Toyota is circulating a notice to Toyota dealers about the ability to buy .car .cars and .auto domain names. I imagine there will be many other OEMs also giving notice and as an auto dealer, you are asking yourself whether you should buy these domains just to be prudently defensive.
I don’t think you need to buy these domain names and here is why:
- Legally you can always get a domain name from someone who buys your brand name 1) if its an exact match, and 2) they bought it after your business existed. (Therefore none of this opinion here applies to a NEW business)
After that significant consideration, the only concern one would have is how that competing .car .cars and .auto website would perform in search results against yours.
- Strategically a competitor would not likely be able to spend the resources required to build up a website using the new domain name to compete with your exiting .com domain name. It would be a very expensive gamble to do so. Id guesstimate it would cost more than $20,000 to compete against a well established automotive website. Certainly this would not produce a positive ROI in the end.
- Which then leads us to the age of a website (domain name). If there is a young and an old domain of similar names, Search engines will heavily favor the older domain. They actually check when you first registered the domain. This is one of the few (SEO) rules that is not debated.
- And finally (unless Im overlooking something) search engines heavily favor .com domains ( when was the last time you saw a .us .info or .biz domain ? those only flourished when they were first introduced. Now they almost don’t make it into search results ) and I don’t see that changing soon.
Therefore I would not be concerned.
PS. Yes I missed this >
- Most automotive OEMs have a 1 website policy (which also means 1 active domain name) which is also one of the TOS (Terms of Service) of Google. This makes sense for Google. They only want one website per business to refer to in order to provide a good user experience. This is what prompts the OEM policy. Not all dealers adhere to that TOS/policy but in the long run that 2nd or 3rd website will a) cost you more to maintain than it can bring in additional business (that’s a fact – I’ve tested this – the ROI is negative) and b) if Google figures it out, the penalty will cause your overall results to be compromised and thereby cost lost business. Better to stick with the TOS/policy.
Any other points I may have missed? Please feel free to comment.