Recently ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) announced that internet users will be able to purchase top level domains with new suffixes. This means that internet domain names are no longer limited to suffixes like .com, .net, .org and the several others that have been in action for some time now.
“ICANN has opened the Internet’s naming system to unleash the global human imagination. Today’s decision respects the rights of groups to create new Top Level Domains in any language or script. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind,”
-Rod Beckstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN.
I believe, and judging by the above quote from ICANN’s CEO, they believe that this will make a dramatic change to the internet. I will take it further to say that it will even change marketing in other mediums as well. ICANN’s new provisions for top level domains is going to dramatically shape the way search engines handle search ranking. In turn this will shape the way companies use search marketing, and with nearly all marketing efforts being tied to the internet, marketing as a whole is going to go through an evolution of sorts. The days of having one website may no longer exist.
Since the cost is $185,000 to have your own top level domain, you will see big brands establishing their TLD as well as investors and special interest groups. Here’s 3 big ways that I believe this will change marketing:
1. BIG BRANDS OBTAINING BETTER OWNERSHIP: Coke (and other big brands) will be able to diversify their online marketing by offering segments to their online presence like products.coke and contests.coke. Furthermore they might open up the opportunity for brand advocates to get more connected socially by creating my-name.coke where you can create your own persona within a brand that you are specifically fond of. Coke sized brands will be able to connect their audience in a more clear way to special offers or products because there won’t be competition for cool-idea.coke anymore. Offline materials can get more specific and be very memorable with their brand embedded.
2. SEARCH MARKETING IS DIVIDED: If you are in home remodel services, you no longer need to rank only for home services but now you need to rank within the domain.home field of domains. There will be internet investment companies building sites to focus on industry topics so that anyone looking for anything.home can go to the central .home hub and find other home service companies. This will create specialized search engines that essentially combine the concept of search with the function of organizations like Angie’s List or The Better Business Bureau.
3. ONE WEBSITE IS NOT ENOUGH: Your ranking is now likely going to depend on more than just how you rank on the web in general, but also how you rank in industries. It may become increasing important to establish a web conversion strategy that varies based on different inbound paths. If you’re ranking well for searches of “Indianapolis home remodeling” in the general search, that doesn’t mean that you will the same for a search isolated to the .home TLD. You also will be dealing with different types of customers at a different level, with different preconceived expectations. It’s plausible that the site and conversion strategy will need to be different too. Think of it like the difference of your Facebook site vs your home site. You are not expecting the same results and appearance as your home website, in fact it is not an option. While the two work together, they are not the same.
What would you add to this discussion?