Brand owners and organisations that either already have a global customer base or that intends to eventually expand beyond the local community, are well-advised to make sure that this is also reflected in their online brand profile, i.e. in their domain name portfolio. Historically, geographical domains have been limited to country domains, such as .de, .co.uk, .fr, .ca etc., or regional domains, such as .eu and .asia.
In other words, there hasn’t been a geographical domain extension that explicitly covers the entire globe, although extensions such as .com, .net, .org and .info have been popular to use for these purposes in lack of a more relevant option, while traditional country-specific top-level domains have been used when the content of the website is only relevant for a certain geographical region.
The new domain extensions released in the past year change the way brand owners should invest in their online branding.
Most new domain extensions are vertical descriptors, such as commonly used industry terms or names of product and service categories. There are, however, also some geographical indicators among the new domain extensions, e.g. .London, .NYC, .Paris, .Berlin, .Amsterdam, .Vegas and .Miami. These city domains can be used in the same way that country domain extensions are used, in order to target certain city-specific audiences.
For content and messaging that should not be restricted by vertical or geographical limitations, new domain extensions such as .global, .international, .world, and .earth is a strategically better option. The right global geographical domain can be a good alternative, or addition, to the traditional generic extensions .com, .net, org, and .info. Using a relevant global geographical domain in online branding doesn’t only create a wide-reaching main site, it can also serve as an umbrella and tie the various vertical domain names in the portfolio together, thereby creating an overall more solid and thought-through brand experience online. A main global website may also be used as a directory, making it easier for visitors to get an overview and to ultimately navigate their way to the country or product specific content.
Using new geographical domains has the potential to strengthen a brand globally, to structurize valuable domain name portfolios, enhance customer experience and to attract more relevant traffic to its online content.