At the date of this blog post, there are 97,388.394 active .com domains. According to DomainTools.com, 94,720 more .coms were registered today, which means the best domain name options for any online business website are shrinking every day.
For most businesses, negotiating with the current domain name owner or coming up with another name can be tricky. But for Coke, UPS and other major brands with a global reach and a big purse, 2012 may be the year they get their own domain name extensions, according to this ICANN press release and this recent Reuters article.
By January, businesses can file a $185,000 application to register .coke, .ups or any other corporate identity-focused domain name extension. Once ICANN approves the application, these major brands will have an opportunity to customize their web presence; however, such online branding customization comes with annual maintenance fees that could add up to as much as $75,000. This isn’t for your typical mom+pop shop.
Besides customizing online branding with a unique domain name extension, ICANN reports that international brands can register unique domain name extensions using any character or language, meaning Russia-based potash mining company, Uralkali, could register its Russian business name to easily engage with Russian-speaking investors. While Coke is known worldwide, they could potentially register كوكاكول or 可口可樂.
For any business, building domain name equity is critical to stopping competitors from using or squatting on viable domain name extensions. This decision by ICANN creates more opportunities for global brands, but it also creates a potential problem: SEO loss due to the young age of these new domain name extensions. For example: a company’s .com extension with PR4 has more credibility than .coke with PR0.
How will any business that agrees to join this new domain name marketplace compete for traffic? Most will likely keep their existing domain names. Others will have the budgets to conduct massive advertising and marketing campaigns. A few will use white-hat SEO techniques, such as blogging, press release writing and smart tagging, to make sure they inform both search engines and consumers of their new domain name.
How will this affect your online business? What do you do to reach out to customers online? To talk about your online marketing needs, including domain names, contact us.