Will Social Media And Apps Lead To The Demise of Domain Names?

Currently one wouldn’t post to Facebook, Twitter and other social media without hashtags to highlight keywords, at least not if you want the post to be found through searching. From the mundane activity to brand promotion and celebrities.So the question online marketing specialist and domain name expert Jennifer Wolfe asks in an article on ClickZ is “will hashtags take over the internet?”Wolfe writes that “many think the domain name space is dead in favour of search, user experience, apps, and social networks, mostly driven by hashtags. But I find when I talk to Millennials or even the next generation like my 12-year-old son, they still use a browser and search actual websites. Despite the fact that they have grown up in a world where we can all access the Internet in many different ways, depending upon where we are, what we are doing, and what device we are using, they still go to browsers for specific functions. The website is no longer the centre of our digital universe, but it’s still an important part of it.””If you want to really research something, for example a trip you plan to take or for a paper you are writing, you are more likely to use a browser. If you’re not sure what you want yet or want to dig deeper into possibilities, you will likely turn to a browser to search and find what you want. And as much as apps create an easy portal, we can only manage so many apps on our devices before we reach a point of diminishing return. Once we reach that point, we need a browser or some way to manage new things we want on the Internet.”Writing about the lack of .com use in hashtags, Wolfe wants to “extrapolate this out to the browser experience. This would mean that domain names or the naming convention of websites would need to be more fluid, using natural language with the ability to shift and change as the trends of the day change. There would have to be a lot of options in the domain name space for that to work.””This brings me to an important point. No one ever includes the phrase .COM in a hashtag – why? Because .COM has no meaning. It became the default extension to the website or browser experience in the 1990s and has remained top dog for 20 years. Once the .COM space became completely saturated with anyone and everyone, good guys and bad guys, it had no meaning. It once meant commerce as in the Department of Commerce, which created the .COM space 20 years ago. But as of today, it has absolutely no meaning. This is why it doesn’t show up in hashtags and in the future won’t be helpful as a domain name.”And what of new gTLDs. Wolfe is a big supporter.”Not every website should be in .COM. Not every website is about commerce. Some are about changing your perception and maybe .LIFE or .SOLUTIONS makes more sense. Some are about specific topics like .DOG or .BIKE. Think of all of these very interesting new domain name possibilities and how they are very much like hashtags: .LOL, .CYOU, .LOVE, .STYLE, .YACHTS, .RECIPES, .HELP or .MOM – these can all make a strong root to hashtag campaigns that translate into digital addresses or landing pages to extend the messaging into the browser experience. There will be millions of possibilities and possibly more in the future to create your own self-selected digital experience in the 900+ new gTLDs that enter the Internet landscape over the next few years.”If you are a dentist, it might be much more hashtag-like to be SMILE.TODAY or BEAUTIFUL.SMILE or any number of variations that relate to how people think and talk now in the digital world. The new domains create hashtag-like possibilities rather than just throwing everything into one bucket – it does create more choice – more opportunity. The same kind that has emerged in an age of hashtags.”So many want to dismiss the gTLD movement, but the signals that this is where the next generation is headed in their approach to digital life are all around us in digital media. It’s not hard to imagine 10 years from now when a 12-year old reading about the history of the Internet may say: “Mom, why was everything in .com?, that doesn’t even make sense.” #futureoftheinternet.”To read the article by Jennifer Wolfe in full, go to: