nerdily as ‘gTLD’s) courtesy of the good people at ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) a nonprofit public benefit corporation that regulates domains on the internet. Peruse the coming gTLDs “here.”

So Why Should We Care?

The structure of the internet of today more closely resembles a swap meet conducted in a warren of blind alleys where brothels, boutiques, stock brokerages and hammock peddlers all jostle for space in the middle of the world’s largest shouting match than a well-planned virtual world. Think of the new gTLDs as street signs for the internet – organizing it better, while allowing for more growth. This could represent a huge shift in how consumers navigate the internet, and how your business finds, or is found by, those consumers.

We marketers and web professionals will soon have more than 1000 gTLDs to choose from – representing an opportunity for creativity and strategy in your marketing starting with your URL. International businesses will now be able to serve domain extensions in non-latin alphabets like Cyrillic, Arabic, Chinese, and Hindi. Your service or product category may soon have its own domain, like ‘.Florist’ or ‘.Agency’. You may to distill your message into your domain extension by getting clever with a new URL like ‘Coffee.Buzz’ or ‘RemoveMy.Tattoo’ Competition will surely be affected in new and interesting ways, and we ignore this new development at our peril.

What Are You Going To Do?

Do you see this as a subtle shift? A passing fad? A complete re-making of the world as we know it? Leave a comment with your best new domain name suggestions.