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New .cards Domain Name Released

Let's put Greeting Cards on the Internet Map!

It's a brave (or foolish!) business that doesn't have a website these days. A website address ranks up there in importance with a company's phone number - indeed some would argue the web address out ranks the phone number. The internet has been exploding since the early 1990s, and terms such as ‘.com’ and ‘.co.uk’ are now thrown around without a second thought. The geekier among you will remember the internet land-grab at the end of the last century when enterprising cyber-squatters registered domain names before the big brands cottoned on and then sold them on for extortionate sums.

Today, the Internet is at the start of a new chapter in Domain Names. Until 2012, the internet had just 22 generic Top Level Domains or gTLDs.  (A gTLD is the last bit of a domain name after the last .dot; ‘com’, ‘net.’ and ‘org’ are top level domains). The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the governing body which manages gTLDs. In 2013 ICANN began to release a whole host of new gTLDs, and we're expecting to see a whopping 617 new domains by the end of 2015.

While this is all very interesting(!), you may be wondering what this has to do with us in the greeting card industry. Well, one new domain in particular should spark our collective interest. ‘.cards’ has been released. It's a perfect domain for many publishers and retailers, especially those whose company names end with the word ‘cards’, consider www.abacus.cards, www.cath-tate.cards, www.deanmorris.cards for example.

Registering a new domain can be done online in less than 10 minutes with most web hosting providers, such as www.1and1.co.uk, www.123-reg.co.uk, www.godaddy.com to name but a few. Or your web designer should be able to register the domain for you. The cost for a .cards domain is around £20 to £30 per year.

There's no need to rush into creating a new website, or changing all your stationery either. You can register a domain and have it re-directed to your existing website. So visitors to www.davora.cards will automatically be re-directed to www.davora.co.uk.  This is a good way to ensure you take ownership of your brand before someone else does.

When ICANN released the .cards domain, they may or may not have had greeting cards in mind (I suspect the gambling industry was probably a consideration here) but we have a real opportunity to capture a corner of the internet, mark our territory, if you like. Wouldn't it be great if the .cards domain extension became synonymous with the greeting card industry?

There are other Top Level Domains available too that may be of interest such as .gallery, .gift, .social, .cool, .ink, .limited and .christmas.

It's definitely worth spending some time reviewing your online presence strategy.

I hope this is of help to other publishers and good luck!

Rajeev Arora, of Davora