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New Internet Domain Names Need a Backstory to Succeed

If web address registrations are any indication (and they may not be), the hundreds of new Internet domains (where .guru competes with .com and .berlin intrudes on .de) are seeing slow, but steady success. By one count, there are about 2 million new online addresses. Slow and steady may wind up being the best business model, but if the effect of the top level domains is to be felt in business, culturally and socially, there needs to be more done than create the opportunity to register a new name; the new names need a backstory that demonstrates their value.

In lining up to compete with the market dominance of the .com web address, new names have taken divergent paths. DotXYZ saw a registrar give-away names ending in .xyz to is customers who had the same name ending in .com, DotBerlin gave the names away itself and most are offering a Pioneer Program to entice higher prices and faster development of the new Internet landscape.

The problem is that no matter how many names are registered in such programs, they are ultimately marketing without meaning. And it is meaning—painting a picture of how the new names with help advance a company, cause or point-of-view—that creates value, opportunity and commitment.

Some new players have the right idea. For the same reason that a clothing story has a fitting room, those who get it are painting a picture—mostly pencil sketches not oils, but that is better than not—for their prospective customers. Why register your name in .guru? “Web and email addresses for experts. Be the grandmaster of your domain.” I get that. What about .club? “We are .CLUB—the ideal domain extension for the social world we live in. ” True, I am known by the company I keep. But isn’t a .link name being redundant? Isn’t Google already “The hub of instant discovery”?

Good story or ill, each is attempting to have a customer try on the name before they buy it. If a case study of the effective use for .link can be shown (and it has), it is easier to see its value and harder to dismiss. The problem is that too few new names on the Internet are telling any kind of story.

By John Berard, Founder, Credible Context & CEO, Vox Populi Registry

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