A recent article, titled Poker Domains Why They Matter and penned by Michaela McNamara for iGB Affiliate, discussed the situation of a new top-level domain (TLDs) in the online gaming space.
The post covers the establishment of a new .poker TLD and Michaela provides readers with an easy-to-follow overview of how this might affect operators in the online poker market. Pointing out that “the ‘.com’ will always reign supreme”, the assumption by many is that poker operators will choose to acquire a .poker domain name for their online presence. However, this may not be the pot of gold that many of the new TLD pioneers and land-grab merchants may be eagerly eye-balling on the horizon.
Consider the situation we saw back on the 15th April 2011, a date now referred to by many in the online gaming community as Black Friday. On that ominous day, the United States Department of Justice seized control of the domains for a number of well known online gambling domains. As soon as this was observed by the larger community, many operators quickly redirected their .com addresses to new country specified domains, away from the clutches of a foreign government. No more .com domains for them.
We should also consider the real value a .poker domain will provide. In terms of SEO, is there really going to be significant value over a well designed and run poker web site? I suggest this to be a moot point and certainly one which will depend on how the various leading search engines implement indexing of these domains.
At the end of the day, the likelihood is that the issue is going to come down to acquisition and operational costs. Unlike the concept behind most of today’s top-level domains, these new TLDs are purely commercial entities looking to generate satisfactory profits for the shareholders. The simple facts are that the majority of operators would baulk at domain prices that are too steep. Consider how many domains have you seen using .pr or .na suffixes?
Although there are many elements involved in building a successful online business, there really is no substitute for just getting out there and selling your product, fancy looking domain or not.