NEW YORK, NY – One of the most problematic things about the new gTLD space is that all of the applicants are trying to accomplish the same exact thing, either ahead or before the other; to create a single authoritative place for their industry or brand. They all want ‘their’ dot, to be “the” dot. However, what they all seem to be aligned in parallel with, is the concern of, risk for, or fear that users will fail to adopt to the change, and that all the good .coms are already gone.
“Well, I guess everyone’s biggest fear is that there isn’t adoption. And, you know, it seemed like a good idea at the time but there isn’t a take-up. Or that, other devices might come into the fray that have not, that we aren’t using right now. I don’t see that anytime soon. You know, Verisign is registering millions of names every quarter. And let’s be honest, this program is here to bring some choice and variety and some specificity to naming. It’s been a long long time since anybody has been able to register a really good name in the primary name space. So there is obviously a pent-up demand, so our biggest fear would be that there is no take-up, but I think that is unlikely; I hope that it is unlikely.” – Daniel Schindler, Co-founder, Donuts
This morning I was looking at the gTLD section of the ICANN website. I stumbled onto the video which I posted below and from where that above statement comes from. As a domain enthusiast and investor I can’t help but try and figure out where all of this is going, positive or negative, for the industry, for the domains and websites I hold and build-out on, client sites, etc. What names to grab, which names to drop, etc.. etc.. If you’re reading this, you’re likely right there with me, if not right on target, to some extent.
Sometimes I like that more names are coming, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes it looks good for the industry overall, sometimes it doesn’t.
For example, .BANK which seems like they have done a fantastic job so far (just take a look at summit.bank), [truly an exceptional job running and growing this gTLD], yet it will likely compete with .SECURE. Both will market their domain as the ‘single’ source of safe and secure transactions for consumers when viewing a bank website. Who will consumers trust? .BANK is owned in conjunction with .INSURANCE by fTLD Registry Services LLC. Surprisingly, fTLD Registry Services LLC won the rights to use .INSURANCE over Progressive Casualty Insurance Company. To make things just a bit more complicated, for the insurance end of things at least, there is also a delegated string for .INSURE which will only muddy the waters a bit more. Then, the final humongo’ nail in the coffin, as for banking, JP MORGIN CHASE has registered both .JPMORGAN and .CHASE. What a naming disaster! Is .BANK the answer, or the .branded bank name itself (.CHASE). What will consumers trust, or be taught to trust?
Which one will prevail in the mind of the consumer?
In a second example, .TICKETS, which will be marketed as an authenticated, safe space for ticket sales, will likely compete with .MUSIC, which is supposed to be a place where all artists can capture their exact domain name spelling (because most .coms are taken, even if not by the artist themselves), avoid pirated content and ensure fans that proceeds collected on these sites are attributed to the rightful artist and the music industry. Yet, if fans wanted to purchase tickets to Madonna, would they go to Madonna.tickets, Madonna.music, or possibly, Madonna.secure? Seems very messy for a “new improved” system. I would think that there could be further confusion in the event someone wanted to launch MadonnaFan.club or potentially, if .FAN and .FANS come into use, Madonna.fans or Madonna.fan.
This is where it all spirals off course for me. Too much confusion.
The only way this would work in an orderly fashion is if the entire system was managed by one overall basis of rules regulating what could be registered and for what reason; a bunch of registry operators all permitted to create their own rules and restrictions seems insane. The system which is in place now, is basically a free-for-all consisting of endless names for endless reasons.
Example, four companies fought for the right to use .RESTAURANT, yet, .REST plans to market their domain “to allow restaurant domain names to become shorter as well as easier to remember and identify. Online ordering, reservation systems and promotions will all be more accessible to restaurants through this string.” This one will just compete with .CAFE, .FOOD, .EATS, and even .RESTAURATEUR if that one pops up soon.
I think right now our biggest concern is definitely public awareness. There’s a bunch of people that we’ve talked to that have no idea that this is happening and they’re not familiar with what a domain is or you know what a top-level is, what a second level is, and they don’t understand if this is something that’s going on worldwide or of it applies only to a certain region so we, you know, have been doing a lot of effort in bringing awareness to the circles that we have a direct involvement with but that would definitely be our primary concern. What makes this fascinating is right now we live in a world that you see something dot com and you have no idea what it is, it’s out of context, it could be you know it could be a restaurant, it could be a lawyer, it could be a hotel, it could be a public company, a private company, a product, a service, anything under the Sun, you know, goes under a dot com, even a dot net, you know, can be used for anything in the world and I think we’ll start having specific strings to identify markets to identify specific businesses or services and I think it will just generate a more organized internet. I always like to also explain it as, it’s not just online it’s what goes on offline, all the marketing and publicity that all these establishments do, to be able to see you know just the Billboard, or magazine advertisement, or to hear it on the radio and to know, to intuitively understand that a dot rest will be for a restaurant, a dot bar will be for a bar, a dot hotel will be for a hotel. – .rest – Aaron Grego, Ponto 2012
The video below is definitely worth watching. It lets you hear from the applicants themselves, shows their passion about their new dots and how they’re looking forward to this new space.
[Customized playlist: English] [Full] As part of ICANN’s global program to raise awareness and interest in all of the New gTLDs, we invited all New gTLD applicants to participate in a series of recorded interviews. The short videos provide insight into the individual story of a TLD, or portfolio of TLDs, the inspiration behind it and how they see it being used.
Considering the MILLIONS, and MILLIONS, and MILLIONS of dollars being spent on new gTLD applications, and the amount of fighting going on (objections) between companies competing for the rights to use their own word, both private and corporate brand strings, the new gTLD program is an inevitable change in the world, or it’s the greatest and largest financial swindle of all time.
The craziest part is that I don’t think anyone really knows yet. Not ICANN, not the applicants, not industry insiders. No-one really knows what is going to happen, all anyone can try and do is speculate and guess. This is because it’s all dependent on consumer adaptiveness and human reaction.
The new names are here. The question is how many of them will make it, how many of them will be used for things, regardless of how much they are used; people will use them to some extent. Just like people use .info, .biz, etc… Some will be winners and some will be losers. Some may disappear forever. These new gTLDs will represent one of the largest investment opportunities of all time, or they will create record-breaking financial losses.
For the time being, what I would like to know is, what’s the plan for .TRANSFORMERS by Hasbro International Inc? I just happened to stumble on this one while looking through all the applications. Keep in mind it is roughly $200,000.00 a year to own and operate a registry for a domain; their application says they’ve partnered with Neustar(.biz) to handle the responsibilities of running a registry. There has to be some expectation of profit here.
About The Author: John Colascione is Chief Executive Officer of Searchen Networks Inc. and Internet Advertising Inc. He specializes in Website Monetization, authored a ‘how to’ book called ‘‘Mastering Your Website’, and is a key player in several Internet related businesses through his search engine strategy company Searchen Networks®