I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal about new TLDs and found the writer to be missing the mark a bit. The article was talking about whether new TLDs would be good for small businesses and the writer gave his pitch in favor of more choices. However, in doing this he made an example that makes me wonder if he lives in a world where .COM was the only TLD created? Here’s what he says,
“Let’s start with choice. Right now, there are more than 100 million “.com” domain names. That means it’s likely that the ideal name for a small business is already taken. I know my name, www.kevinwilson.com, is already taken by a real-estate agent in Denver. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but he’s not me.
As things stand, I have to come up with a “.com” name that’s confusing for me and my customers, something like kwilson1437.com. With a new TLD, I can choose a name ideal for me and my customers without having to force something available to work—for instance, www.kevinwilson.cfo.” (Wall Street Journal)
What I find strange about this example is the fact that anyone would choose some random .COM with numbers in it just because their exact-match name is taken. Most small businesses don’t just add a bunch of numbers to their name and slap a .COM on the end, they go for a .NET, a .ORG, a .CO, a .ME, or any of the other great TLDs out there.
Why would Kevin Wilson not go after his full name but just in another TLD? Is he living in a world where there really are no other TLDs than .COM so the only option is to pick a name like kwilson1437.com? Why not KevinWilson.net, or KevinWilson.co? Those are both incredibly easy to remember!
The article goes on to say,
“Critics argue that all the new possibilities will cause confusion. What’s wrong with confusion? Having to choose one toothpaste is less confusing, but is it better?”
What does he mean having to choose one toothpaste is less confusing? There are sooooo many different TLDs out there. It’s not like consumers can only pick .COM and now they’ll have more options. Consumers can already choose from a huge number of TLDs, there are probably ten time more TLDs than there are toothpaste companies…so in fact there are even more choices. Using the example of only picking one toothpaste really doesn’t make any sense…unless we were living in a world where there was only .COM.
I think this just goes to show how little the mainstream media (or average consumer) understands domain names. I understand both sides of this issue, those in favor of, and those against, the new TLDs. No problems there, but this argument just doesn’t make sense. Saying new gTLDs are good because before businesses could only choose .COM and now they can choose from more than one TLD just isn’t true.
Sorry WSJ, I’m a big fan, have been reading for years…but this just didn’t make sense to me. Consumers have the choice between a huge selection of TLDs, small businesses can brand with .com, .net, .org, .co, .me, .us, .tv, .eu, .asia, .biz, and the list goes on. There are tons of choices, new TLDs just means adding even more choices. The question the article should be answer is not whether it makes sense to go from one option to multiple, but whether it makes sense to go from hundreds of options to thousands.