The State of Search

Having choices .ROCKS. Showcasing your personality is .COOL. Whatever kind of .EXPERT you happen to be, there’s a domain that’s expressive and memorable on both sides of the dot. Unfortunately for both the domain industry and end users, many of these hundreds of expressive new TLDs are poorly merchandised making them all but impossible to find.

More than a year ago I wrote a series of posts positioning these new TLDs as an opportunity for the domain industry, but also acknowledging that this tidal wave of newly available product would require consistent and thoughtful merchandising. As an industry, we haven’t yet collectively risen to that challenge but Rightside has developed our Domain Suggestion Service, or DSS, to better empower our partners to promote new TLDs.

Tacos and disappointment

As matters stand right now, most Registrars have search tools that fail to take new TLDs into account when recommending domains to potential customers. For example, a potential customer might search for “taco.com” because tacos are awesome. Unfortunately, www.taco.com is already registered and if you were to conduct this search on most Registrar websites, that would be the end of your taco domain dreams.

Both name.com and enom are utilizing DSS which takes a customer’s search term and generates suggestions containing new and legacy TLDs. For example, Name.com tells me that www.taco.com is not available, but www.taco.cooking, www.taco.restaurant, and www.taco.catering are all available. More importantly, these are all highly relevant to the initial search and educate consumers about new TLDs they might not have previously known. Whether the customer actually purchases a .CATERING or .COOKING domain is almost less important than the fact that the Registrar worked with the customer rather than simply churning out a “We’re sorry but the requested domain is unavailable” response.

By offering potential customers a viable alternative to an unavailable domain name, Registrars can provide better customer service and a more satisfying experience.
By offering potential customers a viable alternative to an unavailable domain name, Registrars can provide better customer service and a more satisfying experience.

Thus far, name.com and enom have been utilizing this DSS for about a year, during which the system has handled millions of queries. Each site has seen an increase in higher margin and highly relevant new TLD domain registrations. That’s good for the Registrar and the customer.

Sharing the DSS wealth

While we’re excited by the opportunity to increase awareness of our own TLDs, the purpose of DSS is to increase awareness of the entire new TLD program, benefiting the industry as a whole. Whether a customer ultimately chooses a Rightside TLD or another Registry’s TLD, a positive search and purchase experience increases the likelihood that customers will purchase more domains. And we’ve been promoting a complementary domain strategy to encourage customers to purchase multiple domains to better brand third party social platform sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram and offer improved calls to action.

I’ll be at HostingCon in New Orleans July 25-27, and am eager to meet with Registrars and partners interested in implementing DSS to create a better merchandising experience for customers and to help grow the domain industry by increasing awareness of new TLDs. For partners who can’t brave the Louisiana humidity, you can reach out to me personally at scott.ryder@rightside.ninja. Also, as a Louisiana native, I’m happy to provide New Orleans restaurant recommendations!

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