Every website is identified and accessed by its own Internet Protocol or IP address, which used to be just a string of seemingly random numbers such as /22.214.171.124. You can thank “Uniform Resource Locators” or URLs for a more intuitive and human way to access websites, in this case: www.google.com.
“Top Level Domains” (TLDs) are the “.com” part of a URL, the .suffix swapped with a few letters that help identify that website as belonging to a particular industry, specialty, or organization. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) enabled new TLDs in 2012, and since then a few have caught on, such as .edu and .gov.
The big news for healthcare companies and their marketers is the release of .health. Registration through dotHealthLLC for qualified organizations is available through November 30th, after which the TLD is released to the general public. Big names in payors, providers, and pharmacy such as BlueCross BlueShield, Pfizer, the Mayo Clinic, and CVS have already registered and are using the .health TLD.
Although fewer users are typing URLs, over 1200 TLDs ranging from .pet to .date to .vodka have already been registered by ICANN, and Google claims they have no influence over search results, using them can nonetheless help organizations better identify and protect themselves, and confirm credibility—three needs vitally important to healthcare companies and their HCP, patient, and caregiver audiences.
Benefits also include:
Stake the claim on name and reputation. At the very least, healthcare companies need to realize that if they don’t claim their own .health TLD, someone else likely will. Similar to .com squatting and pirating from the Web 1.0 age, competitors and unscrupulous buyers could conceivably take your domain after November 30th. Now is the time!
Stake the claim on the new and burgeoning .health domain. More than 1500 companies have already registered using this TLD, thousands more to come. So your clients should have first-choice on website name, and take full advantage of this initial industry-only grace period to be ahead of their competitors and differentiate.
Stake the claim on entire disease areas: The opportunity to associate your healthcare company with disease areas is ripe; for example, owning adhd.health, diabetes.health, atrialfibriliation.health, etc. are for those who register early and often. Same rules apply to unique and salient aspects of brands, treatments, etc.
Establish immediate category recognition and company credibility: Akin to .edu and .gov, where users immediately know the kind of website they have visited and feel comfortable with their authority, .health could benefit your franchises and their brands. dotHealthLLC assures a thorough vetting process to build and maintain trust.
Differentiate and gain attention in a crowded market: Specialized companies can use .health to demonstrate their relevance and commitment to healthcare, such as augmentedreality.health, wearables.health, and marketresearch.health, etc. Affixing .health instantly connects your capabilities to a $3.2 trillion annual vertical.
We therefore recommend our healthcare clients register their own .health TLDs as soon as possible by typing this URL: www.get.health/apply, The jury is still out on future .health adoption and credibility, but if the early signs and industry trends continue, then this TLD will become a prerequisite for success in 2018 and beyond.