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Ben Crawford
gTLDs have the stigma of being, well, generic, but the one-size-fits-all strings offer brand names a chance to bag popular terms long-since taken in .com, explains Ben Crawford of domain industry registry CentralNic

How do brands profit from generic domain names?

There are many ways. Brands can obtain generic ‘keyword’ terms to help capture traffic. If creativity or being technically advanced or disruption is part of your brand values, then new gTLDs convey those messages powerfully. New gTLDs allow brands to start using words on the second level that were locked up by other companies in the old domains. Plus, we are having many discussions with large corporations about the ‘internet of things’ and the domain name system, utilising new gTLDs.

Lastly, CentralNic provides a turnkey solution assisting telecoms companies with selling domain names to their small- and medium-sized enterprise customers, which is gaining traction.

Are gTLDs a good fall-back option for brands that missed out on their own unique TLDs?

Absolutely. Of course, a .brand is the strongest strategy for any brand online, but for the many companies that missed out on their .brands, and for new brands launched after the .brand application deadline, .xyz and some other top gTLDs such as .online and .site are ideal homes for distinctive brands.

The new gTLD .xyz has successfully taken on the brand values of being new and ‘cool’, making it attractive not only for the newly launched Alphabet (which uses abc.xyz as its official site), but for many others too, including the co-founders of Skype, whose latest venture is at starship.xyz.

Are brands convinced by the pull of gTLDs?

Technology companies are convinced. Savvy early adopters are. I went to a newly opened restaurant in Sydney recently using a .wtf domain, which seems perfect for a venue with innovative cuisine and an edgy attitude.

And brands in industries serviced by .industry domains with restrictions to protect consumers are starting to use the likes of .bank, .law and .tickets.

How are new gTLD registration rates faring?

The gTLD market is accelerating as overall domain sales rates are higher than they have ever been in history. New gTLDs aren’t a novelty news story now, they are the fastest growing part of the infrastructure of the internet itself.

What’s new for the gTLD market?

More visible websites. And of course we are seeing the first .brand websites, such as domains.google. Usage will increase awareness, which will in turn cause further usage with a snowball effect.

What is likely the most popular gTLD for 2016?

.Xyz will continue to dominate and by the end of the year, it will disrupt the .com/.net/,org trinity that has dominated the gTLD landscape for 20 years.

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