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Posted on February 12, 2014

new gTLD’s – Generic Top Level Domains now registering

by Neale Gilhooley (published 12/2/14 last updated 2/12/14)

Go straight to search for or register domains at cost click here:

Evolution registered our first domain name (evolution-design.co.uk) in 1996 since then we have added many permutations, such as .com, .eu .org .co with and without hyphens in an effort to ward off competitors, not always successfully, but at an ever increasing annual defensive cost. Now a new opportunity arises with the generic top level domain or gTLD such as evolution.design which we have pre-registered with a likely cost of £30-35 pa. (See below an assessment of how Google ranks these new domains) These revolutionary new domains soon to be available were created by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and the full list is vast. It is a new type of web address altogether without the familiar .com or .co.uk extension instead ending in descriptive words such as .plumbing, .insurance, .booking .finance etc If you want to pre-register your own domain start here gTLD registeration with no obligation but also no guarantee unless you own a Trademark and have it registered at the ICANN approved Trademark Clearing House for fees starting at $150 per annum plus the cost of the domain name. Over half of these new TLDs have open registration policies meaning absolutely anyone can register a new domain name without restriction. Brand owners need to react and adapt strategies to prepare for this rapidly expanding TLD landscape. Costs add up alongside your existing domain portfolio, which we recommend you hold on to as you have invested in promoting, marketing and creating customer awareness for those domains. Registering a new gTL domain and migrating your site and traffic over is the sensible option for established websites and online businesses, at some cost – should they take of and there is no guarantee of that happening. However this new domain ‘bonanza’ is a great opportunity for completely new brands and channels to be built. Some ought set your mind racing of the new gTLD’s: .accountants .apartments .cloud  .credit  .plumber  .finance  .software. etc.  If that gave you any inspiration then start the domain pre-registration here currently on a no obligation no fee basis as part of the sunrise period. Many names are missing, of the original 1,930 new gTLD applications, 125 have been withdrawn but only two or three have been rejected such as .amazon after complaints from Brazil and Peru. Others are held by brands at a cost of $185,000 and many may choose to sell a lot of domains to re-coup that cash. It has been a messy process with some friction along the way, you can read more about it on this blog as obviously ICANN cannot keep all competing applicants happy. You can read about the new .scot domain here available at £30 pa which has still to reveal its costs structure by 1st of May supposedly one month before it is available. So pre-register your domain(s) and then decide should you be successful. If you want to put a cash value on your domain portfolio you could start with the websites noted towards the end of this blogpost on domains.

Update, these new domains have been live for some time now and so far we have seen one post (in e-consultancy) analysing how Google ranks these new gTLD’s, with a small but significant apparent boost in rankings against other standard domains, where the analysis showed that .Berlin domains perform better in local searches than in non-local searches in 42% of cases. Not extensive or 100% scentific, but out of kilter with Google’s strategy of reducing the impact of keywords in domain names as demonstrated with the roll out of the EMD algorithm update in October 2012 (downgrading the positive impact on rankings of domain names including keywords that exactly matched search queries when the site itself did not provide quality relevant content).

However a flat out denial from Matt Cutts head of search at Google stated: “Google will attempt to rank new TLDs appropriately, but I don’t expect a new TLD to get any kind of initial preference over .com, and I wouldn’t bet on that happening in the long-term either. If you want to register an entirely new TLD for other reasons, that’s your choice, but you shouldn’t register a TLD in the mistaken belief that you’ll get some sort of boost in search engine rankings”.  So you pays your money and takes your chance. Unless you decide to do both of course!