When ICANN, the regulatory committee concerned with Internet addresses, sought to expand options by adding seven top level domain names to offer more variety than just dot com, they tried to pick extensions that would also help to categorize sites. The .info domain name is the most easily understood. Literally, dot info denotes “information” and is meant for sites that are focused on providing information or information services but not Internet commerce. Dot info originated in the year 2000 and is managed by the Afilias company.
When the .info domain name was first offered, it did not go smoothly. While there was an effort to use a Sunrise period, where companies with established brands were allowed to register their names before it was open to the public, there was such rampant fraud in the applications it became very hard to control.
The Sunrise period is an excellent idea, but ICANN did not project, nor was Afilias prepared for the onslaught of applications for a dot info name. The sheer volume made the plans for checking the validity of the application moot. Almost immediately, Afilias put in place a challenge procedure that has been hugely successful in weeding out fraudulent applications for ownership of brand name addresses.
ICANN also made another decision in regulating the initial registration period that was controversial. They put countries on a reserved list and allowed them to register during the Sunrise period. It was the first time that any effort was made to protect the interests of countries on the web. This meant that the United Kingdom had a chance to own uk.info before a travel agency bought it. While it was controversial in the business world, it was almost completely supported by countries.
Years later, the .info domain name has become a fairly reliable predictor that the site it is directing to will be information and not commerce based. Baseball.info is going to be about baseball statistics and history. What you wouldn’t find on Baseball.info would be an online store with memorabilia, merchandise and tickets.
That is not to say that some sites do not have online stores built in, but that if they are present, they are a menu option and not a driving presence on the site. The presence of pop-up windows is also at a minimum. These are content driven sites whose focus is on education.
It would at first appear like having a .info domain name is only good for passing around information and providing education and has no other application but that is not true. One of the key elements of a dot info site is the list of links or resources associated with the topic presented. This is where you begin to generate the highly valued link backs to a commercial site. Many businesses do not understand how a search engine will value a link back and waste time, energy and money on swapping links with other business sites.
There are certain domain names that carry more weight in the search engine algorithm because they are considered to be moderated sources of valid information that also moderate and review that they link to. Examples of these sites include any with the dot edu or dot info extension. A link back from a .info domain name will rate higher than link backs from a dot com.
A business or commercial concern can create an info site and link back to their commercial website to add to their SEO standing. One of the caveats of doing that, however, is that the links and resources listed on the dot info site should fairly represent the industry or topic and not be restricted to just the commercial companion.
Information, information and ways to get more information is what you find on a dot info site. Design is always important but there will be less emphasis on non-educational elements such as button animations and introduction videos. Any video or audio included will add to the content on the site and not to a teaser or lead in to a product. A good links and resources page is essential. Another element that is often found is a forum section. This lifts the site from a passive environment into one that engages and retains visitors.