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.anything is the next big challenge

Derek Iwasiuk
July 22, 2008

Probably, you have already heard of the ICANN’s decision to dramatically relax the rules on top-level domain names and thus allowing billion of new web addresses to become available over time. The decision was met controversially: ones viewed it as a landmark while others were not very impressed.

Some analysts claim that top-level domain names are becoming almost irrelevant and therefore the domains wouldn’t matter any more. This position is supported by the assertion that through the usage of any of the major search engines people can find the respective domain name and if they like it, they could bookmark it. "Social network pages are the domain names of Web 2.0," said Tim Hickernell, associate lead research analyst with Info-Tech Research Group.

In contrast, others believe that the new Great Gold Rush for domains is on the way.


The new policy will impact businesses and individuals in some key areas:

1. It is expected to see big companies, entrepreneurs and other groups applying for what are likely to be the most popular generic names. There will be plenty of competition especially for extension like .shopping, .hotels and so on and so forth because once the company has gained a top-level domain, it’ll be able to sell an almost infinite number of web addresses under it and generate revenue. The bidding for domains will begin at $100,000.

2. The domination of .com. .com is still the most valuable real estate. But what will happen if Google creates “.google” TLD renaming their other domains for example or and leaves off the “.com” that has been used for years?

Gartner, the well known IT consulting company, has published a report on the new top level domains. They predict that classic extensions like ".com" will continue to dominate overwhelmingly in the marketplace while other experts assert that it is questionable.

3. The spreading of new TLDs will increase the number of defensive domain registrations. The businesses will have to decide whether they need to accomplish a defensive registration in order to prevent cybersquatting on their trademark.

4. Creation of a business’s own TLD, focused on its own brand. The brand recognition is the driving force behind the choice of new extensions and most probably the large-scale businesses will be the first to benefit. For instance, eBay could create an “.ebay” TLD, and use “newyork.ebay” (New York local auctions), “autos.ebay” (automobile auctions) and so forth. Businesses will need to decide if this approach will bring value to them. Undoubtedly, the big corporations would not have any problem adding such a domain because consumers are already familiar with their brands.

5. Increase in the number of trademark violations. How does ICANN expect to handle this?

6. Companies that make anti-spam software could face a new major filtering problem.

7. Domain registrars are preparing and looking forward to the new domain Gold Rush.


What all this would mean for Domainers?

1. Decrease the value of existing domains. Whether the will keep its value or www.restorant.newyork would prove to be more successful?

2. Change the traffic flow on the Internet: Internet browsers and search engines may give preference to other domain extensions. “Type in traffic” to .com for sure will underperform.

3. Attract new players to the domain industry.


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