Did new-GTLDs head off in the wrong direction?

Did new-GTLDs start of on the wrong foot from the beginning? Most seemed to have stepped off in the basic direction of “ we’re like dot-COM, but we’re not dot-COM “ — setting themselves out as second class citizens from the beginning.

This seems to be missing an opportunity to redefine the technical, computer-code, nature of domain names and in doing so carve out entirely new markets.

In a country where everybody travels by bus, launching a different, but inferior bus, on the basis that the order book for the market leader is full but you can buy from us instead, may get you some business, but launching a car is almost certainly going to result in more success.

Some of us are old enough to remember the days of MS-DOS, so we also remember the terrible “8.3” file name structure we were all bound into. Wasn’t it such a relief when Windows came along and we could, at last, give our files the kind of names that humans find useful.

Before ICANN introduced the first wave of new-GTLDs, all top-level domains looked like geeky computer code — therefore, mostly, so did the names of web sites and their domain names — and web-shorteners are mostly even worse. But the new-GTLDs gave everybody the opportunity to move away from that — but was this opportunity seized?

Dot-CLUB is one of the more successful of the new-GTLDs, but its hard not to feel they missed a trick when they chose to brand their web site www.get.club, when they could have gone with something more meaningful like join.the.club.

We are now starting to see some interesting new start-ups populating this territory. UK company Names.of.London with their brand phrases.for.sale have identified the ubiquitous three-word-phrase, widely used in advertising and marketing for many years, as a business opportunity for carving out a new and innovative market for new-GTLD domain names.

With domain names like, Just.for.Men, City.of.London, Two.For.One, Mayor.of.London, Week.of.Fashion, they have identified an opportunity offered by new-GTLDs that sets them apart from the geeky code of the traditional domain name.

Whether this particular idea floats or not, only time will tell — but one thing it does show us is that what the new-GTLDs need to do less of is sitting about moaning that they are second best to dot-COM, and what they need to do more of is getting creative — identify what sets them apart, and push their USP.

Surely pushing your USP is Chapter-1, Page-1 of the Encyclopedia of Marketing?