Dot-law is one of more than 1,200 new gTLDs that have become active since ICANN revealed the applications almost five years ago for the largest expansion of the domain name system. Many (if not most) of the new gTLDs have failed to gain much traction, so why would I – a domain name attorney – choose to start using one?
The answers are simple:
- Dot-law makes sense for GigaLaw. There would be no reason to register the “GigaLaw” name in another gTLD, such as .xyz or .top or .win (which are currently among the most popular of the new gTLDs). No other new gTLD is relevant, but dot-law clearly is. Not only does dot-law help describe the content of the website associated with the giga.law domain name, but it actually forms a part of the name itself – something that has been referred to as “spanning the dot” (as in some interesting domain name cases such as those involving b.mw and tes.co).
- The giga.law domain name is short. The entire domain name is now only eight characters (including the dot itself), down from 11. And the all-important second-level domain (“giga”) is now only four, instead of seven. In the world of domain names, shorter is sweeter.
- Dot-law domain names are restricted. That is, only applicants that meet certain criteria – namely, “legal professionals” – are eligible to register dot-law domain names. Because the GigaLaw website is the home of my legal practice’s online presence, the dot-law gTLD is entirely appropriate and, perhaps, adds a degree of credibility or authenticity to the domain name.
Of course, the fact that my legal practice is largely about domain names also made the leap to using a new gTLD an intriguing idea. While I have often been critical of the new gTLDs (and my trademark clients largely oppose them, often with my assistance), the reality is that they are here. So, participating in the modern domain name system seems like an appropriate decision.
Challenges in Changing Domain Names
Still, using a new gTLD is not without some concerns. For example, many people are unaware that new gTLDs even exist, so telling someone that my website is at “giga.law” may take some explaining. Plus, it seems as if some tools that automatically create hyperlinks from domain names (such as Gmail) are struggling to do the same with certain new gTLDs.
Also, converting a website that has been using one domain name for 17 years to a new domain name is not the simplest task. This is especially true for GigaLaw, where I have been posting multiple “Daily News” items about Internet legal issues five days a week since the turn of the century.
I’ve learned a lot about creating “redirects” during this process – something that anyone considering a switch to a new gTLD must consider – and I’ve done some things to make the process work well. But some technical challenges have prevented me from being able to do it flawlessly, and I know some links (especially to older GigaLaw Daily News posts) are broken.
A New Website – Not Just a New Domain Name
Finally, I took advantage of the switch from gigalaw.com to giga.law to launch a newly designed website for GigaLaw as well. The new site is much more modern and attractive (as I hope you’ll agree!).
The GigaLaw site has had a number of face-lifts through the years – migrating from a hand-coded site when I launched it in 2000 to one that partially used Blogger to one running fully on WordPress. Now, GigaLaw is powered by Squarespace, which was recommended by my amazing designer/developer, Jon Mitchell of Ablaze Interactions.
Not only is the new GigaLaw site visually more appealing, it is also easier to maintain, faster and much more secure – qualities that are of obvious importance.
I'll continue to work on fixing the broken links, and many other parts of the new site will be tweaked and improved. While it's tempting to wait for a new website to be "perfect" before launching, that only means it would never take off. I think this photo of a poster I took several years ago while attending a meeting at Facebook says it best: "Done Is Better Than Perfect." (Or, as Voltaire said, "Perfect is the enemy of good.")
Do You Like It?
I would love to know what you think about the new GigaLaw – the site and the domain name – so please tell me. You can reach me at, naturally, this handy new email address: Doug@Giga.Law