The Coming Wave of New gTLDs and What it Means for You and Your Clients

Posted by on October 2nd, 2012

Everyone knows what a gTLD is right?  Well, actually you do.  A gTLD is a generic top level domain, the .whatever you type in the browser bar when you want to surf to a website.  Right now there are approximately 20 approved gTLDs that undergird the structure of the internet, think .com, .gov, .edu, and most recently .XXX.

Since its founding more than two decades ago, the world wide web has been overseen by ICANN a not-for-profit, international organization that determines who manages each top level domain (among many other things).

Earlier this year, ICANN closed the application window to create and manage new gTLDs.  Applications were put in for nearly 1,400 new top level domains for terms such as .space, .ping, .web, .adult, etc. When/if ICANN approves some/all of these new gTLDs there will be a fundamental change to the basic architecture of the Internet. Among the domains applied for, there are some that are generic and others that are brand specific – think .deloitte, .google, etc.  This paradigm shift is going to be incredible as we watch what the American Automobile Association, Inc. does with .AAA, or what Second Generation Ltd. does with .career. Some of the new TLDs are just ripe for brand campaigns, such as Discover’s .CashBackBonus while others are head scratchers such as Wal-Mart’s .George.

Preparing our clients, or your clients for that matter, for this paradigm shift is of the utmost importance right now.

“Why,” you might ask?

It is because these new TLDs will bring about a shift in consumer behavior that has yet to be seen.

KCSA is the only Public Relations and Marketing firm to help launch a successful new gTLD.  Working with ICM Registry, we helped launch the .XXX gTLD.

This new gTLD is, obviously, targeted at the adult community – both for the content creators and for consumers looking for adult content.  Last week we assisted ICM in launching their www.search.xxx website/search engine.  This new search engine is designed to help consumers find the adult content they are looking for in a safe, private and more effective manner.

Why does the world need a new search engine dedicated to porn and porn only?  Well, for many reasons, but the one most relevant to this conversation revolves around Google and Bing (the two dominant search engines).  For years, quietly, behind the scenes, both search giants have been deselecting porn from their algorithms.  So if you actively looked for adult content on either engine it was more difficult to find what you wanted.  ICM made a conscious decision to create a search engine designed to highlight porn rather than shy away from it.

Given the new TLDs that are coming, among the many questions that I’ll be asking and writing about is, “How will SEO work in the new paradigm?  How can you help your client who has applied for new gTLDs, or who will make use of them, work with the search giants to make sure their content is indexed correctly?”

Over the coming weeks and months I’ll take some time to blog about this paradigm shift and what I think you should know about it from a communications perspective. I’d love to know your thoughts as well.  Feel free to comment or email me directly.