New Internet Domains Deadline Looms

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Ryck
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WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Ryck   4/9/2012 6:46:02 AM

Karl, the debate on the new gTLD is interesting, but has anyone looked at the impact to the average Internet user?  Maybe I'm missing something, but there is a learning curve for the user that may be a little more difficult to climb.  For example, will it be .GE or .GeneralElectric, or .Pepsi or .Pepsico.  Potentially, it may be both.  Even if we have the suffix correct, will we be bounced if the complete URL is incorrect:  diapers.P&G or diaper.P&G?  I wonder if anyone has any insights into how this will affect a user trying to go directly to a site.

KarlHakkarainen
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Ryck - there's been a lot of discussion, too much, perhaps, about how the user experience is going to work. Here are a couple of thoughts:

Google Chrome already bundles search directly into the address bar. So, typing hitachi into the address bar will bring you to a search for the most prominent domain name, be that hitachi.com or bio.hitachi (for its biomedical products).

Other browsers have tweaks and extensions that provide this same feature. I believe that we'll be seeing this more and more, such that remembering a URL will no longer be a requirement to use the web. I spend a fair amount of time training people on various computer-related topics. A significant number of people will go to Google and type facebook.com into the search box. 

So, why the new domains if it doesn't matter to end-users? There's a political discussion that I'll leave aside for now. The new TLDs provide better brand control overall, allowing companies to occupy both namespaces and mindspaces at the same time. 

By the way, Ad Age reports that Pepsi has decided to bail on .pepsi, with no reason given. They further report that Google is jumping in, Facebook is not.

tinym
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Re: WHAT'S IN A NAME?
tinym   4/9/2012 7:38:17 AM
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I agree with Karl that many users take advantage of Google search for a domain without knowing they can simply type it in the address bar. I think users will be mostly unaffected at least until they notice these new formats.

I think they're a silly idea (and overpriced) but I may be eating my words in a year or so after they become commonplace.

Mitch Wagner
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Re: WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Mitch Wagner   4/9/2012 10:57:10 AM
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I'm starting to come around to the notion that the new gTLDs are a good idea -- for companies that have large enough marketing budgets that the $180,000 pricetag is small change. If a company has thousands of domains already, this is a way to make sense of them.

I'm also interested in the plain-English non-branded gTLDs that will emerge. Might we see gTLDs like .blog and .books?

tinym
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Re: WHAT'S IN A NAME?
tinym   4/9/2012 11:07:45 AM
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I'm far less interested in the generic branded domains.  I don't know if I want to keep track of .blog .book .app.  One thing is certain with these changes, search will become really important to find exactly the right site...

Mitch Wagner
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Re: WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Mitch Wagner   4/9/2012 4:20:54 PM
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@tinym - I think the generic generic TLDs (so to speak) would be useful in a world where short, human-readable URLs are important: In social networks, email signatures, and newspapers and magazines. 

I was actually thinking about this in regard to my own personal site. I have mitchwagner.com as a business-card site; it has a bit of biographical information, links to The CMO Site and my social media. 

Maybe one day somebody will start registering common last names as gTLDs. Then (if I move faster than the other Mitch Wagners) I could be just mitch.wagner on the Internet. That would be more elegant than mitchwagner.com. 

I have an infrequently updated personal blog. Now it's at mitchwagner.com/blog. mitchwagner.blog would be more elegant. 

Similarly, I sell ebooks (well, one ebook so far). Right now it's at mitchwagner.com/books, but mitchwagner.books would, again, be a bit more elegant. 

These are small changes. But that .com suffix is basically four wasted characters; anything that can be done to actually make the TLD even minimally useful is a step forward. 

I have not yet thought this through to how generic generic TLDs would apply to large brands. 

One problem to be faced: Previous recent attempts at gTLDs, like .info, have become disreputable. How to avoid the same problem with the new batch. 

smkinoshita
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Re: WHAT'S IN A NAME?
smkinoshita   4/10/2012 10:41:58 AM
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@tinym - I think the generic generic TLDs (so to speak) would be useful in a world where short, human-readable URLs are important: In social networks, email signatures, and newspapers and magazines.

To counter-point:

Mobile has many other options to skip past the URL; check-ins with links and QR codes (which takes the user to a mobile version of the site, even better!).

Email signatures have no need for special URL's as they're either hyper-links or a simple matter of copy-and-paste.

Newspapers and magazines needn't concern themselves much with the URL either as it's simply a matter of punching the subject or key words into a search engine.

We have so many other options available, the new domains just seem a waste of money.


sohaibmasood
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Re: WHAT'S IN A NAME?
sohaibmasood   4/10/2012 2:39:24 PM
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@Mitch: Generic TLD's seem to be much more appealing but wouldn't they limit use?For example, like you mentioned using mitch.wagner as your domain. What would another person who goes by the same name do if he wanted to register a domain? Currently, he has the option to opt for other suffixes while keeping the first part constant. 

I don't that will be available later. I wouldn't want my domain to be read as sohaib.masood123 etc.  

Mitch Wagner
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Re: WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Mitch Wagner   4/10/2012 4:19:13 PM
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@sohaibmasood - Generic TLD's seem to be much more appealing but wouldn't they limit use?For example, like you mentioned using mitch.wagner as your domain. What would another person who goes by the same name do if he wanted to register a domain? Currently, he has the option to opt for other suffixes while keeping the first part constant. 

"Mitch Wagner" is a relatively uncommon name, but there is another one not too far from me. He's a prominent lawyer. I'm sure he's not my biggest fan after I grabbed the mitchwagner.com domain and all the Google juice on the name as well. 

I frequently see other Mitch Wagners pop up in my Google Alerts vanity search. I wondered for a while why they were all athletes (when I am so very not) but then I concluded it's because high school athletics is the most likely opportunity most people have to achieve fame. 

infinity
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Re: WHAT'S IN A NAME?
infinity   4/10/2012 4:31:08 PM
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I understand the desire to roll out new TLDs every few years, and in some cases, the new TLDs are quite useful: the .xxx extension debate that's been going on for years, for instance -- there's no doubt that .xxx would indicate exactly what is going on with a particular site so the consumer will not be confused before clicking on something they may or may not want to see. On the other hand, many .tlds that have rolled out in recent years have been used for anything but their intended purposes, such as the .us extension which is largely ignored by the big boys, other than for sites such as delicio.us. I could go on and on: .cc, .ws (arguably one of the most ignored extensions), and various other country domains which hardly anyone uses, at least in English-speaking countries. And that could be a good thing.

Sure, it may be nice to have an extension that matches what your brand is about (ourbrandfood.organic, for instance), but at the end of the day, is it really better than a .com or whatever extension is currently used for your business? Is it worth the megabucks it could potentially cost to secure the best of the best vanity tlds? Are new TLDs really worth megabucks?

Everyone thought .mobi was going to be the next big thing 5 or so years ago, and bidding wars went into place to secure good .mobis when they was launched. Most of those .mobis were dumped within a couple years. 

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