Domaining For Beginners, Part 7: What Are New TLDs?

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Welcome to Domaining for Beginners, where we’ll focus on the basics of domains and look at everything from how to choose a good domain name to how new top-level domains are affecting the industry.

45% of NamesCon attendees in 2016 and 2017 were first-timers, so we’ve created this “Domains 101” content series to help newcomers make sense of our exciting industry.

In Part 6 of Domaining for Beginners, we looked at the relationship between branding and domaining, and the two things are more intertwined than one might think!

Part 7 of Domaining for Beginners will explore just what new TLDs are.

New TLDs are all the rage now, and the number being added to the web is growing at an exponential pace. Extensions such as .com, while still ever-popular, are no longer the only option, and the new TLDs have allowed domainers to succumb to their wildest dreams. Love dogs? What about .dog? Thinking of starting a food blog? .foodie could be a great option. The possibilities are endless!

But just what are they, and what is the impact that they’re having on such things as SEOs?

A Little Refresher

Top-level domains are that portion of a website address to the right of the name of the web address, or the second-level domain. Every domain name will have a suffix that will indicate what TLD it belongs to, including but not limited to: gov, org, edu, net, ca, etc. Need a refresher on what domain names are? Read this.

Since 1985—which is when .com was first used—a number of new TLDs have been created, and in 2012, ICANN officially accepted applications for new TLDs. As of 2017, there are over 880 domain extensions, including .blog, .net, .web, .global, and many others, which have given businesses a great opportunity to select a TLD that better fits their brand.

The Many Benefits

If your company registers for a new TLD, such as .namescon, you or your company would be the registry operator for that very TLD, just like how another company is the registry operator for .com. You would have complete control over who is allowed to register with that TLD, and how they are allowed to use it.

These TLDs can be open or closed, which just implies that they can either be open to public use, or only to public access. If they’re open registries, the public can register their own second-level domains with it. It follows that closed registries means that the public cannot register their own second-level domains with the TLD. The latter is usually what happens with dot-brand TLDs, since such companies will want to protect their brands.

Having your very own TLD can bring many benefits, including preventing fraud, better marketing, cybersquatting prevention, and more. Another added bonus? New TLDs are generally less expensive than their legacy counterparts.

With all this said, there are still some who aren’t loving the new TLDs.

The Arguments Against

Some studies have shown that individuals are more likely to trust websites with .com and .co over new TLDs, but it’s been proven that younger demographics are more likely to trust new TLDs either equally or more so than such TLDs as .com and .co.

Another concern that some have against new TLDs include criminals using new TLDs to replicate existing domains of big brands to set up hosts for scams, spam e-mailing, scams, suspicious software downloads, malware distribution, and “phishing” attacks.

With new TLDs being a new phenomenon, a number of misconceptions have arisen. Radix does a great job dispelling some of the most popular ones here.

Now that you have a better understanding of new TLDs, stay tuned for our next instalment of Domaining for Beginners, which will explore the world of geo TLDs.

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