Exclusive | India still lags behind developed markets: Bigrock's Shashank Mehrotra

BigRock asserts to provide all of the services one needs to make a great website, including domain names, email, web-hosting and customizable website templates. BigRock’s goal is to make setting-up-a-website so easy and affordable that just about anyone can get one.

For information and records, BigRock is an ICANN accredited registrar that makes getting a great website very easy and affordable. They specialize in helping small businesses, professionals and individuals, establish their web presence. Their product portfolio includes everything you need to set up a website in less than an hour, for less than what you pay to buy lunch.

Amongst the recently launched initiatives, is the new generic top level domain (gTLD) regime which, as the company says, is set to revolutionize the internet as we know it. From a mere 22 gTLDs (such as .com, .net, .org, .edu etc.), we’re moving into an age of hundreds. What is exciting about this is that it will enable many constituencies to capture a corner of the internet for themselves. For established brands, start-ups and the advertising ecosystem, the scenarios are compelling.

Adgully caught up with Shashank Mehrotra - General Manager and Business Head, BigRock to know more on this.

The new generic top level domain regime (commonly called as new gTLDs) will change the paradigm of the internet as we know it. As per ICANN, the global body that governs the internet, the launch of the new gTLD program allows for more innovation, choice and change to the internet’s addressing system.

To put things in perspective, thousands of new domain extensions will launch as per the new TLD program as opposed to the existing 22 gTLDs. The roll out of the new gTLDs has created a more vibrant and meaningful internet experience for consumers, as brands now have the choice to use domain names that are far more relevant to their line of business. A consumer can now expect to visit a “.shop” domain name to shop online or a “.club” name to connect with fellow enthusiasts.

The new gTLD program also ushers in an environment of greater safety on the internet. For example, a “.bank” domain name could imply trust and reliability like no other. Also consumers have great choices and an avid photographer could choose from either a.photography, .camera or a .photos.

The question arises that what does it imply for brands, old and new; “Established brands will now have increased relevance in terms of brand value and new TLDs are expected to bolster their organic traffic. Be it a landing page or a microsite, brands can assign a descriptive domain name to make their company stand out in searches and establish its reputation as a reliable source of information or reinforce themselves as a category leader. For large companies, this move is also significant as they will need to secure their trademarks across multiple extensions.  There are some interesting innovations around trademark protection that are also being rolled out, and brands should watch out for that”, Mehrotra said.

For new businesses, which are keen to christen their companies with unique names or names that possess an ideological/ emotional connect, this will present an amazing opportunity. A lot of start-ups and existing companies tweak their name or opt for new names as they do not get the domain name they really want. With the availability of thousands of new domain extensions, choice will be abundant and companies can be assured of getting a domain name that is truly reflective of their business.

Adding further he said, “One of the most compelling and interesting arguments for the new gTLD regime is its ability to build multiple close knit communities and to transform the World Wide Web into a highly indexed and easily searchable entity. These extensions provide the opportunity to bucket the entire ‘www’ into various groups or communities based on their unique value proposition.”

On asking about the internet advertising which has grown exponentially recently, he said, “Websites of all kinds will benefit by being able to monetize themselves better. Take for example deal websites that thrive on advertising revenues. In the event that a smart phone brand wants to advertise on a few top deal sites, a search for .deals would allow them to easily narrow down the search. In this symbiotic relationship, marketers benefit from the enhanced search-ability of the website and website itself is able to create newer opportunities to monetize. One would expect online display behemoths like Google & Yahoo to add “domain extensions” as an important variable into their targeting mix. Imagine the possibilities if you are “Nikon” and can target all .photography websites.”

On the marketing front, new extensions offer a wide spectrum of options for marketers to connect with their customers. Simply put, brands are expected to become more searchable on the internet. From a marketer’s perspective, this easily translates into more site visits and therefore greater revenues especially in the case of ecommerce sites. Over the years, search engines led by Google have focused more on content and quality of content. So a marketer’s whose website has relevant content and a highly relevant new gTLD may be propped up by search engines. Even from a communication standpoint, new TLDs allow brands to be highly versatile and house different “properties” on separate domain names. One could see “.guru” or “.faq” take on a neat avatar as brands look to connect better with their consumers.

Mehrotra believes that in terms of the market itself, India still lags behind developed markets in terms of internet and website adoption. “The internet penetration in the country is close to 20% but has been growing exponentially over the past few years. It is our belief that as more people search for products and services online it becomes almost mandatory for businesses to be online and visible to potential customers. A very encouraging trend in India has been the mobile internet adoption rate. We are very much a “Mobile first” country and it is interesting to see the app and mobile ecosystem flourishing here”, he elaborated.

In a nutshell, they believe this is a great time for Indian businesses to build out their online presence. The new gTLD bandwagon offers unparallel choice and diversity. The .COM boom of the early 2000s was largely driven by developed markets with countries like India missing out on valuable domain name real estate. With thousands of new GTLDs being launched, Indian companies can now get a domain of their choice and an extension that is relevant to their brand.

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