The problem with the tried-and-true dot-com domain is that most of the good names are taken. In addition, anybody can take a dot-com name that indicates they are in a business such as storage—even if they’re not.
New or expanding companies have been forced to make up lengthy and unwieldy names, making it difficult for consumers to find their products and services.
To combat the dot-com problem, new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) were released in 2013, including dot-STORAGE (.STORAGE). After a lengthy review and contracting process, many TLDs were activated in late 2015 and early 2016.
.STORAGE is the new space that presents numerous possibilities online for storage businesses of all kinds. The era of new gTLDs has arrived, and storage is one of the first global industries to tap into this specialized domain. Now storage has a home of its own on the Internet and Self Storage Company, LLC is the designated registry operator for the TLD.
The new .STORAGE domain name offers operators and other industry-related businesses opportunities to strengthen their identities with consumers and better complement marketing campaigns.
For a limited time, only self-storage-related businesses and organizations can apply to use the .STORAGE domain. This creates a fenced domain, meaning that Internet visitors going to any URL ending in .STORAGE can be assured that the website will relate to the greater storage industry.
“What we’ve seen in the self-storage industry is a lot of operators couldn’t get a good dot-com so they built long dash-based URLs, like www.ur-storage-name.com,” says Paul Yoachum, chief marketing officer of Self Storage Company. “That’s a lot to type in, so the .STORAGE TLD can help not only with branding and ease of use, but you can deploy a website and not have to have a lengthy URL, like www.yourname.storage.”
When they originally searched for a domain name with dot-com, many companies were forced to either settle for a domain name that didn’t include their full business name or they relied on keywords only. By registering for the new .STORAGE gTLD, operators can likely find a domain that fits their needs and makes it easier for customers to find them online by their brand.
“The new TLDs are in the early phase of adoption, but we’re seeing more traction around organizations using TLDs for branding purposes,” Yoachum says. “Brands have started to use them for marketing campaigns and product launches.”
Storage-related websites can comfortably fit their brands into .STORAGE URLs, such as www.YourBusinessName.storage, for example.
The distinctive gTLDs are confined to a specific industry or trademark, so operators won’t be competing with other Internet users, any of whom could take a dot-com domain and potentially keep a business from getting the best name available.
Better Online Branding
The .STORAGE domain is being instituted in phases. During the initial phase, Self Storage Company partnered with a number of large, mid-sized and smaller self-storage operators to establish .STORAGE websites.
The next phase involves businesses owning trademarked brand names. These companies were able to secure a .STORAGE name matching their brand.
In the current broader industry phase, regional and national organizations are registering names that not only contain their brand but also specific territories or generic terms. These alternative URLs may contain the name of a city or county such as www.LasVegas.storage or www.PalmSprings.storage, or generics such as www.secure.storage.
“We’ve got storage owners who operate multiple stores across a city or state and are looking to incorporate a particular name of a city or county,” says Yoachum.
Some companies that have their websites optimized to generate favorable traffic may not want to switch over to the new domain while others may see extra benefits in adopting .STORAGE. Some businesses establish new websites separate from their dot-coms as landing pages for product launches, marketing campaigns, or customer portals. Others still want to establish a .STORAGE address while availability is good—choosing to simply forward to their current Web address.
Vendors Are Eligible
All storage-related organizations, companies, and individuals are eligible to apply for a .STORAGE domain, including vendors that sell to self-storage operations. Some suppliers have used descriptive names or generic product terms in their URLs to capture visitors searching on the Internet for specific storage products.
“Because we are early in the process, most organizations will likely be able to get their name with .STORAGE,” Yoachum says. “Company names that are registered trademarks in the Trademark Clearinghouse are guaranteed during the Sunrise period and won’t be given to others.”
Most .STORAGE domain names will be standard registrations and will have an annual cost that is market-based and comparable to existing addresses. Certain premium names that potentially generate high search word traffic will cost more, and some of those names will be auctioned.
Registration is open through the end of 2016 for storage-related businesses and organizations to find and purchase their .STORAGE domain. The .STORAGE domain name will be released to the public in January.
“We want to have companies that are in the storage business be able to get their name before it goes to general availability,” Yoachum says. “Come January, anybody can get any name they want.”
About Self Storage Company
Self Storage Company, LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Extra Space Storage, a Utah-based real estate investment trust. Extra Space applied for .STORAGE in 2012 when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved a program under which companies were allowed to operate their own TLDs.
As mandated by ICANN, there is a Chinese wall between Extra Space Storage and day-to-day .STORAGE operations. All activity related to the management of .STORAGE is in the hands of Self Storage Company and its staff. All registry operators are held to strict ICANN standards of fairness, equality, and intent to be good stewards of their TLDs.
Self Storage Company has been staffed with an expert team dedicated exclusively to the launch and ongoing operators of .STORAGE.
Chief Executive Officer Jan Pretorius is a long time New York-based strategy consultant with Booz & Co (former Booz Allen Hamilton) and Deloitte Consulting. A former investment banker and published investment specialist, Pretorius has been affiliated with Sun Capital, BMW Finance, Verizon Communications, Compaq, and Siemens.
Chief Marketing Officer Paul Yoachum has 17-plus years of B2B and B2C marketing and management experience in multiple industries. With both client-side and agency experience, he has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands including Verizon, Microsoft, and CenturyLink. Prior to joining .STORAGE, he was instrumental in driving the company VitalSmarts growth from $20 million to $60 million in five years, which led to an acquisition by TwentyEighty, Inc. in 2015. Yoachum’s marketing team also received a 2010 Stevie for “Marketing Department of the Year” from The American Business Awards
.STORAGE is the first and only domain space dedicated to the storage industry. The domain name lets customers know that your website is credible and will help define your brand online by clearly communicating your company’s connection to the storage industry.
With the best .STORAGE domain names still available, now is the time to claim the most valuable online real estate in the self-storage industry. To reserve your new .STORAGE domain name before registration opens to the general public on January 10, 2017, visit www.get.storage.
Company: Self Storage Company, LLC
Headquarters: Salt Lake City, Utah
Contact: Dan Cook