The Internet universe reached a whole new level of expansion recently, with the release of new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs), and already we're seeing brands taking advantage.

Out of 18 million domains registered last year, 4 million were new gTLDs. These are domains like .berlin and .rocks, which fill the same slot in a web address as .com or .org but turn that slot into a meaningful space for communicating who you are and what you do. With domains like these grabbing one-fifth of all new registrations, legacy TLDs are getting too crowded to give brands the flexibility they want, and they're looking for other ways to project themselves online.

Moreover, familiarity with new gTLDs is rising in the US, as celebrities like singer Taylor Swift make headlines for acquiring new domains to manage their brands. But outside the US is where we're seeing a lot of early adoption. Moreover, the openness to new gTLDs in foreign markets poses a compelling opportunity for brands looking to enhance and diversify their global reach.

Accustomed to Variety

Three of the five most popular new gTLDs, in terms of domains purchased, are largely if not exclusively serving foreign markets.

Why are new gTLDs more popular outside the US? A likely reason is that Internet users in other countries are used to seeing variety to the right of the dot. Germans use sites like every day, and there are more than 7 million monthly visitors to the Indian news site

Whereas users in the US (where many Internet naming customs were born) tend to think of legacy TLDs as the only options, people elsewhere in the world have long accepted that there’s more to a Web address than .com and .org.

Brands have an exciting opportunity, therefore, to access foreign markets with novel, informative and eye-catching Web addresses.

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image of Dave Panos

Dave Panos is chairman of the board for Rightside, a provider of domain registration, Web hosting, and aftermarket domain services for companies and individuals.

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