As I travel to and fro across the greater Austin metroplex, I quite often stumble upon a wide variety of domain names.
From yard signs to billboards to auto wraps and more, domain name advertising is fiercely competing for our eyes and wallets.
Over the last 25 years or more, most people know about and have become comfortable with the legacy domain extensions (i.e., .com, .org, .net).
Although I listed the common three, there are 20-25 that are categorized as legacy domain name extensions.
But in the last 3-4 years, ICANN took it upon themselves to open the domain extension flood gates to the second coming of the domain goldrush, releasing nearly 1400+ new words to the right of the dot.
Talk about confusing the general public that has .com forever ingrained in their minds.
Not only that, but the newly released domain extensions don’t have a rhyme or reason for their existence (or do they?) other than being an alternative to what most would say is an overly saturated .com market.
Of course, not all new domain extensions coming to market will fail, having wasted time and money as a miserable investment. Only most will due to no or low marketing strategies.
In addition, extensions that do fail do so because folks not realizing what terms to the right of the dot are legitimate domain extensions.
Case in point, my wife is very familiar with domains and how they work. We were in route to take our now 1 year old daughter and 3 year old son to celebrate their birthdays as a family at a local Austin amusement park.
On our way, my wife spotted a delivery truck a few lanes over from us as we waited at a stop light. She pointed and questioned: “Hey, I didn’t know there was a .solar extension?”
I quickly but not confidently stated that there was not a .solar the last I knew of. I quickly took out my phone, opened a web browser and typed in the following web address to confirm. Vivint.Solar.
As I waited for both websites to load, focused to confirm her questionable domain encounter, I then noticed there was VivintSolar.com on the side and back of the truck in smaller print.
It was then that I realized that the truck was not advertising the .solar domain extension, but that the dot separating two phrases was design flair.
It’s for this very reason that new domain extensions will take a while to catch on with the general public, if ever.
There are numerous companies using the same sort of design flair to promote their brand (Uh.. Booking.Yeah).
And sometimes, the word to the right of the dot exists as a legitimate domain extension while most of the time it doesn’t exist.
Even for me, someone who is intimately familiar with domain names in and out, I was fooled and stumped by my wife’s domain extension encounter.
I couldn’t say with confidence that there was or was not a .solar domain extension because 1400+ domains are too many to commit to memory.
Who knows, maybe the next class of new domain extensions may very well include .solar? Then again, LIKELY NOT!
Have you been confused by an advertisement that you thought was using a new domain extension?