April was a good month for merchants and retailers looking to beef up their online presence, launch a new brand or reassess and optimize their portfolio of urls. On April 6, a new gTLD, or domain name suffix, became available on the internet for the first time: .store.
This is the latest rollout in a program that will ultimately see hundreds of new top level domains—TLDs, or what is to the right of the dot, such as .com— appear on the internet. As such, .store is a new ecommerce enabler, ideal for established brands, small businesses and start-ups that already have or intend to build an online store. The presence of this TLD in a web address is a great call to action for consumers, and works extremely well to describe an online destination over a sub-domain or lengthy URL (what is to the left of the dot).
The term “store” consistently ranks as one of the highest keywords used in domain registrations across legacy TLDs such as .com. Therefore most retailers, small or large, who adopt a “brand.store” web address will help consumers find them with greater ease. The suffix looks and sounds like a natural destination for online stores of any description.
How Do I Get A dotStore?
The .store TLD is available with additional protections available to registrants purchasing through the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH). As they currently do with other web addresses, retailers and online merchants using .store will want to provide additional security of their own, such as adding SSL certificates to their web server or ensuring that the domain is locked at the registrar and/or registry level, should that service be available.
The .store TLD is open to everyone—startup online retailers, large retailers looking to expand/improve their online presence, international retailers looking to expand into English-speaking markets, small online “Mom & Pop” specialty vendors, brands with a product or service that was not previously available online and large online marketplaces are just some of the categories that can benefit from claiming their own piece of .store online real estate.
Organizations that represent an online ecommerce platform will find that .store has more universal appeal than other TLDs—the now-familiar phrase “shop at our online store” points directly to websites ending in a .store suffix. The TLD also acts as a differentiator, allowing brands to create a specific ecommerce-focused web presence.
Small retailers who weren’t able to lock down their ideal “brand.com” address now have a chance to create a one-stop solution for their web presence. For larger retailers that are already more established online and in other channels, adding .store URLs to their existing portfolio of domain names is an expected move to protect themselves from others buying their brand names. At around $60 to lock in a .store web address, a retailer can’t afford not to acquire one or more names that have the right alignment with their brand.
Stuart Fuller is Director of Commercial Operations and Communications at NetNames, a global online brand protection firm.