As announced last week, automakers will soon have a choice of three additional domain extensions when creating their web presence: .cars, .car, and .auto.
Domains are started by Cars Registry, a joint venture between domain companies XYZ and Unregistry.
To get a glimpse of what this means for dealers, Automatic remarketing contacted Daniel Negari, Managing Director of Cars Registry.
“Cars Registry Ltd. was formed by two domain industry leaders, XYZ and Uniregistry, with the vision of providing authoritative and memorable domain options for the automotive industry,” he said.
So why the new domains? Here’s a look at what led to that decision.
Rationale for moving
Discussing the rationale for the new domain extensions, Negari explained that since the 1990s, there were only a handful of relevant domain options available – think .com, .org, etc. – and many of the best domain names were catching up early on.
Negari said this left “a lot of resellers, OEMs and suppliers with their third or fourth choice URLs.”
“Especially given the growth in mobile traffic, there has been an increasing demand for short, memorable domain names, and a continual shortage of supply,” he said.
“We’ve brought the .xyz to market for every website around the world, and now the auto industry will have the ability to get the domain name they’ve always wanted,” he continued.
He gave this example: Nissan.com is actually owned by an IT company. And now Nissan Automotive has the option of locking Nissan auto to replace some of the longer estates they use today.
What does this mean for dealers?
The new extensions can potentially give dealers a marketing advantage over the often expensive or lengthy .com URLs.
Negari said, in particular, for resellers with longer domain names, the company recommends that they upgrade their existing long domain to a memorable two-letter, three-letter, or one-word domain.
“We are offering a free white glove service to help dealers migrate their current website to their new .cars, .car or .auto domain, ”said Negari. “This process only takes a few days and their SEO, ranking, and emails are maintained throughout the process.”
If dealerships take this approach, the company team will handle the entire migration process, and Negari said they have done it dozens of times in the past “without a hitch.”
Resellers can also use the ‘do it yourself’ migration guide for anyone looking to upgrade their domain, which can be found here.
Negari explained that the new domains also have the potential to help resellers capture more organic search engine traffic.
“Almost all domain variants will be available for registration, including city, state and region domain names,” Negari explained. “For example, a dealership might post their used inventory on LosAngeles.cars and then start capturing search engine traffic for competitive keywords such as ‘cars los angeles’ and ‘used cars los angeles’. The dealership could then run search engine, television, print and radio marketing campaigns and track the results on its new web address.
This is the approach taken by the early users of St. Louis Motorcars. The Midwestern dealership has moved from STLMotorcars.com to STL.cars.
The Reseller Principle Graham Hill then used the money the company could have spent on a comparable .com domain on a new ad campaign to promote the store.
“Buying the .com version of STL would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and STL.cars works exactly the same, but looks better in the ad,” Hill said. “I got a better name for less money and used the savings over the .car equivalent to market my new website on duPont REGISTRY. “
And coveted .com domains cost more and more money. Negari said that in the past 12 months he has seen two-letter .com domains sell for over $ 1.5 million, while some three-letter domains have sold for over $ 50,000. .
On the flip side, all .cars, .car, and .auto domain names will be billed at the same flat rate of $ 3,000 MSRP per year, effective January 20.
Domains should disappear quickly
To begin with, between December 9 and January 12, the domains will first be made available to holders of trademarks registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse.
After this trademark period, a priority registration period will begin on January 12 to give anyone the opportunity to register all available domains for an additional fee before they go into general availability.
And then on January 20, domains will become open to the public through Cars Registry’s retailers, including Network Solutions and GoDaddy.
And Negari expects these areas to disappear quickly.
“We have already received contacts from many major automakers and dealer groups who will register their brand domain names during the brand owner’s initial exclusivity period,” said Negari. “There has also been a lot of interest in securing keyword rich domains during the public priority registration period when domains like Buy.cars, Compare.cars, LA.cars and Luxury.auto are expected to be registered. . ”
Based on early feedback the company received from smaller auto dealerships and sellers, the majority of respondents wanted to register at least one address with the new domain extensions.
But in many cases, they request 10-30 domains for each dealership “in order to lock the geographic variant ending in .cars, model names ending in .car and their automotive group name ending in .auto to SEO / SEM purposes. ”Negari said.
In other words, the domains will come and go quickly.
Shorter URLs preferable to mobile users
Who wants to type a long and heavy URL on their smartphone? Well… nobody really, that’s why shorter URLs are becoming more and more important as mobile web usage increases, especially in terms of vehicle purchases.
Negari said a number of studies have been done on the effectiveness of shorter URLs and the direct correlation between the number of characters in a URL and website popularity, and, unsurprisingly, shorter URLs. tend to be more popular.
“As digital ad spending in the automotive industry continues to grow, along with the number of mobile users, the demand for short, eye-catching domains is also increasing,” Negari said. “The .cars, .car and .auto domain names enable innovation and allow businesses to promote their brand and secure some of the Internet’s most valuable real estate. “
There will be many more to come, but to inspire you, here are a few examples of automotive companies that have already moved into one of the three new areas: