Me First

FairWinds Partners —  January 4, 2013

Launching a new brand can be tricky, whether you’re a new enterprise making your move onto the global stage or an established corporation looking to expand your offerings or broaden your image. One thing that can help ensure the success of a fledgling brand, though, is a great domain name to support it. In addition to providing a platform for the new brand, owning a great domain can reinforce the brand in the digital world. And in some cases, a great domain can become a great brand.

The .COM space is full of such examples like Zappos.com and Quidsi’s BeautyBar.com. But we’re starting to see new brands emerge in newer gTLDs as well. Take the ccTLD .ME: originally delegated to the country of Montenegro in 2006, the country’s government opted to open up the extension to all registrations in 2008. Since then, various brands ending in .ME have appeared, including AOL Inc.’s About.Me, the free service that lets users create one-page sites for information about themselves and incorporate links to their social media pages, like a dynamic, digital business card.

Now Visa has launched a new “virtual wallet” online payment service that allows shoppers to avoid having to enter their credit card information each time they check out at an online retail site. Instead, users can enter one set of information – their email and password – making the ecommerce experience more streamlined and secure, especially when it comes to shopping on a mobile device. And what is Visa calling this new tool? V.Me, and yes, that is also the domain name that users can visit to sign up for an account.

Visa first introduced V.Me in the fall of 2012. Beginning in October, traffic to the domain name spiked from around 4,000 unique visitors per month to over 250,000. As Visa revs up the promotion of this new brand in 2013, we’re likely to see V.Me’s popularity continue to grow. And as companies like Visa and AOL launch brands on domains ending in extensions other than .COM, consumers will become increasingly accustomed to navigating to a variety of top-level domains – making the likelihood that they will adopt new gTLD domain names, especially those operated by major brands, much higher.