With less than a week to Valentine's Day there are just 3,468 dotFlorist domain names registered. In the US alone over $2 billion will be spent on flowers for the 14th February, the vast majority of it online, yet it appears the major online retailers are yet to wise up to the opportunity to adopt new keyword domain names.
The most popular dotFlorist website according to Alexa rankings is Insure.florist, ranked as the 1,127,260th most popular website in the world, which offers, as it clearly says in its name, insurance for florists. Using the search terms "florist" you have to trawl through five pages of search results before you find the first dotFlorist website (hats off to pipers.florist for being a pioneer) despite many of the big brands appearing on the earlier pages using URL file structures featuring the word "florist"morning or "flowers".
Big retailers such as Tesco and Marks and Spencer still either use long, difficult to remember URL's (www.marksandspencer.co.uk/c/flowers-and-gifts) or specific land pages (www.tescofreshflowers.co.uk) which do little for being memorable and thus direct type traffic. Tesco actually own www.tesco.florist but it simply forwards to their .com page, rather than the landing page as their keyword domain www.tescofreshflowers.co.uk. Amazingly, another very large retailer who has a strong online presence hasn't registered their world-famous brand name in the dotFlorist name space and neither has anyone else! Cybersquatting alert!
Google's mantra of domains that rank well being readable, relevant and memorable seems to have been so far ignored by most major online florists. An adoption of a dotFlorist, especially in the run up to the busiest flower buying period of the year could give them that vital online edge. Which is easier to remember? Brand.florist or a long URL string such as the Marks and Spencer example. Interflora, undoubtedly the most famous name in online flower delivery doesn't even own www.Interflora.florist whilst www.valentinesday.florist resolves to a parked page.
The new gTLDs offer a fantastic opportunity to change the search landscape but as of yet it's left to companies such as Pipers to be the mouse that roared. The return on investment on a £20 domain name is one bunch of red roses. The rewards? Being one step ahead of competitors in the war to get digital audiences. To me, it's a no brainer.
Written by Stuart Fuller, Director of Commercial Operations and Communications, NetNames.