Exactly 10 years ago, CNOBI (.COM, .NET, .ORG, .BIZ, and .INFO) dominated the domain name market. Today, the up-and-coming new generic Top Level Domains represent endless digital marketing opportunities. Will there soon be a total shift towards using industry-specific domains or will we see an end to this trend?
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), holding the authority over the global Internet’s system of unique identifiers, first made the new generic Top-Level Domain (new gTLD) program available in 2012. ICANN’s program added around 1,200 top-level domains to the Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS). Since then, the number of available domain extensions is picking up monthly and so does the usage.
According to a search engine research study performed by Globe Runner, new gTLDs are just as effective as a .COM domain, if not more. They ran two studies eight months apart, and their findings were quite impressive. After setting up two identical websites with the only difference being the domain extension, the .COM domain outperformed the new gTLD in the beginning in some areas, but over eight months, the conversion rate of the .COM domain got progressively worse while the gTLD could stand its ground. The costs for performing a Google PPC campaign stayed the same for the .COM while it got cheaper for the new gTLD.
The question of whether or not to use a new gTLD or instead rely on one of the traditional options can only be answered case-to-case. As the example has shown, there are several factors you’ll need to take into account, but the growth of new gTLDs is clearly recognizable. In 2020, registrations reached a new peak with over 33 million. With an increase of around 7 million within the last year, we can see a clear progression of new gTLD adoption. The rising popularity shows a strong trend towards new gTLDs. As they gain traction, they will become even more valuable and this might happen quicker than we expect. While legacy domains like .COM will remain immensely popular; a growing number of websites have started trusting new gTLDs. Google itself pioneered by launching WHATS.NEW or ABC.XYC, which makes the websites both memorable and descriptive.