There’s a new age on the horizon for businesses marketing themselves on the Internet, and jewelers are poised to take advantage.
“Right of the dot” in domain names traditionally has been .com, .net, .org and country codes such as .us for the United States. But coming soon, all of that will change after ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, decided to expand the extensions to an unlimited number of more creative and industry-specific extensions – including “.jewelers.”
Leading the way for the jewelry industry is GJB Partners, a leader in business and brand management. GJB, which will be marketing “.jewelers,” appointed AusRegistry International as the Domain Name Registry Services provider for the extension.
GJB Managing Partner Ann Glynn sees fantastic potential for the extension, particularly given the response she witnessed last June at the soft launch of the initiative at the Continental Buying Group Show in Las Vegas.
“There are other extensions out there that aren’t widely known and used, but they are out there,” Ann says. “Now ICANN has decided they will open up space and let people apply for other extensions. We’ve been watching this move with ICANN for three years, hoping it would happen.
“Jewelers were late adopters to the Internet, a little slow to get there,” she notes. “As such, unfortunately, a lot of squatters took good names and names of viable businesses already out there and running.”
Since ideal names weren’t available anymore, some jewelers used alternate names, longer names or names that didn’t suit their business.
“When we looked at the names, we found that since so many retailers are using the term ‘jewelers’ in their name, it would be appropriate to be able to type in smyth.jewelers or bond.jewelers,” Ann says. “It shortened the name and allowed people who couldn’t get the name they wanted in the first place to get it. And the extension quickly identified and branded their business.
“That’s why we decided to go with ‘.jewelers.’ My partner George Bundy has been marketing the .am and .fm extensions for 15 years, so we have 15 years of domain name experience in selling, branding and managing this type of thing. We’re not brand new to the experience. We’re not stepping into it blindly. We understand it from the back end, the front end, the wholesale side and the retail side.
“Once we decided to take the plunge, we did a soft launch in June, and the response was overwhelming positive. The thing that surprised us most was that people came up and said more than yes, we like this – what we got was ‘We love this! It’s a great fit. We want our name, and also derivatives of our names that identify us.’
“It exploded for us at the show. The jewelers took the concept of ‘.jewelers’ and understood why it would help to brand themselves, but also saw it as an opportunity to rebrand themselves and use it as a vehicle for additional marketing opportunities.
“They wholeheartedly embraced us. We didn’t expect to be embraced on that level.”
One great feature of domain names is that they can be pointed, or redirected, Ann says. “So in the case of laskerjewelers.com, for example, they can keep that domain and shorten it to lasker.jewelers, then use that domain and point it to their existing domain.
“They could use it for a mobile phone site or a particular page they want to use for promoting a special. They absolutely understand that each and every one of these domain names is so easy to adopt, and they can be used for multiple marketing purposes.
“They’re also embracing, if available, their city name. People are using these domain names to help in their keyword search results. We use all applicable keywords in there.
“What is happening with these searches is that domain names are driving people back to their websites. For example, if someone searched for Covington jewelers, and I’m Ann’s Jewelers but had bought the domain Covington.jewelers, I would come up first, at the top of the list because it’s my domain name.
“Let’s says you want to do a Black Friday sale. Someone would Google ‘Black Friday sales in Covington.’ If a jeweler ran it in a Google ad, it could point back to that particular page that was set up with that domain name, separate from the rest of their website. In essence, a jeweler could use that domain name and direct a customer to one page on their website. This can help with statistics and track marketing events.
“Say a store was proactive in their marketing for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Mother’s Day. They’d do a radio ad, a Google ad, a TV ad, and since they’d have four or five ‘.jeweler’ domains, we can point it back to them for whatever page they want on their website. We can point those URLs for them, and we can give them statistics on who visited what pages. When the campaign is over, they may say, ‘Repoint them all to my home page until we want to do something new.’
“If something is generating more hits, they may want to set up a splash page – a welcome page for the jeweler that says something like, ‘Enter here for great deals.’
“We’re taking their domain, linking it to one page that drives all those hits to one particular page that’s been set up, rather than the main page. We don’t want them to bounce (to get turned off and leave the site immediately), so they spend a few bucks setting up a splash page, with ‘Enter here.’ It’s like a welcome mat; they know they’re in the right spot.”
Process is under way
Ann says GJB has already taken pre-registration on names from a number of large jewelers, who receive discounts on additional names they buy – and GJB hasn’t had a sale yet for fewer than six names. All jewelers have to meet criteria that GJB is setting into place. “We have to verify they’re actually a jewelry professional before we’ll sell them a name,” says Ann, who expects the new names to start operating by the end of 2012.
“The whole point of us developing ‘.jewelers’ is not just to sell extensions alone. We’re looking to offer a suite of services on the Internet that can help jewelry industry professionals sell better on the Internet. We’re giving them the ability to reach more customers with marketing tools that are out there, developing a richer customer base.
“We do that through helping develop audio-video tools, helping them with URLs, helping with Google ad words and appraisal tool services. It’s one thing to be told you need to be on the Internet; it’s another to understand what you can do once you’re on the Internet.”