With the introduction of over 100 new gTLDs (general top level domains) completing their sunrise periods over the next 12 months, the doors are slowly opening for anyone to start purchasing potentially valuable domains. For businesses these purchases are often overlooked as it’s difficult to justify in terms of a business case. But should SMEs be paying more attention to the early opportunity to secure alternative URLs?
Protect your brand from competitors and malicious domain sitting
One of the primary reasons that businesses should pay attention to the release of new gTLDs is to protect themselves from potentially expensive purchases later. Whilst there’s legal implications to sitting on URLs which contain trademarked terms, this kind of activity seems to happen to companies every couple of months.
Take high-street retailer ‘Next’ for example. Whilst next.co.uk directs visitors to the retailer’s e-commerce site, Next.com takes visitors to the Apple homepage. Whilst NeXT has historic ties to Apple, I’d like to bet that there is a pretty high bounce rate associated with the domain, particularly from UK traffic.
Whilst some sites discuss the added benefit of (some fairly questionable) SEO benefits, the reality is that purchasing the domains before someone else does is the main reason.
In terms of justifying this in a business case, just evaluate the cost of purchasing the domain early compared to either having to purchase the domain from someone else or the value of lost traffic (and conversions) if a competitor gets to it first. In both scenarios you should try to estimate the likelihood of these situations occurring – but even if slight, the cost of the domains is so small that most businesses will sign off on the plans.
Additionally, some of the non-region specific gTLDs such as .marketing, .technology and .agency can give a good insight into what kind of content you can expect to find on the site.