Seen anything different lately in your database? As a good marketer, you should be periodically checking email addresses as they get added to your list. If you have, you may have noticed some strange extensions popping up. The reason? New top-level domains have arrived on the Internet.
Until recently, there have been just a few top-level domains (TLDs), including:
Next came country codes, such as .uk and .fr. Now, the big stuff is coming. Top-level domains like .club, .guru, and .florist. are now available, with possibly thousands coming in the next two years.
ICANN is the governing body that coordinates domain names, and it’s opened up the process to request new TLDs. In short, you submit the new domain to ICANN along with a big chunk of cash, and you get a TLD provisioned if it gets approved.
These domains are called “generic” domains because they’re open for anyone to purchase. You don’t have to be a florist, for example, to own a domain ending in “florist.” Of course, you probably wouldn’t purchase that domain if you weren’t a florist — but you could if you wanted.
Moving forward, ICANN is going to release small groups of top-level domains every couple of weeks — probably without much fanfare. So what does this have to do with email deliverability? Glad you asked. Here are two steps you should take in preparation for this new onslaught of top-level domains:
1) Make sure your Web forms can handle these new domains as people sign up for your mailings.
Are your forms currently hardcoded to accept only a few domains? Is the field character limited to prevent abuse? Do you have a script that checks the addresses against a list of known TLDs? What about updates to other areas of your website? Get the answers to these questions and adjust accordingly.
2) Make sure your ESP supports these new domains within their platform.
Will your ESP be able to accept and upload these new addresses? Does it have any of the coding limitations similar to your Web page? Will there be any issues with reporting? Again, making adjustments now rather than waiting until issues arise will help you transition seamlessly into the new era of top-level domains.
A big deliverability storm is coming, with new domains falling like rain from the sky. Will you be ready?
More TLD Resources:
1) ICANN’s Top-Level Domains page
2) GoDaddy’s New Domains page
More Deliverability Blog Posts:
1) “Why NOT to Resend to Email Addresses from Suppression Lists”
2) “10 Steps to Keep Bad Email Addresses Out of Your Database”
3) “Feedback Loops: What They Are and What They Tell You About Your Email Program”