The Go Daddy .LA auction got quite a bit of buzz this week and as someone who invests in domains and lives in LA I thought I’d share my thoughts. First things first, for those reading my blog who have never heard of .LA and think that it just launched, it’s been around and is officially the ccTLD for the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and it was established back in 1996 (learn more).
With new geo gTLDs like .NYC getting some very noticeable buzz and successful the successful rebranding of .CO (Colombia’s ccTLD) to be startup focused, .LA has decided to make its move. So no, it’s not new, .LA has been around since the 90’s but .CO was around around since the 90’s as it was granted to Colombia back in 1991 (learn more).
In 2010 .CO was opened up to the entire world and rebranded as a go-to domain name for startups. Thanks to the incredible hard work of Juan Calle, Lori Anne Wardi and the entire .CO team they have done more than put .CO on the map, they’ve made it a real brand that is recognized by startups around the world.
.CO made their move in 2010 and in three short years they have a well-recognized TLD that nobody associates with Colombia. Now .LA is trying to do the same and the big marketing push is happening now. The big question is, will geo-targeted TLDs like .NYC take-off? If they do an people start to naturally type-in things like Hotels.NYC when they want to find a hotel in New York then a habit change could be on its way.
Still, as we all know, habit changes take time but .CO has shown that massive progress can be made in a few years, with the right team behind it doing the marketing and building the brand. Right now I think it’s too early to say whether .LA will be a winner or a loser for domain investors or business owners. So I thought I’d put together a list of three things I like about .LA and three things I don’t like about it, I’ll revisit this list a year later and updated it based on how the .LA ecosystem has changed.
What I Like About .LA
- Everyone knows that Los Angeles is abbreviated as LA and if I told someone I found a great hotel in Los Angeles at Hotels.LA it would be pretty easy for them to remember. For this reason I think the TLD, just like .NYC is good for word-of-mouth and makes sense for brands that are LA-focused.
- The TLD is definitely doing a larger marketing push around .LA and really branding it around Los Angeles. Partnering with Go Daddy is a very smart move, they have a track-record of helping to get TLDs on the map and just this one single auction has put .LA more in the news over the last two weeks than ever before.
- It’s not inundated by Domainers. I don’t see .LA as much of an investment, I see it as a TLD for real, funded companies to use for building their brands in LA. There are a lot of great .LA domains available and for those that are taken the prices aren’t astronomically high to acquire them.
What I don’t like about .LA
- Nobody knows if .City TLDs will take-off, there’s no proven market or success cases yet. Yes, there’s a lot of buzz about .NYC but there’s not data yet to show that it won’t be a complete flop. There is no reason to think that a company wouldn’t rather have LAHotels.com rather than Hotels.LA or NYCHotels.com rather than Hotels.NYC. Only time will tell whether there’s a real market here or if this will just but lost in the sauce with all the other gTLDs coming out.
- It’s not .COM. There is no arguing that .COM is king and every brand would rather have their keyword .COM, period. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. You can’t tell me you’d rather have Music.NYC than Music.com for a new music service. So in cases where the .COM is taken it’s hard to know if someone would go with a geo-targeted TLD or another popular alternative like .CO or .ME which are already far ahead with marketing and awareness.
- LA is very spread-out and many people have a much greater affiliation with where in LA they live than LA as a whole. We live in Marina del Rey which is on the Westside and part of the Santa Monica/Venice community. We go to downtown LA maybe twice a year but are in Venice and Santa Monica every single week. I have a lot of friends that live in Hollywood and when people ask then where they live they don’t say LA, they say Hollywood and they’d probably prefer .Hollywood to .LA. This alone makes it very hard to compare .LA to .NYC.
Now it’s your turn. What do you think about .LA? Comment and let your voice be heard!