By Erica Bray
"Hunger Games" heroine Katniss Everdeen isn’t just inspiring a revolution in the post-apocalyptic world of Panem. She’s also inspiring one on the Internet.
How so? Take a close look at the domain name for the final film installment of the series:
The domain ending should pique some curiosity, as it is the first movie website hub to reside on ‘dot-movie’ (.movie). Consider it the "world premiere" for this domain.
For years – ever since films have had companion websites, anyway – online movie hubs names have ended in ‘dot-com’ (.com). In fact, several of this year’s other big-budget movie franchises follow the old-school route:
But in coming years, we should see movie sites such as these transform into:
Why should you care?
First, if you're a "Hunger Games" fan, this is yet another milestone for the popular franchise. It is pioneering something that will revolutionize the film industry when it comes to online branding.
But even more significant, ‘dot-movie’ is part of much bigger movement taking place online. Hundreds of new domain endings, otherwise known as top-level domains (TLDs), have been introduced into the Internet namespace for those either launching or refreshing websites. Most people, however, haven't a clue that this happening. With millions of people expected to flood TheHungerGames.Movie for its trailers, fan updates and social channels -- this is really the first major pop culture moment for a much larger digital trend.
Related: I'll See You At The .Movie
This domain expansion began in 2013, without much mainstream press, as options as diverse as ‘dot-guru’ (.guru), ‘dot-world’ (.world) and ‘dot-solutions’ (.solutions) started becoming available to the public. By 2016, there will be more than 1,300 new domain extension choices.
Click here for a growing list of "not-com" options.
These options are designed to expand Internet naming real estate, one that has become saturated with 'dot-com' (.com), and give people the ability to craft a domain name that is more meaningful, creative and memorable.
Celebrities adopting “not-coms”
It’s a paradigm shift, no doubt. But it's one that is being embraced by celebrities and everyday consumers alike. Among the immediate benefits, it enables brands to stand out from the crowd, and rise above today’s digital noise. In other words: A clever domain stands a better chance at being remembered. In the fame game, this is critical, especially as online popularity (website traffic, "likes" and "shares") determines where you stand in cultural relevancy.
In 2014, music superstars Demi Lovato and 50 Cent launched fan sites with the URLs www.lovato.club and www.50inda.club, respectively. This year, Kanye West launched his clothing line on the domain www.yeezy.supply, while Lady Gaga switched her nonprofit website up to www.bornthisway.foundation.
Just as superstars are jumping on the "not-com" bandwagon, so are everyday consumers. For companies, in particular, the introduction of category-specific options such as 'dot-fitness' (.fitness), 'dot-legal' (.legal) and 'dot-design' (.design) help to more obviously distinguish what type of business it is. The unique domain, in turn, becomes a significant part of the business branding -- as is the case with Driftaway Coffee, a subscription-based coffee service that can explain its entire business in two words online: driftaway.coffee.
'Dot-Movie' and beyond
While most will, understandably, focus on the characters and visual storytelling of "The Hunger Games," it's interesting that this blockbuster is part of a different story unfolding online -- one also tied to a revolution, but of the digital kind.
Click here to explore the growing options available to get in on the ground floor of the “not-com” revolution.