3 Things I Like + 3 Things I Don’t Like About .LA

Dot LA

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.

DotLA Billboard

What I Like About .LA

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

(Image Source – http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_23628742/move-over-dot-com-dot-la-is-moving)

{ 11 comments… add one }

  • Domenclature.com July 19, 2013, 12:43 pm

    The only reason the internet superseded Yellow Pages, as far as businesses are concerned is the ability to market, and promote beyond the city limits. Those of us who flipped yellow pages to look up things remember this very well. Now, there is a something to be said about local search. Having said that, .com offers that as well. It’s better for a business to have the ability to advertise region-wide, nation-wide, even internationally, and not need to, than to need it and not have it available. .Com offers this. Whereas merchants, and the public at large will view .LA as an LA thing. In essence, .COM is a panacea.

    In other for these nGTLDs, including these re-brands to take off, they would have to first implement a paradigm shift, habit change, discredit .Com, deliver a reason why people should abandon everything they’ve known regarding SEO, or come up with an alternative search engine. So, it’s a long way to hoe. Is there room for some of it to succeed alongside .com? Time will tell.

    Reply
  • Adam July 19, 2013, 12:55 pm

    Interesting views.

    I much prefer these new city TLDs over the descriptive industry TLDs. They have a clear jurisdiction and for someone with a business in LA or London it actually makes a lot of sense to have a .la or .london domain. The city TLDs don’t compete with each other which is great – unlike new gTLDs, which are launching and competing directly with each other and will cause great confusion (e.g. .finance, .investment, .invest, .money).

    I do find it strange that the US actually has it’s own domain extensions called .US yet I don’t see any people or brands using it. If the country’s own national descriptive TLD didn’t take off then it’s an interesting precursor to city TLDs. Also, I don’t see what’s stopping any of the US states re-branding existing domains either (e.g. .az for Arizona or .ca for California – these both make a lot of sense to me).

    I agree with you that the nice thing about city TLDs is that they’ll go to local businesses and not just domainers.

    Reply
  • Adam July 19, 2013, 12:59 pm

    Also, it will be interesting in the future to see whether smaller cities can afford to apply and run their own city TLDs as the price drops for the next round of new gTLD applications. For example, I’m from Sheffield, UK, a city with around 500,000 people. I wonder whether there’s any chance of we could afford our own TLD in the future.

    Reply
  • Rich July 19, 2013, 1:01 pm

    Morgan,
    Howe just convinced me,i bought two:
    MesotheliomaAttorneys
    MesotheliomaLawyers

    I don’t like it because it limited to Los Angeles and because its a ccTLD.
    What is going to help it’s the gTLD’s ,will see.

    Reply
  • Louise July 19, 2013, 1:03 pm

    At first, I thought I accidentally blocked your feed on Domaining.com. Then I saw your Panda update post was still live on page 2, so this article must have been removed! I see nothing commercial in it . . . Earlier today, Domaining removed TNT’s blog post about Snapname recommendations, which were linked to by affiliate.

    sector7studio.la
    artweek.la
    houseofhoney.la

    are 3 websites of cool, Los Angeles-based businesses. It’s happening already!

    Reply
  • DonnyM July 19, 2013, 1:12 pm

    .CO could be considered Colorado, .LA for Louisiana etc. NYC, wow imagine what nyc.com is going to be worth or la.com it’s like thanks for advertising our .com lol..

    For hotels outside of LA, that is people from other states and countries I don’t see them using .la, maybe inside California they will, but it is hard imagine people outside of the state using that extension.

    Always have to keep an open mind, things do change.
    But safe money is on .com and money will be made with these extensions.
    Very exciting to see what happens.

    DonnyM

    Reply
  • Morgan July 19, 2013, 1:27 pm

    Great comment everyone and really solid points @Domenclature and @Adam. I agree completely that it really will take time to see how other cities run their own TLD to know if this is a real trend or just a passing fad.

    @Rich – I’m not sure these kinds of domains will ever have much value. With TLDs like .LA, .CO, .ME, etc. I think it’s all about the super premiums. Still, it’s too early to know but all of my own investments in these spaces are on solid one-word domains that would cost six or seven figures if they were a .COM.

    Reply
  • Jacek July 19, 2013, 1:28 pm

    I think .com is about to get dethroned by the new gtlds coming and I explain why:
    A heart attack is a lot closer to .med than to .com as is an orgasm to .sex than to .com. It is a revolution but revolutions do happen from time to time. I think it is about time that one happened especially taken the overcrowded .com world into consideration.

    Reply
  • Adam July 19, 2013, 2:05 pm

    @Jacek

    I don’t want to sit here and say that .com will always be king, but I think that most critics of .com miss the point.

    If what’s right of the dot becomes important, EVERY company will have to start branding themselves with the right of the dot included. That would be awkward for most businesses who just want to refer to themselves as “Distilled” or “ABC”.

    For example, I run a marketing consultancy at Searchable.co.uk. If we pretend .co.uk/.com is done with then I’ll have to contend with websites such as Searchable.marketing, Searchable.online, Searchable.media, Searchable.agency, Searchable.consultant, etc etc…I think people forget just how many new gTLDs are going to be launched. It’s impossible for most of them to be successful: the plural vs. singular issue with ICANN allowing .game/.games, .coupon/.couponds, gift/.gifts, .voucher/.vouchers simultaneously under different applicaitons is evidence enough.

    Anyway, it will lead to an awful lot of confusion. I’ve written an article recently about how the 5 different models of new gTLDs will compete with each other: http://www.searchable.co.uk/the-5-different-models-of-new-gtlds-and-why-they-cant-all-work-at-once/

    My personal feelings are that I can’t see ccTLDs being replaced or becoming redundant and since .com is a ccTLD for US/world then I don’t see it losing it’s place either. If anything I think it elevates .com to a new level of superiority. Why wouldn’t a UK based company such as FT.news for example want FT.co.uk or FT.com? To put it another way, if you have a brand called Facebook but your website is on Facebook.social than the right of the dot needs to be incorporated into your brand name, otherwise your brand will be lost.

    Reply
  • craig July 19, 2013, 4:09 pm

    These new (city code) domains would likely not gain traction in a lesser metro size than say, New York City, or Berlin
    BUT the LA basin is essentially all of south california and as such it could easily gain take off velocity. It is a coherent market, highly internet-centric, comparatively wealthy, and freaking huge! Californians have always been open to new ideas.
    As for domainers not involved yet…..I doubt it!

    Reply
  • Joe July 31, 2013, 11:47 am

    As with most TLDs, I believe only super premium keywords have some value. I have never bought any .LA. Today, I decided to check some premiums and all were gone, most since the early-mid 2000s. The only one I found available and regged was Christmas.LA

    Reply

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