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Pricey Top-Level Domains vs. Strategic SEO

In a recent article in Ad Age, reporter Judy Shapiro explained that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) proposed the release of a new Top-Level Domain (TLD) Program.  TLD’s are what falls at the end of a domain: .com, .net, .org, .biz, and so on.  ICANN believes there is a market out there for more specialized domains.  These domains can be specific to your industry, such as or travel.adventure.  It sounds neat, but is it necessary?

When considering the qualifications for getting such a domain, we believe you can get more return on your investment through strategic search engine optimization.  Your company would have to fork over a $185,000 application fee.  Social Media Strategist Caroline Melberg said, “Just think of the marketing dollars that will need to be associated with educating people to use the TLD instead of .com, which is still the holy grail.”

“This certainly opens up competition in terms of domain selling, but will internet searchers adapt to this initiative or will it just add confusion,” asked Melberg.  Just when the consumer got a better understanding of what a safe URL looks like, this TLD update could add confusion.

Shapiro notes, “With hundreds of new gTLDs likely to be introduced starting next year, consumer confusion is virtually guaranteed. There’s little doubt fraudsters intend to exploit this new window of vulnerability.”

Instead of spending more money on new domains and even more money on figuring out the most efficient way to use them, we suggest optimizing your website, blogs, and social media sites for search engines.

In an article in response to the TLD initiative, Gary Elliot, Chair of Association of National Advertisers, replied, “New search technology has improved search and innovation making the search market extremely competitive.  That competition and innovation offers consumers simple ways to find what they want intuitively without the necessity of remembering one of hundreds of TLD addresses.”

By optimizing your brand from your website to your Twitter feed, you are increasing your social authority.  Pricey top-level domains are not the cure-all to a low traffic problem.

Published on: November 2, 2011