Knowledge Base

New social networks and new domains, the perfect match

Last week, we highlighted several ways that big brands and enterprises are using our new gTLDs in innovative ways. These companies have the infrastructure and resources to implement domain names in ways that can reach millions of users at once. But it’s not just enterprises that are innovating in the domain space. Smaller startup businesses and individuals have a lot of flexibility to take an idea and run with it quickly. That seemed to be the case a few months ago when a new concept in social networking captured the attention of the tech blogosphere and hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

Mastodon is a new social network that is distributed and decentralized, which means no one entity runs the service. Instead, any individual with a server, some technical know-how, and a domain name can start an “instance” of Mastodon, operating their own little version of what is essentially a Twitter-like microblogging site. User accounts and data are effectively spread throughout the world, but are still connected to one another by the Mastodon platform. The idea of a decentralized social network is clearly very appealing to many, especially those with privacy and data security concerns; this past April, the number of users and servers skyrocketed.

Eugen Rochko, the software developer that built Mastodon, launched the service late in 2016, using the highly appropriate domain, As many of our partners and users have attested, startup companies are great candidates for new gTLDs, but the .SOCIAL story doesn’t end with Eugen’s Mastodon domain. In fact, new domains of all kinds are thriving among Mastodon’s enthusiastic fan base.

Each Mastodon server has a public-facing web page directing users to a login or sign-up form. Remember, unlike Facebook or Twitter, each server runs an independent version of Mastodon, so each of these web pages needs its own domain name—which in turn, becomes its “name” among users. A list at shows the many creative domains that operators are coming up with, including everything from, to, to

What quickly becomes clear going down this list of Mastodon servers is that new gTLDs have a significant presence. In fact as of the end of June 2017, Mastodon server names were spread fairly evenly between legacy TLDs (532), ccTLDs (507), and new gTLDs (501). Among new gTLDs, .SOCIAL is this most prevalent, with 82 Mastodon servers (5% of the total) using the extension, making it the fifth most numerous among all TLDs. Thanks in large part to itself, the .SOCIAL TLD accounts for over 98,000 Mastodon users, the third most of any TLD. Among our own TLDs, .NINJA.ROCKS.LIVE.SOFTWARE.STUDIO, and even .ARMY are being used as Mastodon domains.

What does the popularity of new gTLDs on Mastodon mean? It could simply be that providers of Mastodon servers are more aware of new gTLDs themselves, and are using them at a higher rate than the general public. But a the broader picture suggests that younger, tech-savvy users are also more comfortable exploring non-Legacy TLD solutions for the myriad of ways domain names are being used in the modern web. Whether Mastodon itself can continue to thrive following its sudden popularity has yet to be seen, but the concept of distributed social networks is likely here to stay. If Mastodon is any indication, this could be good very news for new domains in the near future.

DomainSpotting: Personal Branding with new TLDs

Many businesses are founded with little more than an idea for a product or service. The brand—which is to say, the business’ name (and domain name)—comes later. But for many of the countless entrepreneurs in the world, the “product” is themselves, and the name is already a given. For these professionals, personal branding is about keeping their name as the centerpiece of the brand, because it’s their name that customers associate with trust and expertise. Our portfolio of new domain extensions are ideal for personal branding because they align with so many skills, professions, and identities such as .FAMILY, .ATTORNEY, .NINJA, and others you’ll see below. At the same time, common first and last names are often much easier to obtain than in legacy TLDs. On this personal branding edition of DomainSpotting, we have an industrial designer, a vlogger, a world-famous racing champion, and a pair of upbeat life coaches.


Ryan White uses a dot Studio domain for his apparel design services

Convey the image of an entire firm with a .STUDIO domain

One-person businesses often have to project the image of a full-service firm, and that’s exactly what many individuals have in mind when they register a .STUDIO domain. For “Designer, Cyclist and Photographer” Ryan White, his background in athletic wear, menswear, and accessory design makes him a good fit as a hired gun for apparel makers. He’s so invested in that his original domain,, now forwards to his new site.


Amy Schmittauer, the Vlog Boss, uses Amy dot Video as a personally branded redirect

Amy Schmittauer managed to secure a very common, short first name for her domain

Vlogging has become an incredibly popular format for Youtubers because it’s in-the-moment and authentic in ways that traditional scripted or “reality” programs are not. For vloggers trying to engage with their audience, however, the call-to-action is often friendlier to their platform than to their own personal brand. For Vlogger Amy Schmittauer, instead of asking her followers to see her video archive at, all she needs to utter is

Lewis.SOCIAL (Branded Short Link)

Lewis Hamilton uses a dot Social domain as a Branded Short Link to keep his millions of followers up to date

F1 racing champ, Lewis Hamilton, uses to keep his social media feed on brand

A personally branded domain name can be used for many things. Just ask three-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton. As one of the most accomplished drivers in the sport, he has a large social media following (4.37 million on his Twitter account alone), and takes advantage of the spotlight by using as his short link, giving him free exposure for his own brand, rather than the brand of a generic short link provider.


Brian and Carrie dish out life, love, and fitness advice on their daily live streams

Brian and Carrie get two personal brands for the price of one with their .LIVE domain

Personal branding doesn’t just have to be for individuals. For life/fitness/business coaches Brian and Carrie, their relationship is the brand, and they’re a package deal. Brian and Carrie stream live from Facebook every morning dishing out tips and affirmations to get the most out of life. Meanwhile, their blog posts, video archives, and more can be found at their digital home base, at, a domain that keeps their brand up front with a catchy keyword TLD.

Have you seen other examples of new gTLDs in the wild? Send them to us at or post them yourself with the #DomainSpotting. See more examples of new domains at Showcase.NINJA.