By the middle of 2011, more than 95 million .coms where registered globally, accounting for about 45% of all domains, according to ZookNIC Intelligence, a leading provider of domain registry data. And every three months, six to seven million new names are added to the .com registry. Given the sheer number of addresses, businesses today often have to add industry-specific qualifiers to get the .com address they want (think “media” or “marketing”, for example). In worst case scenarios, they have to create unnatural word combinations.
Attempts to expand the domain name universe with new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) like .jobs has done little to curb the appeal of the gilded .com. Here in Canada, the one bright spot has been .ca, a country code TLD which has grown its market share at the expense of .com. Between the two, they account for an overwhelming 84% of the market.
Beginning in 2013, business and individuals will have an oncoming flood of new domain name words to choose from. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is in the thick of reviewing more than 1,900 domain name proposals from the likes of Amazon, Google and AOL, for suffixes like .book, .shop and .corp.
David Fowler, director, marketing and communications for Ottawa-based Canadian Internet Registration Authority, which manages the .ca domain space, says it presents both an opportunity and challenge for marketers.
New domain names could help marketers align with particular causes or interest areas (.eco or .charity, for instance). On the other hand, Fowler says marketers are right to worry that all these new domain endings will simply confuse the public. One thing is for sure: the domain universe in Canada is about to see a whole lot of extra real estate. What remains to be seen is what’s the price and preference for the best location.
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