On November 26, 2013, ICANN opened up the sunrise period for purchasing new domain names on brand new top level domains. The period ends on January 24, 2014.
The sunrise period is a 60-day period where trademark holders can register claims to a particular domain name based on their ownership of a trademark. For instance, Google might seek to purchase google.blog, or Amazon may go after amazon.blog. Trademark issues for domain names are tricky because there could be a conflict between two or more companies with similar trademarks seeking the same domain name. ICANN has a separate process for these disputes.
After the sunrise period, there is a pre-registration period where people clamoring for domain names can pay a premium price for them – if they have enough money.
Finally, after the pre-registration period, there is the open enrollment period where it’s first come-first serve for everyone else. The problem is, unless you are on a watchlist, you won’t know which TLDs are in which stage of the process. There are more than 500 of them.
When the .blog domain name extension hits the pre-registration and open enrollment stages, I expect a big land rush. That’s because blogging is the popular branding and marketing tactic of the moment.
Here’s the question: Should you purchase a .blog domain name? If you’re doing it strictly for SEO reasons, I’d say save your money. For instance, if you think that having lawyer.blog is going to help your blog rank any better than sandiegolawyer.com (as an example), then you should think again. It isn’t likely to happen.
The search engines use hundreds of ranking signals. The domain name is just one of them. And no TLD has an advantage over any other. Some people argue that .com domains have an advantage, but there’s no direct evidence of that (although you could point to plenty of anecdotal evidence).
Long story short, if you want a .blog domain for SEO purposes, then you should save your money. If you have a legitimate branding purpose in mind, then it’s worth thinking about.