Should Car Dealerships Use a Geo .CARS Domain Name?
Hartzer Consulting analyzed three different car dealership web sites that are on geo-related (city or State) .CARS domain names. Two of the car dealerships built brand new web sites on a .CARS domain name. One car dealership moved their existing web site from a .COM domain name to a .CARS domain name.
- A Wichita, Kansas based car dealership built a new web site on Wichita.CARS.
- A Phoenix, Arizona based car dealership built a new web site on Phoenix.CARS.
- A Mesa, Arizona based car dealership moved their existing web site from ArizonaUsedCars.com to Arizona.CARS.
We analyzed each of the web sites, looking at their web site traffic and search engine rankings in depth. We were given access to each web site’s Google Analytics data. We also used the search engine ranking and traffic analysis tools at SEMRush.com to gather data, and make conclusions.
What are Top Level Domains?
Since the beginning of the Internet, Americans have primarily used three main Top Level Domains (TLDs) for our websites: .COM, .NET, and .ORG. There are other TLDs (Top Level Domains) that have been introduced that we’re all familiar with, such as .EDU and .GOV. It’s been fairly easy for us to register .COM, .NET, and .ORG domain names. You have to be associated with an educational institution or a government entity to secure a .EDU or a .GOV domain name. And then there’s the others that have been available for quite some time now, such as .INFO, .BIZ, and .TV. Most consumers in the USA are typically used to the top three, .COM, .NET, and .ORG.
In countries outside of the USA, the Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs), are widely accepted and in fact often the default option. Country codes include .co.uk (United Kingdom), .es (Spain), .com.au (Australia), .ca (Canada), and .it (Italy), and are always two letters long. Depending on the location of your business, a ccTLD makes perfect sense as an alternative to .COM. However, since January 2014, there are literally hundreds of new Generic Top Level Domains (New gTLDs) that have become available, and many are already available for registration today. A few of the automotive-related New gTLDs are .CARS, .CAR, and .AUTO. The .CARS TLD, for example, allows anyone to register a .CARS domain name, and many good domains are still available.
The Go.CARS home page, where you can find more information about .CARS, .CAR, and .AUTO domain names.
The .CARS TLD
The .CARS/ .CAR/ .AUTO TLDs (Top Level Domain) was launched in December 2015 and January, 2016. The Sunrise Period for .CARS/ .CAR/ .AUTO domain names began on December 9, 2015. This period was for brands who are registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse. The EAP (Early Access Period) began on January 12, 2016, and was for OEMs, dealerships, vendors, and other entities who wanted early access. The General Availability period began on January 20, 2016.
The “suggested retail price” for a .CARS/ .CAR/ .AUTO domain name is $3,000.00 per year. However, we found that we could register a .CARS/ .CAR/ .AUTO domain name for less than the suggested retail price. I recently checked some sample prices of .CARS domain names at leading registrars, and found the following prices, as of March 7, 2018. I used Hartzer.CARS as an example:
|Domain Name||Registrar||Retail Price|
With virtually all new gTLDs, there some domain names that are considered to be premium domain names. Certain domain names have been designated as premium by the registry, and pricing may be higher for certain domain names. Other desirable domain names can also be held back—and those domain names are not available for registration. However, in the .CARS registry, there are no premium domain names—none are held back by the registry except for a few select domain names that are used for internal purposes by the registry.
Geo .CARS Domain Names
When we refer to the word “Geo” in the domain name industry, a Geo domain name would be one that includes a city name. For example, an example of Geo keywords would be “Dallas Cars”, “Chicago Cars”, “Atlanta Used Cars”, and “Miami New Cars”. Each of those are Geo keywords, and a Geo domain name would be something like DallasCars.com, Miami.Car, or NewYork.CARS.
Since the .CARS domain names have been available for registration for over two years, we felt that it’s important to gauge how these domain names are being accepted, how they are performing online, and how these domain names are being used. Are they being accepted and recognized by consumers? And, from an business perspective, is purchasing and using a .CARS domain name worth the investment?
We wanted to find out the answer to those questions, and more, by reviewing some specific examples of Geo .CARS domain names. We were given unprecedented access to the statistics for these domain names, and, in this case study we share with you what we found. We also provide our recommendations and draw some conclusions, as well. While this research and case study is sponsored by the .CARS TLD, in no way was our professional opinion or the data we reveal biased in one way or another.
Highlights of Our Analysis
With the launch of the .CARS TLD now two years old, we wanted to start digging right in and look at the data. What has happened in the past two years with the .CARS domain names and websites using a .CARS domain? We wanted to see if a .CARS domain name is worth the $3,000 purchase price. With the higher price tag, many could consider these domain names more “premium” than other TLDs. we wanted to know several things:
- Is a domain name on .CARS worth the cost of the annual registration fee?
- What is the value a car dealership will receive when launching a web site in a .CARS domain name?
- Can we quantify the value of what a car dealership will receive by using a .CARS domain name. And, if so, how much value will the car dealership receive?
- Are there any direct examples of where a business moved or launched a web site on a .CARS domain name?
- If so, how have these domain names been performing since they’ve been using a .CARS domain name?
Being an automotive enthusiast and marketer ourselves, we wanted to know: should a car dealer move their website to a .CARS domain name, or launch a new domain name on a .CARS TLD? I chose .CARS and set to find out the answer. As I mentioned earlier, I was fortunate enough to be given access to the analytics and search engine rankings data for three Geo .CARS domain names:
We took a look at how these three domain names and web sites have performed since they have had live web sites on them. After we studied the web sites, reviewed the Google Analytics data, and looked at the web sites’ search engine rankings, here some of what we found:
We are seeing a considerable amount of direct, type-in type of traffic to each of the .CARS web sites that we analyzed. In fact, when more traditional paid advertising was done, that only increased the amount of direct, type-in traffic to the web site. More people were exposed to the “brand”, and they searched for that brand—and went directly to the .CARS web site.
In our analysis, we concluded, overall, that:
- Registering a .CARS domain name and putting up a basic web site creates value. That value is from the direct type-in traffic and the “free” organic search traffic for Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
- One web site simply moved from a .COM to a .CARS TLD and saw an increase of 74 percent in Google organic visitors just by moving to a .CARS domain name.
- The value received from using a .CARS domain name for your car dealership web site is very, very good. In one case, the car dealership is seeing an increase of over $40,000 in value from the direct type-in and organic search traffic.
What happened when one car dealership moved to a new .CARS domain name? Take a look at the Google Analytics data below:
What happened when ArizonaUsedCars.com moved their web site to Arizona.CARS? Referrals from Google Organic Search went up 74 percent. Get more details by downloading the case study.
Arizona.CARS Results – Moving to a .CARS Domain Name
As we mentioned earlier, Mesa Arizona car dealership moved their web site from ArizonaUsedCars.com to Arizona.CARS. The car dealership moved from ArizonaUsedCars.com to Arizona.CARS at the end of May 2016. Only the web site was moved to a new domain name, and no other changes to the web site were made. As a result of the move to the new .CARS domain name, the web site got more Google organic search traffic during 2016 than the previous period that we analyzed:
- The dealership, on ArizonaUsedCars.com, received 15,094 visitors from Google organic search in a 7 month period before they moved. That’s a value of about $55,244.
- The dealership, on Arizona.CARS, received 26,190 visitors from Google organic search in a 7 month period after they moved. That’s a value of about $95,855.
- Just by moving from ArizonaUsedCars.com to Arizona.CARS, the dealership saw a traffic value increase of $40,611 ($69,618 of value annualized).
Search engine rankings overall, since SEMrush.com has been tracking them, continues to go up and has not been affected by any Google search algorithm updates or other influences that would have decreased the number of positions the web site is ranking for—which is impressive.
What’s most impressive and noteworthy, though, is the fact that the traffic from Google organic search went up over 74 percent—just by moving to a .CARS domain name. That result alone brought a value of over $40,000 in additional traffic to the web site over a 7 month period. This value continues to rise in as Arizona.CARS benefits from more keyword search engine rankings and more Google organic search traffic.
Learn more about registering a .CARS domain name and using one of these domain names for your car dealership’s web site. We’ll even show you how long it took for these three car dealerships to see a return on their investment in their .CARS domain names. And, we’ll reveal why we believe the using a .CARS domain name–rather than using another TLD such as .COM, .NET, or .ORG for your car dealer ship web site gives you a significant competitive advantage.
Read all about this, and more, in our full case study.
Download the Geo .CARS Full Case Study
In the full case study, you’ll learn all about New gTLD domain names, as well as the background of the .CARS TLD (Top Level Domain). You’ll learn more details, in depth, about when the Wichita.CARS web site launched, when the ArizonaUsedCars.com web site was moved from the .COM to the .CARS domain name, and more details about Phoenix.CARS. We show you the Google Analytics data, SEMrush.com search engine ranking data, and more.
To download our full 34 page case study of these three .CARS web sites, fill out the form below. You’ll then be given a link to download the study, in the form of a .PDF file.
** If you have trouble with the form above, feel free to contact us and we will send you the case study.