The more domain strings are released on the Internet, the more confusing the new generic Top-Level Domain (new gTLD) program becomes for businesses that want to build their online presence. Not only do companies struggle to determine which gTLD to choose from the many options that might seem relevant to their business, they now have to choose between singular and plural versions of the same string.
For those who may not be aware, last year ICANN approved the coexistence of both single and plural versions of a variety of new gTLDs, despite industry concerns that this might create potential consumer confusion and cybersquatting. As a result, we now have more than 36 new gTLDs that fall into this category. Some examples include: .career(s), .car(s), .coupon(s), .deal(s), .fan(s), .game(s),.gift(s), .loan(s), .new(s), .pet(s), .photo(s)/.photography/.camera, .property(ies), .review(s), .sport(s), .supply(ies), .tour(s), .work(s) , as well as 44 close alternatives and variations such as .build(ers), .engineer(ing), .finance/.financial, .fish(ing), .flower/.florist, .fit(ness), .fly/.flights, .film/.movie,.host/.hosting, .insure/.insurance, .law/.lawyer, .live/.living, .luxe/.luxury, .pics/.pictures, .realestate/.realty, .rent/.rentals, .site/.website,.shop(ping), .tech/.technology, .trade/.trading, .vote/.voting, and .wed/.wedding, to name a few. That’s a significant number!
I have closely followed the developments in the new gTLD program. I’ve been an industry analyst for 14 years, I’m educated, curious, and I consider myself tech-savvy. However, for the life of me, I cannot understand the difference between singular and plural versions of the same gTLD, and I would certainly not dare to advise anyone on whether to pick one over the other. In fact, my advice would be to avoid new gTLDs altogether and look for a better alternative — a more established domain, with significantly fewer risks for consumer confusion. I’ve been pretty consistent with my position on .com and how that’s still the way to go for businesses today, and the rise of pluralized gTLDs only strengthens my position.