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Jazz up Your Start-Up's URL
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Move over the boring .com and .in domains in your start-up’s URL and get uber-cool new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) like .beer, .pizza, .courses, .cab, .coupons, .money that literally talk to your customers about your business, leading to better branding, marketing, customer engagement and much more. Aishwin Vikhona, Founder of IT solutions start-up, Global Websoft, author of “Sell Domain Fast”, a book on domain investments and reportedly India’s top domain investor shares the guide to gTLDs for start-ups. 

How should start-ups switch to new gTLDs? 

Currently, the awareness for new gTLDs in India is very low, possibly less than two percent. So, start-ups looking to switch to new gTLDs must make sure that they makes their customers, users and other stakeholders aware of the change which otherwise might lead to confusion. For example, I own a gTLD called property.guide and I created an email ID called info@property.guide, but I got many people calling me to verify it whether its not info@propertyguide.com. This
can also lead to traffic leakage as your visitors would be clicking on a .com or .in  link. Let’s say that if you have entrepreneur.media then initially you would lose visitors who would be going to entrepreneurmedia.com which if in case belongs to one of your competitors then he/she would be benefitting. So, mass awareness is required to avoid this leakage. 

When can start-ups look for the change?

They can get a new gTLD anytime they want but they should preferably do that when they have an existing .com or .in domain. This would help them avoid any traffic leakage even if visitors don’t know about their new gTLD as they would be re-directed from .com to the new one. For example, if you own entrepreneurmedia.com then visitors coming to that website will be re-directed to your new website called entrepreneur.media. 

Can these new domains boost start-ups’ digital presence? 

Absolutely. gTLDs can help start-ups in a very effective pay per click (PPC) campaigns on Google as it describes your business more clearly and hence it becomes more likely for visitors to click on your link than any other .com or .in
TLD. Suppose you search for real estate developers in Gurgaon on Google and it shows up parasgroup.com, lotusgreens.com, gurgaondevelopers.realty etc. So gurgaondevelopers.realty will certainly get more clicks because it shows exactly what you were searching for and the business that company is into. 

Anything particular start-ups should look for in new domains?

Start-ups should look for top keywords that define their businesses, are easy to remember and are premium gTLDs like entrepreneur.media instead of entrepreneurmedia.press or entrepreneurindia.media or .press which are nonetheless better than .com or .in. However, the other factor is of pricing. While the annual renewal fee for a .com domain may be around $8.5-10 but for premium gTLDs it can be very steep. I pay $500 for annual renewal of property. guide. So, domain registrars control the price of these gTLDs depending upon how premium they are.

Is it good to pre-register a domain?

Pre-registering can be a great strategy for start-ups to avoid competition for premium gTLDs which would be intense
soon. It is like booking a movie ticket, the sooner you get to the ticket window the better your chances are to get the seat of your choice. Premium gTLDs would be start-ups’ assets which can fetch great amount while selling the business.

Edition: December 2016

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