Make a wholesale switch from Brand.com to .Brand will be expensive, and won’t give you many benefits.
News over the weekend of the Government of Quebec deciding to not change its domains over to .Quebec heightens the discussion on if it makes sense for brands to switch their web presence to a .brand.
If they want to do it, it’s going to be really expensive.
The Government of Quebec pegged the cost at over $10 million. Ultimately, I think it might be much more.
Keeping new TLDs out of it for a moment, consider the costs of switching to a new second level domain name. Here are some of the things you’ll need to do:
- Reprint millions of business cards
- Schedule a switch over on all future marketing materials to the new domain
- Because your old URLs are on lots of printed materials, email address books and stuck in people’s memory, you’ll need to forward them (and every email address) to the new one for years
- Make big changes in IT systems
- Spend months of SEO work preparing your site to move without a rankings hit
Businesses have done this when they felt they were getting a better domain name. It hasn’t been easy, though.
For example, when ServiceMagic switched to HomeAdvisor.com, it lost 20% of its lead volume.
NutsOnline.com experienced similar problems when it switched to Nuts.com.
Now, bring .brand new TLDs back into it.
In both of the above cases, you can easily argue that the company was at least upgrading to a better brand. Can you say the same if you change from Deloitte.com to .Deloitte?
I can answer definitively in the short term: no, it’s not an upgrade.
In the long run, only if new TLDs become widely accepted, there’s a possibility it will be an upgrade. But not now, not next year, not any time soon.