The recent practice of major corporations abandoning the use of forward slashes in domain names and placing the product or service in front of their corporate domain name reinforces the business case for why we need new Top-Level Domains.
By Michael Twist
By now we’ve all had a chance to digest the concept around the new TLD program and in some cases even come up with our own amazing ideas for the next .com or a niche TLD that will make us millionaires overnight!
Well maybe some of us have…
Others are taking a far more practical approach to the exciting new changes to the Internet and how it will be adopted and used, in particular within the corporate arena. While there is still much conjecture around rights protection and trademark issues, the biggest unknown I think is how and when the new .brand TLDs will be used.
Speaking with a number of corporate clients recently it has become painfully clear that not everyone is as excited about the prospect of .brand TLDs hitting the online marketplace as I am. Whilst there is a large number of forward thinking organisations out there that can see the future ahead, the reality is that there are still a number of companies who see the whole program as a waste of time and money and will only be applying purely as a brand protection mechanism or even worse, not at all!
It’s these clients that ask me, how can a .brand do anything but hinder our marketing and strategic plans?
Well the answer to this question came to me as I was reading an industry publication over my afternoon coffee and biscuit. I saw an advertisement for a new shoe from global sporting powerhouse, Nike.
Now the product itself, although quite ingenious wasn’t what caught my eye. What caught my eye was the web address – nikeid.nike.com
This got me thinking…
1. Why did Nike choose this address as opposed to the commonly used www.nike.com/nikeid ?
2. Why didn’t they choose www.nikeid.com ?
3. Is this proving a more effective way to deliver their message?
4. Is anyone else doing this?
The first three questions are there for Nike to answer but I would guess they chose the structure to assist in message recall and easier direct type into the web browser, which all lead to a simpler and more effective way for their customers to interact with them.
I also looked at nikeid.com and it resolved to the nikeid.nike.com page – interesting.
The third question I can answer for you very simply -“yes” other companies are doing this. Taking just five minutes on Google I found four of the biggest brands in their respective industries doing exactly the same thing:
As you can see the trend is to bring the product or service ahead of the TLD in order to enhance customer recall which leaves the .com as a superfluous suffix that is only utilized because current protocols and domain name infrastructure dictates that the address would not work without it.
How much easier would it be for customers to remember the promotions if it was simply;
If you’re having trouble noticing the difference, try saying it to yourself like you were listening to a television commercial or a radio advertisement!!
So what does this really mean?
In my humble opinion the take up time of .brand and its transition to main stream usage may not take as long as some may think. With these big brands already utilizing the product.brand way of addressing it’s clear that the exercise of merely dropping the .com at the end is the only obstacle that needs to be overcome for the .brand way of thinking to revolutionise how we navigate the Internet.
That… and a few short sighted people looking beyond a digital marketing strategy that lasts a year or two!
Top-Level Domain name specialist with AusRegistry International