In addition to well-known endings such as .com, website operators can also opt for other variants. Since 2013, new top-level domains or gTLD have been gradually introduced.
These include, for example, .koeln or .shop – the latter will start on September 26, 2016. Trusted Shops explains what website operators should consider if they want to use the .shop domain.
Who assigns the top-level domains?
The decision as to whether new top-level domains are permitted lies with ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). ICANN is, so to speak, the Internet administration.
Since not many short, memorable domains were available under the existing extensions such as .com other solutions were needed. This is how the idea of the gTLD was born. From January 2012, companies that wanted to operate a new gTLD could apply.
Who runs .shop?
.shop is operated by the Japanese company GMO Registry Inc. Google and Amazon had also applied as operators. In the end, however, the Japanese bought the rights for over 41 million dollars.
Who can use a .shop address?
The Japanese company has announced that anyone who wants to operate their domain with a .shop extension must have a connection to e-commerce. This is a clear case for online shops.
How is the award going?
If you want to use a .shop domain, you should apply to a domain service provider. There you can check whether the relevant URL is still available. You will also be informed there of the costs that will be incurred in the future.
How high the costs will be cannot be said across the board, as these vary from domain to domain.
My brand is already registered as a .shop address – what can I do?
Trademark owners should ideally register their trademarks in the Trade Mark Clearing House (TMCH). This was created by ICANN to prevent trademark infringement.
This registration is also a prerequisite for receiving a gTLD in the application phase, the so-called sunrise period.
TMCH also informs trademark owners when a domain that is identical to the trademark has been registered. The brand owner can then decide whether to take further steps.
It is then advisable to initiate a UDRP procedure (Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy). This has the advantage that if the trademark owner wins the dispute, the domain in dispute can be transferred on request. In addition, the procedures have a short duration of usually only three months. In addition, this procedure also ensures the enforcement of claims against unknown or unreachable trademark infringers.
If you have registered a domain yourself that is identical to an existing trademark, you have to expect claims from the trademark owner. This does not only apply to the gTLD, but also to the well-known .com or .in endings.
Will I automatically be found more easily on Google & Co with a .shop domain?
General forecasts cannot be made for search engine optimization measures. With top-level domains, however, it is basically the case that if the top-level domain matches the respective target market, you have a good chance of ranking for the market. For example, with a .in domain, there is the assumption that the content underneath is aimed at the Global market.
Otherwise the TLDs are treated the same by the search engines from a purely technical point of view. Even existing keyword top-level domains such as .app have not yet been automatically found better for app-relevant terms. After all, with the pure top-level domain, relevant content does not automatically have to be available. It is therefore to be expected that the .shop domain alone will not improve the ranking of an online shop and thus bring more traffic.
But there may be a chance that with such a domain design, the expectations of the underlying content will focus and the user behavior will change positively accordingly. This means: If the registry succeeds in actually only assigning the ending to e-commerce sites, every website visitor will expect a purchase opportunity behind the .shop ending. Anyone who makes a transactional search query could then click on the .shop results with a higher probability and stay in the shop longer because they find what they expected.
And these user signals influence the ranking of the shop. With a well-rounded strategy, a .shop top-level domain can therefore have a positive effect on search engine optimization, but not solely because of this domain.