New extensions bring new opportunities to businesses
June 3, 2017 (Sat). I listened to two interesting talks this past week. One was the Financial Sense podcast which reported that some 5,000 retail stores will close this year and 40% of shopping malls will disappear within 10 years in the US, but at the same time online shopping continues its double-digit growth. The other one was Jack Ma's speech at the "Big Data 2017" conference in Guiyang where he revealed how this remote city has transformed itself to become a pillar of the big data industry within just a few years.
Both talks show that in this new era, the success or failure of a company will depend on how well it leverage the internet technology. Of course, as the foundation of the internet, domain names also play an important role.
Domain names have been around for more than 30 years. In the beginning, they were considered as internet addresses and difficult to remember. For example, Alibaba's website would have been written as http://www.alibaba.com. As the internet technology matured, however, the prefix http:// disappeared and then www. also quit. The internet address of Alibaba became simply Alibaba.com.
Then, creative minds realized that domain names had become brands on the internet. If consumers can remember a brand, they can remember its products and its shop address on the internet. If you remember the brand Apple, you remember iPhone and where to buy it. How easy is shopping now!
Now, the recent massive release of new extensions will add a new dimension to domain names, with words on either side of the dot forming a message. Using the same example, while Alibaba.com is an online shop address, Alibaba.news, Alibaba.world, Alibaba.loan etc. can point to something more specific, which are semantically correct and therefore easy to remember.
These domain names don't have to be developed into websites. They can be used solely as labels on product packages or in advertisement to forward visitors to specific sections on the corporate website. Let's look at some examples.
.shop can be used for shopping. In the US, Amazon is using Amazon.shop to forward visitors to Amazon.com. In China, Jing Dong (JD.com) owns Jingdong.shop only but JD.shop is reserved by the registry.
.vip can cater to VIP customers. In the US, Amazon uses Amazon.vip to forward visitors to its VIP membership section on Amazon.com. In China, Baidu owns Baidu.vip, which redirects to Baidu.com.
.news can be used to provide corporate news. In the US, Apple is using Apple.news to redirect to the news section on Apple.com. In China, Baidu has Baidu.news, which redirects to Baidu.com.
Within China, Chinese extensions such as .世界 (world), .商城 (mall), .集团 (corporate group), and .商店 (shop) will be useful in my opinion. A message such as 京东.商城 (Jingdong.Mall) is easy to remember for Chinese consumers. You can visit Namestat.org to find more details about the new extensions.
Here, I have talked about using the new extensions to provide marketing messages. However, this concept is still very new and, as you have seen, very few companies are using it. At this moment, the future of new extensions is not clear yet. It depends on consumer acceptance. However, any CEO with long term vision should study these new extensions and acquire relevant domain names just in case the idea takes off in the future.