Top Level Domain Names (TLDs) are essentially the suffixes designated to web addresses, so in the website www.example.com the TLD is the “.com” portion at the end. Traditionally, TLDs have operated under a handful of basic extensions, which include .com, .org, .gov, .net, and a number of country-specific TLDs such as .ru for Russia, or .hu for Hungary. The TLDs are organized by a non-profit organization called the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), founded in 1998 and headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif.
ICANN coordinates and maintains namespaces on the Internet, and ensures the web’s stable and secure operation. Under the direction of ICANN, a number of “Generic” Top Level Domain Names have been released in 2014, with extensions that pertain to specific business markets. More than 1,000 generic TLDs have been made, creating the potential for new web branding opportunities for businesses across a number of industries. Domains like .mobi, .travel, .cab, .taxi, and most importantly for operators, .limo, are taking up residence on the Internet.
The .limo TLD was purchased by a company called Donuts Inc., which has been selling different .limo domain names throughout 2014, with most location-based sites such as Denver.limo or Atlanta.limo going first. Dan Schindler, co-founder and executive vice president of Donuts Inc., says that the new generic TLDs will play an important part in the web’s next evolution.
Cross Town Limousine keeps the same branding on its new, key word targeted Detroit.limo
“What we’re providing is a specific and meaningful habitat for business owners to reside in,” he says. “We’re going from a world where .com dominates to one where there will be hundreds of new domain names that will have actual meaning to people. One of the main motivations behind our applications for TLDs is that if you ask 100 business owners out there with a website what the ‘dot com’ stands for, they couldn’t tell you. These new TLDs will make more sense for the businesses and be more specific to the services they provide. And in terms of Google’s algorithm, it will provide more options to find great websites than it ever has before.”
SEO and TLDs
The limo industry was an early adaptor of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, with operators building entire businesses off of first-place search results in specific geographic locations. Key words such as “limo” or “wine tour” are important for limo companies to have on their websites so that search engine spiders can locate them easily when crawling for similar typed-in queries. The new generic TLDs will allow search engines to cover more territory. Fresh keyword arrangements using generic TLDs will give home to websites that can be optimized and filled with great content to achieve No. 1 rankings in searches.
Ryan Hilberth, of RentalLimo.com
, says that .limo and the use of other generic TLDs is still in the first stages, but that as more companies develop these sites, the better they will rank in search and the more well-known they will become to consumers.
, CEO of Rental Limo
, who has purchased a number of .limo domain names, advocates the release of the new generic TLDs. He says that having a .limo extension will not guarantee better SEO by itself, but he sees significant SEO results with his own new website Book.limo
, which is a housing and distribution site for the Rental Limo three-step booking widget. Hilberth purchased and developed the site thinking the two-word combo of “book” and “limo” would receive substantial search traffic, and he now has first-rank placement for that search.
“When search engines calculate the key words involved in a website’s page rank, there are only certain things they can look at, like domain name, name in links, key word density of content — but when you have a name that consists of the key words you are targeting, it’s one of the most strategically advantageous positions you can get,” Hilberth says.
What TLDs Mean for Branding
The initial gold rush phase of. limo TLDs is over, with most of the popular or key word rich .limo extensions acquired. These include geographic names such as Chicago.limo for example, as well as service specific names like winetour.limo.
But the creation of the .limo TLD is a great way for operators to become more aware of their web branding. For many operators who already have a brand website under a .com, learning about the .limo TLD does not mean they need to immediately go out and purchase the same web domain just now under a .limo extension.
Dan Schindler, co-founder of Donuts
, which acquired more than 300 different generic TLDs from ICANN
, says TLDs will become more popular. “We’re already seeing examples in the real world with bike stores using .bike and photographers using .photos. We really believe these names are better than .com, because that market has been saturated for so long.”
The key takeaway is that the new domains are open, and operators can create new websites under domain names that will be relevant to their businesses and therefore more keyword accurate to search engines. Many operators are buying their brand names under the .limo extensions, and having them redirect the link back to their main .com website for now.
Early bidders on the .limo TLD have gotten creative with their word choice purchases. Kristina Bouweiri, owner of Reston Limousine in Sterling, Va., acquired winetour.limo, to have it redirect to a page on her main .com website, www.restonlimo.com, describing Reston’s own wine tour offerings around the Washington D.C. area.
Operators Using .limo for Business
Some operators are using the new TLDs as a way of getting premium web placement on brand names that may not have ranked well before. Cross Town Limos of Lansing, Mich., has been in business since 2012 and has two stretch limos and a 34-passenger bus. Owners Erich Shrewsbury and Nick Younce were following the TLD release news closely, and jumped on Detroit.limo. “It was really a great move for us,” says Shrewsbury of the new domain. “We had been getting great traffic on our previous site, but with this new one, and the fact that we’re developing it, we think it can really grow our business.” Cross Town is still branding itself under the same name, but they are developing the Detroit.limo site and hope to see a big increase in their web leads and bookings in the near future.
Portland.limo is another site being developed under the new TLD. The site was purchased by JMI Limousine, a popular company in the area with a fleet of more than 10 vehicles, many of them large buses. Johnny Meeke, owner of JMI Limousine, says that he had been broadening his company’s web presence, and was already developing portlandlimos.com along with his initial site, JMIlimousine.com. He bid on Portland.limo as it was offered, and won it.
Now he is putting content and design work into Portland.limo, and has created a nice parallax scrolling website that feels modern and wins the key word search engine game. “This has been a great opportunity for us,” Meeke says. “We feel that a strong web presence is so important for companies in the chauffeured transportation industry, and the .limo TLDs are really opening up the playing field.”
What are some of the new generic TLDs?
is owned by JMI Limousine, which also operates portlandlimos.com. The new Portland.limo site features a new parallax scrolling layout that eases viewing on mobile devices.
Here’s a sampling of the more than a thousand TLDs that are becoming available:
So what does “dot com” stand for? “.com” actually stands for commercial, and was intended for commerce sites but was then adapted as a universally accepted TLD for websites.
.gov was created for government websites
.org was intended for non-profit organizations
.net was for networks
.edu was for schools and universities