As .com and .net domains are increasingly unavailable, restaurants, bars, pubs and others can now pre-register for industry-specific generic top level domain names.
Mexico-based company Punto 2012 created the .rest and .bar domains in an effort to boost search engine optimisation (SEO) and visibility for restaurants and bars, but also other food and drink actors.
CEO Aaron Grego told BigHospitality: “Today 90 per cent of domains are unavailable, so the idea is to help people find restaurants and bars more easily. All the search engines we have tested the addresses on have responded positively, and businesses can easily switch over from one domain to another in order to keep their existing SEO benefits.”
Open to all
Although the new domain names are expected to attract mainly hospitality businesses, there is no selection process ensuring that companies buying them are actually working in the industry – a conscious decision from Punto.
“We decided to leave it open because we wanted it in use for all food players – not just restaurants, but also food bloggers, suppliers and critics for example. Besides, how do you define a restaurant? With street food stalls, soup kitchens and people just serving food in their living room, the lines are blurred. Moreover, if we had regulated it, it would have made it a much lengthier process,” added Grego.
Punto has signed contracts with 200 registrars, including names like GoDaddy, and the two new domain names are now in their ‘land rush’ period – a 30-day phase during which anyone can apply to obtain some of the most valuable names, either because they are high in demand, have an estimated premium resell value, or are considered desirable for various industries and entities.
The domains that have two or more applicants will enter an auction process to determine who will get the right to register the name, after which the domains will be open for registration on 14 July. Annual prices range from US$50 for a .rest name to US$100 for a .bar name – compared to around US$15 for a regular domain.
The .rest and .bar domain launch marks a new trend to create domain endings that better categorise industries and topics online.
Domain name provider Rightside has launched pre-registrations for .pub domains to allow owners differentiate from competitors and add to their overall branding.
As opposed to the .rest and .bar names, .pub domains will be offered at a standard price, but only few will be available.
David Ryan, general manager of registry at Rightside, said: “We know the pub industry in the UK is looking for opportunities to grow. We are excited about the new availability of .pub domain names and are hopeful that the launch of .pub websites will give business owners a new avenue to attract customers and tourists online.
"Our .pub domain pricing strategy has many high-value domains available at standard pricing, creating a vibrant marketplace that will attract a large number of early adopters.”