June 29, 2011

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New Top Level Domains: Your Questions Answered

If you’ve been reading any kind of technology news this week, you’ve probably come across a story on the roll out of new top level domains. If you’re wondering how this might effect the online real estate marketplace, here are our answers to five common questions:

1. What’s a “top level domain”?
You’d already be familiar with at least three of the common top levels domains out there: .com, .net and .org. Up until now there were only 22 general use-approved top level domains on the Internet, which made competition for certain domain names fierce.

2. What’s changed?
At the start of this week, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) changed the rules to allow almost any word to be used as a top level domain. So .realestate, .homes, .property, and .estateagents could eventually be issued. As mashable.com explains, the catch is that people will have to apply to create these new top level domains, and ICANN estimates it will only be able to process between 300 and 1,000 per year.

3. How much are these new top level domains going to cost?
The application fee to create your own top level domain is significant: US$185,000 to apply, and that doesn’t include the cost of ongoing maintenance. The people who can afford their own top level domain will then be able to on-sell addresses (e.g sydney.realestate or london.estateagents).

4. Will this effect SEO?
This question is still up for debate, but searchengineland.com’s Danny Sullivan says we have nothing to fear. “[T]he new names will almost certainly mean nothing special to search engines,” he writes. “They won’t have any super ranking powers. If you managed to get .money, that doesn’t mean you’ll rank tops for money-related terms any more than people with the existing .travel domains do well for travel — because they don’t.”

5. Will this effect my real estate website?
The answer to this is largely “wait and see,” as it will depend on who buys up the top real estate-related domains and what they do with them. For now, our advice would be to keep adding fresh, quality content to your current real estate website and focusing on your market niche before worrying about the switch to .realestate.


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  3. Google Shares Top Tips for Websites

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