With The Rise Of Premium TLDs Like .INC – .COM Is Coming To A Close by Forbes – Entrepreneurs

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Top Level Domains are replacing .com classification and giving more clarity of the company industry.

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It’s happened to thousands of entrepreneurs. You start your business, go online to register for your domain name—and find that it’s taken.

With so many dot coms out there, it’s no surprise that businesses are having to get creative with their domain names. But when it comes to your website URL, “getting creative” isn’t always a good thing. If your business is called Sheila’s Shoes, you want your web domain to be SheilasShoes.com, not SheilasGreatShoes.com, or SheilaShoes.com.

This is part of why we’ve seen new Top-Level Domains (TLDs) emerge—those letters that come after the “dot” in a website name. There’s .com, .shop, .me, and the list goes on.

But these newer TLDs are filling up just as quickly, and the problem remains that many businesses are having to register domain names that are different from their actual business names.

As someone who speaks on marketing and branding all over the world, I can tell you: That causes problems.

Consistency is one of the most important elements of branding, and if your domain name is different from your business name, customers will either have a hard time locating your website, or they’ll start calling you by your domain name, rather than your actual business name.

This is where premium domains come in. Typical domains, like SheilasShoes.com, only cost $15 or so. That’s given rise to internet opportunists who buy up hundreds of common domain names at a time with the goal of then selling them to businesses who want them for a huge profit.

Premium domains, on the other hand, cost in the thousands of dollars, which makes it much less likely that these opportunists will try to buy them. After all, it’s not guaranteed that the business whose domain name they own will pay up, and it’s much easier to turn a profit on a $15 investment than a $2,000 one.

One of the latest premium TLDs to hit the market is .inc. I wanted to learn more about this idea of premium TLDs, so I interviewed Shayan Rostam, the Chief Strategic Advisor of Intercap Registry, the company that launched .inc domains.

Why .inc?

Millions of business names already end in “Inc.” With a .inc domain name, their websites can too. Maybe your business is called Acme Furniture, Inc. AcmeFurniture.com is currently listed for $57,500 on GoDaddy, and you’d likely have to cycle through dozens of variations of the name in order to find one that was available for standard pricing. With .inc,  however, you can register as Acme.inc or AcmeFurniture.inc—quite literally, all you would have to do is move the dot.

And what’s more, when customers go to a .inc website, they’ll know that they’re visiting a business site because .inc means business.

That’s powerful. Having your website directly match your brand is so important to cut down on customer confusion and maintain that consistency across all aspects of your branding.  

Absolutely. One company that just acquired their .inc domain is a design studio called Collab Inc. A key reason that they did so was because their .com site, CollabCreators.com, was causing customer confusion—clients were calling them Collab Creators instead of their real name.

This can really cause problems, because your website is a huge element of your company’s brand. It’s on your business cards, in your presentations, your company email addresses.

Why are we seeing premium TLDs on the rise?

According to Verisign’s latest Domain Name Industry Brief from Q4 of 2018, there were 348.7 million registered domain names across all TLDs, with nearly half of all of those being .com or .net. That can make it tough for businesses to find the right domain, and sometimes even have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for pre-owned domains in the aftermarket.

Businesses need another option—one that doesn’t require them to adapt their name for a website, or change it outright. That’s why .inc domains make a lot of sense. It is a TLD that literally means business, and I think that that’s the best option for companies that don’t want to sacrifice their brand identity for the sake of a domain.

What’s the response been like so far? Who’s purchased .inc domains?

The response has been astounding. So far, more than 20 percent of the Fortune US 100 Companies and Forbes 100 “World’s Most Valuable Brands” have already registered .inc domains.

That includes companies like Amazon, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, to name just a few. Beyonce and Taylor Swift have also bought their .inc domains.

For large companies and major celebrities like these, spending $1,999 on a domain name is not burdensome. However, we recognize this can be a big purchase for small businesses and startups, even though businesses know how beneficial it is to have a streamlined, easy-to-remember domain for your website.

That’s why .inc has also incorporated major benefits into the purchase of every .inc domain. One of those is free incorporation services from LegalZoom, which customers can take advantage of after purchasing their .inc domain. There are over $2,500 in benefits from partners like Google, WeWork, Delta Airlines, Intuit, and more, so the additional value exceeds the cost of the .inc domain itself. Having this added value will make the premium price much easier to rationalize when you’re getting the perfect website for your business, along with some added benefits from industry-leading brands.  

How are you seeing companies use their .inc domains?

We are already seeing companies use .inc alongside their .com sites. One company, Freshii, is using Freshii.inc as its investor relations site. This seems to be the trend with other major brands as well, like PayPal.inc, Gap.inc, and Fox.inc.

For newer businesses that don’t yet have a .com, or that have a .com that doesn’t reflect their actual business name, .inc has become a way for them to stand out in a crowded market. There are more than 900,000 businesses incorporated in the U.S. every year. Having a .inc domain is one way for a company to differentiate itself.

The bottom line is that .inc is now one of the best solutions available for businesses. That’s true whether you’re a new business that wants a strong, consistent brand and web presence, or a mature public company that needs a separate domain for its corporate presence. In both cases, we’re seeing companies choose  .inc.

May 7, 2019 at 01:39PM
https://www.forbes.com/sites/shamahyder/2019/05/07/with-the-rise-of-premium-tlds-like-inc-com-is-coming-to-a-close/
Forbes – Entrepreneurs
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