Each month I’m amazed to discover a small, but growing number of Austin-based companies branding domains using new top-level extensions — the good, bad, and ugly.
Rummaging through the last 6 editions of the Community Impact Newsletter (CIN )for Northwest Austin, I’ve discovered breweries, pet shops, fitness brands, summer camps, and entertainment venues among the early adopters.
Microbreweries are popping up all over Austin, especially in Northwest Austin, about as bad as scooters in downtown Austin.
While there are many microbreweries to review and highlight, I was pleasantly surprised to discover 4th Tap Brewing Co-Op having launched their web presence using a .coop domain: 4thTap.Coop.
Surprise, surprise! Exactly my feelings stumbling upon 4th Tap’s ad in CIN. While I love the creativity and clever use of the .coop domain hack, this domain doesn’t pass the radio test.
Other options available via hand registration or 3rd party purchase at the time of publication are as follows:
In my opinion, aforementioned domains are worth purchasing for the simple sake of brand protection and redirecting to 4thTap.Coop.
The next new domain extension discovery was the P and F Pet Shop’s use of a .shop domain, PandFPet.shop, to advertise Pet-toberfest, a dress your pet in a costume contest held at The Domain in Northwest Austin.
In my humble opinion, PandFPet.shop is a domain not worth its registration fee. There are likely better alternative domains available at hand-reg fee or via 3rd party. In fact, I compiled the following list of domains worth considering:
Not all domains listed above are worth their cost in registration and/or renewal, but I strongly recommend P and F Pet Shop consider purchasing the final 4 domains in the aforementioned list.
As for those of you wondering about .shop stats, searching NTLDStats.com reveals approximately 675K .shop domains registered with nearly 60% of those domains said to be parked. .shop domain registrations are on an overall upward trend.
The next ad capturing my attention was an announcement about Life Time Fitness having purchased and renovated two additional locations while advertising their .life website, LifeTime.Life.
This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered Life Time Fitness sporting their .life domain.
Much like .shop stats, NTLDStats.coms reveals roughly 200K .life domains registered with nearly 70% of those domains said to be parked and on an overall upward trend based on the registration graph below.
Speaking of fitness, I discovered two additional companies making use of .fit and .fitness domains.
The first was 4:13 Fitness, a gym offering non-contact boxing and fitness classes for individuals with movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.
While I love the idea and cause of supporting fitness centered on helping individuals with movement disorders, I disagree with the domain choice.
Movement disorders are not a respecter of age, yet this offering is positioned for early seniors and beyond.
Seniors often times struggle with technology, so using a new domain extension could be quite challenging although one could make the argument that a child or grandchild could be making the arrangements for their loved one and familiar with new domain extensions.
As for alternative domains, most of the available domains at hand registration fee are geo service domains:
Geo service domains are great for local or hyper-local target audiences, yet can be limiting should the business grow beyond the local market.
As for .fitness stats, there are roughly 11K .fitness domains registered with nearly 60% of these domains parked and on a gradual upward trend.
I’m guessing a growing number of personal fitness trainers are opting to use a .fitness domain when the desired matching or alternative .com is not available for registration or purchase, or simply too expensive in contrast to .fitness registration and renewal pricing.
Not soon after discovering 4:13 Fitness’s ad, I encountered a recreation and fitness ad: SOLA Summer Series in the Park.
Positioned as a community workout in the park, Zilker Park, every Saturday morning at 10, I was most surprised by their domain selection: SolaSeries.fit.
And again… Surprise! Surprise! I didn’t realize .fit was a valid domain extension. I’m claiming the excuse of too many extensions — approximately 1500 new domain extensions — to commit to memory. 🤣
As for alternative options, the only domains somewhat making sense to consider were the following (* denotes available for hand registration at the time of publication):
And like 4th Tap Coop, SolaSeries.fit should certainly register the matching .com for brand protection at the very least.
As for .fit stats, there are roughly 38K .fit domains registered — 3 times the amount of .fitness domains — with nearly 40% of these domains parked, and on an upward trend with a steep incline of recent registrations.
While I previously mentioned personal fitness trainers are likely to favor a .fitness domain, I may stand corrected discovering the number of .fit domains registered. An alternative to both .fitness and .com, .fit is certainly less letters to type than .fitness while being the perfect contextual exchange in the place of .com.
Now knowing .fit is a legit domain extension, I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on registrations and domain sightings in the wild.
Speaking of summer recreation and fitness, I soon stumbled upon a few summer camps enlisting .rocks and .academy domains.
Minecraft and Coding Summer Camps invited campers to challenge and grow their coding skills in creating castles, battleships, and nether coasters using Minecraft Master Builders.
While it sounds like a cool camp to attend, peep their .rocks domain: TheScholarship.Rocks.
Talk about an interesting selection for a summer camp. With my interest piqued to learn whether or not alternative domains exist, I discovered the following options:
Personally, I would choose AustinCodeCamp.com as the go to, yet purchase the remaining domains to redirect to TheScholarship.Rocks.
In addition, I strongly recommend re-branding The Scholarship Rocks to the ATX STEM Lab or Austin STEM Lab based on such topics mentioned on TheScholarship.Rocks website. And yes, both domains — ATXSTEMLab.com and AustinStemLab.com — are available for hand registration at the time of publication.
The aforementioned geo service domains developed are likely to lend themselves to effective SEO ranking than the .rocks domain extension — although an argument could be made that SEO ranking is more about the quality of content and less about the domain itself.
As for .rocks stats, there are roughly 110K .rocks domains registered with nearly 55% of these domains parked and on a gradual upward trend.
When I think of the .rocks domain extension, I either think about landscaping or music, and not a summer camp.
Minecraft and Coding Summer Camps is not the only summer camp having selected a new domain extension. I soon encountered Parinama Academy — a camp to learn chess, public speaking skills, creative writing, spelling bee prep, Singapore math and geography bee prep among other topics — donning a .academy domain: Parinama.Academy.
Comparing the two camps, the use of a .academy domain is more logical than that of a .rocks domain, especially when considering Parinama Academy contains the keyword ‘academy’. But are there better options available?
While the aforementioned branded domains should be purchased as defensive registrations, Parinama Academy should also consider purchasing the domains listed in previous sections referencing summer camps.
As for .academy stats, there are roughly 32K .academy domains registered with nearly 57% of these domains parked and on a gradual upward trend.
Best guess for the rising number in .academy domain registrations and use is that most academies are likely commonly named. And because of common names likely not available in .com, then it only makes sense that .academy is likely the next best choice for matching or even creating an alternative brand and name for a given .academy domain.
As for the final domain spotting, one of the last ads catching my eye was Indra’s Awarehouse — an Austin-based community art hub located in a 6,000 square foot warehouse in East Austin.
What surprised me most about the ad is the use of a .house domain: indras.house.
I can’t say that I’ve ever encountered a .house domain in the wild, especially one touting the awareness and convergence of art, culture, and technology.
My expectation is house/home builders, real estate agents and agencies, real estate brokers, or homeowners are the target audiences most likely to promote a .house domain name.
However, based on .house stats from NTLDStats.com, there are roughly 20K .house domains registered with nearly 60% of these domains parked and on a gradual upward trend.
Honestly, I thought there would have at least been between 500K and 1M .house domains registered and in use. Simply put, i was wrong.
Nevertheless, I would argue Indra’s Awarehouse could find a more suitable name in the .com extension; however, I really like the use of indras.house.
Because indra’s is eclectic in nature, it’s only fitting to go off the beaten path of .com and use a uniquely fitting domain extension such as .house.
I can’t stress enough about the importance of purchasing variations and matching .com domains when deciding to brand your digital presence using a new domain extension. Online searchers and visitors directly typing in a web address have long adapted to appending .com as normal behavior.
Plain and simple, web traffic is being leaked when deciding not to own and redirect variations and matching .com domains.
Final thoughts about using new domain extensions
In closing, the narrow entry gate for online success has been .com to date. However, wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction for many unassuming personal and company brands failing to secure necessary .com alternatives as redirects when using one or many of the 1500+ new domain extensions.
There are more than enough “good” domain names to go around for everyone and their next business idea. While it makes sense for personal and company brands to use new domain extensions when and where appropriate, not the same can be said in regards to profitable domain investing in new domain extensions.
Investing in new domain extensions is certainly not for the faint of heart. Even Mike Berkens, a longtime domain investor with millions of dollars made in domain investing, warns all — domain developers and investors — to tread lightly and study the stats for a given extension before committing to such an investment.
My guess is that margins are quite slim and less forgiving for the riverboat-esque domain investor willing to go “all in” on flipping and selling domains using new extensions.
I believe those who develop new domain extensions could win long term, while profitable flipping and investing in domains using new extensions are the outlandish anomalies and executions to the rule.