- 05.04.2012 - 16:38 h
- Categories: News
New gTLDs - 100,000 until 2020? - Part 2
To read Part 1 click here.
Email addresses that contained a widespread SLDs (e.g. email@example.com) changed to addresses that now contain an individual SLD (e.g. John.firstname.lastname@example.org). Similarly large companies are about to move from their company domain name (mycompany.com) to their company Top-Level-Domain (.mycompany). The preparations are happening right now. Many so called .brand application may be of a defensive nature but it is very likely that once .brand TLDs are established, .brand owners will shift their internal and external communications to their own TLD. Existing SLD will stay alive but forward to the .brand name space.
New gTLDs - especially as an IDN variation - may also become popular alternatives to restricted ccTLDs especially when established gTLDs are not an option. A mixture of latin characters and Japanese Kanji or Arabic script in domain names still looks displeasing to the eye and is less straightforward to enter. The input mode has to be changed and latin characters are more difficult to remember if it is not the user’s native language. IDN gTLDs may also be more in tune with national or cultural expectations. Consequently IDN New gTLDs have great potential in non-latin character regions.
New gTLDs - Safe from US prosecution?
New gTLDs may also prove to be a safer place of business. A few weeks ago the domain Bodog.com has been seized by the US federal government. What makes this seizure noteworthy is that the domain name was registered through a Canadian registrar with nameservers in Canada. The order would therefore have to be enforced in Canada. Instead the prosecution obtained a warrant ordering Verisign, the company that manages the .com registry and has its place of business in the US, to redirect the website.
Bodog is a sport betting brand with worldwide operations. But essentially all domain names containing gTLDs that are managed by a registry with its place of business in the US are at risk of being seized when violating US law. Not just websites offering betting services. Now days such a seizure can ruin a business. If Bodog had its own gTLD, i.e. operating its own registry, with its principle place of business in Canada, US law enforcement agencies could not have enforced a redirection. In this .bodog scenario the only organization on US territory that could still shut down a bodog domain name for everyone would be ICANN by removing the whole TLD from all its rootservers that are scattered all over the world. It is unlikely and very risky for ICANN to remove an entire gTLD.
In the long run we are going to see plenty of .brand registrations
What will the future be like looking at the past and present developments set forth above? The questions is if this move to one’s own TLD will be limited to an exclusive group of enterprises or if it will become an affordable option for the majority of the regular Second-Level-Domain (SLD) name owners. Currently the costs and the administrative requirements overburden most small and medium enterprises (SMEs) but the same applied when SMEs didn’t have their own domain name. It is likely that with future New gTLD rounds gTLD name space will further expand, mainly due to companies that recognize the importance of a distinctive reference on the Internet. Ridding your (domain) name of redundant third party references (company.webspace.compuserve.com)[Gibt es das wirklich?
] ultimately leads to your own TLD. It happened with e-mail and it happens with domain names. The limiting factor of a New gTLD explosion is money. With roughly USD $ 4 million in 10 years a New gTLD is still too expensive for most companies. Many functions can be provided via a very affordable Second-Level-Domain name, albeit not as elegant and as exclusive.
The sword of Damocles for new gTLDs and TLDs in general will be search technology and we are not referring to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Most information queries are still entered via search engines (see type-in traffic vs. search engine traffic). Instead of typing facebook.com or fb.com into the address bar in the Internet browser, the majority of users still elects to take a detour via large search engines by searching for facebook and then clicking on the correct result. It is not as fast but generally corrects spelling mistakes and gives the correct answer. It certainly has its drawbacks but currently it is convenient. It also means that users rely on different methods to find information. If search engines help to access information other means of access may threaten domain names and TLDs in general. One safeguard is still the human limitation to recognize, store and safely remember information. It is easier to remember, type and speak (or think) fb.com no matter what other methods of information access develop.
Domain names and Top-Level-Domains are and will remain relevant. In fact with new gTLDs they are becoming even more visible but competing methods to access information will take their toll.