There’s nothing like the marketing of new marketing opportunities: “Act Now! You’ll regret it later!” “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be on a new directory.” “If you don’t secure your spot soon, I can guarantee your biggest competitor will.”
Kind of gut-wrenching, cringy stuff, right? Fortunately, there aren’t too many instances of anything revolutionary happening when marketing our businesses. In fact, most of the time, it’s merely a new spin or iteration on something that already exists, which can certainly be worthwhile in many cases. For example, Performance Max from Google wasn’t an earth-shattering array of new advertising platforms for you to run ads on; it was the ease of everything from display advertising to Pay-Per-Click on one dashboard. Apple Maps presented an opportunity to have another listing for die-hard Apple fanatics. Emerging websites like Expertise and Thumbtack were fleeting directories that may have brought in decent clientele for 6-12 months in the past few years. And don’t get me started with Local Service Ads…
The Problem with Using Unorthodox Top-Level Domains
When a new Top-Level Domain drops—which is an alternative to .com, .net, .org, etc.—it’s always so baffling to me where the hubbub actually comes from. To be fair, when the original TLDs came out as legal (like .legal), it was somewhat of a big deal. There’s no denying that .lawyer, .attorney, and .law look pretty good and may give you the vanity URL kick you could have missed out on in the early 2000s. There’s something about getting nyc.law or personalinjury.attorney that would have been a moment of digital triumph, especially for those who work very closely on their digital marketing.
Though this article is from 2020, my buddy Jared from HostDime talks about TLD adoption and how rampant growth of domain opportunities has led to imbalanced implementation, and this has only become worse over the past few years.
There are well over 1,500 different TLDs available for purchase now, and many of them have a much heftier cost associated with them than the $10-$15 you can expect from getting a typical .com or .net. Though every new TLD opens up a new range of available names, it’s important to consider the actual intent of the new domain. A brand new domain in the eyes of Google and other search engines carries many obstacles as far as gaining trust and authority, at least from an SEO standpoint.
There’s a reason you don’t see exotic TLDs in most search engine results for services: it’s extremely unfavorable to start building up a brand new domain when you’re up against domains that have had age, authority, and trust for years if not decades. A brand-new TLD basically has a digital sticker on top of it that says, “I’m the new kid on the block.” What is anyone really doing with vanity, new TLD domains besides domain squatting because of their perceived, eventual “value” and not to use for any implementation? This goes hand in hand with the ephemeral notion of digital assets in the same time period, namely NFTs and Crypto.
What About .esq?
A .esq TLD dropped this week, and immediately the legal community was aroar with the notion of owning a lawyer.esq, criminal.esq, etc. Sure these domains look good, but what would their actual purpose be? For other lawyers, for bragging rights, or for someone searching who would appreciate this domain name after they spend two years optimizing a brand new domain with an Age Value of 0?
.esq is not readily synonymous with the average consumer either. I ran a survey of nearly 200 participants asking a handful of questions about TLD meanings and the trustworthiness of common, first-generation TLDs. Out of this group of respondents, only about 20% of them knew that .esq was short for esquire (a few believed it was for exquisite, which is a word but not spelled that way, and the rest didn’t have a guess). Out of the 20% that were familiar with the word esquire, it would be even less to know it is a title of courtesy associated with a lawyer.
On a scale of 1-10—1 being least trustworthy and 10 being most—.com prevailed with an average rating of 7.99 when compared to .net, .biz, and even .edu. .Biz was the lowest with 7.33. Is the average consumer clamoring for you to have a domain with .lawyer, .attorney, .law, or .legal to establish credibility or your website intent, or can that be established in your current .com or your website’s meta title and description (which is much more user-friendly for communicating intent and what to expect)? If you plan on running a multi-million dollar paid or/media campaign, then perhaps a nifty domain could come in handy for a branding campaign. Besides that, you can probably write this off as another source for contracting shining object syndrome.
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Whether you’re curious about using a new top-level domain or have other questions about marketing your website and business, you’ve come to the right place. At Market My Market, our digital marketing experts have years of experience helping firms grow their customer base and increase their value. To learn more about how to upgrade your marketing strategies, complete our online contact form or call us at (866) 270-2250.