It's been over two years since the first batch of new gTLD (generic Top Level Domain) extensions launched. With 877 new domains launched, it was only during 2015 when businesses, organizations and individuals began to actively use them online.
As of this writing, over 11.5 million domain names have been registered under 877 extensions all over the world. Whether as a branding tool or to create a fun name, usage of the new gTLDs varies all over the world.
1) Customized Branded Domains
When ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) began accepting applications for new domain extensions, 594 applications came from corporations. This included names like Google, Apple, Amazon and more. Today, 260 branded gTLDs are already live on the market and are being used by their respective applicants for a variety of purposes.
Google Registry (Registry.Google)
Google is pretty much synonymous with the Internet and it's no surprise that they secured their own .google domain extension. While the only active .google domain currently houses their registry page, it'll be interesting to see how and when the search engine giant begins rolling out .google websites.
In addition to owning .google, Google had also applied for 101 new extensions including .how, .soy, .blog, .app and more.
One of the world's biggest banks, Barclays also owns the .barclays extension. Aside from using the online home for its main site, Barclays is also using the extension to promote its other services all over the world. A few more examples of .barclay websites include: wealth.barclays, savings.barclays and readytowork.barclays.
It remains to be seen whether or not Microsoft will make a full transition to the .microsoft extension, but with a $185,000 application fee just to secure their name, we'll likely see it make the move. To-date, most of the domain names registered under .microsoft act as redirect tool like office.microsoft, visualstudio.microsoft, support.microsoft and more.
2) Creating shorter, more relevant names
The largest group using the new gTLDs, small businesses and individuals are taking a creative approach to creating a new URL for their site. Instead of choosing a long and error-prone URL, small businesses and individuals are using the new gTLDs to create an intuitive and relevant URLs online.
Art Of Social Media (ArtOf.Social)
Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist of Canva and former Chief Evangelist of Apple, uses the .SOCIAL domain to promote his book on social media marketing. It's a great way to promote his book because of how relevant the extension is to his book and his followers.
Energi Design (Energi.Design)
Started by Steve Holmes, former evangelist for Adobe After Effects, he moved to a .DESIGN domain after learning about it. Why? Well, his company is actually called Energi.Design and the availability of the domain made sense from both a branding and marketing perspective.
Drift Away Coffee (DriftAway.Coffee)
Started by two business professionals, the co-founders of Drift Away Coffee decided to pursue their passion and start their own business. Instead of using a name like DriftAway.Com or DriftAwayCoffee.com, choosing .COFFEE was a great choice because it instantly communicates what their business and website is all about.
Fast Twitch (FastTwitch.Training)
FastTwitch Training is a facility that helps athletes improve their performance during games and helps speed up the recovery process. What's great about its domain is the fact that fast twitch muscles are some of the most important muscle groups for athletes. In addition to their name, their website exemplifies who they are and what they're all about.
Based in Nevada, Organic Table prepares meals then delivers to customers everyday. Sourcing only organic ingredients, the company utilizes .MENU to create an intuitive name that potential visitors can immediately recognize.
Aside from the great name it chose, the .MENU domain and Organic Table's call to action complement each other very well. When you hear the word menu, you expect to see options and be able to choose from the options presented to you. Once you land on Organic Table's website, you are presented with a brief description of what they do and they encourage you to view the different menus they offer.
3) Advocating Causes
The new gTLDs aren't restricted to just for-profit businesses. What's great about the new gTLDs is that they introduce new options to give every business, organization and individual the chance to choose a relevant name. With that being said, communities and non-profit organizations have begun using the new gTLDs as part of their website.
Born This Way Foundation (BornThisWay.Foundation)
Created by singer Lady Gaga, the Born This Way Foundation helps young people by empowering them to make the world a better place. By using .FOUNDATION, the name is much easier to remember and significantly reduces the length that people have to type in a domain name.
Above Ground (www.AboveGround.Ngo)
Above Ground is a Canadian human rights and accountability project. The goal of the organization is to provide those harmed by Canadian companies overseas access to a Canadian court. Traditionally NGOs and non-profits have used .org as their domain of choice. However, the diluted name space and the wide-array of organizations using .org makes it difficult for new websites to gain visibility.
4) Connecting with Local Communities
One thing the industry has noticed is that geographic domain extensions like .QUEBEC, .NYC, .BERLIN and .OSAKA are really popular. With that being said a lot of local businesses (provided that the extensions are relevant) are scooping up their name and using it for their own business. This helps in building a stronger relationship with local communities, plus it instantly tells potential customers where each specific website is located.
What makes their name great? Digital.NYC managed to register a one-word domain name that's highly descriptive and relevant to the audience it is trying to connect to. It backs its name up by being able to provide its audience (startups) with various resources that they might need to grow and become successful in changing the lives of its community. Using .NYC as its extension, it immediately provides a clear idea of who the website is for and where it is located.
The Eiffel Tower (TourEiffel.Paris)
Yes, even the Eiffel Tower is using one of the new gTLDs; making the move from .com and .fr to a .PARIS domain. With a .PARIS domain, the Eiffel Tower not only connect with its local community, but also tourists that plan on visiting the iconic figure in the Parisian skyline.
The Eiffel Tower's team also did a great job with managing its domains. Visitors trying to access the .com and .fr of their website are automatically redirected to TourEiffel.Paris.
5) Controlling the brand narratives
Companies both large and small have been using the new gTLDs to control the message that their customers receive. Whether it's for a campaign or as a redirect tool, the new gTLDs give businesses a way to deliver their content in a short, meaningful and concise manner.
Amazon's Funniest Reviews (Funny.Reviews)
Serving thousands of different products to different markets all over the world, Amazon undoubtedly receives some of the funniest reviews in the world. With that in mind, their team registered a .REVIEWS domain to act as a redirect tool. When you type in funny.reviews on your browser, you'll be directed to a collection of products that received some of the funniest reviews.
Apple News (Apple.News)
When Apple announced its News app, it generated a lot of buzz among media and marketing companies all over the world. Giving publishers the chance to finally control how articles are presented on different mobile devices, Apple News was a highly anticipated product. So when the app finally launched, Apple register a .NEWS domain to create a vanity URL for their app.
The new gTLDs still have a long way to go but the growing number of businesses using them is a good sign of things to come. As more businesses, professionals and users become aware of the new gTLDs, expect to see more sites using the new gTLDs.
Do you know of a website using a gTLD that should be included on the list? Let us know!