Insights

What’s New in Digital Experiences? .New Web Domains

Katie Fiechter & Randy Kohl

The ‘What’ of .New Domains

In 2018, Google introduced a little time-saving trick, .new (dot new) web domains. .New is a domain extension built specifically for performing actions online. This allows for a simple shortcut, which can help customers get to specific places on specific web pages quickly and efficiently. At its launch, .new was only available for Google-specific tasks such as Google Docs, Sheets, Calendar, Forms, Keep, and Slides. Now, Google is slowly rolling out access for more brands.

How exactly does a .new domain work? Let’s take Google Documents for example. Instead of going into your Google account, navigating to Google Drive, and clicking through to create a new document, you can simply type ‘doc.new’ into your address bar, and you’ll automatically be directed to a new Google Document ready to go.

Google currently has a Beta program in place, allowing a select group of companies to use the .new web domain. They refer to these brands as the early adopters. Want to quickly create a new Spotify playlist? Just type in ‘playlist.new’ and you’ll be taken right to the page that lets you name and begin creating your new playlist. Reservation.new allows you to quickly make a reservation on OpenTable. Shop.new takes you directly into the eBay purchase funnel (once logged in). You get the idea. .New is a convenient way to eliminate clicking through to a website by taking a user directly to a place to complete a task. These are just a few examples of early adopters, with more to come soon.

There are certain requirements when it comes to using .new domain names. Navigation to a .new domain must bring a user directly into the action generation or the online creation flow page, with the exception of being led to a login page. Launching to a page that requires you to take additional steps, such as navigation or redirection to a homepage is not allowed, as this defeats the purpose of the .new domain. All .new domains must also be configured to enable HTTPS so browsers can load the .new websites.

With the Sunrise Period over, there is now a limited registration period. Registrants can apply for .new domains and applications that comply with Google’s policies and will be allocated domain names based on availability. General availability of .new domain registration begins on July 21, 2020. At that time any company can register a .new domain without having to go through the application process. However, compliance with the .new Registration policies will remain.

If you are considering registering a .new domain name, you should take a closer look at the .new Registration Policy before taking the next step, making sure it makes sense for your type of website and that you comply before registering for a .new domain.

.New Domain Opportunity & Analysis

.New domains are likely to remain niche within the overall scheme of digital, but there are a number of potential benefits to those companies that take advantage of this opportunity.

  • Delivering a streamlined user experience is the goal of every brand, and for specific use cases, that’s exactly what .new domains offer. The domain allows users to circumvent the clicks associated with standard website navigation, allowing users to go directly to a page that facilitates – product purchase, subscription sign-up, appointment scheduling, etc. This makes this tld compelling, if for no other reason than it offers the ability for brands to enable their customers to complete their goals faster.
  • Conversational, easy to remember, keyword-rich domain names have not been available in years for .com and other high-demand tlds. The .new domains offer early movers the opportunity to capture industry-relevant terms and connect them directly with their brands. Note, there is no SEO value to be gained here. The value is in easily remembered, conversational URLs that – with properly executed marketing campaigns – can become closely associated with a brand to engage new and existing customers.
  • If your company doesn’t go after a relevant .new domain (or domains) assume your competitors will. So, acquiring a domain here can be a defensive strategy to keep rivals at bay. For instance, if you’re in the beverage delivery business, owning water.new to enable subscription sign ups is preferable to letting a key competitor own the term for the same purpose.
  • Early adopters stand the chance of creating competitive differentiation, at least temporarily. Even if the .new tld never gains traction, it can also position a brand as forward-thinking, and as a company that is willing to try new things to better connect with their customers.
  • The short-term future of digital is mobile first, and .new was made to exist in a mobile-first world.
  • B2B is a greenfield. The .new tld would seem geared for consumer brands, but there are a number of potential applications for B2B distributors and manufacturers related to replenishment, repair and service calls, demo and appointment requests, and value-added service offerings.

Overall, it’s doubtful .new domains will be a game-changer, but they certainly hold the potential to provide incremental customer experience improvements, which can lead to additional brand benefits. The relatively low investment and effort to launch, test, and promote also makes them intriguing. It’s certainly worth a discussion internally or with key agency partners to discuss potential use cases, and weigh whether .new domains should become a new part of their near-term digital strategies.