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I Spoke to a Club Manager

We, domain name and Trademark professionals, think end-users know about domain names. The truth is that few of them have ever heard of what a domain name is and worth; very few have heard about new descriptive domain names so I asked a Club manager my questions.

A sport club

A week ago, I went to the Nameshield’s birthday. The Nameshield’s Group was celebrating its 20th birthday and the Paris Gotha was there: luxury Trademarks, International Corporations and other smaller companies. Representatives of a famous French sports club were there and I bumped into them to ask my question: “any plan to change to a .club domain name?

What a question!

Of course, the question had been considered. A sports club could consider changing to the domain name extension of the sport it is part of but you would be surprised to know that, for example, a football club is often involved in more than just football so a “.sport” domain name may not be appropriate, in all cases.

This is where it is becoming interesting…

Changing to a new domain name means more work and more insecurity as there is some risk: why change something that works?

It started with the same good old talk about Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”), losing positioning on the first page of Google results… If I clearly understood that reasoning on the part of a small club, I think it is a non sense for a club that already has some notoriety because notoriety is considered in Google search engine’s algorithm. Regarding losing all links pointing to your old “.com” domain name, any good SEO agency has a solution to solve that problem. Changing to a new domain name implies some preparation.

Then some other reasons started appearing:

1) If it is not time consuming for a small club, it can really be for a major club. Changing to a new domain name implies to:

a) Inform and explain internally the reason for the change;

b) RE-inform and RE-explain internally the reason of the change;

c) Prepare the email change (...):

  1. Instaure a double email use so it remains possible to use both emails: the former one and the new one. This is critical;
  2. Prepare templates so email users can explain the reason for this change to…their entire address book;
  3. Add a mention in the signature, to the attention of email readers and remind them to update their address book.

d) Do the technical changes on the servers and on each PC and laptops concerned, unless the email application in use is in Software As A Service mode (i..e Google Apps).

2) It has a cost: major Clubs hire a lot of people and communicate. Changing to a new domain name means updating all these people with new visiting cards and upgrading existing marketing and other communication documentation with its new public name.

In conclusion

Changing to a new descriptive domain name is a major improvement; it is an opportunity to reach out to an existing audience showing innovation and precision. If the technical risk is limited, there is a risk to confuse the audience on a short period of time during the transition.

My analysis

Innovation is important and if I am confident that the risk for a Club changing from an old fashion domain name to a new “.club” is worth it, I believe that what matters too is to think about the future: “change or die” (!) New domain names are developing little by little and the increasing registration volume of .club domains clearly shows that they are being adopted. If one Club does not plan to use it now, it is possible it is going to changes its mind within a few years when these have become mere standards.

By Jean Guillon, New gTLDs "only".

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Hi Jean,great to see someone actually talking Christopher Hofman Laursen  –  Jul 9, 2015 1:46 PM

Hi Jean,

great to see someone actually talking to a potential user. In your conclusion you say that “Changing to a new descriptive domain name is a major improvement”. in my opinion it really depends on the domain name they use today. If it’s brand.fr or brand.com, I see no reason to make the change. However if it is a second rate such as brand-club.fr, they should make the move.
Regarding email during my research for my blog post about the 50+ businesses which changed to a new TLD most of them hold on to the old email. Heck, even Radix uses a .website for their web address but their email address is a .com. It should of course be streamlined over time, but you can do the migration at different speeds.

As suggested to Trademarks Jean Guillon  –  Jul 10, 2015 8:58 AM

In my recent presentation to the French "Club Des Noms De Domaine" (http://www.club-nd.fr/), it is what I suggested to do. During their migration to a new domain name, websites should use both emails: old ones and new ones, for the confusion receivers could have but also because ot errors such as the "554" one: some servers are not set up to receive emails from new domain names. This is a problem "Universal Acceptance" should solve...some day.

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