gTLDs (generic top-level domains) are increasingly being deployed by brands as a catalyst for enhanced online search and navigation. Some of the interesting and smart moves that the brands have made while filing for gTLD applications include: Johnson & Johnson with .baby; Bridgestone with .tire; L’Oreal with .beauty, .hair, .makeup, .salon, and .skin; Dish Network with .network, .data, .direct, .dot, .locker, .mobile, and .phone. Unfortunately, Hasbro with its powerhouse .transformers and Heinz with .ketchup among other national household names have recently withdrawn their applications.
Companies are already in a strategy mode about how they can make the best use of their top-level domains. The innovations include creating more niched social networks within categories related to brands or Groupon-like offerings driven by enhanced data collection across the top level. Brands will probably build subscription-only-based services or content and partner with other non-applicants in their brand category to take care of the devolution of cable and increased demand via mobile. Brands might have to become cable ready and start to think of their brand as an online channel and content publisher, providing a single source of information and connecting interested consumers in a more profound way.
Brands will also be utilizing their gTLD for improved security and cloud-like features both internally and externally with vendors and consumers. The B2B clients will customize their platforms according to customer needs while also integrating internal platforms. The personalized pages will be more easily developed and tracked within a top-level domain environment that will provide easier navigation and something that consumers can remember. The search will evolve from the big search engines dominating the Internet to a more niched site and searches looking for categories of content. Search engines will streamline results focused on more tailored requirements, such as the big generic top-level domains- .mom, .tennis, .golf, etc and create zip codes or categories on the Internet.
Many argue that all of these strategies are available with in .com. , so what is the point. The point is that they are right. There are companies like Google, Microsoft who have and are taking advantage of the .com world and still innovating. However, the gTLD world offers better security, faster resolution, robust data mining, and easier navigation and promises to drastically transform the Internet. Previously in the 1990’s, Walmart thought the industry is not ready for the .grocery age, but things are sure to change now with major players in the market and digital leadership by Google, Amazon, and Microsoft (each with large portfolios of gTLDs) opting for gTLDs.
So how do brands get creative with gTLDs?
Firstly, remove all the mind blockages that .com is the golden rule of thumb. Come up with questions and ideas on how to push the use of mobile and app technology for quality search and navigation, and explore how gTLDs could assist with the same.”
As they said in the movie Inception: Take a leap of faith. Ask questions: “What more can I do?” and most important “Why Not?”