The big news in the Internet World this week was the announcement of ‘ Top Level Domain Names’ to be introduced by ICANN (the organisation in charge of domain names). Until now, only the generic domain names were used, such as .com, .org or .net. This change in protocol will allow organisations to apply for their own domain name so it opens the way for the likes of .apple, .google or .paddypower. The new Domain name will come at a cost of $185,000 and allows organisations to purchase a domain that represents their brand identity.
With regards to Search Engine Optimisation, it is difficult to see how this change will effect searches on Google or Bing. While it allows for greater Brand identity to those who can afford the hefty price tag, for SEO purposes it should have no discernible effect. Search engines pay little heed to the domain name, apart fromgeographic purposes, so a .travel domain will be searched for in the same way as another travel website with a .com.
It is early days yet and as no real information has been disclosed, it is a case of wait and see what changes the Top Level Domains will create. It is anticipated that the earliest we will see the TLDs reach our search engines is in 2013. From an SEO perspective, the new domain will not be the key to your online success and the same principles to Search Engine Optimisation will remain, so don’t worry too much if you cannot afford the luxury.