In advance of NamesCon, Andrew Merriam, Director of Business Development at the company that operates the .Design registry (Top Level Design), shared his company’s 2017 Brand Report (pdf file) pertaining to .Design domain names. The report sheds some light on the usage of .Design domain names by some major companies in various business sectors and industries.
Highlighted in the brand report are the following domain names operated by major brands we all know and use:
I checked all of the links above, and these companies are actually using their .Design domain names for websites rather than simply forwarding the domain names to other websites. Many registries tout the usage of their domain names, but it seems like quite a bit of that usage is forwarding. That is fine, but usage likely indicates promotion of those domain names, and that promotion is helpful in awareness to other prospective users and the general public or its target audience.
From my perspective, the .Design new gTLD extension is somewhat of a niche extension like the majority of new TLDs. The company probably won’t sell millions of its domain names, but it serves a specific target market pretty well. The target market is not all that well defined in terms of industry usage, but there is a subset of people in various business verticals that would find these domain names appealing. I think the adoption by these major companies shows the usefulness of domain names like these, and it also shows that major companies are willing to use the new domain names when they could likely just as easily used (Brand)Design.com instead.
When I think about the new extensions, I tend to think about aftermarket / resale value as a domain investor rather than utility as an end user. I think a report like the one shared by Andrew is good for people to see to get an idea about how these niche domain names are being used. You can have a look at the report to read more about .Design domain names and how they are being used by a variety of companies.