top level domain

Does your domain name stand out from the crowd…

Don’t underestimate just how important your top-level domain can be. A .uk domain gives your customers a clear indication of where you’re based, but does it put the brakes on doing business on the international stage? A .com domain can often produce better results, as it’s seen to be a more inclusive domain indicator that psychosomatically suggests that your one-man business is actually bigger than it really is.

Now the market’s opening up even further, and four new generic top-level domains have been announced by The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann). The mysterious corporation that you probably didn’t even know existed until just then is expected to roll out the new names within weeks.

They are: شبكة, the Arabic word for “web”; the Chinese word for “game”; and the Russian words for “online” and “web site”, онлайн and сайт. However, it isn’t going to stop there and Icann hopes hundreds of new top-level domains will eventually be created for customers to choose from.

Why now?

The most logical reason isn’t just to mess with the SEO expert’s minds and send them into meltdown, but to cater for the growing number of requests for domains. Put simply, the .net, .biz and .coms are running out. So we could soon have everything from .ninja (no, really, Icann have already had a request for it) to .bbc by…well, the BBC, actually. Firms have already requested almost 2,000 new names. Google has made 101 requests, including .google and .youtube, and also had more unexpected ideas such as .and, .boo (really, Google?), .dad and .new.

It will take some time for Icann to process all of those requests, particularly where there’s a bit of a fight over who gets to own a particularly popular gTLD, such as .music, which has been requested by both Amazon and Google. The most popular domain name was .app – with 13 different companies laying claim to it.

The aim, according to Christine Willet, vice president of the gTLD program, is to “create a more inclusive internet”. But this is going to potentially lead to a scrabble of Klondike proportions for the best top-level domain names, so if you’re thinking that .ninja is going to work for you as a kick-ass (sic) SEO move, then we’d suggest that you get on to your webmaster or SEO expert straight away so that they can advise you on how to stake your claim.