Design teams using Medium to create a .design site

Published By: on 2017-03-10 at 2:36 am No Comments

I’ve previously pointed to major corporate use cases of .design, like and One of the things that is so interesting about these sites is that they are content rich and full of a variety of resources, from videos to interviews to design manifestos to event promotion and individual contributions from team members.


Now, we’re seeing an ingenious corporate use case that creates just as interesting a destination with far less work on the actual website itself. The goal is largely the same, to focus and raise the voice of a company’s design team and bolster their recruiting, but the medium (ha!) is different.


Enter and, coming straight from the design teams at and National Public Radio. What they have done is used the .design domain in conjunction with Medium to create a professional looking site that has the look and feel of something they created and designed themselves when in reality it is just their publication on Medium.

For anyone hiding under a rock, Medium has created a network around blogs. Back in the 2000s you would send people to your own dedicated blog, these days your blog is probably a publication on Medium (or at least reproduced there). A single post on Medium is called a ‘story,’ a collection of stories by the same author or group is a ‘publication.’


So, NPR & have created a Medium publication and rather than let it live at a long URL ( they have branded it directly to themselves via their own domain, a one-time $75 charge from Medium.

From there, and NPR both support their content generation and the design department’s voice with Twitter accounts, here and here. Of course, those Twitter accounts have their elegant .design URLs rather than a clunky In this way they’re able to brand themselves rather than Medium! $75 well spent.


Leave it to the ingenious folks in the design departments at household brands like and NPR to come up with a fun ‘hack’ to a professional and engaging content platform!

.ink Approved by MIIT of China

Published By: on 2017-02-15 at 6:56 pm No Comments

On February 6th, Top Level Design’s .ink received the official approval by China’s MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology). It is also the 6th new gTLD in the Latin alphabet approved for sale in mainland China.

.ink is in the 3rd batch of new gTLDs to get China’s approval. It’s also the only one in English in this batch. The other four are all Chinese IDNs.

The Chinese government requires all TLDs to be certified by MIIT. Being approved means that Chinese residents can register and host .ink names in mainland China.

Since the launch of .ink, a hype for the TLD has been spreading all over the Chinese domain market. Chinese domain buyers recognize and appreciate the connection between .ink and Chinese history of calligraphy and literature. It’s easy to memorize and also been interpreted as an abbreviation for ‘Internet King’.

As of February 14th, 2017, 25,728 .ink domains are registered worldwide, 74% of which are managed by Chinese registrars. With the MIIT certification, we are excited to see more tractions for .ink domains in China.

Additional info.:

Where to buy .ink

Examples of live .ink websites

Major .design usage from Facebook, Airbnb, T-Mobile

Published By: on 2016-10-25 at 4:01 pm No Comments

The benefits of new top-level domains (nTLDs) for companies and individuals that were never able to get a great .com are obvious. Now, they can have unique, short and brandable domain names and, with options like .design, they can add context in a way that .com never could.


Recently, there have been some really exciting developments for .design in particular. While it has already differentiated itself as one of the most successful new TLDs, it now seems to be one of the only extensions that is receiving significant traction with the world’s largest and hottest companies, which are creating sites like,,, and (from T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom).


What these sites all have in common is that they create a prominent place for design departments to highlight their work, establish themselves as design leaders and further bolster recruiting efforts. These companies allow their .com sites to focus on their core business and instead facilitate an ancillary discussion: they discuss how design supports and guides their business, who is behind their design, and give back to the wider design community. has been live for months, but it received its most notable update on Oct. 17 when they released their iOS 10 GUI (Graphic User Interface) available for Photoshop, Sketch and Figma. Facebook was advertising in user feeds:

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 8.59.17 AM

Simultaneous with the newest release, Facebook Designer Jeff Smith wrote about their goals in “Giving Back to the Design Community.” It’s clear that is set to be an entirely new engagement point for the company, creating a space that was not available at its primary .com site. Here,  it can talk directly to an important community as a leader. Jeff writes, is just getting started. Like most things at Facebook, it will be iterated on frequently. But we hope this becomes a place where designers can find great resources to grow as a designer and develop in their career. Ultimately, we hope we can help push our discipline forward.”


We see the same thing looking at other sites; promotes Airbnb’s design events at their SF and NYC offices and as well functions as a general blog featuring a wide range of posts from UI designers to the interior designers of their offices.  It also includes content that inspires the team artistically and creatively. They updated the site multiple times a week. It is clearly not their primary goal to get more designers booking rentals via Instead, it allows them to become a vocal and recognized design destination and a top recruiter for designers.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 9.34.06 AM


The value of thought leadership and community recognition for recruiting is even more clear at There, T-Mobile, a brand that is associated with the comparatively conventional business of telephones, is giving its design department an exciting edge. The beautiful site clearly conveys that they are a design driven company and introduces you to their impressive team. Naturally, the most prominent option on the site is the “Jobs” tab.

Screen Shot 2016-10-21 at 1.55.52 PM

What we see in well-known companies supplementing their .com sites with .design is a powerful statement on how important the collaborative culture of online design is to their success and how it guides their continued growth. The new .design domain allows major companies to cultivate design leadership and inspiring conversations in a way that would have never been possible on their main .com sites.

.design founder series:

Published By: on 2016-07-12 at 5:45 pm No Comments


Improving SEO with context and a .design domain name


Karen and Dave Rose are the owners of Fraser Valley Website Design, now found at The business has grown considerably as they’ve expanded from SEO to graphic design, photography, drone imaging, car wraps, oh, and they also happened to get married in the process!

If Karen’s path from dairy farmer to SEO guru wasn’t already non-traditional, it seems that the recent switch from a .com domain to a keyword heavy .design name,, has created a noticeable uptick in their Google ranking, especially as displayed on Google Maps.

“My mind is always thinking ‘relevance, relevance, relevance’ and the .design domain made perfect sense to me,” said Karen. “I said to Dave, let’s try this domain ‘.design,’ and the part of the domain has just worked out fantastic. The technical benefit I saw was that we moved right up, right away, on the keyword search on ‘graphic design’ and ‘website design’.”

Despite what some media outlets, and Google themselves, have said, the Roses have definitely noticed that their domain has benefited their ranking. Google claims to remain domain agnostic, which is a safe statement coming from a company that applied to run 101 new top-level domains (as part of the post .com era, new options include .design). “Overall, our systems treat new gTLDs like other TLDs (like .com and .org),” they claimed in an article in Webmaster Central Blog, “keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search.”

The story isn’t just anecdotal information, this is a report coming from an SEO expert. Karen has been in the SEO business for the past 15 years. That’s pretty much since the birth of SEO. She spent much of that time leading a team of 5 global algorithm analysts for Microsoft through large corporate developments, including the Bing and Yahoo merger. Karen eventually moved on from the Microsoft contract to found Fraser Valley Website Design and has never looked back.

However, their success has not been without its hiccups. In 2012, when Google implemented Penguin (an updated search algorithm) and later versions, Fraser Valley Website Design took a hit. They lost their top placement.

“It was the Penguin algorithm, which was followed up by 3 version updates, the latest one was October 2014 that dropped our ranking due to many issues,” Karen told us, “such as old CMS codes, broken links back to other sites, and content relevancy for SEO metas.”

Something had to change and that change came in the form of a new domain. Tapping her entrepreneurial spirit and her SEO expertise, Karen followed a hunch and moved the company’s domain name from to currently retains the top positions for “web design” and “graphic design” within a 80 mile radius of their base of operations (60 miles out of Vancouver, BC).

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 3.35.54 PM

“It used to be that you’d build a company and then find a domain name,” Dave told us, “Now, you get the domain first and build the company second.” Availability and inventory are some of the great benefits of  new TLDs, especially new TLDs with a professional edge, such as .design.

The Rose’s story contradicts previous statements made by Google that adopting a new TLD will neither benefit nor hurt your SEO. While we have a clear counterexample in Fraser Valley Website Design’s SEO success with .design, we can also conclude that a relevant domain will always give your site greater context and make it more clickable. Perhaps the results are due to the fact that the new domain was just more appealing to those searching for local web design help in the B.C. area. Maybe it was this interest that caused their rise to #1 in local search.’s story is only one datapoint, but it points to the value of .design for SEO and is part of a larger success story. We look forward to following along and learning from these entrepreneurs and others like them.


Have you experienced an SEO breakthrough with a new TLD? Tell us your story!; the most impressive use of a new domain in 2+ years

Published By: on 2016-06-07 at 7:31 pm 1 Comment

Everyone in the new domain name industry keeps their eyes on the horizon even while new TLD adoption is steadily rising. There are 18 million names and the market is healthy and bullish, but within that 18 million we’ve all been waiting for those really big use cases from major brands and high-profile leaders.

While we keep pining for household names to market and use new domains, big brands are understandably very hard to move and generally unlikely to be early adopters. They are too large to make rapid organizational shifts and may have spent decades of time and millions of dollars driving traffic to their succinct and powerful .com domains. We have seen the same sluggish adoption in brand TLDs, many of which were secured with a trademark protection mindset and seem to be stuck moving from the legal to the marketing departments. Still, the innovative power of new TLDs remains, and there are in fact some powerful counter cases, such as BMW’s campaign.

The obvious exception is, which made a splash last year when Google announced Alphabet. It was a huge boon for .xyz and the gTLD market as a whole. But look at it now – the site hasn’t changed since the day it was launched. What the new domain market really needs is a major company putting out consistent content and branding on a new domain.

Finally, there’s cause for celebration! After all of our hard work, we have an amazing new exemplar of new domain usage. Last week, our team discovered Hit pause, take a look. Before we get excited, let’s run through the checklist:

  • It resolves
  • It’s not someone infringing on a trademark
  • It’s not a URL forward
  • It’s active
  • It’s the real deal

There it is, a household name using a new domain to define their company in a new and exciting way. A month’s worth of articles run down the page in a single, center-aligned column. Each article sports a photo and title, with topical hashtags in between. The Airbnb logo sits in the top left corner with “design” sitting right next to it. It’s simple; it’s elegant; it’s well designed.

AirBNB POST 2 is part blog part manifesto from Airbnb’s creative team. Article topics range from “Building a Visual Language” to “Preserving Rituals through Space.” Contributors include the VP of Design, the Principal Experience Designer, the Environments Design Lead, and the Director of Experience Design at Airbnb, and they’re posting multiple times a week.

One recent article was appropriately titled, “Storytelling 101.” Indeed, this entire new site feels like a lesson in storytelling for other companies, humanizing their work and making their motivations more transparent. Their design department has triumphantly declared itself its own entity and one that guides the main vacation rental and travel business. In fact, they timed the release of to the relase of their newest app, which has been lauded by the New York Times and Wired magazine for making significant UX improvements and expanding the scope of the service.

It is unlikely that the was released to merely gain marketshare with designers and creatives so that they are top of mind when these individuals book their next travel accomodation. While that is a definite benefit, the site is an example of thought leadership. By declaring that they are a design-first company, and defining the culture of Airbnb and their view of design, they are seeking to become a recruiting destination for top design talent. The content spans UX, UI, graphic, and the many fields of design, as well as branches off into other creative pursuits. This is tech and design thought leadership at its best and we couldn’t be happier to support Airbnb on their new domain,

It is fitting that a new, market defining start-up like Airbnb would be the entity to repurpose new domain names in an equally innovative way. They continue to build their brand and tell their story, and surely their peers will take note as they expand what it means to be a creative, successful company born and thriving in the 21st century and the era of new TLDs.


Published By: on 2016-04-25 at 6:24 pm No Comments

Ray and Andrew recently went to Germany to attend World Hosting Days. Along the way, they came into contact with Stephan Merkle and Christoph Ptok, two of the three co-founders of Stephan and Christoph were kind enough to lend a moment of their time to talk about their work and why they chose to purchase, which will eventually become their main site. Check out the video!

.design heads to summer camp!

Published By: on 2015-08-20 at 3:19 pm No Comments

Just a couple of weeks ago, .design hit the Midwest with our friends at, for a fun-filled three days at Weapons of Mass Creation.

WMC is the premier design and entrepreneurship conference in the Midwest, bringing over two thousand creatives together to talk shop, share their stories and get inspired.


Now in it’s sixth year, WMC still has that grass-roots authenticity that is valued so highly by it’s attendees, many of whom are Midwesterners themselves. You can feel the popularity spreading though, as the size of the conference increases each year, and the attendees, speakers and vendors come from farther-flung locales.

Highlights from this year’s conference included a presentation by Mike Jones (Serve Studios and Creative South) that was at once hilarious, tear-jerking, and inspirational. As it has for the past five years, the Ink Wars event kicked off the event, drawing as large a crowd as ever. Pitting eight “Ink Warriors” against each other in a battle of creativity, each using nothing more than a black pen and a giant, blank canvas. was proud to sponsor or the event this year.

Many of the veteran attendees we chatted with spoke of WMC as a festival where you “arrive strangers and leave family.” It certainly had a “summer camp” aura. We’re already looking forward to next summer!

.design Passes 10,000 Registrations

Published By: on 2015-06-16 at 10:32 am 2 Comments

This past week .design officially passed the 10k registration mark. General availability opened up a month ago and yet .design has already overcome a milestone that only 15% of other new gTLDs have reached.

The enthusiastic and powerful response to .design confirms our belief that people are ready for a TLD that speaks to them on a personal and professional level. Our registrants are graphic & web designers, interior and fashions designers, as well as architects and bloggers. They deserve a big thanks for leading .design to such a successful launch. We can’t wait to see what comes next.

.design Entering EAP

Published By: on 2015-04-29 at 10:43 am No Comments

Design is ubiquitous, affecting every person in some manner. So, it’s no surprise that it is the most frequently used word in the .com namespace and the fourth most common word at the end of a .com web address. And now, it’s moving to the other side of the dot.

By launching .design we are giving anyone who is a designer and any business dedicated to good design the opportunity to showcase their passion and their profession online. Just consider how many design-centric industries there are, web design, graphic design, fashion design, interior design, etc. This is going to be one of the biggest TLD launches to date.

The next step for .design is the Early Access Period (EAP), which begins on May 5. This is where the highly desirable and contentious names will be bought in a “dutch auction.” This means the price of the domain will drop every day leading up to General Availability on May 12, when there will be no additional EAP fee.

Common names, such as, highly cachet words such as and, and category killers such as and are all likely to be purchased during this period. If you have your eye on an excellent domain name then you’ll want to consider buying during EAP, which you can do at the following registrars:

.wiki & .ink Success at NamesCon Live Auction

Published By: on 2015-01-14 at 1:03 pm No Comments

Going once!–This week Las Vegas played host to NamesCon, the largest and arguably most influential annual conference for domain name investors. A major highlight of the much-anticipated conference was Right of the Dot’s live domain name auction, which included a mix of legacy and new TLDs. Top Level Design did not hold back, auctioning off valuable names such as,,,, and

Going twice!–Both .wiki and .ink names made a strong showing at the auction with 4 .ink names and 6 .wiki names purchased. Highlights include and, which sold for $3,100 and $3,000, respectively, and, which sold for $1,600.

SOLD!–A full list of .wiki and .ink auction results:
Continue reading .wiki & .ink Success at NamesCon Live Auction