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New domains names are here - What you need to know to protect your business

It's about to get very confusing.    It sounds bizarre at first, but hundreds of new top level domains (e.g. .web, .inc, .camera, .sexy, .bike) have been approved and are being rolled out each week across hundreds of domain registrars.  

Is this good news or bad news for your business?

If you are like most businesses, probably both.    First the good news…..   If you were a little late in the game or are looking for a more prestigious URL, this new 'landrush' may be the perfect time to get a better name or names.  Since names can point to your existing site, upgrading your name can be a quick and easy marketing makeover.  Here's what to look for...

1. Your company name or brand name

If you weren't able to get your first choice company name in .com, you may be able to get it in one of the new general purpose domain suffixes (e.g. .inc, .web, etc.). Example: a company named SmithRealty who settled for SmithRealtyNewYork.com can register SmithRealty.inc and point it to their existing site.

2. Protecting your business name.    The easiest (and cheapest) way to prevent most cybersquatting is to register a few basic variations of your company name before the damage is done. Realistically, you can ignore about 99% of the new domain types, but there are a few that are absolutely essential to protecting your business from cybersquatters and customer confusion.

If there is a specialty extension for your type of business (.e.g. .law), make sure you register it to keep it out of the hands of competitors and to avoid any confusion when your customers enter it.   Example: a law firm named SmithJonesLaw.com would be well advised to register SmithJones.law.

Also consider registering the few generic names that will receive great use, especially .inc and .web - these are the names your customers are likely to type-in and are the ones unscrupulous competitors can use to siphon away your customers.

3. Register new domains to increase traffic to your existing site. Unless your business is already a household name, potential customers aren't searching for it - they are searching for the product or service they are interested in purchasing. Registering keyword domains for the products or services you sell can generate instant credibility and boost sales.  A great premium name instills confidence and presents you as a leader in your field.   An additional SEO advantage - Search engines often bold URLs which contain exact match keywords and favor sites using exact match domains - both in their organic (free) results and in paid ads.   On large campaigns, this alone can save thousands per month and give your business a huge edge over your competition.

The bad news?  Protecting your business and maintaining these new registrations will add to the cost of doing business on-line.  However, since registration fees are relatively low ($20 - $50) they are an inexpensive way to retain customers and guard against competitor abuse.   Especially since it typically costs $1,500 - $5000+ to file a UDRP (domain dispute) to reclaim names which may be violating your trademark.

How to secure the new domain suffixes before they are available to the general public

We’re currently writing a report on the best way to secure your first choice new domain name.   In the meantime, you can use TLDTracker to automatically receive availability notifications and pre-register new domains across multiple registries to maximize your chances of success.


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