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Do young people know how to use domain names?

Kevin Murphy, January 30, 2022, Domain Tech

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re a fan of domain names. Prepare to be irritated by this TikTok “influencer”.


Hire a freelancer for any task #fiverr #freelance

♬ original sound – Timoté Chanut

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It’s part of a long series in which a guy called Timoté Chanut tips off his bewilderingly large audience about useful web sites, largely fun-looking content creation tools.

What’s baffling about these videos is how he teaches his viewer to navigate to the web site in question.

“If you search and click the first link, you can find a freelancer to do just about anything,” he says in the above video.

He demonstrates this by typing the domain name of the web site, in this case, into the Google search bar on the Chrome home page, then clicking the top link in the search results page, which in this case is a Google ad paid for by Fiverr.

Chanut’s TikTok feed is filled with examples of this bizarre navigation technique.

An encouragingly large number of web sites he promotes via his videos are built on new gTLDs such as .earth, .space and .online, or repurposed ccTLDs such as .co, .ai and io. There’s no .com bias here.

But this method of using domain names sure is a head-scratcher.

Is this how kids are using the internet nowadays? Do they not understand how a browser address bar works? Do they not realize that you can just type the goddamn domain into the browser and go right where you want to go, without feeding the Google beast?

Lest you think I’m randomly picking on some 20-year-old French kid, I’ll point out that Chanut has 2.3 million followers on TikTok and runs his own social media consultancy. He’s an “influencer”.

I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume Chanut does know what domain names are and how to use them. Does this imply that he assumes his audience of TikTok-using youngsters do not?

I’ve been asked for over a decade whether domain names are becoming less relevant as apps and search become more popular, and my stock response is to explain that domains are not just about navigation, they’re about identity.

There can be little doubt the navigation component is less relevant than it used to be, but I had no idea it had got so bad.