“This year, the Internet is getting a lot bigger,” said Howard Greenstein, COO of DomainSkate, as he started moderating the panel.

Domainskate co-hosted a panel this past Wednesday at WeWork SOHO titled Positioning Your Business To Succeed in the New .DotAnything World. The panel included thought leaders in the domain space: our very own CEO, David K. Mitnick; Bob Knorpp, President, The Cool Beans Group; Jeff Neuman, Vice President, Registry Services, Neustar, Inc.; and Tim McDonald, Purveyor of Purpose, Be The Change Revolutions and Founder, Stories.NYC.

With the addition of as many as 1000 new domains in the 2014-15 timeframe, there will be many more places to register a name and a brand online, and be found for business. From the discussion, it is clear that domains can improve business branding and SEO (search engine optimization) as well as provide other advantages.

@dotnyc

The panel covered the important issues that arise for businesses with the launch of new Internet domains, including the new .NYC domains. With a representative from Neustar’s .NYC group on the panel, many of the examples were .NYC-centric, but the brand building advice is relevant across many of the several hundred new domains available to businesses both small and large. When new domains are released, there’s a period where trademark owners get a first chance to scoop them up, and then there’s a “land rush” period where domains are available at a premium.

The .NYC domains are available now through October 3rd during the “land rush” period via the Own It NYC website. Post-October 3rd they will roll out at standard prices. NYC domains are only available to people and companies located in NYC, and are non-transferable to non-New Yorkers. Neuman explained, “.London and .Vegas don’t ensure that the owner of domain is located in those cities; .NYC will require that the owner is in NYC.” Neuman noted that this would keep the .NYC branding local, and send a signal to everyone that .NYC sites are always of the highest caliber. He noted that the “New York City brand” is known for being no–holds–barred, creative, and of the utmost quality, and that companies will be able to align themselves with this strong branding by bringing their business into the .NYC domain space.

Knorpp explained how .NYC domains may also take pressure off the Google search algorithm regarding relevance to New York, and allow companies to be found with ease. Give this a try: visit bees.nyc, then Google “bees nyc” in search bar. Look what pops up! .NYC will help businesses “bee” found. This is all part of the dot anything theme surrounding this launch. As “content is king,” just having an address in .NYC doesn’t guarantee top placement. Search engine optimization (SEO) requires relevant, high quality content in addition to a well-branded domain name. As for the value of any domain to your brand, Knorpp noted, “Traffic drives money, especially for internet retailers.” Thus, businesses must ensure that people can find them online, and protect their domains by monitoring them online.

@domainskate

Knorpp also noted that you don’t have to buy your name in every one of these new domains. Neuman added, “Get domains that have relevance to your business. Make smart, relevant decisions.” Mitnick added, “Domains can be valuable assets to small businesses or startups.” Mitnick stated that it is important to protect yourself from domain fraud. Anyone using your name in a domain, or a similar name, can drastically impact your search results. Having a “mirror site” with content that looks like yours, but fools your customers can be quite costly. Having a domain similar to yours redirect customers to a competitor can also impact your bottom-line profitability. (This is the reason we created Domainskate brand protection services.)@storiesnyc

One of the best examples thus far of the .NYC domain adding value to a company is McDonald’s project Stories from the Streets on stories.nyc.

McDonald is using this .NYC domain to bring awareness to NYC homelessness by addressing the problem in one city. He is focusing in on NYC community to create change. He said, “Leadership comes from taking action.” McDonald will not just document the challenges, he intends to change the situation for the people he meets. He also made an excellent point when he said, “It’s not what domain you own, it is what you do with it.”

We want to know what you think. Will you be applying for a .NYC domain for your business? What other domains will be relevant to your branding strategy? Let us know by commenting or tweeting us @DomainSkate.

You can view the entire panel via YouTube:
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