If it actually uses its new TLDs, Major League Baseball can have a profound affect on awareness of new domain names.
On today’s Domain Name Wire Podcast, Michael Berkens discussed some of the recent new top level domain name auction results.
One that I think is interesting is .Baseball, which was won by Major League Baseball (MLB).
MLB has been aggressive about buying .com domain names that match team names. It currently owns all but three team names in .com after acquiring Rangers.com for $375,000 at the beginning of this year.
On the one hand, this aggressive quest to acquire .com domains, including one just a few months ago, shows that it values these domains highly. On the other hand, it’s interesting to note that MLB and the teams haven’t set up individual sites on any of these domains. Instead, they forward to a longer URL on MLB.com.
For example, Rangers.com forwards to texas.rangers.mlb.com.
MLB heavily promotes the shorter team name domain names. When you watch a game, you’ll see teamname.com behind the batter in several places, including above the ad boxes:
This means that these domain names get millions of impressions every day during baseball season.
Major League Baseball will now control .baseball as well as .MLB. Will it change its approach? Will it now promote Cardinals.baseball or Cardinals.mlb instead of Cardinals.com?
I don’t know what MLB’s plans are. But it’s conceivable they’ll make the switch to one of these other domains. If it’s not for all teams, then perhaps for the three that it doesn’t own the exact match .com domain name for. After all, we’re just talking about adding forwards here.
If MLB does start promoting domains under .baseball or .MLB, I’d recommend going with the latter. A lot of people will be confused at first and type in something like yankees.baseball.com or yankees.mlb.com. It owns MLB.com, so it can account for this with additional forwards. It can’t do the same with Baseball.com.