A discussion about the Geo Domain Expo turned into a lively discussion/debate about the merits of the .TV extension and developing .TV domain names. As most people know, I don’t care to own alternate extensions for a variety of reasons, with the most important being that consumers aren’t really aware of these alternate extensions. If I am going to buy a domain name for development, it will almost always be .com since they tend to get the type-ins, search engines seem to like them better, and when consumers tell a friend about the site, chances are good they will assume it’s .com. After some back and forth in the thread, someone made the comment:
“Since you own the .com, why bother with the .tv??? You are right…I understand you are developing oenophiles.com, so I registered oenophiles.tv today which will make a great video site of wine conneseurs [sp] talking about their passion for wine, grapes and wine making in general………….it will also include vine growing tips, videos of famous vineyards across the globe, where you will be able to book online tours of these establishments………
But hey no worries right??…No need to secure the .tv that means absolutely nothing to nobody”
Developing a website on any alternative non-.com TLD is probably the only way to make money (other than flipping it to another domain investor). I think it is much more difficult to rank well in the search engines with a non .com site – especially if the .com is developed. From my perspective, Google and Yahoo give more credence to .com names, so it probably takes less effort to rank well with the .com than it would to rank with a .TV or .Whatever. This will make it more challenging to make money, as it is far less likely that a consumer will type in .TV for a domain name than a .com, even if they are looking for video.
The real money from development comes from direct to business advertising sales. In fact, when I developed TropicalBirds.com, one of the people I spoke with about a free advertisement with a link back told me she wanted to buy my featured breeder section for 6 categories. She told me I had a great domain name and a great looking website, so it wasn’t a tough sale. I am sure it would be difficult to get less than Internet-savvy businesses to advertise on a non .com TLD because many people only know .com, .net, .org and .gov.
Without strong search engine rankings, driving traffic to a website is a more difficult job. It’s hard enough to get links to an established site, and I would think it would be made more difficult with a non-traditional TLD. Some words and phrases are so difficult to spell that type-in traffic is virtually non-existent. This is the case with Oenophiles.com, and it’s the reason I am developing it – (that and I drink quite a bit of wine!) I am going to need to rely on links and search engine optimization for my traffic.
Incidentally, I checked out the Whois information for the .TV name, and the owner has a Flatbush Brooklyn address, so I thought I would make a more poignant illustration. From a real estate point of view, owning Oenophiles.tv is like owning an apartment in Brooklyn, while owning Oenophiles.com is like owning an apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Sure Flatbush might be a nice place to live, but it will be more difficult convincing your friends to take the 2 or Q train to Brooklyn on a Saturday night than it will to get them to visit Manhattan. You can arguably have a great time in both places, but what fun is it if your friends aren’t enjoying the fun with you?
The bottom line is that I believe .Whatever have value if you develop them. Consumers for the most part aren’t aware of them, so the more that aren’t developed mean it will be tougher teaching consumers that they exist. I would think it is tougher to drive traffic to a non .com than a .com – especially if the .com is developed, so you need to determine if it’s worth the extra time and effort to develop a non .com TLD rather than trying to buy the .com.
I think the most vociferous supporters of non .com TLD are those who own them, clearly trying to make them relevant (and create liquid value). If you need cash quickly, it’s obviously MUCH easier selling a .com domain name than a TLD domain name. If few people care (or know) about a TLD, it’s much more difficult to sell them. It’s always amusing to see forum posts and blog posts of the most ardent .Whatever supporters who have a full page dedicated to selling these TLD. Makes you go hmmm…