It is hard to believe 30 years have elapsed since the first top level domains appeared as an integral part of the Internet search process. Back then, there were only a few extensions to choose from – such as .com; .org; .net. The early adopters grabbed the most attractive domain names, while many others hesitated to act, some of them voicing their concern that this Internet naming convention was just a “passing fad.”
Fast forward to today and we are hearing the same “passing fad” commentary with respect to the recent release of hundreds of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). Is it just a fad? Well, we don’t think so. We believe that everyone must be ready to evolve their digital strategy over the next few years and recognize that the Internet is changing. This is just the beginning. A new generation of the Internet. It’s the biggest paradigm shift since the Internet began.
The question of a “passing fad” was raised during a most interesting session at the 2015 NAR Conference & Expo entitled “The New Internet: What You Need To Know,” moderated by NAR VP Ken Burlington. The three expert panelists agreed that this new internet was not a passing fad. It is here to stay and those concerned with their brand and permanent Internet presence need to take action today.
Sarah Langstone, Director of Strategic Accounts, Verisign, noted that history is filled with many examples of communication mediums that start off with a few choices, such as the original limited number of TV stations that then exploded into hundreds of channels and networks. According to Sarah, what is happening in the domain name world is just a natural extension of what happened to other communication methods within the world.
Kurt Pritz, former Chief Strategy Officer for ICANN and the original architect of the new generic Top-level Domains (gTLDs) felt that we are still in the “build-up stage” with the gTLDs and that there is still much to be done to create awareness of the TLDs before it can even reach a level to say it is a fad. And he says this despite the fact that in a relatively short period there are now nearly 10 million registered new top-level domains.
The remaining panelist, Alan Bush, Director of SEO, Ignite Visibility sees the new TLDs as an opportunity to reinforce one’s name and brand on the Internet. He encouraged the audience to “own more web real estate,” whether as a primary domain or a supplemental domain that points to the main site. Create multiple footprints. If someone has a well-established domain and website, the new TLD can be used to reinforce the brand by perhaps pointing it to one’s blog or profile on Facebook, LinkedIn or broker page.
All the panelists complimented NAR on establishing the .REALTOR and .realestate TLDs and leading the pack of Dot Brands and setting trends in how the Internet is being used in the future.