In my mind, if there was anything that the new gTLDs seemed to hold great promise for, it was the fun and unique marketing opportunities some of the more specific extensions offered. There are several “holiday” themed TLDs that seem obvious candidates for creative marketers to employ. However, while it is true that we are seeing some adoption of the new gTLDs by banks and celebrities, and by company specific .Brands, the holiday-themed TLDs are being largely ignored. The billboards I envisioned emblazoned with the call to action to “Visit somebigbrand.blackfriday” or holiday promotions being advertised in television commercials for “popularstore.christmas” are not happening. If you go to your favorite browser and type in a search for “Black Friday”, you’ll find links to sites with “blackfriday” somewhere in the URL, but the associated domain name is pretty much always a .com. Similarly, on popular social media channels, while the #blackfriday hashtag is trending at this time of year, you won’t find yourself being directed to sites ending in the descriptive TLD.
‘Tis the Season
MarkMonitor conducted a quick study of the top U.S. online retailers (56 brand names in total), and their indifference to these “holiday” TLDs was confirmed. What surprised me the most was the fact that domain speculators have also ignored these extensions for the well-known name brands we reviewed. Of the 56 brand names checked in the .blackfriday TLD, just over 25% have been secured by the brand holder and only 10 have been registered by a third-party. In the .christmas TLD, secured domains are the same, but only three have been registered by someone other than the brand-holder. Over half of the domain names in both of these TLDs are currently available, in a non-registered state – and of those, only a couple have a premium fee associated to their registration. The .holiday TLD is the only one in our “holiday” TLD sample set that is included in a blocking option, with 22 of the domains we looked at protected from registration, but beyond that we only found four outright registrations and none appeared to be by a third-party.
For .gift – a TLD that pairs nicely with the holiday shopping season – 37 out of 56 brand names are currently available; while just 10 have been registered by someone other than the brand-holder. The difference here is that some of those third-party registered domain names are for big name retailers that had in fact secured domains in the .blackfriday, .christmas and .holiday TLDs.
I also looked at what was happening in the .shop TLD as it relates to all of the same retailer names, and found a much higher percentage of domain names registered by someone other than the retailer – 37.5%. While none of those 21 domains have live websites with quality content, two of them do prompt users to click a link that could lead to a malware download. In fact, only eight out of the 44 third-party registered domain names in all of the TLDs in this study are live with any content that may be of concern to the brand-holder; the vast majority are just sitting idle with a parked page or no content at all.
With Black Friday nearly upon us and Christmas right around the corner, and as consumers poised to start their holiday e-shopping, it seems that .com still is the bright star of the season. And if you are in the market for a new domain name for a loved one, you might consider Black Friday sales on domain names. After all, “yourname.rocks” would be a nice stocking stuffer!