Small businesses are trending away from ad spending and turning their attention toward digital and social media instead. Smart move – especially since hundreds of new top-level domain names will launch this fall.
“Small businesses have always underspent [on advertising] because they didn’t have a lot of resources,” said Andrew Whitman, managing partner of 2x Consumer Growth Partners, in an interview with Advertising Age. However, “the new-media world has in many ways leveled the playing field. Now not spending a lot of money can get them something. Not only is [new media] cheaper, it’s often more measurable.”
Just as businesses benefit from having a presence on the right social media sites (there’s a whole Facebook business model, dubbed “f-commerce“), businesses will benefit from developing and maintaining the right presence in the new gTLD space. For example – small businesses will be able to register domain names such as JohnsRestaurant.Pizza, Janes.Auto, BillsNewYork.Bar, McGinnisAndMiller.Consulting. Businesses will have the opportunity to be more creative than they can be now: What about RaisingThe.Bar, ThirtyMinutes.Delivery, and GraphicsAnd.Design?
Some industry analysts pointed out that the hefty $185,000 price tag left small businesses without the option of participating in the application periods for these new .EXTENSIONs. But this misses the big picture: Small business will be able to participate in creating communities in the new open, generic term extensions – opportunities that don’t exist today in the crowded .com space.
As Advertising Age’s Jack Neff explains, “there’s still room for growth. A survey last year by the National Federation of Independent Businesses found 32% of its respondents have used Facebook, 11% Twitter, and 7% digital daily deals. Firms headed by younger owners were far more likely to have tried digital media.”
Early participants in the new gTLD space will have the distinct advantage. It may take some experimenting to unlock the true opportunities in the new gTLD space, but staking a claim early will give small businesses time to play around with their options. And, if a particular extension takes off, those early birds will be on the cutting edge.
There’s also the flip side to consider – if other businesses snap up domain names related to your business, you could be shut out and forced to play catch-up. Better to be a trail blazer than the clean up guy. Or worse, bad actors could get there first and redirect your visitors to potentially harmful content. It’s important to be smart from both a promotional and a defensive perspective.