Roland LaPlante, Chief Marketing Officer of Afilias, spoke to me in the past about .INFO being the forth most popular domain gTLD in the world. Today, he shares the current outlook on .ORGANIC and what qualifications are needed to own a domain with the TLD.
Mike: Describe for me how .ORGANIC will be seen as the exclusive online destination for members of the organic community.
Roland: While many companies and organizations associate their business with “organic,” there has been no easy way for consumers to identify the ones that are truly in the organic business. They would have to dig into these organization’s web sites to determine their authenticity. Until now! Today, companies registering for a .ORGANIC URL will only get the URL if they pass our verification process. For example, if a farm is USDA Certified, we will check with the certifier to ensure that they are really certified.
Over time consumers will have two reasons to know that EVERY .ORGANIC site is authentic. First, their experience will tell them they are visiting a community member. And second, search engines will begin to rank .ORGANIC sites higher as they become recognized as authoritative and authentic. The growing importance of the organic market coupled with the careful .ORGANIC verification process will enable .ORGANIC to stand apart as the real deal in the organic business while making it easy for consumers to identify and find truly organic goods and services.
Mike: How is registration going for .ORGANIC?
Roland: This URL has only been made available for a few weeks and we have already received hundreds of registrations. Some prominent members of the organic community have embraced this protected new space and plan to have sites up soon. These include:
- Rodale Institute
- Bitsy’s Brainfood
- OMRI: The Organic Materials Review Institute
The .ORGANIC team was at the Natural Products Expo East 2014 in mid-September, one of the biggest trade events for the organic community on the US East Coast. .ORGANIC was enthusiastically received by both the exhibitors and attendees – many went back to their business teams at home with plans to deploy their own .ORGANIC sites.
Mike: Would you recommend that existing businesses pick up a .ORGANIC domain to supplement their existing site? If so, why?
Roland: Absolutely! A .ORGANIC web address is one of the most powerful differentiations an organization in the organic industry can leverage to build awareness, credibility, and consumer interactions. Having the word “organic” in an organization’s URL really says it all when it comes to branding and reinforcing your “organic-ness.”. Imagine having the word organic in every email, every package, every ad—everyplace an organization uses to get the word out. A .ORGANIC address makes every communication work harder to differentiate an entity as authentically “organic.”
Beyond branding is the ability to capture whole organic categories. Since the .ORGANIC top-level domain is still new, many great generic terms are available. A great example: Alpine Valley Bread just registered “bread.organic,” thereby establishing themselves as THE place on the web to purchase and get information about organic bread and bread making! Participants in every organic category are now looking to see if they too can get a good generic name (note—they must be verified as eligible and must use the name in conjunction with the term they register).
Mike: Do you believe consumers are adapting well to the new TLDs and will .ORGANIC integrate well?
Roland: A recent research shows consumer trust is growing in new TLDs: the number of people stating that they would only put faith in heritage domain names dropped from 54% in 2013 to 39% in 2014. Moreover, 18% stated they would prefer to buy from a branded domain, e.g. “shop.adidas” over “adidas.com/shop,” up from 13% last year. What’s even more interesting is that 13% would feel that brands are “behind the times” if they were not using branded domain name extensions. Consumers “get” the purpose and benefits of new TLDs and I am confident we will begin to see a shift in consumers’ behaviors once companies start building out their sites on these new TLDs.
Specifically for .ORGANIC, it is such a natural fit with and a much needed differentiation for members of the organic community. We have every confidence that consumers will quickly embrace the new .ORGANIC domain as they see how easy it is for them to find and access web sites of verified organic community members.
Mike: Where do you see .ORGANIC in a year from now? 5 Years from now?
Roland: The .ORGANIC domain extension is the logical next step for the organic community. In addition, we expect it to really be a game-changer and will grow very quickly in the next 12 months. Qualified organizations who don’t have a web site on this domain will soon be seen as behind the times. Further down the road, say 5 years from now, .ORGANIC will become the standard in separating the “real” organic companies from the rest. Qualified organizations will simply be expected to have a web site on the domain.