Saturday, June 28, 2008

ICANN and Boutique TLDs: GOOD NEWS!


For the past few months, I have been busy setting up poets.net, a poetry forum, which has seriously impeded on my posting here.

But I have been keeping up on my domain reading, mainly via Ron Jackson's site and Elliot's blog (and then branching off from those places). I would go to Sahar Sarid's site more often, but my computer often gets hung up there. Too bad because I like his blog (Hint: sometimes less is better).

On May 2, on the Domain Tools blog (comment #29), I raised the possibility of ICANN approving what I called "boutique TLDs." The idea was pretty much pooh-poohed. Evidently, the concept was so preposterous, and I'm a dabbler, so what did I know?

I like when I'm right. Good for the ego.

More importantly, I think this decision will be good for industry (most definitely good for ICANN's bottom line). No, I'm not going to rush out and apply for a .MsDomainer or a .jennifer TLD because I doubt very much if this new application will benefit individuals on a global level.

However, major businesses will benefit tremendously.

For an example, let's take a look at .apple (since this company already owns Apple.com).

Okay, so now Apple applies for .apple and is approved. The company sets up its own registrar; however, Apple is not going to rush out and sell .apple domains to the public; Apple is going to use its shiny new TLD for two purposes: in-house communications (for example, employee email and confidential/proprietary information) and intensive branding. What's more, within its .apple TLD, Apple will own EVERY permutation of domains, so there would be no cybersquatting issues. And, remember, Apple still owns Apple.com and (most likely) many of its variations. With intensive advertising (on TV and on the net), Apple will "train" its users to think of its brand in terms of .apple--never underestimate the power of advertising.

Because Apple represents huge ad revenue for the major search engines, you will see high search engine rankings for .apple and even a form of direct navigation. Instead of typing in ipod.apple, all I have to do is type "ipod" into the search box (which is how most users search anyway), and I will be directed directly to ipod.apple or placed number 1 on page 1 (the second slot would probably go to apple.google, apple.yahoo, apple. microsoft, or apple.msn, depending on the search engine). In other words, the end user will have to work very hard at being misdirected to a spoof site. Of course, one can never underestimate the stupidity of some end users...

Meanwhile, the major search engines will most likely register their TLDs: .google (or .goog, probably both), .yahoo, .MSN, etc. Because of the expense and intensive application process of setting up a TLD, you are not likely to see "typo" TLDs, such as .gog or .yhoo. The search engines will sell TMs ONLY to companies who have the right to them; otherwise, the names will simply resolve to a "Cannot Display" page (that is, if Google is ethical). Google may even give/rent TM domains to the companies for a certain level of advertising revenue.

Now here's the benefit to individuals and domainers: by regging a generic, for example buffet.google, it is likely that you have just purchased a keyword, an automatic high ranking on Google for your targeted group. I suspect that Google isn't stupid and will not sell premium words for $9.99 a year, so much of this will be out of reach for Mr. and Ms. America or even the low-level Mr. and Ms. Domainer (like me). However, Google will also sell second- and third- tier domains for a reasonable price to the general public for its Google apps. For example, I now use NewMemoir.com on one of my blogger blogs. If I reg and use NewMemoir.google, I suspect that whenever someone types in the term "New Memoir" in the URL box, the user will land directly on my blog. At the very least, my blog will sit at the top of my category.

;=)

However, I doubt very much if Google or any other search engine will tolerate most types of parking pages on its TLD and may impose other usage restrictions (depending on policy and rulings from ICANN).

So where does this leave .com?

In my opinion, it's a mixed bag. For developed dot.coms, I believe any negative impact will be minimal; the power of .com is simply too deeply ingrained.

However, parking sites will suffer, and companies like Sedo, Parked, Traffic, etc., will have to become more "nimble" in helping their members develop mini-sites with good (and fresh) content and illustrations. Perhaps in the beginning of this revolution, they may have to take a hit, and offer their members a free content and illustration bank for their parked sites. If they don't, young, hungry upstarts will, and the entrenched-in-the-old-ways companies will die out.

The biggest losers: domainers who depend solely on direct navigation to parked sites. I may not be a power player in this field, but it's not difficult to see how, in the next few years, the landscape of direct navigation is going to change dramatically.

Now for a little fun. On my poetry forum, I posted the following:

I thought maybe that some non-domainers might find the following articles of interest because down the road, the decisions made by ICANN (the organization that administers the policies surrounding domain name distribution and acquisition) is going to consider some new TLD's, which will likely eventually apply to poets and writers (among other groups):

Big Ticket Domains

My favorite quote from this article:

"History has proven though that the simplest things in business work best and last the longest, so this could just turn the Net into a frustrating convoluted clusterfuck."

The Domains

Favorite quote:
People will be lining up to get their personal and/or business name.
mike.ebay or mike.google
Got to love those.
Sometime in the future, you may be able to acquire a boutique domain that is very specialized, such as Jorie.poet, Grisham.writer, MondayLove.ID, Jennifer.admin, Matt.psych, Christopher.whistleblower (oops! too long), Levine.pobiz.

The articles discuss the possibility of .nyc (.la already exists). Think of the other possibilities: .troll, .trek (hikers or fan TLD) or .borg (elite group of admins and mods on another forum). Even more specialized: last name TLD's, such as .Smith, .Siegel, .Munster--Talk about family feuds in the works!

How many cool TLDs can you think up? Perhaps we'll forward our ideas to ICANN. Make em' listen to people not in the domaining biz!

For the immediate future (beginning on July 17), you'll be able to acquire a .me domain. How cool is that?

Unfortunately, f**k.me (and other $$$,$$$ hack domains) have been placed in reserve for a later auction.

Jennifer, a.k.a. Ms Domainer (www.MsDomainer.com)

2 comments:

  1. Hi Ms Domainer,
    I just saw your comment on Eliott's blog,

    "If Google registers and sells .google domains, sign me up asap, because guess what? You’ll be able to type in your domain name WITHOUT the .google, and guess whose site (if developed) will come up first?"..

    Have a look at HitWiser.com
    maybe you might like that.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Arbitrarily ranking .google sites higher because someone pays the $50/year reg fee would be business suicide for Google. At most the bump would be minimal, otherwise their search quality would decline and people will move elsewhere.

    ReplyDelete

Word verification has been enabled to circumvent spammers, not to censor bona fide posts. ;=)

I welcome your comments!

Ms Domainer

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