The Future of Domains
In Sweden, there is an urban legend about Ines Uusmann, former Communications Minister, saying that the ‘Internet was a fad and that it would pass and soon be over’. While she never stated those exact words, she did, however, not see much potential in this whole ‘Internet thingy’, back in ’96. 22 years later, the Internet has put us in a rather uncomfortable position. Studies have shown that we are running out of trademarks. The market has adapted accordingly by creating alternative spellings, arbitrary names, and sometimes even weird-sounding words. This is only to get around the legal issues of trademarking. But with the Internet being so dominant, available domains are also becoming a problem, especially if you are trying to find a great Top-Level Domain (TLD) to be relevant in today’s Internet climate.
A brand consists of every little piece that makes the image clear. You can have solid legal protection, stainless name, effective communication, a perfect strategy, but it will probably hurt your brand if your domain isn’t whatever the default in your country is. A company that doesn’t invest, or isn’t able to provide a top domain, will most likely lose to its competitors that do. There’s a common misunderstanding that TLDs are ranked better than non-TLDs, but apart from that, we need to look at it from a more humane point of view – trust. What people choose has a lot to do with trust.
This is why I phrased it ‘whatever the default is in your country’. See, for Americans, .COM is a must in most markets. For Mexicans, it’s .COM.MX. For Germans, .DE is the way to go. Likewise, .SE in Sweden. You stray away from the norm, and suddenly, you are left out in the cold. We want to feel safe when we enter a new website. There isn’t really any reason to visit an obscure looking domain address when there are better alternatives. But I do believe we need to learn to differentiate between bad domains (.BIZ anyone?), and domains with potential. Therefore, I’m actually calling for a revamp. Not as in a revolution, but as in a reconsideration for what is necessary for a better market. We are already seeing positive trends of markets supporting and using innovative domains, such as .TECH, .BANK, and .ONLINE. It’s a perfect way of showing who you are and what you stand for. This is especially encouraging for Start-ups that can’t afford to splash $5 000 for a short domain in the initial phase of business.
I guess domain extensions are just like regular names; it’s how you brand it. In this case, the market has the potential to make powerful and solution-oriented domains viable in the midst of a problematic digital availability. So, break the chains and do something daring, buy that weird-looking domain and be one of the first to rock something unusual. It’s time to set the trend.
We recommend the following:
The Challenger: .co
The Innovator: .io
The Connected: .app
The Scout: .place
The Misfit: .sucks