Are “Not.Coms” Ever in Your Favor?

When the trailer for Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 came out earlier this month, it caused a bit of an uproar in the web community. Not because of the leads’ tight outfits. It was because the site was the first to use the .movie TLD (top level domain) — www.thehungergames.movie/ .

You can read more about it here, but while a customized domain name like that looks really cool and stuff, is it really effective when it comes to branding and search engine optimization? The general school of thought for businesses for the last 20 years has been that if it’s not .com, it’s just not. If your domain is .net, .biz, or something else, it means some other company swooped in and got your domain of choice before you. You might as well have .suck after your domain.

But times do ‘a change. Could a custom TLD extension (or “not com”) become a branding norm and essentially be used as a keyword? Just think about it: moss.webgoddess!

IMO, currently, it won’t hurt or help your SEO. Good old fashioned optimized content (title tags, descriptions, H1s, alt tags, and kick-ass design and good user experience) will still rank you higher in the search engines than your actual domain. Could search engines change their tune over time as TLDs like .movie become more commonplace (IF they in fact do so)? Perhaps. For now, users are still used to good old fashioned .com, .org, edu.

And with predictive search, nobody types in http://www.blahblahblah.com to find what they need. So in the end, does it really matter what’s tacked on at the end of your domain?

Opinions?