OK. So it’s finally happened. The long- and much-used .com address suffix has received support from seven new family members: .biz, .info, .name, .pro, .museum, .aero, and .co-op.
So for everyone who believes, in theory, that the overused .com problem is solved, think again. No more fights for .com addresses or battles that force prices sky high? If you believe there’s no difference between perception and reality, you’re very likely to question the success of this new development. Let me explain why.
Don’t get me wrong. I welcome the move and wouldn’t be able to suggest any other solution to the .com demand problem. But sometimes there are no solutions. The fact is that .com has become a synonym for the Internet.
Just think about the terms that have sprung from the .com suffix: dot-com company; dot-commer (employee). These terms have now been floating around within the new economy for nearly six years and have made it more than difficult to introduce new domain addresses. On top of this, .com addresses have become pseudonyms for the “real” brands and, thus, the most attractive ending for domain addresses.
A brand with any self-respect has a .com suffix at the end of its address. You don’t even have to look up the addresses for Nike, Gap, Coke, Lego, Snickers, or Ford because you know they’ll simply append .com to themselves to form their addresses.
And then there’s the rest of the world, the world outside the United States. Even though local domain addresses are well used and well respected, like the Danish .dk, the English co.uk, the German .de, and Norway’s .no, the perception of internationalism that attends a .com address impels many companies to adopt a .com address as well as a local one.
The reality is this: In the time it took for the Internet community to develop new address strategies, the old strategy became so solid, so well established, and so overused that no one is now willing to give it up. The result is likely to be that no changes will take place at all.
No companies will give up their existing .com addresses, and none will stop promoting them. And as long as all the big ones are using and promoting the .com address, all the small outfits will do the same. I bet you feel the same as I do when mentioning a .net address. It’s good to have, but not something you’re necessarily proud of. It’s a common perception.
Very few large companies use a .net address as their primary address structure. The new address system is similar. But remember that most companies have now adhered their web addresses to all their collaterals, commercials, and merchandising. More important, they’ve educated consumers to remember those .com web addresses.
So the seven new address structures are likely to be no more successful or popular than the .net address. Which leads everyone back to square one. Can we squeeze another couple of million addresses out of the old structure?
This is for sure: The squeezing is making a .com address the world’s most expensive real estate. There’s no sign of the structure’s value or desirability declining, despite its having seven new family members.