New Extensions: Hit or Miss?

Rather than give a hasty response, I’ve thought long and hard about this issue before making my opinion known on 4 Letter Noob. Let’s face it – regardless of who we are and how much experience we have in this industry, we’ve all been thrown a curve ball which has left us scratching our heads and making us all feel like newcomers once again to a certain extent.

My first thoughts: Enormous typo potential for certain extensions. Look at the’s estimated USA uniques for Kevin Ham’s in example: . An estimated 610,000 people from the USA alone visited in June 2008.

As many of you know, I’m not particularly big on typo’s myself, regardless of their legality, so let’s look into what else these new extensions promise.

1 – MANY more domain hacks – , , , … Many of these “domain hack worthy” extensions seem to possess enormous potential and more than capable of getting a sufficient number of registrations to make this a profitable business venture. We might finally see a .xxx or .porn.

2 – The potential for consumer confusion. The heavy branding of Dotcom just might end up causing people to type instead of, making the desirable vTLD’s  .com generic counterpart into potentially powerful domain name wildcards.

3 – What kind of expectations and regulations will ICANN place on the owners of these new Vanity Extensions? Take a look at how complicated being a registry is at present: . It’s not exactly something you just wake up one morning, send ICANN a wire and voila.

4 – Does this sound like potential Trademark Dilution to anyone else? Take AOL’s as an example — how might it’s brand be hurt by the introduction of a .games extension?

5 – Other than CNO, only ccTLDs have enjoyed much success. Extensions like .mobi and .info seem to be making little niches for themselves, others like .travel and .aero have been complete failures.

6 – Companies could have permanent trademark protection — no fear of cybersquatters ever again. Think: , , , etc. See #2 for the potential downsides associated with such use.

7 – What consequences or benefits may vTLDs offer from an SEO perspective? As we all know, domain names are a very significant factor involved in Google’s algorithm — take a look through the results on Google for the keyword “” and observe how many have llll somewhere in the link — a good example being this one: . Will Google treat these differently for SEO purposes? Will Google reduce the importance of keywords in hyperlinks? These new vTLDs will have 1 disadvantage — no domain age, but other than that there are more questions than answers it seems on how this might affect SEO.


 So after thinking about this for awhile, what are my thoughts on this? Well, I think the title summed my opinion up nicely — some will likely take off, many will likely fail. I see this very much how Frank Schilling saw it in April 2007 — Corporations and Individuals getting into vTLD domaining thinking they just need to get a small fraction of the market to be profitable will likely fail, those who come in with truly innovative ideas and market them properly stand a good chance of achieving a reasonable degree of success. Something like .GOOG really could take off in my opinion — Google could give the domains away for free (or cheaper than .com anyway), bundle services or offer discounts or bonuses on existing services (think Adwords discounts, larger gmail accounts, larger rev shares to Adsense publishers, free access to additional webmaster tools, etc).

Competition creates growth and opportunity. I don’t think it’s fair or that we have near enough facts to call this one way or the other and we’re going to have to accept what it is: A new Opportunity. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see some future Web 3.0 powerhouses using their own vTLDs and at the same time, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see the values .com domains fetch 10 years from now make everything today look cheap.


Source: New Extensions Hit or Miss


~ by Reece on July 11, 2008.

2 Responses to “New Extensions: Hit or Miss?”

  1. You have been thinking long and hard about it, Reece, I wish my mind was as lucid as yours!

    It’s certainly going to be interesting to see how all of this plays out. My own thoughts are that it will add to the value of dot coms, but it may take convincing Joe Public and smaller businesses the value of dot coms harder, as they will just think ‘hey what do I need a com for when I can have dot anything.

  2. I think we already have some history of the potential of vTLD with dotTV. This extension has the advantage of TV companies using them, giving dotTV massive free public exposure on television. GM.TV springs to mind for the UK which comes on every morning, logo showing at the top of the screen. Yet it has had little or no effect on .com values. The ripples created in the global market of a new vTLD would be insignificant unless it could have exposure even greater than dotTV. In my opinion only 2 could do this GOOG as mentioned and xxx. The rest will not be able to create the exposure needed to indelibly print the extension on the publics mind

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