14, August 2017
When all preconceived notions of how one “should” use domain names are overthrown.
It is almost impossible to start this post without explaining the “holy grail” status of having a two or three-letter .COM domain. A short wording on a .COM domain signals size, longevity and/or financial strength. Like the ones registered in the beginning of the internet, in 1985 and 1986. Powerful domain names such as IBM.COM, GE.COM, SUN.COM and TI.COM, to mention a few. From the very beginning, short URL’s, primarily on .COM (the .NETs, .ORGs and so on is another story) have been status markers.
In the light of this, one may find it surprising (or even unbelievable) that a multinational company with a three-letter .COM domain name would migrate to a .TECHNOLOGY domain name.
However, just that happened earlier this year. When global technology giant CSC (not to be confused with digital brand services provider CSC Global) and the Enterprise Services business part of Hewlett Packard Enterprise were merged into one company – DXC Technology. DXC currently has 170,000 employees in more than 70 countries, serving nearly 6000 clients.
The domain name chosen for this venture – DXC.TECHNOLOGY.
This might not seem like such a big deal, but let us add some background. The .TECHNOLOGY top-level domain is part of the ongoing launch of over a 1000 new top-level domains, initiated in 2014.
Some might argue that the adoption, meaning companies actually using a new top-level domain as a primary domain name, has been slow. However, migrating from an established domain name to a new top-level domain is not done overnight, and why should it? There is huge brand value in an established domain name, you trust what is familiar. Sometimes the actual domain name is even part of the core identity of the brand, especially for B2C-companies with Apple.com and Nike.com as evident examples.
The usage of a new top-level domain is thus usually found in new ventures, mergers and rebrandings, like the one mentioned here.
When launching a new brand, regardless if it is caused by a merger, new venture or rebranding, means the inevitable risk of clashing with identical or confusingly similar brands. Depending on the circumstances, the legal aspects of this might range from “manageable” to damn right “business critical”. Regardless, when choosing a domain name, previous domain registrations always pose a problem, especially when you want to use a “generic” top-level domain (i.e. not a “country-code” domain like .DE for Germany).
Here is where it gets interesting! The natural assumption one gets in this case is that the domain name DXC.TECHNOLOGY was chosen out of two very rational reasons:
- The brand name is DXC TECHNOLOGY, thus fitting with the .TECHNOLOGY extension.
- The domain name DXC.COM was already taken and there was no possibility of acquiring financially or legally.
However, when looking more closely, said company actually owns DXC.COM as well. Just like its “sister” CSC.COM, it is currently also redirected to DXC.TECHNOLOGY.
Owning a .COM domain name for your three-letter brand, and instead choosing a .TECHNOLOGY domain name for your enterprise, is arguably the most evident example of acceptance of new top-level domains we have seen so far.
In conclusion, it is now impossible to claim that new top-level domains are merely complementary/secondary to .COM. What this shows is that it might just be the other way around.