Most internet users will be familiar website addresses, or urls, which end with a domain name such as .com, .co.uk and .gov. They’re relatively straightforward to understand as they fall into three categories outlined by The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN):
- Countries – .co.uk, .com, .eu
- Categories – .ac
- Multi-organisations – .gov
But what will happen when, as from November, organisations can buy their own brand as the domain names. We could see the likes of www.beans.heinz or www.7series.bmw. So marketers are now discussing whether this will lead to confusion for customers, or open up a new realm of marketing opportunities.
- With a diminishing pool of urls remaining this opens up more choices
- The new url format adds to the options available to new ventures who can use this from the start
- It provides additional means to maximise SEO
- A new option is available for urls to campaign sites for special offers
- It transcends old geographic suffixes like .co.uk and .au
- The cost for brands to buy new domain names is estimated to be £113,000 plus £15,000 in subscription and infrastructure costs according to Marketing Magazine
- Initially it’s unfamiliar for consumers who may get confused
- There’s a risk that newcomers and competitors could hijack existing brand urls and could add significant cost to for companies seeking to protect against this
- Costly for brands to extend their search keywords, optimise search and raise consumer awareness
- Cost to have a transition plan in place if they’re moving away from their existing .com or .co.uk so not to lose customers
Would a branded domain name be strategically and practically right for your business?