Imagine you’re a car shopper.
Like many of your peers these days, you’re doing most of the car-shopping process — researching the vehicle, comparing prices, reading dealer reviews, checking out history reports, etc. — on your smartphone.
You spot a dealership you want to look up. Which of the two URLs is going to be easier to type into the URL bar: JoeSmithofMontana.com or Joes.cars?
Heck, which one is going to be easier to remember?
That’s part of the thinking behind Cars Registry, which launched auto-specific domain extensions .Cars, .Car and .Auto on January 20. Cars Registry is the registry operator for those domain names and was founded last year by XYZ and Uniregistery.
“Now there are more car-shoppers that are researching and buying cars on their mobile devices … if you’re JoeSmithofMontana.com, that’s going to take 10-20 seconds to type into your URL bar,” Cars Registry chief operating officer Mike Ambrose said in an interview here at the NADA Convention & Expo. “If you’re Joes.cars, it gives users a quick, easy access to your website. And it really ensures that branding, so visitors don’t get confused.”
Ambrose added: “We want dealerships to have the ability to secure that one word or that easy-to-remember domain name, so their visitors can easily access their site, because the domain name is the foundation of your digital marketing. And if dealerships are sending thousands of dollars on SEM and digital marketing activities, they want to be driving traffic to URL that makes sense, that’s short, that’s memorable. And that’s the first opportunity that we want to give dealerships.”
Since the launch, there has been an array of auto business types who have started using the domain names. That includes dealer groups, individual dealerships, tech companies like Google and Apple and automakers.
Non-automotive companies that have a presence in automotive are able to use it build website on auto-specific domain, cater specifically to their automotive offering
As for dealers specifically, Ambrose said hundreds registered domain names and at the time of this interview at NADA Convention & Expo, between 20 and 30 had had moved their entire website over to new domain name.
“This opportunity allows them to register their first-choice domain name that’s actually automotive specific. So if you’re JoesChevyInMontana.com – a four-word dot-com domain name – you could get Joes.cars or Joes.auto,” Ambrose said. “Something really short, memorable, mobile-friendly. It’s like a reset on the Internet name space, and dealerships can finally get the domain name that they’ve always wanted.”
There’s also a regional benefit to this, he said, where dealerships can “own” their city or region. For instance, he said, a Toronto dealership could get Toronto.cars or Toronto.auto.
“So, they can actually build a new website on this regional domain name and start to get leads for organic keywords relating to that search term,” Ambrose said. “Google puts preference on exact-match domain names.”
He gives the example of the Kansas-based Schofield Automotive, which registered Wichita.cars.
Ambrose added: “It’s a digital marketing asset that dealerships are using to get more customers in the door through Web leads.”
So, say you’re a dealer and you get a new .cars or .auto extension. What about the old website?
“Dealerships can either redirect their new domain name to their existing website, for defensive purposes and to protect their mark, so they can redirect it to their dot-com domain name. But we recommend that they do the reverse; so they redirect their old legacy dot-com domain name to their new domain name,” Ambrose said. “Because we’re seeing that dealerships see improvements in their search-engine ranking by switching over to the new domain name.
“And Google’s actually giving preference to the new automotive domain endings as opposed to the old dot-com domain ending, which could be for any business, whether it be a spammer or a photographer or a yoga instructor,” he added. “Anyone could be on a dot-com. “
Typically, only an auto-related business would buy a dot-auto domain name, for example, Ambrose said. And the company aims to ensure there is “only clean activity in our name space,” he said.