- Customer trust — Consumers have grown used to the existing set of domains, and with that familiarity comes trust. The new domains are unknown and may cause potential customers to hesitate before establishing a relationship with a site with an unfamiliar gTLD. A recent study found that consumers are in fact wary of the new domains. Businesses planning to make use of the new suffixes should develop a clear program to transfer the trust they’ve already established with customers to the new site.
- Investment protection — Although it’s not entirely clear that domain age matters, even Google’s own search engineer seems to indicate that it does. Assuming, then, that time in grade matters for search rankings and traffic, visibility that has been built up over time in one domain will not easily transfer to a new domain. So, if a business depends on retail traffic coming in the virtual door, it should tread cautiously before adopting a new domain, even one with a catchy suffix.
- Cost control — Existing domains like .com and .org, which can be obtained from hundreds of registrars, typically cost about $10 per year to maintain. New domains may cost a lot more. For example, bespoke.bike, which is already taken, costs $29 per year at United Domains. Even rogerkay.bike, which is eminently available, costs $29. By contrast, rogerkay.com (taken) is only $9.90 on the same site, and rogerkay.net (available) goes for only $14.90. But rogerkay.cab, which uses one of the new domains, will set you back $39 per year. And some domains, notably .sucks, are much more expensive than that. The problem becomes obvious once the company name is appended to the suffix (e.g, AppleAAPL +0.19%.sucks). But there’s more: for trademark holders, pre-registration pricing for new domains starts around $200 and rises to as high as $25,000. Choosing “priority” pre-registration for a “sought-after” domain can run as high as $13,000 per name. But even paying this princely sum is no guarantee of obtaining the name. When more than one party pre-registers the same name, it goes to auction, with an unknown (and potentially very expensive) outcome. Before stepping up to buy one of these new domains, businesses should read all the fine print carefully. Note: after the initial hype dies down, inflated domain prices should come down, perhaps in a year or two.
- Partner motivation — Many of the new gTLDs will be operated by new registry operators. Although most are legitimate, some may not have much substance behind the fancy front. In certain cases, a registry may be focused on making a quick buck from initial registrations in order to flip its gTLD for a profit. Businesses expecting to enter into a long-term partnership with a registry operator should choose one with a track record.
- Partner reliability — Even with the best of motivations, new entrants in the domain business can make a number of mistakes that lead to failure. At the moment, even though lots of registry contracts have been signed, many of the new domains aren't ready to do business. In addition, inexperienced operators may have issues with reliability, suffering downtime due to cyberattacks or technical issues. Such interruptions may prevent customers from reaching their desired sites, with the resulting loss of business. Thus, it is prudent to choose a gTLD operated by a known, reliable operator.
- Potential for hijacking — With all the new domain names, there’s going to be a lot of confusion. For example, ICANN has allowed both singular and plural forms to coexist. Thus, .hotel and .hotels as well as .hoteles and .hoteis will likely go live in 2014. Customers looking for jillsbnb.hotel may end up at jillsbnb.hotels, and Jill will lose a customer. A gTLD without this type of adjacent conflict, like jillsbnb.com, will likely result in less confusion.
- Name length — Although short domain names may appear desirable, longer ones often work better. For example, O.co didn’t work at all for Overstock.comOSTK -4.48%. People kept typing in O.com, which Overstock didn’t own. In addition, longer names can include keywords that will come up more often in search results. Keyword-rich domain names attract higher click-through rates. If used, short names should be minimally confusing and avoid conflicts with existing and new domains. Businesses choosing a new name should follow established best practices.
article source : forbes