Abion / Blog / Booking.what?

Using new generic top level domains (referred to hence forth as “new gTLDs”) is a relatively new way of communicating online, for long term as well as short term projects. In short, this is a development that is currently changing the way we view top level domains as a whole.

There are many examples of the usage of new gTLDs. One is Barclays Bank, one of the world’s largest banks, who registered their own gTLD .barclays. At home.barclays they have launched their company group website, they are also using sub sites such as africa.barclays, wealth.barclays, savings.barclays and so on.

There are also many examples of the usage of new gTLDs in more short term projects, such as ad campaigns. One is Carlsberg who during a summer European Championship, promoted their domain name carlsberg.football to direct consumers directly to their EC related site.

Another example could have been Booking.com, one of the world’s biggest sites for booking hotel rooms. Their campaign Booking.yeah has existed since 2013 and is according to Chief Marketing Officer Paul Hennessy meant to illustrate “that moment of joy, when you realize just how great your accommodation is, and how amazing your trip is going to be”. This is achieved by replacing the tld .com in the logo so the logo instead becomes Booking.yeah.

A little background information might be suitable in order to understand the problem I have with this ad. During the last few years, an expansion of the top level domain universe has been going on. Both in regards to the “dotbrands” such as .CANON, .ABB, .BARCLAYS and .SANDVIK (all of which are launched). As well as the “dotgenerics” with more sensible wordings such as .BANK, .SHOP and .BERLIN, to the more obscure suffixes such as .XYZ, .WTF, .LOL, .SUCKS, .NINJA and .WOW.

The problem with the booking.yeah campaign is just that there is no domain name with that name. The reason for this is as simple as it is peculiar in this context, there is no .yeah top level domain, therefore no booking.yeah domain name.

Obviously this caused somewhat of a buzz when the campaign was initially launched (primarily maybe amongst domain name nerds such as myself).

The campaign however, is still active. In light of recent years’ development in regards to top level domains, a development which has been known for quite some time, I think it is justified to at least question the decision to base a global campaign on a play of the top level domain, by replacing it with one that simply does not exist.

This begs the question; how should one think in regards to new gTLDs?

Can I use a new gTLD for my main site instead of the conventional .COM, .SE, .NET and so on?
Answer: Yes, you can, and many already do. One should bear in mind though that certain systems, such as mail servers, can sometimes misinterpret the usage of a new gTLD as an invalid email address. These kinds of problems should however occur less frequently as systems are updated. That is partly why currently domain names with new gTLDs are viewed as complements and that they should be registered from a marketing- and protection standpoint. Shortly however, technology as well as the market should have adapted enough so that the potential risks of using new GTLDs ought to be minimal.

What are the advantages of using a new GTLD?
Several actually. The main advantage is the possibility to create a more eye-catching domain name. If you for example have the word “solutions” in your company name, you can (if available obviously) register *****.solutions to complement your *****solutions.com or .se. When launching campaign sites, using new GTLDs becomes even more effective. This is due to the fact that you small “sub-brands” around the domain name where the domain name becomes part of the message, Lex Carlsberg (above) and many other examples.

How should one think/act in regards to new GTLDs?
Since everything surrounding new GTLDs is fairly new, the future usage of new GLTDs becomes a bit hypothetical. Therefore, it might be a good idea as a brand owner to have a policy stating how the company should act in regards to new GLTDs. This kind of policy states - including but not limited to – which wordings that are to be registered for which new GLTDs, how they are to be used, how the company should act in regards to the domain names one chooses not to register and so on. Formulating a policy is of course something we at Abion can assist you with.

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